Category Archives: Schools K-12

Unfunded State Mandates Costing Cities and Towns

Source: Ray Hershel, WGGB, February 7, 2012

State Auditor Suzanne Bump releases the results of a statewide survey showing that unfunded state mandates are costing cities and towns more and more money. Those costs total more than 11-million dollars this fiscal year.

Massachusetts participates in a federal program in which cities and towns are required to provide transportation and education of homeless children after they are placed in a different community for temporary housing.

For example if a student in one community is left homeless and moved into a motel in another city or town then both communities share the cost of transporting that student to school.

2012 School Libraries Count!

Source: American Association of School Librarians, 2012

From the summary:
AASL is sponsoring a longitudinal survey that will provide data on the health of the nation’s school library programs. The annual survey is open to library centers at all schools teaching at the primary and secondary levels. The first survey was conducted in 2007, with annual results posted each year. Most of the questions are tracking questions, though each year the survey includes a short series of topical questions.
2011 Report
Full Report
Digital Citizenship Report
See also:
ALA press release

Sounding the Alarm

Source: Pennsylvania State Education Association, March 2012

From the summary:
Pennsylvania’s public schools are in the midst of their toughest fiscal crisis since the 1930s. Following the nearly $860 million in cuts in 2011-12 and the proposal of $100 million more for next year, districts are being forced to make increasingly difficult decisions about how to meet the education needs of their students. Many of these decisions will result in cuts to programs necessary to provide the challenging, well-rounded, and comprehensive curriculum required for success in the 21st Century global economy. These cuts are not in the best interests of America’s students, therefore risking the future of our children.

Recent reports revealed that some school districts, such as Chester Upland and York City, had insufficient cash on hand to meet payroll. These are only the first instances of districts pushed to the breaking point. More will follow. If legislative action isn’t taken now, the financial viability of a significant number of school districts will be threatened by 2014. Pennsylvania could do a disservice to an entire generation of students who will not get a second chance.
See also:
Appendix A: Program Curtailment Requests
Appendix B: Impact of Funding Cuts
Appendix C: Chart on Salaries and Benefits
Appendix D: Solutions That Work
Press release

Weathering the Storm: How the Economic Recession Continues to Impact School Districts

Source: Noelle M. Ellerson, Daniel A. Domenech, American Association of School Administrators (AASA), March 2012

From the summary:
Schools Anticipate Continued Budget Cuts; Study Shows Little Relief in Current or Upcoming School Years

School districts, already operating in their fourth consecutive year of budget cuts, do not anticipate returning to pre-recession funding levels for several years. In a new survey of school administrators, released today by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), school administrators report continued erosion of fiscal resources available to school districts, as the worst recession in recent history continues to impact state and local budgets….

According to the survey:
• School districts across the nation continue to report a breadth and depth of budget cuts.
• More than three quarters (81.4 percent) of districts described their district as inadequately funded, down only slightly from 84 percent in Dec. 2010.
• Nearly three-quarters (71.2 percent) of school districts reported a cut in state/local revenues between 2010-11 and 2011-12.
• Stop-gap efforts to avoid/minimize job cuts were short-lived and reductions in force will continue to be a reality in the near future.
• Two-thirds (68.2 percent) of respondents eliminated positions in 2011-12, virtually identical to the 68 percent in 2010-11 and the 65.5 percent who anticipate doing so in 2012-13.

Change in School Librarian Staffing Linked with Change in CSAP Reading Performance, 2005 to 2011

Source: Keith Curry Lance, Linda Hofschire, Library Research Service, Closer Look, January 2012

From the abstract:
In fall 2011, LRS analyzed school library staffing data and Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) reading scores over time. The findings indicated that Colorado schools that either maintained or gained an endorsed librarian between 2005 and 2011 tended to have more students scoring advanced in reading in 2011 and fewer students scoring unsatisfactory, compared with schools that either lost their librarians or never had one. In 2011, schools with at least one FTE endorsed librarian averaged significantly higher advanced CSAP reading scores and significantly lower unsatisfactory scores than schools with less than one FTE endorsed librarian. These findings remained significant when controlling for poverty.
See also:
Full-time School Librarians Linked to Higher Student Reading Scores
Source: Lauren Barack, School Library Journal, March 6, 2012

Beyond the Weekend

Source: Erin Johansson, American Rights at Work Education Fund, February 2012

New data reveals how unions benefit communities, consumers, employers, and employees.

As the assault on workers’ rights reaches a fever pitch, positive messages about unions are few and far between. To push back against this trend, American Rights at Work Education Fund has produced and funded five new reports revealing that the benefits of workers’ collective action extend far beyond themselves–and even beyond their workplace. Topline findings from these reports have been compiled in our latest release, Beyond the Weekend.

Key findings featured in this new publication include the following:

– Frontline union healthcare workers are collaborating with hospital administrators to find real solutions that improve patient care and control costs.
– Partnerships between union-represented teachers and school administrators are boosting student achievement in schools that serve disadvantaged families.
– Union members’ pensions are funding public and private projects that create good American jobs.
– Building trades unions are partnering with community groups to create new career paths for veterans, workers of color, and women.
– Childcare providers are gaining new skills and resources through their unions to improve how they care for children of low-income families.
See also:
Community Workforce Provisions in Project Labor Agreements: A Tool for Building Middle-Class Careers
Source: Maria Figueroa, Jeff Grabelsky and Ryan Lamare, Cornell University ILR School, October 2011
Partnerships in Education: How Labor-Management Collaboration Is Transforming Public Schools
Source: Abigail Paris, American Rights at Work Education Fund, May 2011
Creating Good Jobs for Our Communities: Pension Dollars at Work Source: Michael Wasser, American Rights at Work Education Fund, March 2011
How Labor-Management Partnerships Improve Patient Care, Cost Control, and Labor Relations
Source: Peter Lazes, Liana Katz and Maria Figueroa, Cornell University ILR School, February 2012
The Impact of Training on License-Exempt Child Care Providers in Washington State
Source: Gary Burris and Allyson Fredericksen, Economic Opportunity Institute, February 2012.

Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2011

Source: Simone Robers, Jijun Zhang, Jennifer Truman, National Center for Education Statistics, NCES 2012002, February 2012

From the abstract:
A joint effort by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and National Center for Education Statistics, this annual report examines crime occurring in school as well as on the way to and from school. It provides the most current detailed statistical information to inform the Nation on the nature of crime in schools. This report presents data on crime at school from the perspectives of students, teachers, principals, and the general population from an array of sources–the National Crime Victimization Survey, the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the School Survey on Crime and Safety and the School and Staffing Survey. Data on crime away from school are also presented to place school crime in the context of crime in the larger society.

The Impact of Debt Limitations and Referenda Requirements on the Cost of School District Bond Issues

Source: Mary H. Harris, Vincent G. Munley, Education Finance and Policy, Vol. 6, No. 4, Fall 2011
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
One distinction between the markets for corporate and municipal bonds involves institutional constraints that apply to some municipal bond issues. This research focuses on how public finance institutions, in particular explicit debt limits and referenda requirements, affect the borrowing cost of individual school district bond issues. The empirical model specifies as the dependent variable the true interest cost of issuing debt. The results suggest that the presence of referenda requirements for the approval of annual school district budgets imposes an additional cost for borrowing funds.

Education Data Community

Source:, 2012

This web site serves as a central guide for education data resources including high-value data sets, data visualization tools, resources for the classroom, applications created from open data and more. These datasets have been gathered from various agencies to provide detailed information on the state of education on all levels, from cradle to career and beyond. Check back frequently because the site will be updated as more datasets and tools become available.

Assessing New Public Management’s Focus on Performance Measurement in the Public Sector: A Look at No Child Left Behind

Source: Barbara A. Patrick and P. Edward French, Public Performance & Management Review, Vol. 35 no. 2, December 2011
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
New Public Management, with its emphasis on debureaucratization, decentralization, and accountability, has attempted to make public sector organizations function in the same way as those in the private sector. Its implications for traditional government entities, including the public school system, are yet to be fully determined. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 was intended to decrease achievement gaps caused by race, class, first language, and learning abilities. The act’s foci of accountability, testing, sanctions, and rewards in the educational process are central to the federal government’s framework for shaping the goals and outcomes of educational policy across the United States. The present research indicates that the development and use of performance measures to hold educators accountable and improve performance is limited by organized employee groups and enhanced by minority student populations. At this, time, significant increases in student performance as a result of NCLB efforts are not evidenced.