Some new political polling – independents care more about education than you might think (it’s still an also ran but not as much as some years). Also, don’t miss the Arizona numbers, relevant to teachers union strategy there.
Speaking of the strikes, there is some confusion about various data being tossed around about teacher pay, state spending and so forth. When thinking about teacher salaries and comparisons it’s important to account for actual days worked – eg comparing a 190 or 200 day with a 260 day work year is problematic. Many analyses don’t account for this. Non-cash compensation, in particular health care and retirement benefits can also be a misleading point of comparison – thogh teacher retirement isn’t as good as commonly assumed it’s often just expensive. Basically, as with any comparison you want to go for apples to apples. And basically, you can do a lot worse than just follow @chadaldeman, who will break this all down for you in real time.
Urban data on instructional materials.
One other thougth on this. I’ve always been struck at how reformers have consistently allowed themselves (not always undeservedly) to be painted as being against school spending. Money matters – and of course how it’s spent matters, too. And many reformers get that inequitable intrastate finance policies are a huge problem for students (and teachers), disadvantage low-income communities, and that the budget choices some states have made are a big problem, too (though that’s a more partisan issue). Reform + resources has always seemed like substantively and politically the way to go. Bill Clinton used to say we should invest more in our schools and demand more from them. Hard to argue with that.
Data action in the states.
This Nevada story is best taken with aspirin.
Virginia brookies are having a hard time, students are helping.