Holiday Edu-Reads

This Wall Street Journal story is worth your time. Financial companies buy their way into teachers lounges with offers of free food or other perks, only to sell teachers on expensive, fee-laded 403(b) plans. Meanwhile, state and national teachers unions are willing middlemen who get kickbacks from these deals. Lest you don’t trust the Wall Street Journal, here’s a similar story from The New York Times and many more horror stories from the nonprofit 403bwise.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is this ProPublica story from New Jersey, where health plans for school employees cover the full cost of out-of-network expenses. The results are what you might expect:

In recent months, teachers across New Jersey have been protesting, even striking, for higher wages and more affordable benefits. Meanwhile, a state analysis shows, the glut of out-of-network payments has consumed hundreds of millions of dollars in the past four years. That’s money that experts say could have helped fund the teachers’ demands. And New Jersey residents are also pitching in to pay the bills: Homeowners in the towns where the schools are located are chipping in through higher property taxes.

Health care costs can be controlled with more aggressive oversight. Here’s a story about a Boston union and how they did it:

It required union members to make a trade-off that many, at first, found unpalatable — giving up access to some of the city’s best known, and most expensive, hospitals.

In return, however, workers not only kept their insurance premiums under control, they saved so much money that housekeepers like Rajae Nouira saw their hourly pay increase from $16.98 to $23.60 in five years, a 39% jump.

 

Evan Coughenour is not Catholic, but he has a growing appreciation for Catholic schools.

Tresha Ward has some tips for principals on how to lead autonomous schools, and how that’s different than leading any other school.

Elizabeth Ross and Kelli Lakis look at licensure rules for teachers crossing state lines.

The FAFSA is about to be simplified, here’s Evie Blad on what that means for students and Lamar Alexander’s favorite prop.

Matt Chingos surveys the landscape on free college proposals and explains why, “A plan that simply pays whatever colleges are charging would bail out states like Vermont at the expense of states like Wyoming — and encourage states to raise tuition to capture more federal money.”

EdSource has a deep dive, with a cool map, into community college transfer rates in California. About 40 percent of community college students in California eventually transfer to the state’s university systems, but those rates vary widely based on geography.

Nat Malkus is worried about screen time for kids. As a parent, I wish my kids’ school would send them home with some homework this holiday season. Or at least extra library books. Instead, all I got was a reminder of my kids’ login for online learning platforms so they could spend their break with MORE screen time. No thanks…

–Guest post by Chad Aldeman

Posted on Dec 20, 2019 @ 11:16am

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