Latest Edu-Reads

Howard Blume and Sonali Kohli look back on what’s happened in the wake of last year’s teacher strike in Los Angeles.

Educators for Excellence surveyed teachers on their opinions on pay, the profession, and performance.

Phyllis W. Jordan on the risks of including surveys in formal accountability systems.

Alex Spurrier on Blaine Amendments and why the Supreme Court may rule against them.

EdBuild identifies the 50 most segregating school district boundaries.

Nick Allen on helping low-income students succeed in postsecondary education by focusing on “match” and “fit.”

“Most predictions on the future of work suggest sustaining employment will depend on workers’ abilities to master new skills on the job. Short-term training programs tend to develop specialized skills, which may get an individual a job in the near term, but not necessarily include the foundational competencies that can affect income mobility — where it counts — on the job.” That’s Jim Jacobs on the pitfalls of short-term training programs.

Andy Rotherham on whether we’re asking textbooks to do too much on their own.

Buried in this Chicago Sun-Times dive into the Chicago Teachers Union finances is this sentence:

Asked about the union’s political activities, Jennifer Johnson, the CTU’s chief of staff, says the CTU’s work is “inherently political.” But she notes that members can decide whether their dues go to the union’s PACs.

Um, isn’t Johnson totally giving up on the unions’ argument in the 2018 Janus case? If all teachers union work is inherently political, as Johnson seems to admit here, then the court made the correct decision in Janus.

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office has an update on school district budgets, student enrollment, and staffing:

Overall Teacher Workforce Has Been Increasing. School districts had about 295,000 full‑time equivalent (FTE) teachers in 2018‑19, an increase of about 18,000 (6.4 percent) over the 2013‑14 level. Coupled with the effects of declining student attendance, the statewide student‑to‑teacher ratio, in turn, has been dropping over the past several years. In 2018‑19, it stood at about 21:1—comparable to the level prior to the Great Recession. Similarly, by 2018‑19, the statewide student‑to‑administrator ratio (237:1) had dropped below pre‑recession levels. Given the return of staffing levels to pre‑recession levels, coupled with declining student attendance, the pressure to hire additional teachers and reduce class sizes is likely to subside over the coming years. 

The LAO recommends that California use one-time budget surplus money to pay down pension and healthcare obligations, while the Governor’s office has other ideas. John Fensterwald digs into that dynamic.

–Guest post by Chad Aldeman 

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