Latest Edu-Reads

Carrie Hahnel has a new piece up at TeacherPensions.org looking at California Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposal to spend $850 million to “buy down” school district contribution rates. Hahnel finds that districts with fewer low-income, English learner, and foster youth students will receive more of a benefit, mainly because those districts can afford to pay their teachers higher salaries.

Speaking of pensions, I have a new piece out this week on teachers and other public servants who lack Social Security coverage. Specifically, I write about two special rules Congress created to deal with workers who split their working careers in and out of Social Security. Those two provisions–the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset–are wildly unpopular, but I argue they help preserve the Social Security program’s progressive benefit formula.

A big new study looks at what happened after England got rid of its national teacher pay schedule. The authors conclude that, “These results provide clear evidence that public sector pay scales have a negative impact on productivity. Once schools have the freedom to set salaries, schools in high competition areas experience significant gains in student achievement. The gains in student performance were largest in schools that were the most restrained by national pay scales, those in high wage labor markets with high proportions of disadvantaged students.”

David Deming writes that, “The advantage for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors fades steadily after their first jobs, and by age 40 the earnings of people who majored in fields like social science or history have caught up.”

Bellwether’s Gwen Baker argues we need technology-driven learning tools designed to meet students where they are AND whole-course curriculum that assumes students are already performing at grade-level.

The actress Geena Davis is behind an effort to hold television networks accountable for producing children’s content with equal representation of males and females. In my opinion, the online version of the story has an unnecessarily provocative headline, whereas the print version went with the more neutral, “How Geena Davis is making children’s tv more equal with the help of tech.” Either way, it’s a good story.

–Guest post by Chad Aldeman  

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