The Teacher Pay Penalty is Bigger than Ever

Monday, August 15, 2016 at 8:00 AM by

Public school teachers earn significantly less than comparable workers – and the gap is growing wider, making it more difficult to attract new teachers to the profession.

Nationally, public school teachers earned 17.0% less per week worked than other workers in 2015, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute. That wage gap has tripled since 1979, when the wage gap was 5.6% between teachers and other workers. The analysis controls for age, education, race/ethnicity, geographical region, marital status, and gender.

In Wisconsin, the wage gap means that public school teachers earn $229 per week less than other workers with the same level of education. Teachers earn less than other college graduates in every state in the U.S.

Teachers earn less than other college graduates

Teachers not in a union face a larger wage penalty than teachers in a union, according to the report.

When benefits are included, teachers still earn less than other workers: 11.1% less per week worked. Read more

School Meals Are Important to Students During Summer Months, Too

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 8:23 AM by

Summer is almost here, and children will be out of school – but many of them will still have access to free or reduced-price meals through a program that helps students get their nutritional needs met during the summer months.

Students participating in summer school, summer camps, sports or pre-college programs run by colleges or universities, and certain other summer activities can get free or reduced-price school meals thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program. During summer 2015, Wisconsin children were served 2.8 million free or reduced-price meals at 872 different locations.

Free and reduced-price school meals are an important way to help make sure that all students have the nourishment they need in order to succeed, regardless of family income. It’s difficult for students to reach their full potential if they have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. Making sure that students get the meals they need during the summer helps facilitate summer learning and also helps make sure that students come back in the fall ready to study. Read more

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Wisconsin Made Second Largest Cut this Year in Support for Higher Education

Friday, May 27, 2016 at 12:35 PM by

Tech. College Funding Shift Masks 25 Percent Cut in Higher Ed Support Since 2008

Wisconsin cut state support for higher education by 8.3 percent this year, or $603 per student. As the following graph illustrates, only Arizona cut state funding for higher education by a larger percentage. 

In contrast to Wisconsin, most states have been taking advantage of the national economic recovery to increase support for higher education and restore some of the funding cut during the recession. The bar graph from a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) shows that Wisconsin was one of just 11 states that cut its support for higher education in the current fiscal year, relative to fiscal year 2015, and almost all of the other cuts were far smaller. Read more

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Wisconsin’s Waning Commitment to Educational Opportunity Regardless of Economic Status

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at 2:07 PM by

Wisconsin is committing a shrinking share of its resources for education to making sure that students have access to an excellent education regardless of whether they live in a poor community or a wealthy one.

The state funds about 62 cents out of every dollar spent on public education in Wisconsin, with the remaining amount raised from the property tax in each district. The variation in property tax values means that school districts with low property values would need to use higher tax rates to raise the same amount of money for education as wealthier districts with high property values.

To help address that imbalance, the bulk of the money the state provides for K-12 education is distributed through a formula aimed at insuring that school districts with low property values are able to provide students with the same high-quality education as property-rich districts. Outside of the equalization formula, the state provides additional support for school districts that is allocated on a flat per-student basis, and also provides money to school districts to pass through to residents in the form of lowered property taxes. Read more

Money and Academic Success: Comparing School Districts in Wisconsin

Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at 6:01 AM by

Data from Sean F. Reardon, Demetra Kalogrides, Andrew Ho, Ben Shear, Kenneth Shores, Erin Fahle. (2016). Stanford Education Data Archive. http://purl.stanford.edu/db586ns4974. Read more

State Budget Cuts Could Lead to Longer Time to Graduation, Outdated Facilities for UW Students

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at 2:35 PM by

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Wisconsin lawmakers cut state funding for the UW System by $125 million per year for the budget period that runs between July 2015 and June 2017, reducing Wisconsin’s investment in keeping higher education accessible and jeopardizing the economic benefit that Wisconsin residents receive from the UW System.

UW officials have released descriptions of planned and ongoing cuts to academics, facilities, and services at each campus that have been made to reduce costs in the wake of the budget cut. Many campuses are reducing the number of classes offered, potentially increasing the amount of time students must spend in school before they can receive credit for courses required for graduation. Other campuses are postponing updates to outdated facilities, cleaning buildings less often, and reducing advising and mentoring services for students. This map shows a selection of the cuts made at each campus, along with each location’s share of the $125 million budget cut. Read more

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School Referendums on Spring Election Ballots at Historical High

Friday, April 1, 2016 at 11:52 AM by

On Tuesday, voters in dozens of school districts across the state will determine whether to provide additional resources to children in public schools.

School districts are asking voters to approve nearly $700 million in borrowing for new construction and building updates, and more than $150 million in increases in school district budgets. Those requested amounts are the largest put before voters at the annual spring election going back at least a decade. School districts can hold referendums at any time during the year, but many referendums are scheduled to correspond with regularly-held elections like the annual April election.

Wisconsin’s public schools are funded through a combination of state support and local property taxes. State law limits the degree to which districts can raise property taxes, unless residents vote to approve an increase in school district budgets. In the most recent state budget, lawmakers did not increase the revenue limits for school districts. Read more

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Push to make College more Accessible Results in Very Modest Increases in Assistance for Students

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at 8:04 AM by

Wisconsin lawmakers wrapped up their legislative session earlier this month after taking small steps to keep higher education affordable for students. But they did not tackle the larger issue of helping student loan borrowers who are struggling to repay loans they took out to pay for their degrees.

The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families has released a new summary that describes the changes lawmakers made to Wisconsin’s higher education system during the legislative session. The summary also includes descriptions of high-profile proposals that did not pass.

This session lawmakers:

  • Created an emergency grant program to help students who face unexpected financial difficulties that could cause them to drop out of school;
  • Increased financial aid for students studying at technical colleges;
  • Added staff to help match students to internships; and
  • Required colleges and universities to provide students with additional information about their financial aid and loans.

These measures are positive steps as far as they go but they are very limited in scope and are dwarfed by recent cuts to Wisconsin’s higher education system. Read more

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Wisconsin’s Electorate and Economy: What the National Media Should Know

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at 10:28 AM by

National attention has turned to Wisconsin because our presidential primary on April 5th is the only one in the next week. It’s also a significant primary because the percentage turnout is likely to be higher than in any other state since the New Hampshire primary.

For reporters and others who are trying to understand some of the demographic, economic and political context for the April 5th election, we’ve pulled together a variety of facts about Wisconsin and how it compares to other states.  Here are a few highlights from that data: Read more

Categories: economy, EDUCATION, income, income inequality, jobs | Comments Off on Wisconsin’s Electorate and Economy: What the National Media Should Know