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EdWorkingPapers

Kaitlyn G. O'Hagan, Zitsi Mirakhur.

There is limited empirical evidence about educational interventions for students experiencing homelessness, who experience distinct disadvantages compared to their low-income peers. We explore how two school staffing interventions in New York City shaped the attendance outcomes of students experiencing homelessness using administrative records from 2013-2022 and a difference-in-differences design. We find suggestive evidence that one intervention, which placed social workers in schools, increased the average attendance rates of students in shelter by 1-3 percentage points after 3-5 years. We discuss implications for the importance of non-instructional school staff and strategies to serve homeless students.

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Shelby M. McNeill, Christopher A. Candelaria.

This study investigates how individual states raise revenue to pay for elementary-secondary education spending following school finance reforms (SFRs). We identify states that increased and sustained education expenditures after reform, search for legislative statutes that appropriated more education spending, and assess how policymakers funded the SFRs. Our results show that state legislatures increase investments in education by increasing tax revenue streams, such as sales and excise taxes, and by taking over property tax collections. Considering these results, we discuss that increased state investment in education should be accompanied by a policy mechanism to distribute state aid equitably to districts. Moreover, policymakers should consider local voters’ preferences when implementing SFR policies, as tax increases may reduce local fiscal effort for education.

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Constance A. Lindsay, Simone Wilson, Jacqueline Kumar, Tia Byers, Seth Gershenson.

This paper investigates how teachers learn about race in the school context, with a particular focus on teachers’ development of racial competency. Using in-depth, semi-structured interviews we find that teachers learn through three sources: from their peers, from years of experience, and from teacher preparation and in-service experiences. Furthermore, we find that learning occurs both informally and formally and that these sources of learning are moderated by three contextual factors: career status, school culture, and out-of-school factors We find that teachers rely most on informal avenues and encounters to develop racial competency.

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Shirin A. Hashim, Mary E. Laski.

Researchers have posited various theories to explain supposed declines in teaching quality: the expansion of labor market opportunities for women, low relative wages, compressed compensation structures, and substituting quantity for quality. We synthesize these previous theories and expand on the current literature by incorporating a useful comparison group: the nursing workforce. We document historical trends in skill level, average and relative wages, wage dispersion, unionization rates, and quantity, and find important divergences in the teaching and nursing professions that cannot be explained by previous theories. We posit two new theories that align with our documented trends: technological innovation and occupational differentiation in nursing. We argue that trends in the nursing profession indicate that declines in teaching quality were (and are) not inevitable.

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Alexandra de Gendre, Krzysztof Karbownik, Nicolas Salamanca, Yves Zenou.

We develop a multi-agent model of the education production function where investments of students, parents, and teachers are linked to the presence of minorities in the classroom. We then test the key implications of this model using rich survey data and a mandate to randomly assign students to classrooms. Consistent with our model, we show that exposure to minority peers decreases student effort, parental investments, and teacher engagement and it results in lower student test scores. Observables correlated with minority status explain less than a third of the reduced-form test score effect while over a third can be descriptively attributed to endogenous responses of the agents.

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Stephen Mirabello, Rylie C. Martin, Christopher R. Marsicano.

Labor organization efforts grew following the pandemic in the United States at tech companies, automakers, and even higher education institutions. This brief examines unionization trends at private colleges and universities from 2007 to 2023, revealing staff as the main force behind unionization attempts, followed by contingent faculty. Major unions like the SEIU and the AFL-CIO play significant roles in representing college and university employees. This study underscores the importance of understanding historic unionization efforts, shedding light on often overlooked staff categories like maintenance and security.

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David Blazar, Wenjing Gao, Seth Gershenson, Ramon Goings, Francisco Lagos.

Local teacher recruitment through “grow-your-own” programs is a prominent strategy to address workforce shortages and ensure that incoming teachers resemble, understand, and have strong connections to their communities. We exploit the staggered rollout of the Teacher Academy of Maryland career and technical education certificate program across public high schools, finding that exposed students were more likely to become teachers by 0.6 percentage points (pp), or 47%. Effects are concentrated among White girls (1.4pp/39%) and Black girls (0.7pp/80%). We also identify positive impacts on wages (5% on average/18% for Black girls), countering a prevailing narrative that teaching leaves one worse off financially relative to other labor market opportunities.

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Ezra Karger, Sarah Komisarow.

We investigate the beginning of the school discipline pipeline using a reform in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools that limited the use of out-of- school suspension for students in grades K–2. We find that the reform reduced the likelihood of out-of-school suspension by 1.4 percentage points (56%) and had precise null effects on test scores and disciplinary infractions. This leads us to reject a key argument in favor of early-grade suspensions: namely, that early-grade suspensions improve classroom- level outcomes. For high-risk students, we find short-run increases in test scores that persist into third grade. The reform reduced the Black- white out-of-school suspension gap by 79%.

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Eric S. Taylor.

When employees expect evaluation and performance incentives will continue (or begin) in the future, the potential future rewards create an incentive to invest in relevant skills today. Because skills benefit job performance, the effects of evaluation can persist after the rewards end or even anticipate the start of rewards. I provide empirical evidence of these dynamics from a quasi-experiment in Tennessee schools. New performance measures improve teachers’ value-added contributions to student achievement. But improvements are twice as large when the teacher also expects future rewards linked to future scores. Value-added remains at the now higher level after performance incentives end.

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Maya Kaul.

Teachers’ professional identities are the foundation of their practice. Previous scholarship has largely overlooked the extent to which the broader reform culture shapes teachers’ professional identities. In this study, I draw on survey data from 950 teachers across four US states (California, New York, Florida, and Texas) to examine the extent to which teachers’ professional identities are associated with what I term “institutionalized conceptions” of their roles. Across diverse state policy contexts, I find that teachers draw upon a shared set of institutionalized conceptions of their roles, which are associated with their professional identities. The findings suggest that the taken-for-granted ways society frames teaching may be associated with dimensions of teachers’ professional identity, such as self-efficacy and professional commitment.

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