Education

Human Resources for Health: Overcoming the Crisis

Human Resources for Health: Overcoming the Crisis
The Lancet, Vol. 364, Issue 9449, 27 November 2004-3 December 2004, Pgs 1984-1990

Chen, L.C., Evans, T., Anand, S., Boufford, J.I., Brown, H., Chowdhury, M. & Michael, S.
11/01/2004

In this analysis of the global workforce, the Joint Learning Initiative—a consortium of more than 100 health leaders—proposes that mobilisation and strengthening of human resources for health, neglected yet critical, is central to combating health crises in some of the world's poorest countries and for building sustainable health systems in all countries. Nearly all countries are challenged by worker shortage, skill mix imbalance, maldistribution, negative work environment, and weak knowledge base. Especially in the poorest countries, the workforce is under assault by HIV/AIDS, out-migration, and inadequate investment. Effective country strategies should be backed by international reinforcement. Ultimately, the crisis in human resources is a shared problem requiring shared responsibility for cooperative action. Alliances for action are recommended to strengthen the performance of all existing actors while expanding space and energy for fresh actors.

District Effectiveness: A Study of Investment Strategies in New York City Public Schools and Districts

District Effectiveness: A Study of Investment Strategies in New York City Public Schools and Districts
Educational Policy, Vol. 18, No. 3, 491-512

Iatarola, P. & Fruchter, N.
07/01/2004

Educational reform over the past two decades has focused primarily on schools as the critical units of change, often ignoring the role of districts and their effect on schools' performance. Although national reform efforts such as the recently reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (the No Child Left Behind Act), are directed primarily at schools, local school districts are responsible for a number of functions critical to schooling effectiveness (e.g., hiring, collective bargaining, curriculum development, assessment, fiscal operations, and ancillary functions). Refocusing attention on districts and their effect on schools, this study found differences between high-and low performing community school districts, or administrative subunits, within the NewYork City school system in terms of educational goals, instructional focus, leadership development, teacher recruitment and retention, and professional development.

Changing Labor Market Opportunities for Women and the Quality of Teachers, 1957 - 2000

Changing Labor Market Opportunities for Women and the Quality of Teachers, 1957 - 2000
American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings of the American Economic Association, v. 94, n.2, May 2004

Corcoran, S., Evans, W.N. & Schwab, R.M.
05/01/2004

This study focuses on the changing labor-market opportunities for women, and teacher quality in the U.S., from 1957 to 2000. The study data consist of longitudinal surveys of five cohorts of high-school graduates. These five surveys are alike in that they each include results from a questionnaire administered during the senior year. All require participation in a battery of aptitude test scores for all students, which allows us to place graduates into a cohort skill distribution and to assess how the propensity for women or men with high relative scores to enter teaching has changed over time. Despite a small number of cross-sectional study that have examined the characteristics of college graduates choosing to enter teaching, there has been little empirical evidence on how these characteristics have changed over a long period of time. The study found sound evidence of slight but detectable decline in the relative ability of the average new female teacher, when ability is measured as one's centile rank in the distribution of high-school graduates on a standardized test of verbal and mathematical aptitude. The magnitude of this decline is even greater when measuring ability using standardized scores. The study also found that examination of the entire distribution of new teachers is more informative than trends in central tendency alone.

From Districts To Schools: The Distribution Of Resources Across Schools in Big City School Districts

From Districts To Schools: The Distribution Of Resources Across Schools in Big City School Districts
Symposium on Education Finance and Organization Structure in NYS Schools, Albany, NY, March

Schwartz, A.E., Stiefel, L. & Rubenstein, R.
03/01/2004

This paper explores the determinants of resource allocation across schools in large districts and examines options for improving resource distribution patterns. Previous research on intra-district allocations consistently reveals resource disparities across schools within districts, particularly in the distribution of teachers. While overall expenditures are sometimes related to the characteristics of students in schools, the ratio of teachers per pupil is consistently larger in high poverty, high-minority and low-performing schools. These teachers, though, generally have lower experience and education levels � and consequently, lower salaries � as compared to teachers in more advantaged schools. We explore these patterns in New York City, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio by estimating de facto expenditure equations relating resource measures to school and student characteristics. Consistent with previous research, we find schools that have higher percentages of poor pupils receive more money and have more teachers per pupil, but the teachers tend to be less educated and less well paid, with a particularly consistent pattern in New York City schools. The paper concludes with policy options for changing intradistrict resource distributions in order to promote more efficient, more equitable or more effective use of resources. These options include allocating dollars rather than teacher positions to schools, providing teacher pay differentials in hard-to-staff schools and subjects, and adapting current district-based funding formulas to the school (and student) level.

Academic Achievement Among Formerly Homeless Adolescents and Their Continuously Housed Peers

Academic Achievement Among Formerly Homeless Adolescents and Their Continuously Housed Peers
Journal of School Psychology, Vol. 42, No. 3, pp. 179-199.

Rafferty, Y., Shinn, M. & Weitzman, B.
01/01/2004

This study examined the school experiences and academic achievement of 46 adolescents in families who experienced homelessness and 87 permanently housed adolescents whose families received public assistance. Measures taken after the homeless students were rehoused showed that both groups valued school highly and were similar in cognitive abilities assessed with the similarities subtest of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children—Revised (WISC-R). Formerly homeless students had more school mobility, more grade retention, and worse school experiences by mother report and lower plans for post secondary education by self-report. Both groups scored poorly on standardized tests of academic achievement. Homelessness was associated with further declines in achievement during the period of maximal residential disruption, but did not have effects 5 years later.

After the Bell—Family Background and Educational Success

After the Bell—Family Background and Educational Success
(Edited, with an Introduction; co-edited by Karen Albright). From conference organized in conjunction with the Jerome Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. June 4-5, London & New York: Routledge,

Conley, D.
01/01/2004

This book looks at the social and economic factors of schooling and will prove an intriguing read for sociologist, social economists and policy-makers.

City Taxes, City Spending: Essays in Honor of Dick Netzer

City Taxes, City Spending: Essays in Honor of Dick Netzer
Northampton, Mass: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.,

Schwartz, A.E.
01/01/2004

In a festschrift to Netzer a public finance economist well known for his research on state and local taxation, urban public services, and nonprofit organizations eight chapters apply microeconomics to problems facing urban areas and use statistical analysis to gain insight into practical solutions. The essays look at alternative methods of financing urban government, such as a land value tax and the impact of sales and income taxes on property taxation; at government expenditures, including housing subsidies; and at subsidies to nonprofit arts groups as well as the role of the nonprofit sector in providing K-12 education. Of interest to the fields of public finance, urban economics, and public administration.

Dept. of Building, Winning the West

Dept. of Building, Winning the West
The New Yorker, July 5,

Whitagker, C. & Finnegan, W.
01/01/2004

Both sides have started punching harder lately in the brawl over whether or not to build a seventy-five-thousand-seat football stadium over the Hudson rail yards on Manhattan’s far West Side. The New York Jets, who would own the place, will be taking computers from the mouths of needy schoolchildren if the state and the city are forced to provide the six hundred million dollars that would be their part of the deal—or, at least, that’s what the television ads paid for by the Dolan family, the owners of Madison Square Garden, say. Nonsense, say the Jets and their supporters, who include Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Pataki, and the construction unions. The stadium will be such a financial success that it will end up giving computers to needy schoolchildren. Opponents say that the stadium will sink New York City’s bid to host the 2012 Olympics (the International Olympic Committee does not like controversy). No, say the stadium’s backers, it is the centerpiece of the city’s Olympic hopes.

Estimating the Effects of September 11th and Other Forms of Violence on the Mental Health and Social Development of New York City’s Youth: A Matter of Context

Estimating the Effects of September 11th and Other Forms of Violence on the Mental Health and Social Development of New York City’s Youth: A Matter of Context
Applied Developmental Science, Vol. 8, No. 3, pp. 111-129.

Aber, J.L., E. Gershoff, A. Ware & J. Kotler.
01/01/2004

This longitudinal study examines the effects of exposure to the terrorist attack of September 11th as well as exposure to other forms of community violence on change in the mental health and social attitudes of youths in New York City. Three quarters of the youths reported some form of direct exposure to the events of September 11th, and 80% reported a lot of exposure to at least 1 form of media coverage of September 11th; these rates were comparable with the citywide survey of public school students in New York City conducted by the New York City Department of Education. Results of a structural equation model that included controls for previous levels of mental health and social attitudes, as well as a range of demographic factors, indicated that direct exposure and family exposure to the event did not predict change in any mental health outcomes, but did predict change in levels of social mistrust; media exposure did predict posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. In contrast, victimization by other forms of violence was strongly associated with change in or current levels of all of the examined mental health symptoms, whereas witnessing other forms of violence was associated with change in or levels of 3 of 4 mental health symptoms and with increased hostile attribution bias and levels of social mistrust. Implications of the results for applied developmental and public mental health strategies in response to traumatic events are discussed.

Immigrants and Education: Evidence from New York City

Immigrants and Education: Evidence from New York City
in Milano Review, Howard Berliner, ed., V.4, pp. 7-16.

Schwartz, A.E. & Gershberg, A.I.
01/01/2004

In many urban areas in the United States, immigrant children and the children of immigrants are transforming local schools. Immigrant children face - and pose - significant challenges to these schools, challenges that are in many ways greater than those of earlier waves of immigrants. There is, however, relatively little existing research investigating the ways urban public school systems treat and are influenced by the increasing numbers of immigrant children. Using an extraordinarily rich, student-level panel data set covering all 850 of New York City's elementary and middle schools for 5 years, linked to institutional information on the schools themselves, we study the experience of one large urban school system. Given the extraordinary size and diversity of the immigrant population in New York City, we can consider separately subgroups of immigrants whose experiences in and impacts on urban schools systems are likely to differ greatly. This is particularly important for drawing lessons for other urban areas that face flows of immigrants from specific countries of origin.

Our project contains a cross-sectional and a time series component. To start, we examine the characteristics of the schools and districts attended by New York City's immigrant children, including the extent to which the teachers and resources of different groups of immigrant children differ from each other and from the typical native-born student. We examine the degree to which they are segregated within the city's districts and schools - and investigate the extent to which segregation differs between elementary and middle schools. This is particularly interesting because of the strong link between elementary school choice and residential location and the weaker link (and greater degree of choice) at the middle school level.

We will also focus on the "receiving" schools from the perspective of the native-born students, particularly minority and poorer students. While the presence of recent immigrants brings some supplemental federal funding, and additional resources are typically directed at students with Limited English Proficiency, the net resource impact on the schools and their students is poorly understood.

In the second component of our project (exploiting the time-series nature of our data) we will examine changes in school composition over time. Do specific characteristics drive patterns of change? At the school level, we will assess whether and how the presence of native-born students changes in response to changes in the share of students who are immigrants, children of immigrants, and those with limited English proficiency. By tracking the movement of children from one school to another, we can investigate the characteristics of the origin and destination schools (such as population composition and school resources) that appear to affect mobility and identify groups most sensitive to these factors. Are urban school districts in high immigrant areas likely to suffer from more middle-class flight? To what extent does the response depend upon the socioeconomic characteristics of the immigrants - their race, ethnicity, language proficiency, and/or country of origin? This second piece moves beyond a cross-sectional assessment of the resource allocations and impacts associated with immigration, to suggest how these impacts will change over time for other urban districts receiving immigrant children and, perhaps, the issues and problems that policymakers to consider in formulation policy responses.

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