Quick Links – new Tulane scholarship; public pension costs rose 5,000% over ten years; principals are primary reason why teachers quit; and more

by Grace

»»»  New full-tuition scholarship at Tulane University

The new Paul Tulane Award will be awarded to 50 students, an addition to the previously existing Dean’s Honor Scholarships that go to approximately 75 students.  The introduction of this new scholarship means that about 8% of incoming Tulane students receive full-tuition aid each year.  This is in addition to their other awards, including the Community Service Scholarships that range from $5,000 to $15,000.

This year’s deadline for the Paul Tulane Award has already passed, but interested students should make a note for future years.

»»»  Out of control and unsustainable – Pension costs rose over 400% during same period that the number of employees declined 25% in one New York town.

The town of Eastchester is located in Westchester County.

Supervisor Anthony S. Colavita said the town has to tighten its belt to pay increasing pension contributions amid declining tax collections thanks to reduced assessments.

The count of full-time employees stands at 153, down 25 percent from the 203 employed when Colavita took office in 2004….

Colavita had tough words for the rising cost of pension contributions, which rose from $571,455 in the year he took office to $3.1 million in next year’s proposed budget. Costs rose from $2.6 million in this year’s budget, a 21 percent increase.

“If we only had to pay half of that, we would likely not have a tax increase,” Colavita said.

A decade ago, Eastchester paid just $63,223 in pension costs.

The increase in cost over the past decade has been almost 5,000%.  This problem is widespread, also affecting the nearby village of Bronxville as explained by Mayor Mary C. Martin.

To put in real numbers, the Village’s pension obligation alone has risen from $17,103 in 2001 to $1,057,015 in 2012, or an approximately 6,000% increase in just a decade.

In essence, our obligations to the State are escalating at an unsustainable pace, so alternative revenue sources must be found or fundamental services and personnel will have to be cut.

»»»  Principals are most important factor in teachers leaving the profession  

To find out what factors influence novice teachers’ decisions to leave the teaching profession, Peter Youngs, associate professor of educational policy at Michigan State University and Ben Pogodzinski of Wayne State University, working with two other colleagues at Michigan State, surveyed 184 beginning teachers of grades one through eight in eleven large school districts in Michigan and Indiana. Their study was recently published in Elementary School Journal.

The researchers found that the most important factor influencing commitment was the beginning teacher’s perception of how well the school principal worked with the teaching staff as a whole. This was a stronger factor than the adequacy of resources, the extent of a teacher’s administrative duties, the manageability of his or her workload, or the frequency of professional-development opportunities.
Why Do So Many Teachers Quit Their Jobs? Because They Hate Their Bosses ( The Atlantic)


»»»  Indiana’s school voucher program is being challenged in court on grounds that it benefits religious institutions.

Indiana Supreme Court justices heard arguments last week over the state’s school voucher program, also known as Choice Scholarships Program.

At stake: Whether it’s legal for the state to use public funds to help parents pay for sending their children to private schools — an overwhelming majority of which are religious affiliated.

The state contends tax money is not being used to fund religious institutions, that parents receiving the vouchers are free to send their children to any school. Opponents argue public schools are losing not only students, but the cash the state would spend on their schooling — it’s illegal because religious schools are the ones benefiting, a clear violation of separation of church and state and contrary to the Indiana Constitution.

It is the nation’s largest school voucher program, having grown to more than 9,000 students during its second year of operation.

If the state voucher program is found unconstitutional, what about college scholarship programs that “benefit” religious institutions.

In considering the law, “The problem for me is `the benefit of,”‘ said Indiana Chief Justice Brent Dickson, referring the wording of the state constitution, which precludes spending state funds for the benefit of religious institutions. Dickson and other justices repeatedly probed the nuances of that phrase’s meaning — including whether it applied to other government services or to state scholarships that help students attend church-affiliated universities like Notre Dame.

It’s probably too early to tell how the voucher school students are performing compared to public school students.

2 Comments to “Quick Links – new Tulane scholarship; public pension costs rose 5,000% over ten years; principals are primary reason why teachers quit; and more”

  1. The DC voucher program suffers from very poor oversight and lack of transparency. I agree that taxpayers should not be paying for it in its present form. However, given the sad state of DC public schools, I can understand how some parents and politicians support it.


  2. At least 5 years ago when I was still immersed in the DC school issue, there were a lot of good DC public elementary schools. The problem was mostly middle school and high school, by which time middle class families had nearly all fled to public schools in the suburbs or private schools. Under the circumstances, it’s hard to see how a new DC middle school or high school charter school could worsen the situation. At least when I was there, in DC there was no practically no realistic public option for middle school and high school.


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