Posts by stephen herzenberg

Low Teacher Pay Shortchanges Teachers—and Students—in Pennsylvania

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We wanted to highlight the Economic Policy Institute’s new analysis on the teacher pay gap and explain why it should encourage Pennsylvania lawmakers to pass a proposal to raise the starting salaries of the state’s public school educators.

Nationally, in terms of total compensation (wages plus benefits), teachers earned 13.1 percent less than similar college graduates in 2018, the EPI report finds.

Pennsylvania is no exception. Weekly wages for Pennsylvania teachers are now 13.5 percent lower than for other college-educated workers. This compares to an average of 11.5 percent in neighboring states, including 18.5 percent in West Virginia, where teachers recently triggered a wave of statewide and city teacher strikes.

New Year's Day Minimum Wage Hikes Raise Pay for Millions of US Workers But Not in PA; New Legislature Must Change That

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As of today, this first day of 2019, 20 U.S. states will raise their minimum wages, lifting pay for 5.3 million workers across the country and 614,000 in four of Pennsylvania's neighboring states. The increases in our neighbors include a $0.25 per hour adjustment for inflation in Ohio and New Jersey, a $0.50 per hour increase in Delaware, and a $0.70 to $2.00 per hour increase in New York State—the biggest increase in New York City.

At Least Our Gov. Wolf and Other Row Officers Are not Trying to LOWER Wages, CUT Health Coverage, and POISON Residents

We at Keystone Research Center and the We the People - Pennsylvania campaign know that a major challenge for Pennsylvania and for the nation is to enact policies that make the economy less rigged against working families.  

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Will Supercharge Racial Wealth Divide, Finds First-Time Analysis

Pennsylvanians, even more than other Americans, strongly support fair taxation—because Pennsylvania’s tax system is one of the most unfair in the nation, taxing middle- and low-income families at much higher rates than the richest 1%. Yet when Congress passed huge tax cuts on a party line vote last year, it made the U.S.

Wanted – A NAFTA and Trade Policy That Help Unrig the Economy Against Working Families

The Lamb-Saccone race in Western Pennsylvania upped the pressure on policymakers of both major political parties on trade. It expands the opportunity for progressives and progressive lawmakers to articulate and advocate for a fundamental change in U.S. trade policy in NAFTA renegotiations.

For the Trump Administration, the special election suggested that some working families are no longer willing to take the President’s word for it that he’s in their corner. That’s hardly a surprise given that the President’s actions so far have rigged the economy further against working families, the opposite of what he promised to do. That’s why some Trump voters have “buyer’s remorse” already.

Key Sources on the Value of Unions and the Importance of Protecting Workers' Real Freedom to Join Together

Today is a little like Labor Day except with a twist: because of oral arguments today in the Supreme Court on the Janus case, editorial boards, the media, social media, and the public are all focused on workers  in this case on their freedom to join together into unions.

Given the widespread interest, here are some links new and old on unions.
 
A "two-pager" on the value of unions that draws heavily from this longer piece by the Economic Policy Institute published last year.
 
A new report by the Economic Policy Institute that documents the orchestrated, decades-old funding by right-wing individuals, foundations, and non-profits that led up to the Janus case. Today's New York Times story appears to draw heavily from the new EPI report althought it does not reference it.

People Who Live in Glass Houses Shouldn't Throw Stones

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(NOTE: at a future date we plan to address the substance of the op ed referred to below by Anthony Davies and a co-author in more detail.)

So, this is rich: in an op ed critiquing our Pennsylvania Promise free tuition (not free college) proposal, Anthony Davies and a co-author snidely say “we use the term loosely” after describing the Keystone Research Center and Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center as “think tanks.” 

Why is this rich? Because Davies is the guy who wrote multiple papers for conservative “think tanks“ with flawed statistics claiming to show that states which have not privatized alcohol distribution (like Pennsylvania) have HIGHER traffic fatalities. 

PA Leads on Overtime Pay – Where the Governor Can Act Without the State Legislature

Turns out that Gov. Wolf believes in the 40-hour week. Because he does, about 460,000 lower-paid Pennsylvania salaried workers will soon be on track to receive overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours a week. If their employer doesn’t want to pay overtime, these hard-working members of Pennsylvania’s middle class will get back time with their family, instead of having to work for free.

State Education Funding Matters – A Tale of Two States (PA and NJ)

A new “big-data” base on U.S. school districts provides new evidence that Pennsylvania has many high-performing schools but many lower-income rural and urban districts that perform less well. A likely culprit: Pennsylvania’s inadequate state funding for schools. Low state school funding leaves moderate- and lower-income districts poorly funded and with less in total funding than affluent districts, even though the lower-income districts serve students with higher rates of poverty, non-English speaking families, and other challenges that hold back achievement.

Show Me the Savings! Bipartisan Lawmakers Back Transparency to Stop Outsourcing That Costs School Districts More

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A large body of research and experience shows that public sector outsourcing often backfires. Rather than resulting in savings for taxpayers, governments too often get bilked, paying more money to private vendors, in some cases for inferior services. To rub salt in the wounds, private companies may pay lower wages and benefits, completing the lose-lose-lose trifecta – bad for taxpayers, bad for government, bad for workers.