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Friday, August 28, 2020

https://equitablegrowth.org/research-paper/women-and-the-future-of-work-in-the-united-states/

https://equitablegrowth.org/research-paper/women-and-the-future-of-work-in-the-united-states/

This report details the conversations, research questions, and policy proposals discussed during the "Women and Future of Work Convening" held in 2019 and compiled as a report in early 2020. The first section reviews the substance of the conversation among leading scholars and policy experts on what research reveals about the intersection between technology, labor, and gender, identifying risks and opportunities for new workplace tools to help achieve greater gender equity. Technology is already changing the way people find employment opportunities, are hired, supervised, trained, and treated at work. Using a gender lens to examine how these changes may impact the future U.S. labor market is essential to build more equitable, safe, and productive workplaces. In the second section of the report we turn to the convening discussion of policy solutions as the way forward for women and the future of work. Policies and labor regulations play a central role in shaping the way technology impacts workers, highlighting the need to incorporate workers' input into the design and implementation of new workplace tools, expand rights and regulations that protect all workers from abuses facilitated by technology, and use innovation to create opportunities and better economic outcomes for women.

Download FileWOMEN AND THE FUTURE OF WORK IN THE UNITED STATES

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Because women and men are overrepresented and underrepresented in different types of work, analyses of the impact of automation on employment must consider how gender interacts with the U.S. occupational structure.
  • The gig economy creates new avenues for alternative work arrangements, but the lack of benefits and labor protections can leave many workers, especially women of color, unprotected in the face of health and security concerns, workplace abuses, and economic insecurity.
  • New online tools are changing the way workers are hired, monitored, and evaluated, raising concerns about employers' abilities to breach employees' privacy, make hiring and promotion decisions through algorithms that replicate gender and racial biases, and cut costs via labor-optimizing technology that can diminish job security.
  • Education and lifelong learning via the digital delivery of training and education can complement traditional learning methods and provide workers with greater opportunity when combined with a broad policy agenda to address underlying structural inequities and power imbalances.
  • Employers' surveillance of workers and the information technologies available to do so more easily and stealthily can entrench power asymmetries between workers and employers, but technology can also increase labor's power and foster gender equity by creating new opportunities to organize and train for highly demanded jobs.

Updated state unemployment data: Congress has failed to act as jobless claims remain high and workers scrape by on inadequate unemployment benefits [feedly]

Updated state unemployment data: Congress has failed to act as jobless claims remain high and workers scrape by on inadequate unemployment benefits
https://www.epi.org/blog/updated-state-unemployment-data-congress-has-failed-to-act-as-jobless-claims-remain-high-and-workers-scrape-by-on-inadequate-unemployment-benefits/

The most recent unemployment insurance (UI) claims data released on Thursday show that another 1.4 million people filed for UI benefits last week. For the past four weeks, workers have gone without the extra $600 in weekly UI benefits—which Senate Republicans allowed to expire—and are instead typically receiving around 40% of their pre-virus earnings. This is far too meager to sustain workers and their families through lengthy periods of joblessness.

In a largely unserious stunt, the Trump administration has issued an executive order that, at best, will slash the benefit in half to $300. On its own, this cut will cause such a huge drop in spending that it will cost 2.6 million jobs over the next year. In addition to being woefully insufficient, this aid will take many weeks to reach jobless workers, exclude low-wage workers, and only last through September with its current funding. Furthermore, it is distracting from the dire need for Congressional action to strengthen UI benefits.

To give a sense of how many workers the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress are leaving behind, Figure A shows the share of workers in each state who either made it through at least the first round of state UI processing (these are known as "continued" claims) or filed initial UI claims in the following weeks. The map includes separate totals for regular UI and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), the new program for workers who aren't eligible for regular UI, such as gig workers.

The map also includes an estimated "grand total," which includes other programs such as Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Extended Benefits (EB), and Short-Time Compensation (STC). The vast majority of states are reporting that more than one in 10 workers are claiming UI. Ten states and the District of Columbia report that more than one in five of their pre-pandemic labor force is now claiming UI under any of these programs. The components of this total are listed in Table 1.1

Three states had more than 1 million workers either receiving regular UI benefits or waiting for their claim to be approved: California (3.1 million), New York (1.5 million), and Texas (1.2 million). Three additional states had more than half a million workers receiving or awaiting benefits: Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Georgia.

Figure A also displays the numbers of workers in each state who are receiving or waiting for regular UI benefits as a share of the pre-pandemic labor force in February 2020. In four states and the District of Columbia, more than one in seven workers are receiving regular UI benefits or waiting on their claim to be approved: Hawaii (18.3%), the District of Columbia (16.4%), California (15.8%), New York (15.8%), and Nevada (14.8%).

Nine states reported that more than one in 10 workers are currently claiming PUA: California (18.0%), Rhode Island (17.6%), Kansas (16.8%), Hawaii (15.1%), Pennsylvania (15.1%), Michigan (14.5%), New York (14.3%), Massachusetts (13.4%), and Arkansas (10.9%). This underscores the importance of extending benefits to those who would otherwise not have been eligible, including self-employed and low-wage workers and people who are looking for part-time work.

Figure A

With the pandemic and economic crisis persisting through the summer, workers have been experiencing long-term unemployment. As a result, workers are increasingly relying on PEUC, the 13 additional weeks of benefits available to workers who have exhausted the 26 weeks of regular benefits. However, even the cumulative 39 weeks of benefits have not been enough for some workers, so policymakers should extend the valuable PEUC program. During the week ending August 8, PEUC claims increased by more than 100,000 nationwide, as did claims under the Extend Benefits program, which provides another 13 weeks of benefits to workers (after PEUC is exhausted) in states that meet a threshold of high unemployment. Currently, the requirements for this program have been triggered in every state, meaning that workers who have exhausted PEUC can turn to the Extended Benefits program. There are now 203,188 workers claiming Extended Benefits, the highest number so far this recession.

As we look at the aggregate measures of economic harm, it is also important to remember that this recession is deepening racial inequalities. Black communities are suffering more from this pandemic—both physically and economically—as a result of, and in addition to, systemic racism and violence. Both Black and Latinx workers are more likely than white workers to be worried about exposure to the coronavirus at work and bringing it home to their families, and Latinx workers face higher death rates from COVID-19 than white workers. Cutting off the $600 UI benefit will deepen existing racial inequalities, since Black and Latinx workers have higher unemployment rates than white workers.

In addition to extending the additional weekly $600 benefit that they have allowed to expire, Congress should provide substantial aid to state and local governments, where some workers have already lost their jobs. Without this aid, a prolonged depression is inevitable, especially if state and local governments make the same budget and employment cuts that slowed the recovery after the Great Recession. More than 5 million workers would likely lose their jobs by the end of 2021, harming women and Black workers in particular since they are disproportionately likely to work for state and local governments.

Where policymakers have failed, workers have demonstrated their power to come together and advocate for the common good, whether they are ensuring that essential workers receive the proper protective equipment or going on strike to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Unions allow workers to better their working conditions and strengthen their collective political voice, but many essential jobs are not unionized and these workers are at an even greater risk. Congress should pass policies that bolster unions in both the public and private sector. And in the long term, they must strengthen the institutions that allow us, collectively, to promote the general welfare, including unemployment insurance, public health insurance, and unions.

Table 1

Notes

1. That total is more of an upper bound, and you should exercise caution when interpreting it for three reasons: (1) It includes initial claims, which represent people who have not yet made it through the first round of processing; (2) Some individuals may be being counted twice. Regular state UI and PUA claims should not be overlapping—that is how the Department of Labor (DOL) has directed state agencies to report them—but some states may be misreporting; (3) Some states are likely including some back weeks in their continuing PUA claims, which would also lead to double counting (the discussion around Figure 3 in this paper covers this issue well). Those limitations are the reason that we have so far hesitated to publish this estimate of total claims by state. DOL has worked to overcome misreporting issues and has had enough success that we are now comfortable enough to report the totals here. However, it is clear that there is still some misreporting. Unless otherwise noted, all numbers are as reported by DOL.

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China’s economic future is being influenced by nine economists, but what did they tell Xi Jinping this week? [feedly]

Just compare: I wonder what  Trump's "Nine Economists" have told him....oh wait....he hasn't consulted anyone but his brokers and a bankruptcy lawyer.

If this incompetence in the US leadership persists, we will crash worse, by far, than Mao's Great Leap Forward, or You-Know-Who's thousand year Reich.

South  China Morning Post parent company is Alibaba.


China's economic future is being influenced by nine economists, but what did they tell Xi Jinping this week?
https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3099294/chinas-economic-future-being-influenced-nine-economists-what

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with nine prominent economists this week to help with the development of the 14th five-year plan for 2021-25 which is due next year
Each of the economists has advocated specific policies that could shed light on Beijing's policy priorities in the years ahead

Frank Tang in Beijing

Published: 6:00pm, 28 Aug, 2020

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30
4
Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, chairs a symposium on economic and social work in Beijing, capital of China, August 24, 2020. Photo: Xinhua/Li Xueren
President Xi Jinping this week assembled a group of nine economists as part of the process for the development of Beijing's strategy for the next five years, with a new approach to urbanisation, addressing the rapidly ageing of the population and moves to catch up to the west in technological areas seen to be high on the list of economic and social priorities.
The writings and public statements of the nine prominent Chinese economists, who were invited to speak at symposium chaired by Xi, help shed light on the Chinese leader's thinking about the country's future, according to analysts and state media reports, as China focuses on how it will survive and thrive in a more hostile world.
The 14th five-year plan, which will cover 2021-25, will not be published until next year.
Justin Lin Yifu, a former senior vice-president at the World Bank and now a professor at Peking University, is a long-term advocate of the state taking an active role in industrial planning to help developing countries quickly catch up with advanced economies.
Lin, a former Taiwanese military officer who defected to the mainland in 1979, said in a speech this month that China can maintain an annual growth rate of 5 per cent to 6 per cent in the coming decade as long as the country makes good use of its development potential.
This would, according to Lin, allow China to bypass the United States as the world's largest economy by 2030.
China's economy grew by 6.1 per cent in 2019, the lowest growth rate since political turmoil ravaged the country in 1990, before shrinking 6.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 after the coronavirus shut down large swathes of the country. It avoided a recession after its economy grew by 3.2 per cent in the second quarter, the first major economy to show a recovery from the damage caused by the coronavirus.
Lu Ming, a professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, believes that China should make its big cities even bigger. Despite the government having the opposite view a few years ago when Beijing tried to develop a host of small cities and towns, Lu's call for China to focus its urbanisation plan on its big cities is now being endorsed.
Cai Fang, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, is another key supporter of focusing on China's domestic growth potential.
The labour economist advocates making domestic migration easier and providing migrants with better education to increase labour productivity in the face of a shrinking overall labour force.
In May, Cai said that China's high-quality labour force would remain a big advantage and allow it to catch up in areas of technology by increasing its innovation capabilities.
The inclusion of Wang Changlin, head of the National Development and Reform Commission's macroeconomic research academy, suggested support for a "new whole country mechanism" to break US efforts at technological containment.
Wang was the driving force behind the nation's strategically emerging industries plan. As early as 2012, he put forward his countrywide competition idea under which Beijing should marshal the country's entire pool of state, market and social resources to pursue industrial and technological leadership.

Dazzling light shows in Shenzhen mark city's 40th anniversary as Chinese special economic zone

Xi also listened to speeches by Zhang Yuyan, the head of the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the China Academy of Social Sciences.
In one recently published article, Zhang said China must uphold the rules of the World Trade Organisation and seek an open and multilateral trade system to challenge the unilateralism being pursued by the US.
Zhu Min, a former deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, is a long-term advocate of China taking a bigger role in international governance as well as the internationalisation of the Chinese currency.
He said at a forum in June that China should promote the use of the yuan in countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.
China's industrial giants rebound for third successive month in July as coronavirus recovery continued
27 Aug 2020

Zheng Yongnian, the former director at the East Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore, attended the symposium under his new title as the head of global and contemporary China studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Zheng has been arguing for China to develop its own ideas and theories on proper governance and diplomacy.
Fan Gang, who co-founded a club of reform-minded economists along with Vice-Premier Liu He, Xi's top economic adviser, and Jiang Xiaojuan, also a prominent government adviser, were also at the meeting.
For many observers, the selection of the nine scholars is itself an important signal.

The dominance of the domestic market will become more apparent in the foreseeable futureXi Jinping

Liu Shengjun, head of the Shanghai-based China Financial Reform Institute, said the purpose of the symposium was not only to listen to different points of view, but also to "convey a message to society" about the direction of government policy and the nation.
The general takeaway is that China will rely more on itself but it will not close itself up, Liu said, in line with the government's new "dual circulation" strategy.
"The dominance of the domestic market will become more apparent in the foreseeable future. We will insist on the strategic direction of supply-side structural reform, adapting production, distribution, circulation and consumption mainly to domestic needs," Xi said in a speech which concluded the symposium.
Earlier this month it was also reported that Chinese state media had begun soliciting views from citizens ahead of the country's 14th five-year plan, with the People's Daily launching a website to take suggestions from the public.

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China plans hi-tech supervision of police officers and judges as party tightens grip on domestic security [feedly]

If the Biden-Harris proposed this as a remedy to police force corruption, and fascist/racist subversions and infiltrations, would you oppose it? If not, what is the effective alternative(s)?
China plans hi-tech supervision of police officers and judges as party tightens grip on domestic security
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/politics/article/3099349/china-plans-hi-tech-supervision-police-officers-and-judges

China plans to shake up supervision of police officers and judges using artificial intelligence and big data. Photo: AFPChina plans to shake up supervision of police officers and judges using artificial intelligence and big data. Photo: AFP
China plans to shake up supervision of police officers and judges using artificial intelligence and big data. Photo: AFP
China is planning to use blockchain, 
artificial intelligence
 and big data technologies to help monitor its police officers and judges, its top domestic security agency says.
The country's aggressive and widespread use of facial recognition and other digital technology for public surveillance and to maintain social stability has been controversial – especially its hi-tech surveillance of the Muslim Uygur minority in 
the Xinjiang region
.
Now, the Communist Party leadership will apply "smart" technology to improve supervision of law enforcers and the judiciary, after a 
campaign to purge "corrupt elements" from their ranks
 was announced last month.

Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission chairman Guo Shengkun told a meeting this week that insufficient checks and balances, lax enforcement of the rules, injustices and corruption were among the "most acute shortcomings" of the security system, Xinhua reported late on Thursday.

The commission – which oversees police officers, prosecutors, courts and prisons – said it would develop a new automated system using big data technology to identify procedural violations in investigations, trials and enforcement work using records from the vast number of cases across the country every day.

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A "smart" early warning system will use machine learning and computer analysis to check for any deviations or abnormalities in the verdicts and sentences handed down by judges.

The commission also said it would use such technology to identify any patterns in how law enforcers and judiciary officials handle certain cases, including which lawyers represent clients in those cases, "in order to provide real-time surveillance of any [illicit] transfer of interests".

And instead of being supervised by people, the country's courts and prosecutors' offices will be placed under a "comprehensive, real-time" digital supervision system that will "apply to all" officials.

The commission did not say in its statements when the new systems would be introduced, but added that it was also looking into the feasibility of using blockchain technology to protect electronic court documents from being tampered with or fabricated.

The Supreme People's Court found itself at the centre of a national scandal in late 2018, when one of its judges, 
Wang Linqing
, claimed legal documents in a long-running mining rights case had vanished from his office. It prompted an outcry, with people questioning whether there had been interference in the case. Months later, 
Wang confessed on state television
 that he was responsible for the disappearance of the court papers.

In addition to the hi-tech surveillance, the commission also said it would improve inter-agency checks, internal supervision and public oversight of law enforcement bodies and the judiciary – but it stressed the most important oversight would come from the party.


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Combating the market power of U.S. corporations over workers and consumers [feedly]

Combating the market power of U.S. corporations over workers and consumers
https://equitablegrowth.org/combating-the-market-power-of-u-s-corporations-over-workers-and-consumers/

Recent economic research establishes that the United States suffers from a growing market power problem. Market power, often referred to as monopoly power, means consumers pay more for the goods and services they need. Workers earn less. Small businesses have a harder time succeeding. Innovation slows. Market power exacerbates wealth inequality, too, because those who benefit from monopolies—the high-paid executives and stockholders of corporations—are wealthier, on average, than the consumers, workers, and small businesses who bear monopolies' costs.

U.S. antitrust laws, as interpreted and enforced today, are inadequate to confront and deter growing market power in the U.S. economy. To restore a fair and competitive market, we need legislation that strengthens the law and counters growing corporate power, enforcers who are willing to aggressively enforce laws, and increased fiscal resources to enforce the law.

Antitrust enforcement is typically handled at the federal level by the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division, and federal courts. It is governed primarily by Congress' century-old policy direction in the Sherman Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, and the Clayton Act. The key resources below provide solutions for corralling corporate power through these antitrust enforcement tools.

Key resources

"Reforming U.S. antitrust enforcement and competition policy," by Fiona Scott Morton

Fiona Scott Morton discusses the evidence of increasing market power in the U.S. economy, the benefits of stronger antitrust enforcement, and the law's overly lenient approach to corporate actions that undermine competition. She concludes with an agenda to confront market power.

"The state of U.S. federal antitrust enforcement," by Michael Kades

Competition policy in the United States has become a major public policy issue for the first time in decades, but discussion about the current U.S. antitrust enforcement regime has been less systematic. This report examines enforcement activity (the number and type of cases that enforcers bring), the resources Congress provides for antitrust enforcement, and, in the federal system, the merger filing-fee system that has become the primary source of antitrust funding. The report finds that antitrust enforcement is historically low by a number of measures and funding for enforcement has decreased substantially since 2010.

"Joint Response to the House Judiciary Committee on the State of Antitrust Law and Implications for Protecting Competition in Digital Markets," by Jonathan B. BakerJoseph FarrellAndrew I. GavilMartin S. GaynorMichael KadesMichael L. KatzGene KimmelmanA. Douglas MelamedNancy L. RoseSteven C. SalopFiona M. Scott Morton, and Carl Shapiro

A joint statement to the U.S. Congress by top U.S. antitrust experts. They conclude that outdated and bad economic theory has undermined antitrust enforcement, allowing dominant companies to gain an unfair advantage in the marketplace to the detriment of other businesses and consumers, innovation, and productivity growth. They call on Congress to revise current law to align it with modern economic theory and to fix harmful judicial rules: "The signatories to this letter agree that antitrust enforcement has become too lax, in large part because of the courts, and that Congress must act to correct the state of antitrust enforcement."

Top experts

  • Michael Kades, director of markets and competition, Washington Center for Equitable Growth
  • Nancy Rose, Charles P. Kindleberger professor of applied economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Tim Wu, Julius Silver professor of law, science and technology, Columbia Law School
  • Fiona Scott Morton, Theodore Nierenberg professor of economics, Yale University

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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Enlighten Radio:Talkin' Socialism: Richard Wolfe's Summary of US, Russian, and Chinese "Socialisms"

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Blog: Enlighten Radio
Post: Talkin' Socialism: Richard Wolfe's Summary of US, Russian, and Chinese "Socialisms"
Link: https://www.enlightenradio.org/2020/08/talkin-socialism-richard-wolfes-summary.html

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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Taxing wealth and investment income in the United States [feedly]

For those who said the Piketty wealth tax could not be done...

Taxing wealth and investment income in the United States

https://equitablegrowth.org/taxing-wealth-and-investment-income-in-the-united-states/

The federal income tax does a poor job of taxing income derived from wealth. The root cause of this problem is that the tax code allows taxpayers to defer (without interest) paying tax on investment gains until assets are sold. Moreover, even when assets are sold, the investment gains are taxed at preferential rates. The top federal tax rate on wages and salaries is 37 percent while the top federal tax rate on investment gains is only 20 percent. Finally, if taxpayers can avoid selling assets until they die, the investment gains are wiped out for income tax purposes. The result is a two-tier tax system, where middle-class families pay full freight on their wages while wealthy, disproportionately White families pay reduced rates on their investment income.

Lawmakers in Congress should eliminate this two-tier system by reforming the taxation of wealth and investment income. To do so, they should adopt either a wealth tax or a reformed approach to income taxation, often referred to as mark-to-market or accrual taxation that would tax all investment gains on an annual basis regardless of whether assets are sold. Accompanying reforms to the estate tax—or the adoption of an inheritance tax—are also worth considering. The key resources below detail these solutions.

Key resources

"Taxing wealth by taxing investment income: An introduction to mark-to-market taxation," by Greg Leiserson and Will McGrew

In a system of mark-to-market taxation, investors pay tax on the increase in the value of their investments each year rather than deferring tax until those investments are sold, as they do under current law. This issue brief first defines investment income and explains how mark-to-market taxation works. It then reviews the revenue potential of this approach to taxing investment income, explaining why a mark-to-market system can raise substantial revenues. Finally, it summarizes the distribution of the burden that would result, which would fall overwhelmingly on wealthy individuals.

"Wealth taxation: An introduction to net worth taxes and how one might work in the United States," by Greg Leiserson

This brief provides an introduction to net worth taxes, also referred to as wealth taxes. It summarizes how a net worth tax works, reviews the revenue potential of such a tax, and describes the distribution of the economic burden that would be imposed.

"Net worth taxes: What they are and how they work,by Greg Leiserson, Will McGrew, and Raksha Kopparam

Wealth inequality in the United States is high and has increased sharply in recent decades. This increase—alongside a parallel increase in income inequality—has spurred increased attention on the implications of inequality for living standards and increased interest in policy instruments that can combat inequality. Taxes on wealth are a natural policy instrument to address wealth inequality and could raise substantial revenue while shoring up structural weaknesses in the current income tax system. This paper provides an introduction to net worth taxes, perhaps the most explicit means of taxing wealth.

"The 'silver spoon' tax: How to strengthen wealth transfer taxation," by Lily Batchelder

This 2016 analysis explains the case for better taxing estates or inheritances, and how lawmakers in Congress could do this. Batchelder shows how wealth transfers are extremely inequitable, currently lightly taxed, and that there are several practical solutions to resolve this problem.

"A modest tax reform proposal to roll back federal tax policy to 1997," by Owen Zidar and Eric Zwick

In the economic boom times of 1997, federal taxes raised more revenue and were a more powerful force for equity. Zwick and Zidar propose several changes that would return the United States generally to this tax system, including increasing tax rates on capital gains, dividends, and profits from pass-through businesses, as well as some additional reforms, including taxing unrealized capital gains at death.

"Taxing Wealth," by Greg Leiserson

This research paper outlines the case for major reforms to the taxation of wealth in the United States, details different approaches to reform, and discusses the economic effects of these approaches and their relative advantages and disadvantages.

Top experts

  • Greg Leiserson, director of tax policy and chief economist, Washington Center for Equitable Growth
  • Lily Batchelder, Frederick I. and Grace Stokes professor of law, New York University
  • David Kamin, professor of law, New York University
  • Emmanuel Saez, professor of economics, University of California, Berkeley, and an Equitable Growth Steering Committee member
  • Gabriel Zucman, associate professor of economics, University of California, Berkeley

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As School Year Starts, Schools Face New and Lingering Challenges [feedly]

As School Year Starts, Schools Face New and Lingering Challenges
https://www.cbpp.org/blog/as-school-year-starts-schools-face-new-and-lingering-challenges

As a new school year dawns, America's schools face attacks from three directions: upended learning methods, a state revenue crisis, and racial disparities in education that threaten to weaken the quality of our children's education and our communities' economic future.

COVID-19 is making traditional education methods impossible, leaving teachers, administrators, parents, and students scrambling to devise new approaches. Educating kids safely in this pandemic would pose an enormous challenge even if our schools had all the funding they need. But, right now, they have far less than that.

That's due largely to the state revenue crisis that the virus and resulting recession have sparked, forcing states to likely make budget cuts to meet their balanced-budget requirements. With businesses closed, shoppers home, and unemployment high, income and sales taxes — upon which states overwhelmingly rely to fund education and other services — have nosedived. As a result, we estimate that states face a $555 billion shortfall through 2022. Local tax revenues are falling, too, putting local governments in a similar bind.

Schools have received some extra federal money to address the immediate costs of adapting to COVID-19, but it's far too little to cover even the necessary hand sanitizer, face shields and masks, distance-learning equipment, and other pandemic-related costs that they face, much less to replace lost revenues.

Without significant new federal aid, states and localities will likely make deep cuts to balance their budgets. Education comprises about 26 percent of state budgets, so it's a prime target. And school districts have few other funding sources: states and localities provide 47 and 45 percent of all K-12 funding, respectively.

States have sought to shield schools from cuts, but they may not be able to do so much longer. Georgia lawmakers have already cut $1 billion from the state's budget for its Education Department, and Nevada cut school funding by $160 million. New Jersey anticipates school cuts that could reach $1 billion per year. Virginia's governor is recommending that the state abandon $490 million in planned school funding.

The last time that school districts across the country cut their budgets so deeply, kids' educations suffered. In the wake of the Great Recession of a decade ago, states spent down their reserves and the sizable federal aid they received and then cut funding to K-12 schools to balance their budgets. By 2011, 17 states had cut per-student funding by more than 10 percent. As a result, local school districts cut teachers, librarians, and other staff; scaled back counseling and other services; and even reduced the number of school days.

Even in 2017, state support for K-12 schools in some states remained below pre-Great Recession levels. And school districts have never recovered from the layoffs they imposed back then. When COVID-19 hit, K-12 schools employed 77,000 fewer teachers and other workers despite teaching 1.5 million more children.

Money matters in education. As my colleague Cortney Sanders recently noted, "Adequate school funding helps raise high school completion ratesclose achievement gaps, and make the future workforce more productive by boosting student outcomes, studies show." The Great Recession in particular hurt students' educations, driving down test scores and college attendance rates, Northwestern University economist C. Kirabo Jackson and two colleagues found.

Which brings us to the third big assault on public schools: Schools attended by low-income children and Black and Latino children are less well-funded, on average, than the schools of wealthier white kids — and budget cuts could hit them hardest. Unlike the virus and recession, this assault isn't new. Schools in America have been unequally funded from the start, and even the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision over six decades ago didn't end those disparities.

While state funding typically reduces disparities between wealthy and poor school districts, funding cuts magnify those disparities — and that's what happened during the Great Recession, when state funding fell as a share of total school funding. Today, in only about a third of states is total state and local funding higher in the poorest school districts — which face higher costs —than in the least-poor districts.

Now, new school funding cuts seem to be following a similar path. For example, Virginia's proposed state budget cuts are twice as large per pupil for high-poverty school districts as low-poverty districts, and 23 percent larger for the districts with many students of color than for those with mostly white students, the Commonwealth Institute reports.

This triple threat facing schools suggests that policymakers should take a similarly multifaceted approach to protect K-12 schools.

First, the President and Congress must enact a federal aid package that includes not only substantial funds earmarked for school districts but also substantial general-purpose funds to replace lost state and local tax revenues.

Second, as a condition of receiving this substantial federal aid, states and school districts must guarantee — under what would be a "maintenance of equity" requirement — that they'll protect funding for school districts that serve high shares of low-income children.

And third, states likely will need to draw down their reserves, close tax loopholes, raise new revenues, and find other ways to protect education funding and other programs that serve children and families.

The education of a generation is at stake.


 -- via my feedly newsfeed