Stretching the School Dollar

Chris explains why paycheck protection should be at the top of education reformers' agendas.

Chris explains why everyone benefits from a vibrant parochial system.

Vincent Gray's move to bail out DCPS unfairly ignores the District's charter sector.

House Republicans have proposed a dramatic and promising makeover of the American school finance system.

Chris highlights a great resource for educators.

Making the case for a new approach to compensation.

Editor Chris Tessone introduces his new blog, Stretching the School Dollar.

The wastefulness of school lunch programs demands attention.

More attention should be paid to the costs to taxpayers from union expenses.

Which of the five states competing to be America's next Education Reform Idol did the most to collective bargaining and benefits during the 2011 legislative session? Consider our analysis below, and attend our event Thursday morning (8:30-10:00AM) to see key players in all five states defend their records in front of a panel of ed-reform celebrity judges?Jeanne Allen, Richard Lee Colvin, and Bruno Manno. And click here to cast your vote for Education Reform Idol.

Florida

This year, Florida required public employees to start contributing to their retirement plans. Workers are only asked to kick in 3 percent, but it's a start. (This was enough to spur a lawsuit nonetheless.) The state also increased the retirement age and applied other technical fixes to reduce its liabilities. Overall, the plan is expected to save the state nearly a billion dollars. Collective bargaining was not on the table in 2011, and likely won't be anytime soon. The right to bargain is?enshrined in the Sunshine State's constitution. (That being said, Florida's constitution also frames the state as right-to-work. For teachers, this means that they cannot be required to pay union dues?or strike.)

Illinois

Illinois saw no action on pension costs or collective bargaining this year. Not a surprise for a Democrat-dominated legislature. The Land of Lincoln?did enact pension reform last year, but the state still faces huge unfunded liabilities. Last year's reforms also soaked new workers,?dramatically limiting the benefits they'll receive compared to workers currently in the system (and compared to workers receiving Social Security, which Illinois teachers do not).

Indiana

The most far-sighted state in 2011's round of pension reforms is likely Indiana, which began implementation of a...

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