Edunomics Lab, the McCourt School’s Seattle-based research center devoted to exploring and modeling complex education finance decisions, recently released a series of research papers and briefs on cost structures of human capital systems in education.

Dr. Marguerite Roza, director of Edunomics Lab, led a team of researchers looking into pressing education finance issues like K-12 staffing, the effect of late-career raises on teacher-pension debt, and rewarding our most effective teachers.

On Thursday, February 26, the Edunomics Lab team will host an event at the McCourt School to discuss this research in an talk event titled, “Maximizing student outcomes with the money at hand: Can education be more productive?” Georgetown students, faculty and staff can register to attend here.

Here is a brief overview of their recent work:

In the absence of reliable estimates of national K-12 staffing, Jim Simpkins and Marguerite Roza compile data from several national sources to determine historical K – 12 staffing ratios. Their recent publication, The Real Deal on K-12 Staffing, finds that staffing ratios across K-12 education have risen precipitously over several decades and, despite the impact of the Great Recession, remain at 2004 levels. A state-by-state comparison reveals large disparities across states.

Teacher salary decisions are often made with little connection to the pension obligations they entail. In this paper, How Late-Career Raises Drive Up Teacher-Pension Debt, authors Marguerite Roza and Jessica Jonovski model the impacts of late-term raises on teacher pension obligations showing that on average each dollar raise triggers $10 to $16 in new taxpayer obligations. The authors provide suggestions to mitigate such impacts while improving incentives for early and mid-career teachers.

Research has found that the impact of an effective teacher outweighs the impacts of smaller class sizes. In Allowing our best teachers to teach more students in lieu of hiring additional staff could offer teachers bonuses as high as $10,357 to teach just an additional three students. The paper, Paying the Best Teachers More to Teach More Students, includes state-by-state modeling of potential bonuses.

To learn more about Edunomics Lab, visit the center’s website edunomicslab.org and register to attend “Maximizing student outcomes with the money at hand: Can education be more productive?