Elusive Worthy Wages in de Blasio’s Tale of Two Cities

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“Millions of workers have gotten a raise!” the Economic Policy Institute exulted in an email on Sunday. Income growth in 2015 merited the adjective “superb,” with the fastest gains among black and Hispanic workers.

Yet the early childhood workforce was nowhere to be found. The stewards of our human capital have long suffered from economic insecurity, the euphemism we like to employ for those living in poverty, or nearly on the edge. Out of more than 800 occupations annually surveyed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only a few report lower median hourly wages . . . Read full article →

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Worthy Wages: The World According to Janet Yellen

Like all of you, I’ve had eyes glued to the shutdown, and its disastrous consequences for children and families. But Janet Yellen’s child care story distracted me.

This week, she was nominated by President Obama to succeed Ben Bernanke as chair of the Federal Reserve. In my admittedly unscientific survey, Yellen’s distinction as “first woman to hold the job” trumped economic theory in the ballyhoo that ensued. Then we got down to brass tacks. My level of economic literacy is low, akin to some of those infamous U.S. PISA scores. And monetary policy is like Greek . . . Read full article →

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What's a Nanny Worth?

This morning, my daughter sent me a link to “Nannying Now the New Fallback Career for Educated White Women.” I polished off the piece in a minute—Gawker specializes in “short,” for modern attention spans—after which major indigestion set in. This tidbit, it turned out, was a summary of “Modern-day Mary Poppins: College Graduates Embrace Nannying as a Career,” a report by Elizabeth Chuck of NBC News, which I had missed amid all the other distractions of 9/11.

According to Chuck, women like my daughter comprise the new crop of early childhood educators. An aspiring actress, . . . Read full article →

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$320K for Kindergarten Teachers: A New Calculus for Compensation

David Leonhardt’s front-page New York Times article, “The Case for $320,000 Kindergarten Teachers,” seems to have knocked everyone out of their mid-summer daze. “Fairly explosive” is how he describes the recent—as yet, unpublished—findings, by Harvard economist, Raj Chetty, and colleagues, which may help to put another nail in the coffin of the fade-out argument for the benefits of early childhood education. The bottom line: If we look beyond test scores, and consider a broader set of measures—including future earnings—the long-term outcomes for children justify considerably greater investment in the early childhood workforce than has historically been the case.

. . . Read full article →

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