State-Wide Teacher Walkouts Highlight Equality Gaps

State-Wide Teacher Walkouts Highlight Equality Gaps

Sherrie L. Wisdom (Lindenwood University, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9108-5.ch003

Abstract

Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and West Virginia mounted statewide teacher walkouts related to teacher salary during 2018. This study offers a synthesis of literature surrounding the walkouts, along with examination of similarities and differences in publicly available measures, highlighting equity gaps and comparison to states whose teaching force did not choose to walkout and demand increased pay and per-student spending, better benefits, or better working conditions. Relationships are sought between the variables considered: per-pupil expenditures, achievement, graduation rates, college persistence of high school graduates, college graduation rates, attainment of varied levels of degree credentials, and cost of living, as related to teacher salaries, increases, and decreases. Links between political and policy issues and the variables related to unrest leading to the walkouts are explored through literature.
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Process

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau and individual state Departments of Education were used to provide a descriptive discussion of differences that may represent inequity and to analyze for potential differences in measured variables listed. Where appropriate, a t-test for difference in means was applied to identify the significance of existing differences. Perspectives in seeking differences included comparison of the walkout states to non-walkout states, highest paid teacher states, lowest paid teacher states, and midwestern states, and comparison of the sampling of states chosen to the national averages. In addition, analyses seeking relationships, using a Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient, between average teacher salaries and the measured variables listed were included. Questions and hypotheses considered were:

  • Q1: What educational issues were found to motivate the statewide teacher walkouts of 2018?

  • H1: There is a difference between average teacher salaries for the walkout states and the seven lowest paid states, seven highest paid states, midwestern states, and overall United States average.

  • H2: There is a difference between per capita income for the walkout states and the seven lowest paid states, seven highest paid states, midwestern states, and overall United States average.

  • H3: There is a difference between state spending per student for the walkout states and the seven lowest paid states, seven highest paid states, midwestern states, and overall United States average.

  • H4: There is a difference between educational persistence for the walkout states and the seven lowest paid states, seven highest paid states, midwestern states, and overall United States average.

  • H5: There is a difference between educational attainment for the walkout states and the seven lowest paid states, seven highest paid states, midwestern states, and overall United States average.

  • H6: There is a relationship between average teacher salary, per capita income, state spending per student, educational persistence, and educational attainment.

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Rationale

In examining the similarities and differences among statewide walkout states, and in the comparison of those states to non-walkout states, a stronger understanding of the protests may be established, with regard to equity in educational settings. The similarities and differences may also contribute to an understanding of areas of inequality in supply and demand of teachers, teacher salaries and benefits, salaries related to cost-of-living, and quality of education offered and attained. An initial understanding of the relationship of average teacher salaries to these characteristics may be reached.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Educational Attainment: Defined in this study as the completion rate of a high school diploma, the college enrollment rate of an institution, and the completion rate of a bachelor’s degree within 150% of the traditional completion timeframe.

State Spending per Student: The average amount of state-budgeted money spent directly on the education of one student.

t-Test for Difference in Means: A statistical test that compares two measured variables and allows a numerical comparison of how large the gap is between the two measures.

Benefits: Benefits for teachers usually regarded as a strong pension plan and comprehensive health coverage. This can also relate directly to salary amounts and workloads.

Educational Persistence: Defined in this study as the rate of completion of the high school diploma without further educational enrollment, completion of the associate’s degree without further educational enrollment, or completion of the bachelor’s degree without further educational enrollment.

Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient: A calculated statistical value that allows a numerical weighting of characteristics to allow a judgement call about the relationship between two or more measured variables.

Per Capita Income: The average income for one single person.

Statewide Walkout: A teacher strike that involves not just one school or one district and does involve multiple sites and an effort to change educational policy on a statewide level.

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