Education Policy Seminar Series - Fall 2014

For the current Education Policy Seminar Series, please visit our website.

Pension Enhancements and the Retention of Public Employees: Evidence from Teaching

Cory Koedel, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Missouri-Columbia
Monday September 29th 2014, 12:30-2:00 PM 

Cory Koedel is an associate professor of economics and public policy at the University of Missouri–Columbia. His research is in the areas of teacher quality and compensation, curriculum evaluation, and the efficacy of higher education institutions. His work has been widely cited in top academic journals in the fields of economics, education and public policy, and he has served on several technical advisory panels related to school and teacher evaluations for school districts, state education agencies and non-profit organizations. Dr. Koedel is an associate editor for the Economics of Education Review and serves on the editorial board for Education Finance and Policy and the board of directors for the Association for Education Finance and Policy. He was awarded the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the American Educational Research Association (Division L) in 2008, and in 2012 he received the Junior Scholar Award from the same group. He received his PhD in economics from the University of California, San Diego in 2007.

Abstract: We use data on workers in the largest public-sector occupation in the United States – teaching – to examine the effect of pension enhancements on employee retention. Specifically, we study a 1999 enhancement to the pension formula for public school teachers in St. Louis that discretely and dramatically increased their incentives to remain in covered employment. The St. Louis enhancement is substantively similar to enhancements that occurred in other state and municipal pension plans across the United States in the late 1990s and early 2000s. To identify the effect of the enhancement on teacher retention, we leverage the fact that the strength of the incentive increase varied across the workforce depending on how far teachers were from retirement eligibility when it was enacted. The retention incentives for late-career teachers were increased the most by the enhancement but their behavioral response was modest. A cost-benefit analysis indicates that the pension enhancement was not a cost-effective way to improve employee retention.


Non-Cognitive Ability, Test Scores, and Teacher Quality: Evidence from 9th Grade Teachers in North Carolina

C. Kirabo Jackson, Human Development and Social Policy, Northwestern University
Monday October 6th 2014, 12:30-2:00 PM 

Dr. C. Kirabo Jackson is Associate Professor at the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University, is a Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research, and is a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University. His research interests span the fields of labor economics, public finance, and applied econometrics, with a focus on the economics of education. Much of his research has focused on the role of teachers in the K-12 system. His work has appeared in economics journals such as the Review of Economics and Statistics, the American Economic Journal, the Economic Journal, the Journal of Labor Economics, and the Journal of Public Economics. His research has been featured in numerous news outlets including the New York Times, the Wall Street

Journal, the Washington Post, Globe and Mail, and USA Today.

Abstract: This paper presents a model where teacher effects on long-run outcomes reflect effects on both cognitive skills (measured by test-scores) and non-cognitive skills (measured by non-test-score outcomes). In administrative data, teachers have causal effects on test-scores and student absences, suspensions, grades, and on-time grade progression. Teacher effects on a weighted average of these non-test score outcomes (a proxy for non-cognitive skills) predict teacher effects on dropout, high-school completion, and college-entrance-exam taking above and beyond their effects on test scores. Accordingly, test-score effects alone fail to identify excellent teachers and may understate the importance of teachers for longer-run outcomes.


When Does Research Tip the Decision Scale at the US Dept. of ED? – a Practitioner’s Journey

Greg Darnieder, Senior Advisor to Secretary Duncan on College Access, United States Department of Education
Monday November 3rd 2014, 12:30-2:00 PM

Greg began his career in education as a middle grades teacher in St. Louis and Riverdale MD.  He has a BA in Sociology, a K-8 teaching certificate from St. Louis University and a MA in Christian Education from Wheaton College.  He worked for 15 years as the executive director of youth development and college access organizations in Chicago’s Cabrini Green Housing Development. Beginning in 1993, he oversaw the Steans Family Foundation’s community focused philanthropic efforts in Chicago’s North Lawndale community including early childhood, education, organizational development and affordable housing. He has served in leadership roles for several foundations and on over twenty non-profit organization boards.

In 2003 Greg established the Department of Postsecondary Education and Student Development (DPSESD) at Chicago Public Schools (CPS), designing and implementing an assortment of postsecondary, academic, financial, and social support programs and building university, corporate and civic partnerships to enhance college access.  In 2008 he was named the director of the Department of College and Career Preparation (DCCP) for CPS, a newly formed department that consists of the DPSESD and the Department of Career and Technical Education. 

In 2009, Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, named Greg Senior Advisor to the Secretary on the College Access Initiative at the U.S. Department of Education, where he currently serves.

Abstract:  Greg Darnieder is the Senior Advisor to United States Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan on the College Access Initiative, and is at the forefront of President Obama’s efforts to expand college opportunity and success for all Americans. Throughout his career in public service, from when he directed youth development at the Cabrini-Green Housing Development in Chicago to his role at USDOE, he has collaborated with researchers seeking to study students’ pathways to and through college. In his talk, Mr. Darnieder will discuss how research can most effectively inform education policy—whether  at the local, state, or federal levels. He will also share his experience and guidance for how researchers can cultivate productive relationships with schools, districts, and other education agencies.

Related readings: The Consortium on Chicago School Research: A New Model for the Role of Research in Supporting Urban School Reform and Barriers to College Attainment: Lessons from Chicago




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