Category Archives: Education

The 39th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll Of the Public’s Attitudes Toward The Public Schools

Source: Lowell C. Rose and Alec M. Gallup, September 2007

The 39th poll comes at a time when K-12 schooling is near the top of the agenda in state and national policy discussions, and efforts to improve student achievement dominate those discussions. Chief among the improvement efforts is No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the sweeping federal initiative. Given the importance of this law and the fact that the poll was founded on the belief that public support is a vital component of shaping effective education policy, it is appropriate to open this report with the public’s reaction to NCLB and its principal strategy, standardized testing.

As it has grown in importance, the PDK/Gallup Poll has fueled debate regarding K-12 schooling, and charges of bias are routine. With that in mind, we have gradually reshaped the poll report to make it user-friendly and to draw the reader into the analysis of the data. We report the data, state what we believe they say, and leave it to the reader to reach his or her own conclusions.

In this year’s report, the statements following a table and designated as “Findings” are in the nature of summaries that we believe offer a fair interpretation of the data. Statements designated as “Conclusions” are highlighted because we think they capture the most significant of the poll results. These are offered as topics for debate. In the end, our aim is to let the data speak for themselves.

The PDK/Gallup polls provide a snapshot of the public’s assessment of its schools and the challenges they face, as well as a measure of what the public will and will not support in terms of program initiatives. Such information can be invaluable in the ongoing policy debates regarding our public schools. However, that information will not be remotely useful unless school leaders consider the implications of the public’s views for the operation of the schools. School leaders can bring to bear on school policy the common sense and practical wisdom that were missing from the creation of No Child Left Behind. Here, we offer seven implications of the 2007 PDK/Gallup Poll.

Back to School Statistics

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2007

As the nation’s students and teachers return to school, here are selected statistics about American schools, students, and the educational process. The information was compiled by IES and derives from the Institute’s research and statistical centers. Follow the accompanying links for additional information.

Digest of Education Statistics, 2006

Source: Thomas D. Snyder, Sally A. Dillow, and Charlene M. Hoffman, National Center for Education Statistics, NCES 2007017, July 2007

The 42nd in a series of publications initiated in 1962, the Digest’s primary purpose is to provide a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of American education from prekindergarten through graduate school. The Digest contains data on a variety of topics, including the number of schools and colleges, teachers, enrollments, and graduates, in addition to educational attainment, finances, and federal funds for education, libraries, and international comparisons.

2007 Annual Survey of America’s Charter Schools

Source: Edited by: Alison Consoletti and Jeanne Allen, Center for Education Reform, April 2007

From press release:
Despite legal challenges, charter schools grew by 11 percent in 2006 and continue to serve a student body that is on average 53 percent minority and 54 percent low-income. Charter school popularity continues to grow among children most in need. In 2006, 42 percent of charter schools served an “at-risk” student population over 60 percent and 44 percent served a minority student population over 60 percent.
See also: Understanding Constitutions & Charter Schools

Squeezing Public Education: History and Ideology Gang Up on New Orleans

Source: Ralph Adamo, Dissent, Vol. 54 no. 3, Summer 2007

When hurricane Katrina (or, more accurately, the failure of the levees) washed away the New Orleans Public Schools (NOPS) at the end of August 2005, there was relief in many quarters. Within days of the storm, the acting public school superintendent, Ora Watson, declared that the “fiscal crisis of the New Orleans Public Schools” was now over. In hastily assembled meetings, members of the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), state and local politicians, and leaders of the state’s education bureaucracy convened to examine the situation. Representatives of the charter school movement, as well as providers of ancillary education services and materials, also convened. The chance to recreate public education in New Orleans from the ground up was an irresistible consequence of Katrina, as well as a dream come true. Before the first waves of refugees began returning to the drowned city, these newly energized social engineers had decided that no public school would reopen (though public schools did open relatively quickly in the neighboring parishes of Jefferson and St. Bernard); that all 7,500 employees of the system (the majority of them teachers) would be terminated; and that whatever schools did open would be charter schools, operating under the aegis of either BESE or NOPS, depending on the type or timing of the charter application.

Description and Employment Criteria of Instructional Paraprofessionals

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, NCES 2007-008, June 2007

This Issue Brief (1) offers a descriptive portrait of the distribution of instructional paraprofessionals in all public elementary and secondary schools by instructional responsibility and selected school characteristics and (2) examines the educational attainment criteria used by school districts in hiring these paraprofessionals. Data for this analysis were drawn from the 2003–04 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS). The findings from this analysis indicate that 91 percent of public elementary and secondary schools in the United States had at least one instructional paraprofessional on staff in 2003–04. A greater percentage of traditional public schools than charter schools had instructional paraprofessionals and a greater percentage of elementary schools than secondary schools report having instructional paraprofessionals. Overall, 93 percent of schools were in districts that required paraprofessionals to have a high school diploma or the equivalent. The results also indicate that a greater percentage of Title I schools than non-Title I schools were in districts that required instructional paraprofessionals to have a high school diploma or the equivalent.
+ Standard Errors

The Condition of Education 2007

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2007

The Condition of Education 2007 summarizes important developments and trends in education using the latest available data and by presenting 48 indicators on the status and condition of education and a special analysis on high school coursetaking. The indicators represent a consensus of professional judgment on the most significant national measures of the condition and progress of education for which accurate data are available. The 2007 print edition includes 48 indicators in five main areas: (1) participation in education; (2) learner outcomes; (3) student effort and educational progress; (4) the contexts of elementary and secondary education; and (5) the contexts of postsecondary education.

The High Cost of Teacher Turnover

Source: National Commission On Teaching And America’s Future, Policy Brief

America’s schools are struggling with a growing teacher dropout problem that is costing the nation over $7 billion a year. It is draining resources, diminishing teaching quality, and undermining our ability to close the student achievement gap.

The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) estimates that the national cost of public school teacher turnover could be over $7.3 billion a year. This new estimate is significantly higher than the most recent estimate of $4.9 billion in annual costs that was made in a report by the Alliance for Excellent Education in 2005, and takes into account recent increases in the size of the teacher workforce and the rate of teacher turnover.

Numbers and Types of Public Elementary and Secondary Education Agencies From the Common Core of Data: School Year 2005-06

Source: Lee Hoffman, National Center for Education Statistics, NCES 2007353, June 19, 2007

This report presents national and state-level data about the number of regular school districts and other local education agencies, school district size, grades served, and the number of school districts in city, suburban, town, and rural locales.
+ Full Report, U.S. Department of Education, NCES 2007-353

National Per Student Public School Spending Nears $9,000

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, CB07-76, May 24, 2007

The nation’s public school districts spent an average of $8,701 per student on elementary and secondary education in fiscal year 2005, up 5 percent from $8,287 the previous year, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today.

Findings from Public Education Finances: 2005, show that New York spent $14,119 per student — the highest amount among states and state equivalents. Just behind was neighboring New Jersey at $13,800, the District of Columbia at $12,979, Vermont ($11,835) and Connecticut ($11,572). Seven of the top 10 with the highest per pupil expenditures were in the Northeast.

Utah spent the least per student ($5,257), followed by Arizona ($6,261), Idaho ($6,283), Mississippi ($6,575) and Oklahoma ($6,613). All 10 of the states with the lowest spending per student were in the West or South.

The report and associated data files contain information for all local public school systems in the country. For example, in New York City, the largest school district in the country, per pupil spending was $13,755.