Saturday, November 21, 2009

Enrollment, staff, and (possibly) teaching quality

In the fall of 2006, Kentucky enrolled 1.39 percent of all students enrolled in public schools nationwide in pre-kindergarten through grade 12.

Our share of public school staff was or below that 1.39 percent level in three categories, with Kentucky having:
  • 0.92 percent of student support staff nationwide
  • 1.36 percent of teachers
  • 1.39 percent of guidance counselors
Our share of public school staff was above the nationwide level in the other categories, including:
  • 1.40 percent of district administrative support staff nationwide
  • 1.43 percent of district instruction coordinators
  • 1.55 percent of district officials and administrators
  • 1.93 percent of principals and assistant principals
  • 1.98 percent of school and library support staff
  • 2.01 percent of instructional aides
  • 2.05 percent of librarians
  • 2.08 percent of other support services staff
If instead, Kentucky schools and districts had consistently had 1.39 percent of each kind of staff, we would have had:
  • 1,190 additional student support staff
  • 702 additional teachers
  • The same number of guidance counselors
  • 23 fewer district administrative support staff
  • 29 fewer district instruction coordinators
  • 97 fewer district officials and administrators
  • 836 fewer school principals and assistant principals
  • 1,745 fewer school and library support staff
  • 4,437 fewer instructional aides
  • 360 fewer librarians
  • 7,758 fewer other support services staff
  • 13,393 fewer total staff
Back in March, I posted a similar analysis using Fall 2005 data. As I wrote then:
I’m not arguing that Kentucky should staff schools to those averages. There may be important benefits to what we do differently, and our students may have different needs. I do think, though, that this is an interesting mirror to look in, inviting us to think about how we currently staff public education.
Today, I’ll add another thought. To build teaching quality, we should want every teacher involved in professional learning community work as part of every work week. Could we change these numbers, either adding teachers or lengthening teachers’ work days, to make that collaborative time easier to find?

(Source note: the data for this analysis comes from the Digest of Education Statistics 2008, using tables 34 and 81. The staff analysis is based on full-time equivalents.)

1 comment:

  1. An interesting article in the New York Times magazine addressed Intermountain Hospital Network's data driven approach to disparities in medical practices and outcomes. Designed by Brent James, Intermountain uses available data describing successful outcomes by individual physicians. Because physicians, in one example, may feel their method is best suited to a particular malady, they are resistant to change. However, when confronted with much higher incidences of success by a fellow physician using an established protocol described in detail and rooted in data, doctors began to question their methods and success rates.
    This is a simplification of the article but I saw similarities between the methods Kentucky has used to hold teachers and schools accountable. And whereas it has been successful, it has been relative to Kentucky's starting point. Perhaps professional development could encompass a similar approach rather than all day/group professional development. It seemed to me, as my children passed through the public schools, that there were some pretty tough teachers in the schools who were prideful and highly resistant to change. Those who needed professional development the most profited the least from imposed pr requirements. I'm not suggesgting abandoning pr, just pondering the use of some other effective incentives. No one likes to be embarrassed before their peers and self remedy is the most effective.


Updates and data on Kentucky education!