Evaluation of three different public Illinois school districts. The one the author attended, one in the same area that is viewed as affluent, and one in the same area that is viewed as low-income. The school report card for the high school in each district presented in the following table:
|High School You Attended||Affluent High School||Low-Income High School|
|Name of School:||Adlai E. Stevenson High School District||Rich Township High school||Oakland High School|
|9thGrade on Track:||97.9%||70%||82%|
|Graduation Rate (4 Year):||95%||82%||88%|
|Post-Secondary Enrollment – within 12 Months:||4271||1012||68|
|District Finances (Scroll Over to page 6/10)– Instructional Spending Per Pupil:||$11000||$24000||$10985|
|Average Class Size:||22||16||14|
|Low Income Students:||2.1%||74.8%||35.3%|
|Teacher Education – Percent w/ Master’s:||85.5%||66.9%||38.6%|
|Average Teacher Salary (Check the View Details Box for specific amount):||$105000||$80600||$47500|
Analysis of the correlation between the demographics for these three districts, recording findings and trends for each of these: Freshmen on Track, Graduation Rates, and Post-Secondary Enrollment
There is a positive correlation between the freshman on track, graduation rates and post-secondary enrollment. Aldai Stevenson High school has the highest freshman on track of 97.9% with corresponding highest graduation rates and post-secondary enrolment of 95% and 4271 respectively. Oakland high school has the lowest freshman on track of 82% and also a lower graduation rate of 88% and a post-secondary enrollment of 68.
Spending per Pupil, Graduation Rates, and Post-Secondary Enrollment
There is a negative correlation among the three variables for the three schools. Higher spending implies lower graduation rate and corresponding lower post-secondary enrollment. Rich Township with a higher instructional spending of 24k has a lower graduation of 82% compared to Aldai Stevenson which has a lower spending of $11000 and hence a higher graduation rate of 95%.
Percent of Low-Income & Homeless Students and Graduation Rates
The percentages of low income and homeless students are negatively correlated to the graduation rates. Aldai E Stevenson High school District has low homeless (0%) and low income students (2.1%) with a higher graduation percentage than Oakland high school which has high percentage of homeless students (1.5%) and higher percentage of low income students (35.3%) and hence the lowest graduation rate.
Teacher Education, Salary, and Average Class Size
In all the three schools, salary had a positive correlation with the average class size and teacher education. For instance, Oakland with a class size of 14 and teacher education percentage of 38.6% had the lowest salary of $47500.
Thoughts on the correlations relating to graduation rates, post-secondary enrollment, spending per pupil, and student income levels
Student income levels determined the completion rates of the students and hence a determinant of both the quality of education and resultant post-secondary enrollment. Low-income levels contribute to high dropout percentages and hence low percentages of graduation (McFarland et al., 2016). Despite the low spending per pupil in the low-income schools, the rate of graduation is still low implying the severity of the inability to manage the expenses. On the other hand, high income levels imply the affordability of quality education and hence higher graduation rates and post-secondary enrollments.
Thoughts on the correlations relating to teacher education and salary, college readiness, and average class size. How the quality of education relates back to the quality of the teachers? How might it be difficult for some districts to attract quality teachers?
All the three schools have set a viable and appropriate relationship between the three elements, teacher education, salary and class size. Education level of any employee determines the productivity of the individual and hence, teacher education levels imply better delivery which can potentially lead to higher graduation levels. For instance, Aldai E Stevenson high school has the highest rate of teacher education and also the highest percentage of graduation. Teacher education levels determines the salary they are likely to earn. Schools with lower salary proposals may face challenges in attracting quality teachers.
Thoughts on own educational experiences? Do you feel the table above is an accurate representation of your experiences? How do you think attending the more affluent high school would have changed your experiences? How do you think attending the low-income district would have changed your experiences?
I schooled in Aldai E Stevenson School and managed to be successful in my career compared to some of my peers who schooled in the neighboring schools that had similar features to Oakland high school. On the one hand, attending the more affluent school would have probably enabled me to attain higher educational goals than that I currently have. Rich Township high school is effectively equipped and that would have been helpful in sharpening my research skills and ability. On the other hand, I would probably have failed to graduate if I attended the low-income school due to poor quality education from the low percentage of teachers with quality education.
When looking at poor performing schools and students some sociologist argue that it is not an educational problem, rather that it is a poverty problem. What does this mean?
Poverty is a significant determinant of performance in education. A school may have high-quality teachers and facilities but the learners’ background limits the optimum learning process (McFarland et al., 2016). A student may stay away from school for a long time due to lack of funds to finance education. Other challenges may include lack of proper nutrition which is also significant for effective learning process.
In looking at the issues we have seen in our educational system, what can be done to improve the situation, the best path to reform?
It is evident that income levels are the most significant factor affecting the quality of education and the school enrolment rates for most students. Low-income students exhibit low graduation levels which also results in low enrollment for pre-secondary education. There is a need for the government and other education stakeholders to increase partial financing of the low-income learners’ education to boost their school attendance, graduation rates and enrollments for post-secondary learning.
McFarland, J., Stark, P., & Cui, J. (2016). Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 2013. Compendium Report. NCES 2016-117. National Center for Education Statistics. Web.