EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, August 27, 2004

  • The number of schools achieving Adequate Yearly Progress increased by 20 percent in 2004, according to the Academic Achievement Report released this week by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. AYP is determined by state math and reading assessment scores, test participation rate, and school attendance and graduation rates. Eighty-four schools did not meet AYP for the first time and received a warning; 193 schools did not meet AYP for two consecutive years and must offer public school choice; and 139 schools are in varying levels of corrective action for missing AYP for three or more consecutive years. At the district level, 284 of the state's 500 school districts made AYP, compared to 121 in 2003. Access AYP results at www.pde.state.pa.us.

  • Fourteen schools were identified as persistently dangerous by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, a significant decrease from the 28 identified last year. The 14 schools identified in the 2004 Persistently Dangerous Schools report are all in the Philadelphia School District; in 2003, all but one school identified was in Philadelphia. Schools are identified based on the number of arrests involving a dangerous incident in relation to school size. PDE also touts greater accuracy and consistency in the data included in this year's report thanks to the Department's new online reporting system which provides standard definitions of what incidents must be reported. For more information, see www.pde.state.pa.us.

  • The 36th annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitude Toward the Public Schools measures the public's views on public schools with a focus this year on the strategies used in No Child Left Behind. Respondents identified lack of financial support as the number one problem facing public schools (21%), followed by lack of discipline (10%), and overcrowded schools (10%). Public opinion on the use of standardized tests is divided. Sixty-seven percent opposed using a single test to judge school performance, while more than 80% said testing only in English and math does not present a fair picture of a school and are concerned that it will decrease attention on other subjects. Opinion is almost evenly divided over whether standardized test scores should be used to award diplomas and evaluate teachers and principals. Read more about what the public thinks at www.pdkintl.org.

  • Teachers salaries have fallen behind those of workers with similar education and skills, according to an analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Economic Policy Institute's review of wage data from the Current Population Survey found that since 1996 weekly wages for all other workers rose by 12% while inflation-adjusted weekly wages for teachers rose a mere 0.8%. In its new book, "How Does Teacher Pay Compare?," the Institute identifies 16 occupations similar to teaching in occupational skill requirements - such as architects, accountants, and computer programmers - and found that in 2002 teachers made $116 less per week than those in comparable occupations and that their salaries have grown more slowly over the past two decades. The Institute says teachers also are at a disadvantage in total compensation including benefits. Learn more at www.epinet.org.

  • The U.S. Department of Education has posted FY 2004 Title I allocations by school district. Access the data tables at www.ed.gov.

To return to the EPLC Education Notebook homepage, click here.

To return to The Education Policy and Leadership Center homepage, click here.