kitchen table math, the sequel: the things money can't buy

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

the things money can't buy

Currently, Irvington students are at about the state average with 40 per cent of eight-graders enrolled in algebra.
District opts to stick with Trailblazers math program

I have been underestimating per pupil spending here. According to the budget, it was $28,300 this school year. However, audited financials show $30K per pupil last school year. We're probably at $32K this year.


concernedCTparent said...

Hey! My district aspires to BE Irvington. We really do. We just can't afford it and certainly don't spend anywhere near 32k per pupil. As far as my district sees things, that's the root of all our problems including declining achievement in core subjects. They don't believe it has anything to do with curricula that's been adopted in the last 5 years or so-- it's all about money and extra staffing that we don't have. We need more moeny. We need more math coaches and reading coaches for the teachers. We need more directors and administrators. We want to be Irvington- one of our TriState Consortium buddies.

I wonder how my district would respond if they knew that 32k buys you scores that are just about average and only 40% meeting world class math standards of algebra by eighth grade. Now what?

SteveH said...

"...with 40 per cent of eight-graders enrolled in algebra."

Do they say what qualifies as algebra? It should be a class that qualifies the student to move to geometry as a freshman in high school. It should also only count those who have the grades to make that move.

K9Sasha said...

I'm floored every time I read what your district spends per pupil, Catherine. At that rate, they could hire one teacher to every three students and still have money left over for other things (at least at Oregon teacher salary rates).

Local taxes don't pay for school here, it all comes from the state. We get right around $6000 per pupil. Yes, that's right. We get about 1/8 of your per pupil spending. Amazing!

SteveH said...

"it all comes from the state"

Are you not allowed to contribute extra from property taxes or other local sources?

SteveH said...

By the way, in our state, they have adjusted the school support formula so that our small town gets almost nothing.

From NCES, we have:

Local support - 89%
State support - 8%
Federal support - 3%

I think the state support has now dropped to 2%.

Our student/teacher ratio is 10 and the cost is $23,000. This takes up over two-thirds of our town budget. Our school districts tend to be aligned with individual towns, so now some towns are investigating combining into larger districts to save money.

Are there other sources of information other than NCES?

lgm said...

8th grade Int. Algebra I isn't watered down here in NY. All students have to take and pass the state's I.Alg.I. Regent's Exam at the conclusion, so diluting the course would mean less would pass the exam. I have yet to see any math course be a full course though - every one has topics omitted that are supposed to be covered. Students that pass the class and the Regent's exam continue on to Int. Geometry.

My district runs about 25% that are allowed to take 8th grade Int. Alg. I.; plenty of tears and $40/hr tutors used. There is no double period option in that grade as it's only for top students.

Our annual per pupil is slightly less than $20K. An unclassified student is allocated about $7K.

SteveH said...

Int. Algebra I & Int. Geometry

What does "Int." mean?

When you say that all students have to take the Regent's exam, do you mean ALL students (at some point), or just those who are taking Int. Algebra I in 8th grade?

What does your district do to identify the 25% who can take Int. Alg. I in 8th grade?

I guess we have about 25% taking our 8th grade algebra course, but I don't know how many have the grades to move on to geometry in high school. There is no uproar around here (I don't see any.) when kids are tracked in math in 7th grade, and I don't see an uproar when they go to high school. Perhaps that's because there is no big state test and the high school can be flexible.

It's interesting to run into parents talking about school issues at the grocery store. They are talking in whispers and looking around. Well, maybe it's not quite that bad.

lgm said...

Int.=Integrated i.e. a unit on probability & statistics is included.

The Regents Exam in Integrated Algebra I has to be taken by all students who are in 10th grade or below and wish to obtain a Regent's High School Diploma, unless their IEP omits the course or the req't to take the exam. In the past, unclassified students could skip I. Alg. I. and earn a 'local diploma', but that option is being phased out (current 11th and 12th graders still have it).

The gatekeeping for 8th grade Algebra starts with 7th grade placement into pre-Algebra: students are ranked based on 6th grade teacher recommendation, prior course grades, state test acheivement, and COGAT scores. The top 60 are in. Anyone with a final PreAlgebra grade of 80 or higher that has a 7th grade state math test score of 3 or 4 can continue on to 8th gr. Int. Algebra. Usually the seats are not filled. A student that wasn't in PreAlgebra for 7th cannot take Algebra in 8th.

I find the people that care don't talk much publicly...they just take the Johns Hopkins flyer and start paying for a real course on their own or they hire a tutor. That's understandable in view of the mission that certain groups in the area have of eliminating academics that they view are 'elitist' from the high school program. The discussion all centers on the beleif that students who need help should get the resources. No one from the district will stand up and say that all students are included, even the ones that need challenging work. If a parent stands up for challenging work, they are labeled as elitist and charged with being theives, since they are proposing taking away a teacher whose time could be used for remedial.

Genevieve said...

It looks like my state, Iowa, spends about $7500 per student. This includes about $4400 from the state and about $2600 from local property taxes. I don't think it includes Title money, bond repayments for new buldings, the physical and equipment levy (local) or the recreational levy also local). I think this means that basic funding per pupil is now about 145% of what it was in 2000.
I know some of this was a large increase in teacher salary to lift the state from about 37th in the country to 26th. I'm actually for this. However, some are still complaining about low salaries and teacher salary has been protected from the states buget cuts. Which is ridiculous.

Genevieve said...

I forgot to add the most important part. Our NAEP scores for 2009 are lower than previous NAEP scores in 4th and 8th grade reading.

Catherine Johnson said...

My district runs about 25% that are allowed to take 8th grade Int. Alg. I.; plenty of tears and $40/hr tutors used. There is no double period option in that grade as it's only for top students.

I'm amazed we've gotten to 40%. (lgm is right, Steve. It's a serious algebra course.)

We were at 35% (&, yes, plenty of tears & tutors at $80 to $125/hr - plus the tutors are district teachers, which adds to the joy).

I've been told that they've slowed down the accelerated math course in 6th & 7th grade some -- so it's possible they don't have as many kids washing out of those two years as they used to have.

It used to be that approximately 40% of the kids would get to middle school in accelerated track and by 8th grade they'd be down to around....maybe 30%.

It was awful.

Catherine Johnson said...

If a parent stands up for challenging work, they are labeled as elitist and charged with being theives, since they are proposing taking away a teacher whose time could be used for remedial.


Catherine Johnson said...

Genevieve - do you know why NAEP scores are down?

Karen W said...

I don't know if Genevieve knows more than I do, but the constructivists are firmly in control of the Dept of Ed and the AEAs and the ed schools. The Iowa Core Curriculum (written by those "stakeholders") is to be implemented by all high schools by 2012 and K-8 by 2014. (The math standards team was co-chaired by a Core Plus author.) There is a lot of balanced literacy, power point/making movies instead of writing, sort of thing going on. Disdain for kids who traditionally did well in school. 21st century skills. Perhaps it's starting to pay off already?