Wednesday, October 06, 2010

story of the day

So the news of the day is out of the school district.  Just pure speculation, but the news today now makes this news from last week make more sense.  A more interesting question is who Mark Roosevelt might take with him as he goes off to his new job.  Random question that I wonder about:  How many colleges have reopened after having been shut down?

How goes the school district though?  Lots of good news of late of course, including the Gates' award most especially.  Still, at the end of the day the question is what the numbers show for enrollment. As I have looked at before, city school enrollment has been faring badly compared to enrollment in nearby suburban school districts.   Here is the reported enrollment at the Pittsburgh School District over the last couple decades.   It has this appearance of stability up to the beginning of this decade, but I have reason to doubt some of those earlier numbers.  I suspect the trend downward started sooner than these numbers show.

YearTotal enroll.% change

Source: 1987-2009: NCES CCD

Note that news accounts say the school district self-reports total enrollment for the 2009-2010 year as being down to 26,123.  That number is inconsistent with the trend above.  Numbers above show total enrollment including preschool.  The 26K number is K-12 only. Looks like preschool totals for the school district are 1,300-1,400, so add that in to get a comparable number for 2009-2010.  I have not seen the 2010-2011 intitial enrollment stats yet.


Blogger Bram Reichbaum said...

"Still, at the end of the day the question is what the numbers show for enrollment."

Not grades or test scores?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010 5:16:00 PM  
Blogger Conservative Mountaineer said...

Grades? Test scores? Harruummpphhh.. More enrollees means more teachers and more Union dues. End of discussion.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010 5:38:00 PM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

Even assuming you control for population, competitive landscape, and so on, I'd think enrollment would be a lagging indicator. In fact the initial reaction to changes that ultimately prove positive could well be enrollment declines.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

I would agree that there are longer term trends in play. Nonetheless, those declines in city school enrollment are many times faster than the overall decline in population.

The current trends people like to point out to me as being positive for the city's population are not necessarily positive for city school enrollment. More college students? Not a big generator of school students. More DINK's moving into new condos Downtown? Also not generators of many new kids. The core neighboroods that are the ones with family households that are big drivers of enrollment are the places that are mostly likely continuing population decline.

Thursday, October 07, 2010 4:53:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

Also, the neighborhoods where more people can afford private or parochial schools seem to be holding more of their population than the others.

Thursday, October 07, 2010 10:49:00 AM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

Right, you'd have to control for not general population trends, but school-age population trends. And you'd also want to control for competitive factors related to private, charter, and home schooling.

By the way, from the 2002 to 2008 ACS, there was a suggestion of growth in the young child (0-9) population in the City, including if you broke it into two series (2002-05 and 2006-08) to account for the group quarters change. In the latest (2009) data, there is a dropoff . . . not enough to reverse the 2002-09 trend, but enough to reverse the 2006-09 trend.

I'm not sure what all that means, but I wouldn't count out the possibility that there has been a positive young child trend to go along with a positive adult trend.

Thursday, October 07, 2010 2:58:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

Right, you'd have to control for not general population trends, but school-age population trends.

I can see why you'd want to see the details, but I don't think you need to control for it. A drop in the population of school aged children would be very real information. If somebody with a three year old tells me they are looking for a house, I just ask Fox Chapel or Mt. Lebo.

Thursday, October 07, 2010 3:52:00 PM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

I understand your point, but public school quality isn't the only factor in location choices (not even for families), and migration isn't the only factor in population trends. So I guess we would need an even more complex model to translate raw enrollment numbers into a decent indicator of school district quality trends.

Thursday, October 07, 2010 5:05:00 PM  

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