Friday, April 15, 2011

74% of women and 63% of men going to college after high school

As you can see, the portion of high school graduates who go immediately into college has been rising over the years, largely because of the influx of women into the nation’s institutions of higher learning. Last year, the college enrollment rate among women who were recent high school graduates was 74 percent, and for men it was 62.8 percent.
Source:  NY Times - 4/9/11

Found at Why Boys Fail

Mark Perry at Carpe Diem provided the graphic for the expected results.

You can read the entire article after the jump.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Children without fathers at home

...when compared to intact married families, children from single-parent homes are...A third more likely to drop out before completing high school.
It's not just about the teachers, the curriculum or the money.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

From the College Board - recommended books for college-bound students

After reading Joanne Jacob's post on British schools advocating that their students read 50 books a year, I looked at the College Board's recommended reading lists.  In the section below, the books in blue text are those likely to have been assigned in classes taken by an honors/AP-track graduate of our local high school.  22 out of 101 of the"101 Great Books" were assigned in high school classes, while none of the "Classic Cultural and Historical Texts" texts were.

You can see the entire book list after the jump.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Something fishy" about New York State Regents scoring

There is "something fishy" going on with New York Regents scores.  A statistical analysis showed that an unexpected and significantly high number of students scored exactly 65%, which is the lowest passing score for the test.
A Wall Street Journal analysis of high-school Regents test scores shows that a disproportionate percentage of New York City students barely got the passing score they needed to receive a diploma in the past two years, while very few received scores just below passing.
For the 2009 English Regents exams, for instance, students were more than five times as likely to get a 65—the minimum passing grade—than they were to score one point below. In the U.S. History and Government Regents, students were 14 times more likely to get a 65 than one point lower. 

"There's no question that there's something fishy going on," said Jonah Rockoff, a professor at Columbia University's business school who frequently analyzes schools-related data sets.
In New York state, high-school teachers score their own students' tests—which differs from tests in most other states, as well as New York's own third- through eighth-grade tests. Mr. Rockoff, who reviewed the Regents data, said, "It looks like teachers are pushing kids over the edge. They are very reluctant to fail a kid who needs just one or two points to pass."
School officials defend the results, explaining that they follow the state's policy of regrading tests where the student barely fails.
Teachers refer to the practice of lifting test scores as "scrubbing." After teachers grade tests—many times their own students or those of their colleagues—they set aside tests in which the students just missed passing. Teachers say that is generally from 60 to 64, but can go as low as 57. The teachers then ask the original scorer to take another look at the test to see if an argument could be made for giving the student an extra point or more.
This skewed score distribution pattern has been observed statewide in tests going back to 2000.  The state is moving towards an online system of testing and scoring, with grading assigned randomly to teachers across the state.

I have been skeptical of state test results since I first became familiar with them back when my own children started taking them.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Passing the pension time bomb in New York State

Employer contributions to the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System (NYSTRS) were 6.19 percent of covered payroll  in 2010, but are expected to hit 8.62 percent next fall and 11.11 percent in 2012.  While NYSTRS has not projected its pension rates beyond next year, our recent Empire Center report on “New York’s Exploding Pension Costs” estimated that the contribution could hit 16 percent of payroll in 2014, and 25 percent by 2016.
This problem is not going away any time soon.  In terms of "unfunded mandates" that are propelling unsustainable tax increases for New Yorkers, pensions are huge.

The Torch

What ReShawn Biddle says about the gender gap in education

ReShawn Biddle at Dropout Nation:
As much time as we spend on the achievement gaps between white and minority students, the even more stunning gaps in achievement between young men and young women — a problem that defies race, ethnicity and economic status — is given short shrift. In doing so, we ignore the consequences of the gaps — and their underlying causes in the form of low literacy levels, overdiagnosis of learning disabilities among young men, the lack of strong male role models in classrooms during the elementary grades, and the overall crisis of low-quality teaching and curriculum throughout American public education — to the peril of both young men and the young women who will one day will be searching for mates to marry. And for Black America, the consequences can be seen in prisons, on street corners and in the lack of young black men in top positions in Corporate America and philanthropic settings. It is time to address this important achievement gap — or face the consequences.
I would agree that "low literacy levels" and "the overall crisis of low-quality teaching and curriculum throughout American public education" are some likely causes of this largely ignored problem.

Found at Why Boys Fail

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Average school budget increase in New York expected to be at or below 1.4%

The Journal News offers a snapshot of what New York State public schools are planning for their 2011-12 budgets.
  • districts plan layoffs, salary freezes, program cuts or increases in tax levies — or some combination
  • districts are working very hard to hold down the tax increases
  • About 300 of New York's school districts have reported so far that they plan to eliminate a total of nearly 16,000 jobs
  • In some school systems, unions have agreed to freeze salaries and make concessions "to help preserve programs and reduce the number of pink slips,"
  • the average spending hike for the 2011-12 budgets will be at or below this year's 1.4 percent
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been urging schools to use their reserve accounts
  • the people of this state are saying, 'I need a cap on my property tax because you're taxing me out of my home.'"
  • school districts are saying they understand the fiscal realities
For the first time ever, my family is discussing in real terms our options for moving from New York in order to escape the high taxes.  My husband grew up here and we moved back to this town 24 years ago, but we believe taxes have been growing at an unsustainable rate.

You can read the entire article after the jump.