Note: This was first posted on December 4, 2012 but I am bumping it up as I will be discussing some of this on the radio this week as well as my earlier post about Bolivar County schools.
Highlights of post:
-All district report cards reviewed with charts included below.
-Districts reviewed on # of teachers hired/Total # of employees
-Total spending per student compared by grades and majority race. All federal, state, & local funding dollars is included.
-Statistics are compared between majority-black and majority-white districts. Charts included.
-Districts over 80% of one race are compared to each other. Charts included.
A review of annual report cards for all Mississippi public school districts reveals some uncomfortable trends: majority-black districts in Mississippi spend more money per student, hire a fewer percentage of teachers, and have worse ratings than majority-white districts. The picture worsened for districts at least 80% black. They spend $2,000 more per student than districts at least 80% white while performing much worse.
JJ examined the report cards for all school districts at Msreportcard.com. A list of all districts was compiled with the following pieces of data for each district:
- Total student population
- Majority Race and its percentage of students
- Report card grade for the district
- Total spending per student
- proportion of the number of teachers v. the total number of employees. This was calculated in an effort to show which districts are directing more or fewer resources on teachers.
The list is comprised of 152 districts. There are 83 majority-black districts, 65 majority-white districts, and four districts that are even in racial groups. There was no clear trend by grade levels. For example, F's weren't spending much less money than A's. The D's had a much lower percentage of teachers than the B's.
The average ratio for the number of teacher/total numbers of employees in a district was reviewed to see how districts were managing their budgets and if there were any trends. When studying the ratio by grade levels, none existed:
The A's are somewhat misleading as there are only three of them, and it is not hard to skew that figure. There are F districts such as Aberdeen that are at a 51% ratio while there are B districts such as South Delta that are at 39%.
The same observation holds true for spending per student. JJ used the total amount of spending per student provided in the report cards: federal, state, local. It doesn't matter where the money originiates as this correspondent determined it was more important to calculate how much money was spent on each child. What is interesting is the amount of money spent per student does not change much when classified by grades although the better the district got, the smaller the amount of money spent per student became. The B districts spent approximately $700 per student less than the F districts. The chart below shows the spending per student by district grade. Since there are only three A districts, the amount for that level should probably be discounted.
|Click on chart to enlarge|
What is interesting is that in terms of spending per student and on teachers, there is no real trend among Mississippi public school districts. However, there are differences that appear when compared in terms of the majority race for each district.
The majority-black districts hire a fewer share of teachers and spend more money per student- with worse results. The chart below shows the distribution of grades among the majority-white and majority- black districts. Three districts have no grades.
|Click on graph to enlarge|
Black Districts: 44.6%
White districts: 50%
What is disturbing is the comparison between the two groups of districts when one looks at the districts where more than 50% of the employees are teachers and also districts where less than 40% of the employees are teachers:
Black districts more than 50%: 8
White districts more than 50%: 36
Black districts less than 40%: 5
Whit districts less than 40%: 0
The spending more student follows the same trend. The majority-black districts spend over $1,300 more per student than those that are majority white:
However, when one compares the districts among those whose total spending (federal, state, and local dollars) is below $8,000 per student and over $10,000 per students, the results follow those of the teacher/employee ratios. There are 31 majority-black districts spending over $10,000 per student while there are only five that are majority-white. There are 22 majority-white districts spending less than $8,000 per student while there are only 6 majority-black districts that do so. Many of these 22 districts are A or B districts such as Pearl, Rankin,and Desoto. However, the differences become more stark when one compares the 80's- the districts that are at least 80% of one race.
JJ also compared districts at least 80% of one race. There are 49 districts over 80% black and 17 districts over 80% white. The trends were the same regardless of grades, spending per student, and the teacher/employee ratio. The white districts hire more teachers, had better grades, and spent less money. The chart below shows the distribution of grades:
|Click on chart to enlarge|
# of teachers/# of employees in 80% or more black districts: 44%
# of teachers/#of employees in 80% or more white districts: 51%
However, 13 of the 17 80% white districts had a teacher/employee ratio of over 50% while only 3 of the 49 80% black districts had the same ratio. Meanwhile there are 5 of the 80% black districts that have less than 40% ratio of teachers/employees. Then there is the spending.
Total spending per student in districts more than 80% black: $10,299
Total spending per student in districts more than 80% white: $8,294
A difference of $2,005 per student. However, it gets worse: 26 of the 80% black school districts spend over $10,000 per student. NONE of the 80% white districts spend over $10,000 per student while 7 spend less than $8,000 per student.
It is true more statistics can be examined. The goal of this post is to provide a more accurate picture of education in Mississippi as we once again enter the debate over educational reform. However, the report cards reveal the same trend regardless of how many different ways they are sliced and diced: the majority-black school districts in Mississippi spend more money per student, hire fewer teachers, and perform worse than those that are majority-white* Is Mississippi education really a tale of two states: the haves versus the have-nots or is it a case of one group of school districts wasting their resources while making excuses for rotten grades? We report, you decide.
*Look at the Bolivar County schools, especially the grades, size of the student population, and the superintendent salaries. Then remember they fought consolidation tooth and nail.
Blue: More than 80% white Red: More than 80% black