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Why Middle Class Students in Illinois Should Be Concerned about Their Local Public Schools Not as Good as You Think.

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Presentation on theme: "Why Middle Class Students in Illinois Should Be Concerned about Their Local Public Schools Not as Good as You Think."— Presentation transcript:

1 Why Middle Class Students in Illinois Should Be Concerned about Their Local Public Schools Not as Good as You Think

2 American Federation for Children National Summit (May 21, 2014) “Research and Data” Panel Presentation on “Not as Good as You Think: Why Middle Class Parents in Illinois Should Be Concerned about Their Local Public Schools” By Lance Izumi, J.D. Koret Sr. Fellow and Sr. Dir. of Education Studies Pacific Research Institute

3 Background At a school choice conference in 2006, political strategist Dick Morris said that one of the big reasons why school-choice programs weren’t more widespread, especially in red states, was due to the lack of support from middle-class parents and voters. In response, Pacific Research Institute decided to analyze the performance of public schools with mostly non-low-income students.

4 Background In 2007, PRI published the book Not as Good as You Think: Why the Middle Class Needs School Choice, which analyzed the performance of California schools with mostly non-low-income students. The book found nearly 300 of these regular public schools which were underperforming, located in affluent places like Malibu and the Silicon Valley.

5 Not as Good as you Think -- Illinois Last year, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, a former Chicago school superintendent, said: “[The] educational challenge in America is not just about poor kids in poor neighborhoods. It’s about many kids in many neighborhoods. The [test] results underscore that educational shortcomings in the United States are not just the problems of other people’s children.”

6 Not as Good as You Think -- Illinois Secretary Duncan was discussing the performance of non-poor kids on international tests such as the Program for International Assessment (PISA). However, his words also apply to the performance of non-poor kids in his home state of Illinois on both state and national tests.

7 Not as Good as You Think -- Illinois With a generous grant from the Walton Family Foundation, PRI has just released a study analyzing the performance of regular public schools in Illinois with 33 percent or fewer students classified as low income. Challenge: The Illinois Standards Achievement Test is a relatively weak test with inflated proficiency rates.

8 Percent Proficient th -Grade Reading: ISAT vs. NAEP (non-low- income Illinois students)

9 Not as Good as You Think -- Illinois In Illinois, there are regular public schools where 33 percent or fewer of their students are classified as low income. Among these schools, 140, or 12 percent, have 50 percent or more of their students in at least one grade level failing to meet or exceed proficiency on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (grades 3-8) or on the Prairie State Achievement Test (grade 11).

10 Not as Good as You Think -- Illinois Yorkville High School is in Yorkville in Kendall County, which is the fastest growing county in Illinois and in America. Yorkville’s median household income is $80,917, while the statewide median is $53,234. Yorkville’s median house/condo value is $214,491, while the statewide median is $178,500.

11 Not as Good as You Think -- Illinois Former Republican U.S. speaker of the House of Representatives Denny Hastert was a long- time teacher at Yorkville High. At Yorkville High, 75 percent of students are white, and less than 11 percent of the school’s students are classified as low income. On the th -grade PSAE math exam, 52 percent of Yorkville 11 th -graders failed to meet or exceed proficiency.

12 Yorkville High School PSAE Performance 2013 Source: Illinois Report Card, Northern Illinois University Percent Meets or Exceeds Standards (Proficient Level)

13 Not as Good as You Think -- Illinois Our study used another measurement technique, called linear regression-line modeling, which allowed us to analyze each grade in reading and math in order to identify schools that were performing above or below average performance, which is based on the performance of all other schools in the state and the proportion of low-income students at each school.

14 Not as Good as You Think -- Illinois Among the 1,156 regular public schools with predominantly non-low-income student populations, 817, or 70 percent, have at least one grade where the proficiency rate on a subject-matter test was below the the average performance of schools with similar proportions of low-income students.

15 Not as Good as You Think -- Illinois Prairie View Middle School is in Tinley Park, a Chicago suburb selected by Business Week as the best place to raise a family in America. Tinley Park’s median household income is $71,752, while the statewide median is $53,234. Tinley Park’s median house/condo value is $218,072, while the state wide median is $178,500.

16 Not as Good as You Think -- Illinois At Prairie View Middle School, 83 percent of students are white and less than 3 percent of students are classified as low income. On the th -grade ISAT reading exam, 66 percent of of Prairie View eighth graders met or exceeded proficiency, which meant that 34 percent failed to do so, which is a percentage 11 times the percentage of low-income students at the school.

17 Not as Good as You Think -- Illinois On the 8 th -grade ISAT reading exam, Prairie View was located 14 percentage points below the average performance of schools with the same student-income-status demographics. In fact, Prairie View Middle School performed below the average performance of schools with the same student-income-status demographics on each of the six grade-level ISAT subject-matter tests.

18 Prairie View Middle School ISAT Performance 2013 Source: Illinois Report Card, Northern Illinois University Percent Meets or Exceeds Standards (Proficient Level) 68

19 Not as Good as You Think -- Illinois For middle-class families in Illinois, who find that their local public school is not as good as they thought, school choice should be an important option. Illinois has a universal tax credit program that allows individuals to claim tax credits for educational expenses, such as private-school tuition.

20 Not as Good as You Think -- Illinois The Illinois universal tax-credit program allows middle-class parents an immediate way to escape underperforming public schools and allows parents to send their children to private schools that better meet their needs. According to the Friedman Foundation, one way to improve the Illinois tax-credit program would be to increase the size of the credit.

21 Not as Good as You Think -- Illinois Currently, the maximum available credit is just $500. To help middle-class parents, Illinois should raise the tax credit allowance. The late Per Unckel, former Swedish education minister and architect of Sweden’s universal voucher program, said, “Choice is for everyone, whatever income you have.”


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