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Stats That Stick: May 23, 2012

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May 23, 2012 07:19 pm

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Oh those Sticky Stats! Here are some education statistics that made headlines in the past week that you (hopefully) won’t be able to get out of your head.

Maximum amount of funds a district could receive from the Department of Education’s newly-announced school district level Race to the Top program: $25 million.

This week, the Department of Education announced that school districts will be able to submit proposals for education innovations to improve their schools. This round of Race to the Top, which as a competitive program is now in its third year, will focus on individualized instruction and also require applying school districts to agree to evaluate school board members and superintendents. This round of Race to the Top is expected to have about $400 million up for grabs for 15-20 winning districts.

Percentage of Florida fourth grade students scoring proficient or above on a new standardized writing test: 27.

As The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss reports, “state education officials panicked,” at the results, which also showed 8th and 10th grade proficiency scores in writing drop dramatically. In response to the results, the Florida Board of Education voted 4-3 to lower the passing score for the writing exam. Standardized assessments are a part of Florida’s school accountability model, which determines A-F grades for public schools and also ties into teacher evaluations. The Florida Board of Education’s actions are troubling, says Strauss, because this is not the first time there has been a debacle with the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test).

Percentage of men teaching elementary or middle school in 2011: 18.3.

Education Week reports that the gender gap between men and women in the teaching profession is growing, even in the face of economic hardships across the country. In 2007, men comprised 19.1% of teachers in grades 1-8 and 2.7% in Pre-K and Kindergarten. In 2011, those numbers has dropped to 18.3% and 2.3% respectively. There is less of a gap at the high school level, but it still exists. Some education organizations like Teach for America and MenTeach are specifically trying to recruit more men to the teaching profession, especially black men, of whom there are even fewer teaching.

Number of months of school left in most communities across America: <1.

The school calendar of most public schools in America is still based on an agrarian calendar that allowed for students to work in the field during the summer to help harvest crops. Despite American society becoming markedly less agrarian, the education system has largely stuck with the outdated calendar. Research has shown summer learning loss to occur because of a lack of summer learning opportunities that can set minority and impoverished populations back behind their peers. Organizations like the National Summer Learning Association  have been strong advocates for finding engaging and enriching summer opportunities for students while organizations like the Time to Succeed Coalition advocate for more class time in general for students. If you have a student in your life, start thinking about how to keep them learning this summer!

That’s it for the sticky stats this week. We hope you’ve enjoyed these, and we’ll be back next week with some more!

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Stats that Stick

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