The Cranky Taxpayer
BCWH Facility Study also has data for the
elementary schools. Here is a summary:
The table also includes SOL scores from the State Education Department web site.
The first thing that jumps out of these data is that the Richmond elementary SOL scores are far (over 18 points) below the state average. But then, we already knew that.
Thirteen of our elementary schools are over their capacities.
As with the middle schools, there is slightly more unused capacity in the larger elementary schools.
Next we see a much smaller range of space per student than in the high and middle schools. In terms of enrollment there is no particular pattern to the data.
All told, 4% of our elementary capacity (592 seats) is being wasted. That is less than the 19% (2859 seats) in the middle and high schools but still an affront to the taxpayers (not to mention the parents of the kids in the thirteen overcrowded elementary schools).
Blackwell and Maymont have the largest percentages of special education students
The trend of the data suggests that the larger schools have larger shares of special ed. students but little Maymont, Henry, and Munford also have unusually large special ed. contingents.
Turning to the main issue: None of these factors seems to have much to do with performance on the SOL.
You'll recall that we have the one of the worst SOL performances in the state. In the elementary schools, the SOL performance ranges from suburban levels at Munford and Fox to Third World levels (below the 40 point division average in Petersburg) at Fairfield and Mason.
If we look for correlations between the SOL scores and the facility data we won't find much:
Those data do not suggest that crowds of kids are being admitted to the high-performing schools.
Likewise, there's not much correlation between SOL scores and the number of special ed. students or the number of faculty.
Perhaps this last graph is the most interesting: The slope of the fitted line says that, if anything, adding more teachers impairs the SOL scores. The very low R2 probably tells us that there is no correlation at all. Thus, as with the high and middle schools, adding teachers, even very expensive teachers, does not correlate with improved SOL scores in our schools.
The next time you hear our School Board asking for more money, you might want to remind them that our problem is not money. Our problem is getting the kids educated. Our schools are spending too much money already but they are not getting the job done.