John Monfredo: An Analysis of New Worcester Public School Data
Saturday, January 11, 2014
The demographics in our city have changed greatly and therefore so have the diversity in our schools. Let’s look some of the statistics… the Afro-American population in our schools is 16.6%, Asian population is 8.1%, Hispanic population leads with 37.5% and the white population is 37.3%.
In addition, there are more than 80 languages spoken in our schools. In 1995, the minority population in the schools was 42.1% with the Hispanic percentage being 25.6% and the white population at 57.1%. In 2013, the minority population is up to 62.7% with the Hispanic population increasing to 37.5% and the white population as mentioned at 37.3%.
Low income students in our schools has spiked to 73.1% in 2013 with six elementary schools hovering over 90% … Led by Union Hill, Chandler Elementary, Woodland Academy, City View, Goddard Elementary, and Belmont Community School.
Poverty and education
This statistic is most glaring for poverty certainly impacts education. Here are some statistics from the state vs. Worcester.
Children below poverty level:
- Worcester: 27.1%
- Massachusetts: 12.8%
Poverty rate among high school graduates not in families:
- Worcester: 21.8%
- Massachusetts: 15.3%
Poverty rate among people who did not graduate high school not in families:
- Worcester: 40.3%
- Massachusetts: 37.8%
Nation-wide, family poverty is clearly related to the student dropout rate; poverty associated with schools and communities also contributes to the dropout crisis.
Other statistics, as mentioned, show that the Worcester Public Schools has over 80 different languages spoken. Also, 44% don’t speak English as their first language. The leading languages spoken other than English and Spanish in the Worcester Public Schools are Albanian, Arabic, Chinese, Polish, Portuguese and Vietnamese. Schools with the largest population of students with English as a second language are Chandler Magnet with 61%, Woodland Academy at 52% and Chandler Elementary at 48%.
Despite those many challenges facing the Worcester Public Schools, the district continues to move forward academically as one sees its MCAS scores as well as our four year graduation rate continues to climb and our dropout rate continues to drop. As Dr. Boone has affirmed over and over again, one of the districts’ goals is to be sure that the Worcester Public Schools is the school of choice for parents living in Worcester and that can only be achieved by offering high quality education for all.
Currently there are 24, 777 students enrolled in the Worcester Public Schools. The Worcester Public Schools has enrolled 87.5% of students living in Worcester with the rest of the students enrolling in Charter Schools, Private and Parochial Schools.
Dr. Boone has acknowledged, “I am pleased that we are making progress, but there is clearly much work to do… we will continue to focus our energies on at risk students by ensuring that supports are in place so that our students stay in school, graduate on time, and are prepared for college and careers.”
Related Slideshow: AP Opportunities at Worcester’s High Schools
According to ProPublica, studies have shown that students who take advanced classes have increased chances of attending and finishing college. However, with the number of advanced placement (AP) courses offered at Worcester's public high schools varying significantly, not every student is given the same chance. The slides, below, show the Worcester public high schools whose students have the most and least AP opportunities to help them get into - and graduate from - college.
The below data were collected from the Civil Rights Data Set, released by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Right, and refers to the 2009-10 school year. The data were analyzed by ProPublica.
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