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Back to School 2012:
Tell the Good News!
AASA Back-to-School Toolkit
For School Leaders
Making the Case: America’s Public Schools Are
Strong and Continuing to Improve
September 2012
Your District
Logo Here
About This Presentation
• Use these slides as desired in conjunction with
the back-to-school speeches.
• You may supplement the information provided
here with data from your own school district.
• AASA grants permission to AASA members to
use and reproduce this material, in whole or in
part and by any means, without charge or
further permission.
Toolkit Focus
America’s schools are working, and not just
academically. A robust set of data/indicators
illustrate that child well-being has improved,
schools are safer and parents are more
engaged within schools than in the past.
While there is still room for improvement, it is
time to make the case for what is right in our
nation’s schools and communities when it
comes to providing for our children.
Schools Are Safer
• The rate of public schools recording at least
one incident of serious violent crime is down
by 20% compared to 1999-2000.
• An April 2012 survey by Gallup found that 84%
of parents believe strongly or somewhat
strongly that their child is safe in their school.
Student Smoking Rates are Down
• Percentage of adolescents who smoke regularly has reached
its lowest level since data was first collected. In 2011, about
2 percent of 8th-graders reported smoking cigarettes daily, a
decline from the peak in 1996, when over 10 percent of 8thgraders reported daily cigarette smoking. Similarly, declines
in daily smoking were reported for 10th-graders—6 percent
in 2011, down from a peak of 18 percent in 1996; and for
12th-graders—10 percent, down from a peak of 25 percent
in 1997.
Student Drinking Rates are Declining
• Between 2006 and 2011, heavy drinking declined
from 9 percent to 6 percent among 8th-graders, from
20 percent to 15 percent among 10th-graders, and
from 25 percent to 22 percent among 12th-graders.
Schools Are Meaningfully Engaging
Parents
• Most teachers (91%) and parents (80%) agree that
their/their child’s school helps all parents understand
what they can do at home to support a student’s
success in school
• 83% of students agree that their teachers and parents
work together to help them succeed in school
• Compared to 1987, fewer teachers and parents believe
that lack of parent engagement is widespread. Fewer
teachers (35% vs. 48%) and parents (47% vs. 52%) say
that most or many parents take too little interest in
their children’s education
U.S. Schools Are NOT Failing All Students
• U.S. 15-year olds in schools with fewer than 10%
of kids eligible for free or cut-rate lunch score first
in the world in reading, outperforming even the
famously excellent Finns
• U.S. schools where fewer than 25% are
impoverished (by the same lunch measure) beat
all 34 of the relatively affluent countries studied
except South Korea and Finland (which have very
few poor students)
• U.S. schools where 25 to 50% of students were
poor still beat most other countries in reading
Reading Scores Have Also Improved
• 4th Grade NAEP reading scores have increased from
217 to 221 between 1992 and 2011
• 8th Grade average reading sore in 2011 (265), was
higher than the scores in both 1992 (260), and 2009
(264)
Source: NCES
Math Scores Are Higher in 4th and 8th Grade
• The average 4th-grade NAEP
mathematics score in 2011
was higher than the scores in
both 1990 and 2009.
• 82% of 4th grade students in
2011 were at or above
“basic” compared to 65% in
2000.
• 40% of students are at or
above “proficient” in 2011
compared to 24% in 2000.
• The average 8th-grade
mathematics score in 2011
was higher than the score in
all previous assessment years
History Scores Are Up
From 1994 to 2010, U.S. history scores for all groups
of students increased from 205 points to 214 points
for 4th-grade students, from 259 points to 266 points
for 8th-grade students, and from 286 points to 288
points for 12th-grade students.
Geography/Civics Scores Are Up
Geography
• For geography, the
average score for 4thgrade students was
higher in 2010 (213) than
in 1994 (206)
• For civics, the average
score for 4th-grade
students was higher in
2010 (157) than in 1998
(150), the first year the
assessment was
administered
Source: NCES/NAEP
Civics
More Students Are Taking Advanced
Math Coursework
High School Math Course Taking
The percentage of
students who took
calculus rose from 5
percent to 16 percent
from 1982 to 2009.
100.0
90.0
80.0
70.0
60.0
50.0
40.0
30.0
20.0
10.0
0.0
1982
1990
1994
1998
2000
2005
2009
Algebra 1
55.2
63.7
65.8
62.8
61.7
62.8
68.9
Geometry
47.1
63.2
70.0
75.1
78.3
83.3
88.3
Algebra II
39.9
52.9
61.1
61.7
67.8
70.3
75.5
Calculus
5.0
6.5
9.3
11.0
11.6
13.6
15.9
More Students Are Taking Advanced
Science Coursework
Science Course Taking Patterns,
1982-2009
120.0
100.0
80.0
60.0
40.0
20.0
0.0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Biology
77.4 90.9 93.2 92.7 91.2 92.3 95.6
Chemistry
32.1 48.9 55.8 60.4 62.0 66.2 70.4
Physics
15.0 21.5 24.5 28.8 31.4 32.7 36.1
Geology/earth
science
13.6 24.7 22.9 20.7 17.4 23.1 27.7
Biology and
chemistry
29.3 47.5 53.7 59.0 59.4 64.3 68.3
Biology, chemistry,
11.2 18.8 21.4 25.4 25.1 27.3 30.1
and physics
• Between 1982 and 2009,
there were increases in
the percentages of
graduates who had
completed coursework in
biology (77 percent vs. 96
percent), chemistry (32
percent vs. 70 percent),
and physics (15 percent
vs. 36 percent)
More Students Are Taking Foreign
Language Coursework
• Foreign language course
taking also became
more prevalent
between 1982 and
2009, with an increase
from 54 percent to 86
percent in the
percentage of high
school graduates who
had taken a foreign
language
Percentage of High School Graduates
Taking Foreign Language
86.4
82.6
77.7
83.6
73.1
80.6
77.5
54.4
66.7
1982
1987
1990
1992
1994
1998
2000
2005
2009
College Enrollment Has Increased For
All Groups of Students
Over the 35-year period
between 1975 and 2010,
the rate of immediate
college enrollment after
high school ranged from a
low of 49 percent in 1979
and 1980, to a high of 70
percent in 2009. This rate
increased most recently
from 2001 to 2009.
Percentage of Students Enrolled in
College, October After Graduation
80.0
70.0
60.0
50.0
40.0
30.0
20.0
10.0
0.0
1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010
All Students
49.3 57.7 60.1 61.9 63.3 68.6 68.1
White, nonHispanic
49.8 60.1 63.0 64.3 65.7 73.2 70.5
Black, non-Hispanic 42.7 42.2 46.8 51.2 54.9 55.7 62.0
Hispanic
52.3 51.0 42.7 53.7 52.9 54.0 59.7
College Enrollment Has Increased for
All Groups of Students
• In 2010, 68 percent of high school completers enrolled in a
2-year or 4-year college immediately after completing high
school, up from 49 percent in 1980.
• Between 1980 and 2010, the immediate college enrollment
rate increased from 50 percent to 70 percent for White,
non-Hispanics and from 44 percent to 66 percent for Black,
non-Hispanics.
• Among Hispanics, the immediate college enrollment rate
increased from 47 percent in 1999 to 60 percent in 2010.
• 88 percent of two- and four-year colleges reported
enrolling students with disabilities in the 2008-9 academic
year.
More Students Are Staying in School
and Graduating
• In school year 2008–09, more than three-quarters of public
high school students graduated on time with a regular
diploma. Between 2005-2011 there was an 11 percent
reduction in the rate of high school students not graduating
in four years.
• The high school dropout rate fell from 6.1 percent in 1972
to 3.4 percent in 2009.
• From 1990 to 2010, dropout rates declined for Whites
(from 9 percent to 5 percent), Blacks (from 13 percent to 8
percent), and Hispanics (from 32 percent to 15 percent).
Source: NCES
And All of These Great Things Are
Happening Despite Fewer $ for Schools
• 36% of Americans believe the biggest problem with the public
school system is a lack of funding. This number has risen by
12% since 2006.
• Americans continue to support their public education
systems. Even in this time of fiscal uncertainty, Americans are
willing to pay more taxes to provide funds to improve the
quality of the nation's urban public schools. Nearly two-thirds
(62%) of Americans said they would be willing to pay more
taxes, virtually unchanged from the 66% responding 'yes' in
1998.
Spread the Good News About
Public Schools!
In addition to this PowerPoint, consider:
• Submitting our sample op-ed/editorial to your
local paper
• Sharing this positive data at your next Back-toSchool Night or in a newsletter
• Sending a press release (see the AASA sample)
to your local paper
Questions?
Email AASA’s Policy & Advocacy Team:
Noelle Ellerson, [email protected]
Sasha Pudelski, [email protected]
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