Monday, February 19, 2007

Enrollment perspective

Just in time for the budget battle comes this Tennessean article about the overcrowded schools.

What caught my attention was this chart at the Tennessean highlighting our decade of growth. What I found interesting was that we were only were given enrollment information for the past decade and projections for the next. What I think people need to see is a wider chart which gives us the trend lines for both our population growth and our enrollment at MNPS. They don't track the same. Where are those students? Do we have fewer families moving into Metro or are those families making private school choices? And if the later why?

What we must also keep in mind is that while the enrollment of MNPS is projected at about 1.5% per year the doughnut counties far exceed that average. Rutherford County hovers at the 5 1/4% mark, and Williamson averages well into the 7% area. Again, why? Why not MNPS?


Anonymous said...

Kay -- Nashville has way more under enrolled schools than over enrolled -- especially at the high school level. The board need s to rezone the district, combine weak schools into successful schools and put the money saved back into hiring excellent educators and getting rid of the dead wood.

Tom said...

"Do we have fewer families moving into Metro or are those families making private school choices? And if the later why?"

Both, but I can address the latter: It's the growth of the upper half (or so) of the middle or professional class. Why are more choosing private schools? More can afford it. Why? The growth of two income families, the growth of investment markets, and the growth of real estate. The upper middle class is larger, their assets have grown incredibly, and basic budget items like clothing and food are a smaller percentage of the family budget. They've got more money and more of it is discretionary.

Taking the map with dots from private school attendees on your other site, if you look in the Hillsboro zone, especially around I-440 (Hillsboro West End and Belmont Hillsboro), there are tons of private school families. This didn't use to be the case. The property values in that neighborhood have skyrocketed in the last three decades- fifteen to twentyfold.

Even if the public schools in this and similar areas have great college prep programs (like IB), the private schools have half the class sizes, they can tell "undesirables" to go away and never come back.

It's a sign of success for some to be sure; I'm not into putting down rich folks. What public school employees and advocates have to do is make sure our kids' success isn't dependent on the degree of their parents' success. (basically break the general trends of human history- no biggie)