2010-2011 Dane County Enrollments

Percent change 2009-10 to 2010-11.

The initial data on third Friday student counts are out and the numbers for MMSD look good.  MMSD is up 378 students, or about 150 more than projections.

This is  good news, in that it shows that fears about MMSD driving students and families away are unfounded.  The chart above illustrates that  MMSD’s gains as a percentage of enrollment of 1.51% were above the average for Dane County districts.  The full data is here.

In the past, this would have been very good news, because revenue limits are based on enrollment and more students would mean more money.   Since MMSD was planning on levying about $16 million under the limit, it only means  we will be even further under the cap.

I haven’t been able to find more detailed breakdowns by school, race. income…  I look forward to looking at this data to see the trends.  I want to make clear that whatever the trends are it is wrong to think of some demographics as more desirable than others.   Once districts, schools or teachers start thinking or talking or acting in this manner, they are betraying the basic promise of public education to move toward equality through opportunity.

Thomas J. Mertz



Filed under "education finance", Best Practices, Budget, education, finance, Local News, School Finance, Uncategorized

2 responses to “2010-2011 Dane County Enrollments

  1. meisen

    T.J., can you explain your rationale when you say “it is is wrong to think of some demographics as more desirable than others”? I’m no expert, but my understanding is that ever since the Coleman Report in the ’60s that there has been clear evidence that poor kids and minority kids perform better academically in schools with a middle-class demographic. Ten or 12 years ago (or whenever he was doing projects around here), David Rusk found the same correlation in southeastern Wisconsin and Madison, too. That would suggest that a rising poverty rate among students is bad for the schools, bad for the kids. Milwaukee would certainly be an example of this. Why do you feel that a concern about demographics betrays “the basic promise of public education to move toward equality through opportunity”? Marc

  2. Marc

    I agree that as a general rule poor kids do better in schools that aren’t overwhelmingly poor (I’d point to the recent “Why It Matters Who Your Classmates Are: A National Perspective” by Richard Kahlenberg).

    However, I also think that the recent near-panics over middle-class flight from Madison are an over-reaction and have distracted from the mission of the schools to do their best for every child in their charge. That was behind what I wrote.

    This is topic where I have much I want to say and have not found the time to say it. The much cited survey isn’t all that rigorous and shows that a large percent of outward open enrollments are due to things the district has no control of — people who would send their kids elsewhere regardless of anything MMSD does or does not do.

    Taking a broader look at demographic changes, things like changes in relative family sizes between low income/non low income, housing stock and affordability, the fact we are in difficult economic times and more need to be taken into account.

    BTW — The full Third Friday Stats are out.

    Back to your initial point, one place where MMSD does have more control is the mix of students in individual schools and classrooms and here I’ve fought long for more proactive policies.

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