The 2007 Tennessee Department of Education Report Card arrived today.
It was the statistics section that really stuck me: just in the last four years that I’ve been a member of the school board, our demographics have changed significantly. That means that to maintain and improve, we’re going to face new challenges, and we’ll have to do some things differently.
The most glaring to me is that our economically disadvantaged population has grown from 29.5% in 2004, to 34.7% in 2007 (in 2000, it was 23.3%). In seven years, we’ve seen more than a 10% increase in at-risk students!
Students with disabilities have grown from 21.8% to 25.1%. Students with limited English proficiency have doubled, from 55 to 111 students.
Over that same time period, our per-pupil funding has grown from $10,032 to $10,602 — a 5% increase over four years. Just as Oak Ridge is different than it was a few years ago (remember when we didn’t have any murders?), our school population is different as well.