Manchester's Education Benchmarks
Manchester's Education Benchmarks
Using data to map a pathway to success September 2014 Manchester’s Education Benchmarks
Author Daniel Barrick Deputy Director About this paper The research in this paper was funded in part by the Norwin S. and Elizabeth N. Bean Foundation of Manchester, N.H. The data and analysis presented here, however, are the Center’s alone. We also wish to acknowledge the many individuals, representing public- and private-sector organizations, who shared data, information and advice in the development of this paper. This paper, like all of our published work, is in the public domain and may be reproduced without permission.
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Table of Contents Executive summary . 1 Major findings . 2 The policy challenge . 2 Methodology . 4 Manchester: New Hampshire’s melting pot . 6 The city’s changing demographic profile . 7 Student demographic trends . 9 Developmental indicators . 15 Financial trends . 16 Per-pupil property valuation . 16 Per-pupil spending . 17 Teacher salaries . 21 Class size . 23 Student outcomes . 27 Early assessments . 27 NECAP scores . 28 Achievement gaps . 32 High school student success . 45 Graduation rates & college-going .
47 SAT scores & college-going . 49 Higher education . 52 Manchester Community College . 52 University of New Hampshire . 57 Conclusion: Identifying policy responses . 59 Appendix: Manchester Summary Education Indicators . 62 List of Figures Figure 1: Births to single mothers on Medicaid have grown sharply over the past decade in Manchester . 8 Figure 2: Manchester's rate of underweight births has tracked slightly higher than the state for much of the past two decades . 9 Figure 3: Student enrollment has fallen over the past decade in NH & Manchester . 9 Figure 4: The percent of students eligible for free or reduced lunch has risen steadily in Manchester and the entire state .
11 Figure 5: Low-income student enrollment varies widely across Manchester's schools. .. 12 Figure 6: Manchester's student population has been growing more diverse over the past decade . 13 Figure 7: The share of students who lack proficiency in English has risen over the past decade, with a decline over the past three years . 14 Figure 8: The percent of English language learners at Manchester's schools varies considerably . 14
Figure 9: The share of students who are homeless or deemed truant (as measured by unexcused absences) varies considerably from school to school . 15 Figure 10: Manchester's per-pupil property value has been falling as a share of the statewide average over the past decade . 17 Figure 11: Manchester has among the lowest per-pupil spending levels in the state. (Each bar in chart represents one NH school district, and one bar for state average . 18 Figure 12: Per-pupil spending has increased at a faster rate over the past decade for the state than for Manchester alone . 19 Figure 13: Spending on special programs has increased in Manchester schools at a much faster rate than the rest of New Hampshire .
20 Figure 14: Average teacher salaries have risen faster in Manchester over the past few years than for the statewide average . 21 Figure 15: Average teacher salaries, Manchester and selected nearby districts . 22 Figure 16: The student-teacher ratio in Manchester has increased in recent years, while the statewide ratio has decreased slightly . 23 Figure 17: Average class size for grades 1 & 2 have risen over the past 5 years in Manchester . 24 Figure 18: Average class size for grades 3 & 4 have risen as well over the same period. 24 Figure 19: Average 5th Grade class size have not seen as sharp an increase in Manchester .
25 Figure 20: Students with limited English, disabilities or from disadvantaged socio- economic status perform worse on kindergarten math assessments . 27 Figure 21: Number of children enrolled and on wait-list for spots in Head Start early childhood classes in Manchester . 28 Figure 22: After several years of steady increase, NECAP reading scores flattened or declined have in recent years . 30 Figure 23: NECAP math scores have flattened or declined in the past few years at most grade levels . 31 Figure 24: Statewide NECAP reading scores have hit a plateau after an initial period of annual increases .
31 Figure 25: Statewide math NECAP scores have generally seen little improvement in the past six years . 32 Figure 26: Reading scores vary considerably by subgroup . 33 Figure 27: Variation in scores among subgroups is similar in Manchester and all of New Hampshire . 34 Figure 28: Achievement gaps for 3rd Grade reading in Manchester, 2005-2013 . 35 Figure 29: 7th grade math scores in Manchester vary widely across student subgroups. 36 Figure 30: Variation in math proficiency at the state level mirrors the variation in Manchester, though at higher across the board levels . 37 Figure 31: Achievement gaps, 7th Grade Math, Manchester (2005-2013 .
37 Figure 32 . 38 Figure 33 . 39 Figure 34 . 39 Figure 35 . 40 Figure 36 . 41 Figure 37 . 41
Figure 38 . 42 Figure 39 . 42 Figure 40 . 43 Figure 41: Subgroup gaps, Manchester and New Hampshire . 44 Figure 42: The percent of Manchester students taking AP courses has not kept up with the statewide growth over the past six years . 45 Figure 43: Drop-out rates at Manchester high schools have risen sharply since 2009-10. . 46 Figure 44: Graduation rates vary considerably by student population subgroup . 47 Figure 45: Graduation rates: Manchester, New Hampshire, United States . 48 Figure 46: Graduation rates among student subgroups vary across the city's high schools. . 48 Figure 47: SAT scores for Manchester students have fallen sharply since 2005-06 .
49 Figure 48: The percent of Manchester high school graduates going to two- and four-year colleges has fallen over the past few years . 50 Figure 49: The percentage of graduates going on to higher education has fallen . 51 Figure 50: Manchester Community Enrollment by gender for Manchester graduates and all other students (2012-13 . 52 Figure 51: More than two-thirds of Manchester students at MCC are white, non-Hispanic. . 53 Figure 52: The racial/ethnic makeup of the rest of the MCC student body is similar to that for students from Manchester . 54 Figure 53: The ratio of students requiring remedial courses at MCC was fairly even for Manchester graduates as a whole .
55 Figure 54: The share of students requiring remedial courses at MCC in 2012 varied significantly across racial/ethnic groups and high school . 56 Figure 55: The share of students returning for a second year at MCC was higher for Manchester high school graduates than for the rest of the student body . 56 Figure 56: Retention rates by race/ethnicity vary considerably by high school . 57 Figure 57: Average SAT scores for Manchester graduates at UNH have been lower than their peers . 58 Figure 58: Cumulative GPA of Manchester students has risen above that of other UNH students . 58 List of Tables Table 1: Manchester's population is more diverse, and faces more financial burdens, than New Hampshire as a whole .
6 Table 2: Percent change in student population by grade level, Manchester and State of New Hampshire . 10 Table 3: Average teacher salaries and total salaries & benefits as a percentage of spending, Manchester and New Hampshire . 22 Table 4: Average class size, by grade (2013-14 . 25
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 1 Executive summary The past decade has been a period of intense change for public schools in Manchester. The Great Recession and the resulting decline in the property tax base have stressed district finances. A drop in the number of students, combined with steady increases in the diversity of the student body and childhood poverty rates, have added further demands. School policy reforms, including national efforts like No Child Left Behind and the Common Core State Standards, and the decision by some neighboring towns to end tuition agreement with Manchester’s schools, have brought additional uncertainty to the city’s education system.
Through these changes, one fundamental question has been difficult to answer: How well is Manchester’s school system preparing students for a successful future? Understanding the relationship between changing financial, demographic and instructional trends, and student outcomes, is central to answering that question. Such data can be used to analyze student achievement data, evaluate specific programs, shape curricular and instructional choices, and realign resources to better fit the district’s goals. This effort is of particular relevance now, given widespread concerns that Manchester’s schools are perceived by some as inferior or – even worse – failing.
However, people interested in understanding and improving the city’s educational system have had few objective tools with which to work. A recent audit of the district concluded that Manchester lacked a timely, relevant set of data upon which to analyze trends in student achievement and assess the effectiveness of instruction. “The district does not have a plan for the use of data for decision making in all district operations,” according to the auditors.1 This report is meant to address that shortcoming. We present a range of data that paints a complicated portrait of public education in Manchester.
That includes traditional measures of success, such as test scores and graduation rates. But we also extend our analysis to cover issues outside the school walls – to investigate the factors that influence successful outcomes at the earliest and latest points in a student’s educational experience. Researchers sometimes refer to this as the “cradle to career” pathway: an individual’s journey as he or she moves from birth to adulthood, and the series of policies, systems and environments (personal, familial, community and educational) that shape his or her development on that journey. To that end, we include, as an appendix to this report, a single-page “Summary Education Indicators” that displays trends in six key measures of child and student achievement within the district.
Each of the six measures refers to a critical stage in a child’s pathway from birth to high school and beyond. 1 “A Curriculum Audit of the Manchester School District,” June 2013, International Curriculum Management Audit Center, Phi Delta Kappa International, Bloomington, Indiana https://docs.google.com/a/mansd.org/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=bWFuc2Qub3Jn fG1hbmNoZXN0ZXJ zZHxneDo1MTZkNmM5MDFiZmE4YTEx This is a guide to where Manchester’s schools and students stand today, but it does not necessarily predict where they are heading.
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 2 Of course, no single data point should be given too much prominence in the overall analysis. Our goal is to help in the larger goal-setting process for Manchester’s schools by focusing attention on shortcomings, disparities and areas of promise. Taken as a whole, the data provides a series of baseline measures that can be updated as needed and will let district leaders track progress in a clear manner. This is a guide to where Manchester’s schools and students have been and where they stand today, but it does not necessarily predict where they are heading.
Major findings Our major findings from this data include: • Disparities in student success persist at many levels and few show any trend toward closing.
These “achievement gaps” between student subgroups (including racial/ethnic background, economic status, disability status, and English-language learner status) can be seen in many measurements: early school readiness, standardized test scores, high school graduation rates, and post-secondary performance, among others. In many cases, the gaps between student sub- populations have remained steady for years, or are actually growing. In some cases, the district’s achievement gaps are wider than the comparable gaps at the state and/or national levels.
• In many measures of high school student achievement, the gaps against statewide measures are widening. This includes measures such as student drop-out rates, graduation rates, and college-going rates. • Class sizes are increasing at lower grades, with considerable disparities across schools, even as student enrollment has fallen over the past decade. • Citywide property valuation (the fiscal basis for public school funding) has fallen since the recession at a faster rate than for New Hampshire as a whole, meaning Manchester’s ability to raise money for education is not keeping pace with the rest of the state.
• Manchester’s overall demographic trend is cause for concern. With rising levels of child poverty and low-income status among students, and growing numbers of births to low-income, single mothers, the long-term demographic pressures on the district demand the attention of policymakers. The policy challenge How should policymakers – and others interested in the city’s schools – react to this data? We do not offer any specific policy responses in this work, though we hope it sparks conversations among people who might not usually find themselves engaged in education policy debates. The future of Manchester’s school system has implications for every aspect of the city’s life: economic vitality, civic life, health and well-being of its residents, and beyond.
More broadly, Manchester’s schools are a vital piece of the statewide education system, as roughly 8 percent of all public school students in New Hampshire go to school in Manchester, the largest share for a single district. And the rest of the state is seeing many of the same trends that Manchester is – including growing student diversity and rising levels of economic hardship – though at lower levels than for
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 3 the city. What is happening in Manchester’s schools truly matters for the rest of New Hampshire. One way to digest the data here is to divide it into a handful of categories, and then think of the data within each category as part of a system of interrelated policy options. Those categories might include: • Demographic/family/community conditions (e.g. ethnic/racial trends, poverty rate, median income, housing stability, etc.) • Early childhood measures (e.g. child poverty, births data, health and well-being, access to high quality preschool, etc.) • Student achievement data (e.g.
test scores, graduation rates, AP courses, drop- out rates, etc.) • College/career readiness data (e.g. rates of college-going, persistence, graduation, etc.) • Education inputs (e.g. funding levels, per-pupil spending, salaries, average classroom sizes, etc.) This framework can help map the broader network of forces and policies that impact the success of the educational system. Among other things, we need to better define the goals for the schools and their students, and choose benchmarks to measure successful progress to those goals. We need to identify gaps in the data that will help us better measure success.
And we need to think about the potential partners that can assist in this effort. While some of the numbers in this report may be discouraging, there is plenty of good news as well. Manchester’s schools are vibrant places, full of positive stories and innovative approaches to education. More than 70 languages are spoken by city students, and the student body is among the most diverse in Northern New England. Many Manchester businesses and non-profits have partnered with the district to provide mentoring opportunities, expand science and technology course options, or augment basic instructional approaches.
And local colleges offer ways for high school students to participate in more challenging, college-level classes.
As we hope this research makes clear, the story of education in Manchester is not a simple one about funding levels, immigration, poverty, or test scores. The data we have collected is just a beginning, but it starts to illustrate the interrelation of numerous trends in Manchester over the past decade. Likewise, the answer to the challenges described here will require some blend of approaches, likely involving curriculum and instructional changes, incentives to attract the next generation of teachers, partnerships with community groups and businesses, and budgetary responses. The question now facing district leaders is how to harness the strengths of the district’s changing demographics, while adopting new policies to address the challenges the schools are still facing.
While some of the numbers here may be discouraging, there is plenty of good news, too. Manchester’s schools are vibrant places, full of innovative approaches to education.
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 4 Methodology In compiling the data for this report, we looked to a number of sources: the U.S. Census and American Community Survey databases, the New Hampshire Department of Education, U.S. Department of Education, Manchester School District data, the New Hampshire Division of Vital Records, Manchester Health Department data, and other sources. We limited our review to data that came from a reliable source, that had been measured consistently over time, and that would be readily understandable. While much of this data is already available to the public, by gathering it within a single document and showing how it has changed over time we hope to shed light on broader issues related to education in Manchester and the impact of various community forces shaping the city’s school system.
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 5 Manchester’s Public School System includes 14 elementary schools, 4 middle schools and 3 traditional high schools. Note: Red dots indicate elementary schools, green dots indicate middle schools, and purple dots indicate high schools. Colored areas on map cover elementary school districts Parker Varney ES Bakersville ES Smyth Road ES Central HS Gossler Park ES Hallsville ES Jewett Street ES Green Acres ES Wilson ES Highland-Goffs Falls ES Beech Street ES Northwest ES McDonough ES Memorial HS Webster ES West HS Hillside MS Weston ES Parkside MS Southside MS McLaughlin MS
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 6 Manchester: New Hampshire’s melting pot Manchester’s schools are intricately tied to and influenced by the neighborhoods where they are located. In order to better understand the educational data at the foundation of this analysis, we first examine the broader demographic and economic context in which the schools operate. Research has shown that a student’s home and community environment play key roles in his or her school success. Family socio-economic status “sets the stage for students’ academic performance both by directly providing resources at home and by indirectly providing the social capital that is necessary to succeed in school.”2 Manchester, New Hampshire’s largest city, is home to 110,000 people, representing about 8 percent of the statewide population.
However, there is considerable racial, ethnic, and economic variation between the city and the rest of New Hampshire (Table 1). For instance, the percent of the city population that is non-white is more than double the statewide rate. Manchester also has a much higher share of residents who do not speak English as a primary language (19 percent vs. 8 percent for New Hampshire) and a higher share of foreign born residents (12 percent vs. 5 percent statewide). Table 1: Manchester's population is more diverse, and faces more financial burdens, than New Hampshire as a whole. Manchester NH Manchester NH US Population 107,006 1,235,786 110,209 1,320,718 316,128,839 Pop.
Under 18 23.7% 25.0% 21.1% 20.8% 23.5% Median age 34.9 37.2 37.4 41.9 37 Median household income $40,774 $49,467 $54,644 $63,280 $53,046 Poverty rate 10.6% 6.5% 17.0% 10.0% 14.9% Unemployment rate (April 2014) 2.6% 2.7% 4.6% 4.3% 5.9% Pop w/high school diploma or higher 80.7% 87.4% 88.0% 91.8% 85.7% Pop. w/bachelor's degree or higher 22.3% 28.7% 26.5% 34.6% 28.5% Foreign-born pop. 9.4% 4.4% 11.1% 5.4% 12.9% English not primary language at home 19.6% 8.3% 17.6% 7.9% 20.5% % Hispanic 4.6% 1.7% 7.2% 3.0% 16.9% % Non-Hispanic White 89.3% 95.1% 82.2% 91.8% 63.0% % Black 2.1% 0.7% 4.8% 1.3% 13.1% % Asian 2.3% 1.3% 3.7% 2.3% 5.1% Owner occupied housing units 46.0% 69.7% 48.5% 70.9% 65.5% 2000 2012 (estimates) Source: US Census Bureau, American Community Survey In several economic measures, Manchester’s population fares worse than the rest of the state.
The city has a lower median income, higher poverty rate, and higher unemployment rate than New Hampshire as a whole. In addition, a much lower share of Manchester residents own their own home (47 percent vs. 71 percent statewide). The reasons for this disparity are numerous. Dating back to its emergence as a manufacturing hub in the 1800s, Manchester has attracted immigrants seeking 2 “Socio-economic Status and Academic Achievement: A Meta-Analytic Review of Research,” Sirin, Selcuk R., Review of Education Research, Fall 2005.
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 7 employment because of the city’s relatively low housing costs, jobs, and public transportation. These recent immigrants tend to be more racially diverse than current residents, and they tend, as a group, to have lower levels of education.3 In addition, Manchester for many years has been a designated resettlement city for international refugees, who have largely come from Asian and African countries in recent years.4 Given the established role that economic status and racial/ethnic background play in shaping children’s education outcomes, it is not surprising that Manchester’s students fare differently than many of their peers in communities across the state that are less racially diverse and more economically prosperous.
Thus, understanding the trends in the city’s demographics is critical in developing a strategy for strengthening its schools. The city’s changing demographic profile One way to get a sense of how Manchester’s demography is shifting is to look at birth statistics, as compiled by the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Division of Vital Records Administration.
What can statistics on births in Manchester tell us about the city’s schools? At the most basic level, trends in birth rates indicate the direction that school enrollments might take in coming years, depending on whether more or fewer children are being born in the city. We can also examine data about the economic and demographic profile of the women giving birth, as researchers have found strong links between a mother’s income and educational levels, and the educational achievement of her child.5 Births to women residing in Manchester have been essentially flat over the past decade, with a 1 percent decrease in total births between 2002 and 2013.
However, births to unwed mothers have increased by 20 percent over that period, while births to single mothers on Medicaid rose 64 percent, to the point that nearly one third of Manchester births in 2013 were to single women on Medicaid (Figure 1).
Why is this trend significant? Research indicates that children born to unmarried mothers are more likely to be raised in a single-parent household, experience unstable living arrangements, live in poverty, and have worse educational outcomes than their peers.6 And Medicaid coverage is an indicator of economic hardship, as it is only available to pregnant women who earn below 185 percent of the federal poverty line. 3 “Immigration to Manchester, NH: History, Trends and Implications,” Ward, Young & Grimm, Carsey Institute Regional Brief No. 39, Spring 2014.
4 New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, “Refugee Facts.” http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/omh/refugee/facts.htm 5 “The Influence of Parent Education and Family Income on Child Achievement,” Davis-Kean, Pamela E., Journal of Family Psychology, June 2005 6 See “Child Trends Data Bank”: http://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=births-to-unmarried-women
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 8 Figure 1: Births to single mothers on Medicaid have grown sharply over the past decade in Manchester Births to Manchester women, 1995 to 2013 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1 9 9 5 1 9 9 6 1 9 9 7 1 9 9 8 1 9 9 9 2 2 1 2 2 2 3 2 4 2 5 2 6 2 7 2 8 2 9 2 1 2 1 1 2 1 2 2 1 3 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% Births to wed mothers Births to unwed mothers % births to single women on Medicaid Source: NH Division of Vital Records Administration Nationally, births to single mothers increased at a similar rate over the past decade, though the share of total births to unwed mothers has consistently been higher in Manchester.
In 2013, 44.3 percent of births in Manchester were to unwed mothers. The New Hampshire rate was 35.1 percent, and the national rate was 40.7 percent (2012 data). There are other early childhood indicators that bear observation. The rate of underweight births (newborns who weigh less than 2,500 grams at birth, or roughly 5.5 pounds) has tracked slightly higher in Manchester than for New Hampshire as a whole for most years over the past two decades (Figure 2).
This is an important indicator of educational success, as low-birth-weight babies are at a higher risk of cognitive difficulties later in life, including lags in school readiness and achievement.7 It is worth noting that the rate of low-weight births has increased steadily for the state as a whole since 1996, while the figure for Manchester has fluctuated. 7 “Low Birth Weight and School Readiness,” Reichman, Nancy E., The Future of Children, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Spring 2005.
Birth weight is an important indicator of educational success, as low-birth-weight babies are at higher risk of cognitive difficulties later in life.
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 9 Figure 2: Manchester's rate of underweight births has tracked slightly higher than the state for much of the past two decades. Percent of babies born underweight (less than 2,500 grams) 3% 4% 5% 6% 7% 8% 9% 1 9 9 5 1 9 9 6 1 9 9 7 1 9 9 8 1 9 9 9 2 2 1 2 2 2 3 2 4 2 5 2 6 2 7 2 8 2 9 2 1 2 1 1 2 1 2 NH Manchester Source: NH Division of Vital Records Administration Student demographic trends Like the state of New Hampshire as a whole, Manchester has seen a steady decline in public school enrollment over the past decade. However, the decline has been steeper in Manchester: a 16 percent reduction in students between 2002-03 and 2013-14, compared to an 11 percent decline for all of New Hampshire.
Figure 3: Student enrollment has fallen over the past decade in NH & Manchester Public school enrollment, Manchester & NH, 2002-2013 50,000 100,000 150,000 200,000 250,000 2 2 - 3 2 3 - 4 2 4 - 5 2 5 - 6 2 6 - 7 2 7 - 8 2 8 - 9 2 9 - 1 2 1 - 1 1 2 1 1 - 1 2 2 1 2 - 1 3 2 1 3 - 1 4 NH MANCHESTER 11% decline 16% decline
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 10 In Manchester, the enrollment decline was sharpest among high school student populations, which declined 27 percent between 2002 and 2013 (from 6,600 students to roughly 4,800 students). Much of that decline is due to the decision by several neighboring towns to no longer send their students to Manchester schools, in particular the opening of Bedford High School in 2007 and the gradual withdrawal of Bedford students from Manchester High School West.
Table 2 below tries to account for this, by looking just at student population change over just the past four school years (2010-11 through 2013-14), as well as by separating the data by grade level: kindergarten, elementary school, middle school and high school. Table 2: Percent change in student population by grade level, Manchester and State of New Hampshire `02 to `13 `10 to `13 `02 to `13 `10 to `13 Kindergarten 23.4% 0.3% 18.9% -2.7% Elementary -10.6% 0.0% -14.7% -3.5% Middle School -18.7% -7.5% -18.8% -4.8% High School -26.9% -14.0% -7.0% -6.6% Total -16.2% -6.3% -10.8% -4.5% Manchester New Hampshire We see that, since 2002, the high school student body in Manchester has fallen by more than a quarter (26.9 percent), while the statewide figure fell by just 7 percent.
But even looking at the period after the departure of Bedford high school students, the city’s total high school population continued to fall, at 14 percent – or more than twice the rate of decline of the statewide high school population (6.6 percent.) Likewise, Manchester’s middle school student population has fallen at a faster rate than the statewide middle school student body since 2010. Yet the number of elementary students has held steady in Manchester while falling 3.5 percent statewide.
These overall trends are the result of a complicated set of forces, including birthrates, migration patterns in and out of the city, and school choice by parents. Some of these forces are described in detail, where relevant, later in this paper. At the same time that the total student population has been on a steady decline, overall student demographics have been changing rapidly, both within Manchester and statewide, as illustrated in the following four figures.
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 11 Figure 4: The percent of students eligible for free or reduced lunch has risen steadily in Manchester and the entire state.
Free/reduced lunch population, Manchester & NH, 2006-2013 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 NH MAN The best indicator of the economic background of a student body is the percent of pupils who are eligible for free and reduced lunch at school. This categorization is based on the income reported by families of students.8 Students who qualify for this program are generally described as coming from a low-income background or having a disadvantaged socio-economic status.
Figure 4 above shows that the share of students eligible for free/reduced lunch in both Manchester and the state as a whole has increased steadily in recent years. The sharp uptick in low-income students in Manchester for 2010-11 school year is due, in part, to a change in the way the district gathered family income data from students at the city high schools. This change resulted in data available for considerably more students and a commensurate increase in the share categorized as “low income” based on free-and- reduced lunch status.
Across the district, there is great variation in the low-income student population from school to school (Figure 5).
The share of students eligible for free/reduced meals last year ranged from 90 percent at Beech Street Elementary School to 23 at Green Acres Elementary School. The districtwide rate was 51 percent last year, close to twice the statewide rate of 28 percent. 8 To qualify for a free school lunch, a student from a family of four cannot have household income that exceeds $30,615. For a reduced price lunch, that same student cannot have household income above $43,569. That amount increases or decreases depending on the number of individuals in the household.
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 12 Figure 5: Low-income student enrollment varies widely across Manchester's schools. 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Percent of Student Population Eligible for Free/Reduced School Lunches (2013-14) As the number of low-income students has been rising in Manchester, the district’s student body has been growing more diverse in terms of racial and ethnic composition. The percent of students that are non-white and/or Hispanic (including African American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American or multi-racial) has increased from 20 percent of the student population to 35 percent over the past eight years.9 New Hampshire’s statewide non-white student population rose from 6 percent to just more than 11 percent over the same period.
9 Beginning in the 2009-2010 school year, the New Hampshire Department of Education added a “multi- racial” category for student ethnic/racial background. The share of students reported as multi-racial each year has remained about 2 percent for the entire state, and between 5 and 6 percent for Manchester.
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 13 Figure 6: Manchester's student population has been growing more diverse over the past decade. Non-White student population, Manchester & NH 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 Non-White NH Non-White MAN Research has pointed to the educational benefits of diversity for students in racially diverse districts.
Data has shown that students have stronger levels of comfort with people from racial and ethnic groups different than their own, and that students report higher levels of educational aspirations across the board in these environments. However, those impacts may vary across racial and ethnic groups.10 In any event, the demographic data indicate that educators in Manchester should expect an increasingly diverse student body in city schools. As we will discuss later, this could heighten concerns about student achievement disparities based on race and ethnicity.
Manchester has long had among the highest percentages of non-English-speaking students in the state, reflecting the city’s high number of recent immigrants. But the percent of students rated as “limited proficient” in English has remained relatively constant over the past decade, fluctuating between 6.5 percent and 11 percent of all students in Manchester since 2002-03 (Figure 7). 10 “The Impact of Racial and Ethnic Diversity on Educational Outcomes: Lynn, Mass. School District,” Harvard University, The Civil Rights Project, 2002 Demographic trends indicate that Manchester’s educators should expect an increasingly diverse student body.
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 14 Figure 7: The share of students who lack proficiency in English has risen over the past decade, with a decline over the past three years. Limited English Proficiency student population, New Hampshire & Manchester 0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 10% 12% 2 2 - 3 2 3 - 4 2 4 - 5 2 5 - 6 2 6 - 7 2 7 - 8 2 8 - 9 2 9 - 1 2 1 - 1 1 2 1 1 - 1 2 2 1 2 - 1 3 2 1 3 - 1 4 New Hampshire Manchester However, the share of English language learners varies considerably from school to school, from 2 percent of total students at Smyth Road Elementary School to more than 25 percent at Beech Street Elementary School and slightly less than 25 percent at Bakersville Elementary School (Figure 8).
Figure 8: The percent of English language learners at Manchester's schools varies considerably Percent of students with limited proficiency in English, Manchester schools (2013-14) 0.0% 5.0% 10.0% 15.0% 20.0% 25.0% N e w H a m p s h i r e S m y t h R o a d G r e e n A c r e s M e m o r i a l H . S . P a r k s i d e M . S . G o s s l e r P a r k S o u t h s i d e M . S . W e s t H . S . H a l l s v i l l e H i g h l a n d - G o f f e s F a l l s H i l l s i d e M . S . M c D o n o u g h M A N C H E S T E R J e w e t t W e s t o n P a r k e r - V a r n e y C e n t r a l H . S . M c L a u g h l i n M .
S . W i l s o n N o r t h w e s t W e b s t e r B a k e r s v i l l e B e e c h S t r e e t
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 15 Interestingly, the percent of limited English students has declined since 2010 at all but four of Manchester’s school (Central, McDonough, Webster and Weston). Developmental indicators Measures of the stability of student home life vary considerably across the district (Figure 9). In some elementary schools, as many as one quarter of all students were deemed truant last year, as measured by at least 10 half-days with an unexcused absence during the academic year. In other schools, that rate was as low as 3 percent. Similarly, the student mobility rate (a measure of the percent of students who leave or enter a school in one academic year) varies from 5 percent to 17 percent across the district’s elementary schools.
Figure 9: The share of students who are homeless or deemed truant (as measured by unexcused absences) varies considerably from school to school. Homeless student rate (2013-14) Truancy rate (2013-14) Mobility rate (2011-12) Bakersville 3% 15% 15% Beech Street 9% 24% 16% Gossler Park 4% 26% 17% Green Acres 1% 4% 5% Hallsville 2% 14% 8% Highland-Goffs Falls 1% 9% 6% Jewett 1% 17% 13% McDonough 6% 21% 15% Northwest 4% 12% 12% Parker Varney 5% 16% 17% Smyth Road 1% 14% 8% Webster 5% 3% 11% Weston 2% 5% 6% Wilson 7% 26% 12% Hillside 3% 6% 9% McLaughlin 5% 20% 8% Parkside 3% 21% 8% Southside 3% 22% 9% Central 1% 27% 5% Memorial 2% 9% 4% West 1% 31% 6% District 3% 17% 8% Elementary Schools Middle Schools High Schools All of these measures, particularly at the elementary school level, correlate strongly with indicators of income, as measured by the percent of students eligible for free-and-reduced school lunch.
In other words, schools with high rates of low-income students tend to have higher rates of student homelessness, truancy and mobility.
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 16 Financial trends Spending on education is one of the major uses of public tax dollars, and education funding has consistently figured in fiscal debates in the Legislature over the past two decades. But questions of how tax dollars get spent are not just a budgetary matter: They should also help us understand the relationship between educational system “inputs” (per- pupil spending, teacher salaries, class sizes, spending on special programs, etc.) and student outcomes (test scores, drop-out rates, graduation rates, etc.) Nationally, the question of whether more spending results in greater student achievement is among the most hotly debated in education research.
And while conclusions differ on that matter, it is widely acknowledged that there is a higher cost associated with teaching certain populations of students, including low-income students, English-language learners, and students with disabilities.
Per-pupil property valuation New Hampshire, like many states, relies heavily on local property taxes to fund public education. Annual equalized property valuation represents the total tax base within each school district in the state. By comparing that number to the number of students in the district, we get the per-pupil property valuation. This amount gives us a sense of the size of the tax base available to fund public schools. Both the statewide property tax and the local education property tax use equalized property valuation in calculating the tax rate. Manchester’s per-pupil property valuation rose steadily through the first half of the 2000s, at roughly the same pace as the statewide average (Figure 10).
But while both the Manchester and statewide figures have fallen since the recession (2007-08), Manchester’s per-pupil figure has fallen at a steeper pace. Whereas Manchester’s per-pupil valuation was equal to between 80 percent and 84 percent of the statewide value in the early 2000s, it now stands at 70 percent of the statewide value.
While both the Manchester and statewide per-pupil property valuation has fallen since the Recession, the drop has been considerably steeper in Manchester.
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 17 Figure 10: Manchester's per-pupil property value has been falling as a share of the statewide average over the past decade. 100,000 200,000 300,000 400,000 500,000 600,000 700,000 800,000 900,000 1,000,000 2000- 01 2001- 02 2002- 03 2003- 04 2004- 05 2005- 06 2006- 07 2007- 08 2008- 09 2009- 10 2010- 11 2011- 12 2012- 13 0.0% 10.0% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0% 50.0% 60.0% 70.0% 80.0% 90.0% State average Manchester Man./state ratio (right axis) Source: NH Department of Education What this means is that, for most of the past decade, Manchester’s ability to raise money for public schools has not kept pace with the rest of the state, with less taxable property available on a per-pupil basis from year to year.
Per-pupil spending Spending on public education in New Hampshire has risen steadily over the past decade, even as pupil numbers have declined. Total statewide recurring school expenditures11 rose from $2.05 billion in 2004-05 to $2.70 billion in 2012-13 for a roughly 32 percent increase. Over the same period, total recurring school expenditures in Manchester increased from $147.6 million to $173.7 million, an 18 percent increase. Over the past decade, Manchester’s per-pupil spending has been among the lowest in the state (Figure 11). In the 2012-13 school year, Manchester spent about $10,400 per pupil, the fifth lowest figure in the state, and roughly $3,100 lower than the statewide per-pupil amount.
11 This amount does not include costs associated with facility construction of payments or principal on bonds and notes.
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 18 Figure 11: Manchester has among the lowest per-pupil spending levels in the state. (Each bar in chart represents one NH school district, and one bar for state average.) Per-Pupil Spending, by district, 2012-2013 - 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 30,000 35,000 State average Manchester Source: NH Department of Education This is the result of a number of factors, including savings that come from being a relatively compact, urban district with fewer costs associated with transportation and maintenance than more geographically spread-out districts.
However, Manchester’s per- pupil spending trends have not been keeping pace with the rest of the state. Whereas in 2002-03, Manchester’s per-pupil spending represented 84 percent of the statewide amount, it had fallen to 77 percent of the statewide per-pupil expenditure a decade later, in 2012-13. In other words, the gap in per-pupil spending between Manchester and the rest of New Hampshire has been increasing over time.
If we examine spending growth over time, per-pupil spending increased faster than growth in total expenditures, for both New Hampshire and Manchester, because of the drop in student numbers over that period. Statewide per-pupil spending rose 48 percent from 2004-05 to 2012-13, while it rose 40 percent for Manchester (Figure 12).
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 19 Figure 12: Per-pupil spending has increased at a faster rate over the past decade for the state than for Manchester alone. Per pupil spending, Manchester & NH, 2004-2012 $0 $2,000 $4,000 $6,000 $8,000 $10,000 $12,000 $14,000 $16,000 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 New Hampshire Manchester 48% increase 40% increase Source: NH Department of Education What is driving this spending growth? The answer is not entirely clear.
Part of it stems from increasing personnel costs, including annual increases in salaries and benefits. In addition, school costs will not necessarily fall at the same pace as enrollment, because fixed costs do not fall on a per-pupil basis. As we have also previously noted, the district and state have both seen increases in the number of low-income students, for whom there is typically a higher cost associated when it comes to education. While the bottom-line and per-pupil spending amounts give us a broad sense of spending trends, we can also examine how spending is changing over time on particular programs.
Figure 13 below breaks out the two biggest categories of school spending – regular education and special programs – which together account for nearly two-thirds of total school expenditures. Special programs include instructional and other services for populations such as English-language learners, students with disabilities, and Title 1 programs, which are targeted at districts with large populations of low-income students.
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 20 Figure 13: Spending on special programs has increased in Manchester schools at a much faster rate than the rest of New Hampshire Per Pupil Expenditures for NH and Manchester (Percent of Total) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 Spending as pct. of total expenditures NH, regular ed. Manchester, regular ed. Manchester, special programs NH, spec. programs Source: NH Department of Education As Figure 13 above shows, while spending on regular education services (blue lines) has remained the largest piece of overall spending over the past decade, it has decreased as a percentage of spending in Manchester and for the state as a whole.
At the same time, the share of spending on special programs (pink lines) has increased at both levels (statewide and Manchester alone), though at a much sharper rate for Manchester. Spending on special programs now represents close to a third of all spending (31 percent) in the district, compared to about 25 percent in 2004-05. This likely reflects the growth in low-income students over the past decade, as measured by free-and- reduced lunch enrollments, and is an illustration of the ways in which shifting student demographics shape spending patterns. Given the steady increase in the number of free- and-reduced lunch students, as well as the rise in births to single women on Medicaid (detailed earlier), it is reasonable to expect that spending on special programs will represent an increasingly large share of the total district budget in coming years.
Spending on special programs at the state level remained essentially flat over the same period, going from 21 percent in 2005 to 22 percent in 2013.
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 21 Teacher salaries Personnel costs (salaries and benefits) traditionally take up the largest single chunk of education spending, though average annual salary for full-time classroom teachers has been rising steadily at both the state level and in Manchester over the past decade (Figure 14). Figure 14: Average teacher salaries have risen faster in Manchester over the past few years than for the statewide average. Average teacher salary, Manchester & New Hampshire (2006-07 to 2013-14) $40,000 $42,000 $44,000 $46,000 $48,000 $50,000 $52,000 $54,000 $56,000 $58,000 $60,000 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 Manchester New Hampshire Source: NH Department of Education While the average salary for Manchester and for the state as a whole were roughly equal through the decade of the 2000s, the figure for Manchester increased sharply in 2010-11, roughly $2,000 higher than the statewide figure.
If we compare average teacher salary in Manchester with salaries from nearby districts (with which the city would likely be competing for teachers and staff), we see that, in general, Manchester is not out of line with its neighbors (Figure 15). While the average teacher salary for Manchester in 2013-14 was above the average in Nashua and Bedford, it was lower than the average in Concord, Salem, and Londonderry. Manchester’s average salary has been in the middle of the pack of those districts over much of the past eight years.
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 22 Figure 15: Average teacher salaries, Manchester and selected nearby districts $40,000 $50,000 $60,000 $70,000 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 Manchester New Hampshire Bedford Concord Londonderry Nashua Salem Meanwhile, total district spending on salaries and benefits (including teachers, administrators and other district personnel) has traditionally represented a larger portion of total expenditures in Manchester than the state as a whole.
As Table 3 shows, total salaries and benefits spending has made up between 60 percent and 63 percent of total spending in the district over the past seven years, with a slight increase in the past few years.
Statewide, salaries and benefits account for between 52 percent and 53 percent of total school spending. Table 3: Average teacher salaries and total salaries & benefits as a percentage of spending, Manchester and New Hampshire Avg. salary Pct of total exp. Avg. salary Pct of total exp. 2006-07 46,655 $ 60.4% 46,797 $ 52.0% 2007-08 48,348 $ 60.0% 48,310 $ 52.2% 2008-09 49,701 $ 60.4% 50,128 $ 52.0% 2009-10 50,998 $ 61.7% 51,443 $ 52.5% 2010-11 54,836 $ 61.2% 52,706 $ 52.9% 2011-12 57,349 $ 62.5% 53,702 $ 53.0% 2012-13 59,019 $ 61.9% 54,314 $ 53.0% Manchester New Hampshire
Manchester’s Education Benchmarks 23 Class size While average salaries have risen, overall teacher staffing levels appear to be declining in the district.
As Figure 16 shows, the student-teacher ratio for Manchester has increased slightly, from just below 14/1 in 2006 to 2008, to about 14.5/1 in the 2013-14 school year. Over the same period, the statewide student-teacher ratio has declined slightly, to about 12/1 in 2013-14.12 Figure 16: The student-teacher ratio in Manchester has increased in recent years, while the statewide ratio has decreased slightly.
Student-teacher ratio, Manchester & NH (2006-07 to 2013-14) 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 Number of students per full-time equivalent classroom teacher Manchester New Hampshire Parallel with that, we see that at several grade levels, average class sizes have been rising over the past few years, even as the statewide average class sizes have remained stable (Figure 17, Figure 18 and Figure 19). Grade 1 and 2 classes now average about 21 students in Manchester, compared to about 18 students statewide. A decade earlier, the two were almost equal.
Grade 3 and 4 classrooms average 24 students in Manchester, compared to 19 students, on average, statewide.
12 The student-teacher ratio includes full-time equivalent classroom teachers for grades 1 through 12. According to New Hampshire Department of Education, which publishes the ratios, “this includes subject- specific teachers at all grade levels, as well as special education and regular classroom teachers.”