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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Startling Charter and Traditional Teacher Data

Now that the Ohio Department of Education has released its full report card, it is possible to examine in-depth data about various aspects of Ohio's educational landscape. Given that this week is Charter Week in the Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee, I decided to look at teachers in both Charter and Traditional Public Schools.

As with prior years, the average teacher salaries in Charter Schools are about 40% lower than traditional public schools. The Charter School average is $33,993 and the average in a Traditional Public School is $57,303.

But where I found the comparison fascinating is in the other data points.

The typical Traditional Public School building has teachers with an average of 14.8 years of experience. In a Charter School building, that average is 6.3. However, the most telling statistic here, I think, is the mode.

The mode tells you which number appears the most often in a set of data. The mode on Traditional Public School buildings' teacher experience is 14 years, which means more Traditional Public School Buildings have teachers with an average of 14 years of experience than any other number of years.

Charter Schools? Their mode is 0. That's right. More Charter School Buildings have an average level of teacher experience of 0 than any other.

That is amazing to me.

Two equally stunning statistics.

1) The average Traditional Public School building has about 2/3 of its teachers with a masters degree. The average Charter School building has about 1/3 of its teachers with a masters degree. Granted, there is some debate about the impact of masters degrees. But I don't think they hurt student performance.

2) About 1 out of 3 Charter Schools in Ohio have at least some core courses taught by someone with a temporary teaching certificate. Of the more than 3,200 Traditional Public School buildings in the report card data, not a single one has core courses taught by teachers with temporary certificates.

Given this rather remarkable data regarding teachers -- the single largest cost in any school, I'm even more curious why Ohio's brick-and-mortar Charter Schools cost $54 more per pupil than Traditional Public Schools.