Good Schools and Jobs
[imgbelt img=Alabamaschools.jpg]The Alabama counties with low unemployment have fewer low-achieving
schools than do the counties with high unemployment. Larry Lee sees a link.
Larry has been interested in the employment maps we’ve been running in the Yonder and the relationship between schooling and jobs. And he is particularly interested in the differences between rural and urban schools.
A while back, I received a one-page list of what Larry called “Alabama Education Factoids.” Larry had spent weeks contacting every school in the state and comparing what he learned in those conversations to unemployment rates.
Here is what he found:
• Of the 20 counties (all are rural) with the highest unemployment rates in November 2010, 38.3 percent of schools in these systems are on the state’s list of 258 “low-achieving.”
• Of the 20 counties (7 are rural) with the lowest unemployment rates in November 2010, 12.8 percent of schools in these systems are on the low-achieving list.
• There are 740,000+ students in Alabama public schools. 54 percent of them attend schools in suburban locations, 35 percent attend schools in rural locations, 11 percent attend schools in urban (inner-city) locations.
• 45.1 percent of all suburban students receive free-reduced lunches. 65.5 percent of rural students receive free-reduced lunches. 88.1 percent of all urban students receive free-reduced lunches.
• Of the 258 schools on the low-achieving list, 106 are in rural locations, 85 are in urban locations, 67 are in suburban locations.
• In low-achieving rural schools, 74.6 percent of students receive free-reduced lunches. In low-achieving suburban schools, 67.4 percent of students receive free-reduced lunches. In low-achieving urban schools, 88.2 percent of students receive free-reduced lunches.
• There are schools in rural locations in all 67 Alabama counties.
Then Larry writes:
“Are schools low-performing because they are in poor counties or are counties poor because their schools are low-performing? Perhaps both answers are correct. But one thing is certain; the numbers indicate there is definitely a linkage.”