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Thread: The "Declining Enrollment" Myth

  1. #1
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    Default The "Declining Enrollment" Myth

    Besides the alleged savings in revenue, the School Committee and administration have justified this year’s closing of Loker by pointing to declining enrollment.
    This is something that many people could not understand, because even a cursory glance at the numbers will show that the decline over the last 7 years (the period of time the SC has referred to) has been not even half of what the decline was in 1980, when Loker was closed for the first time. (See graph here that compares those two 7-year periods)

    This year, what started in September as a small drop in enrollment – 11, as compared to the 35 the SC stated that they expected – has worked its way up to only 6 fewer than last year, and finally, as of today 0 fewer.

    We are now dead even with the number of students we had last year – so we now have a zero enrollment decline. And, it is entirely possible that as the year progresses, we could actually have an increase in enrollment as new folks move into town.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

  2. #2
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    Thumbs down A kick in the teeth

    So not only was the Loker School closed without even a visit from the Superintendent beforehand (we were informed via backpack mail), but our teachers and students were then put on overcrowded buses to crowd the other community schools for a declining enrollment of ZERO.
    It's really upsetting to hear that. Not at all surprising, but really upsetting.
    We need an overhaul of our school administrators.
    Last edited by Mary Barber; 12-04-2008 at 11:03 PM. Reason: spelling

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    Besides the alleged savings in revenue, the School Committee and administration have justified this year’s closing of Loker by pointing to declining enrollment.
    This is something that many people could not understand, because even a cursory glance at the numbers will show that the decline over the last 7 years (the period of time the SC has referred to) has been not even half of what the decline was in 1980, when Loker was closed for the first time. (See graph here that compares those two 7-year periods)

    This year, what started in September as a small drop in enrollment – 11, as compared to the 35 the SC stated that they expected – has worked its way up to only 6 fewer than last year, and finally, as of today 0 fewer.

    We are now dead even with the number of students we had last year – so we now have a zero enrollment decline. And, it is entirely possible that as the year progresses, we could actually have an increase in enrollment as new folks move into town.
    This "new" thread appears to be a rehash of this older one. Your helpful chart confirms that elementary school enrollment has in fact been declining. While the decline from last year to this year was quite small (4 students out of 1,217 comparing December to December), it was nonetheless a decline.

    A one year slowing of the decline isn't really the point, though. Even if next year's Kindergarten were to be 20 students more than this year's, there would still be a decline next year of on the order of 30 students.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    While the decline from last year to this year was quite small (4 students out of 1,217 comparing December to December), it was nonetheless a decline.
    Sure.
    And technically a few isolated raindrops is all it would take to say that it's raining, but that wouldn't exactly send you running for the umbrella, now would it?

    .
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

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    Just because you *can* take my comment out of context doesn't mean that you *should* take it out of context. Fortunately, the curious reader need only look at my post immediately above yours to see how you are playing the game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Just because you *can* take my comment out of context doesn't mean that you *should* take it out of context. Fortunately, the curious reader need only look at my post immediately above yours to see how you are playing the game.
    No game.

    By all means, I would encourage the curious reader to carefully read ALL of your posts. Read them closely and thoroughly.

    However, a fact's a fact.
    With 4 fewer students if you compare last December to this December, or with NO fewer students if you compare last year's official number for the year (October) to where we are today, we essentially have had no decline in enrollment.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

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    Default

    And with a single data point, you can draw a line in pretty much any direction you like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    While the decline from last year to this year was quite small (4 students out of 1,217 comparing December to December), it was nonetheless a decline.
    Would you explain why you are using the 1217 number now, but were using a number of 1213 back in April, when you were justifying the reconfiguration, as seen on page 4 of your Reassignment Plan document here?

    .
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    Would you explain why you are using the 1217 number now, but were using a number of 1213 back in April, when you were justifying the reconfiguration, as seen on page 4 of your Reassignment Plan document here?
    It strikes me as logical to compare on an equivalent basis: for instance, October to October, or as far forward as we can go right now, December to December. I'm certainly open to applying a different logic.

    That's not really an important point, however--a difference of a few students either way doesn't change the reality that our enrollment this year is equivalent to last year for all practical purposes. What matters, in my opinion, is the longer term trend.

    That trend, as your chart illustrates, shows a decline over a number of years. It would take an incoming Kindergarten class of unprecedented size relative to births five years ago and recent Kindergarten class sizes (which drive the enrollment projection) for the decline not to continue next year.

    But I repeat myself--I don't have anything more to add on the topic of enrollment, and will bow out of this conversation.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    It strikes me as logical to compare on an equivalent basis: for instance, October to October, or as far forward as we can go right now, December to December. I'm certainly open to applying a different logic.

    That's not really an important point, however--a difference of a few students either way doesn't change the reality that our enrollment this year is equivalent to last year for all practical purposes. What matters, in my opinion, is the longer term trend.

    That trend, as your chart illustrates, shows a decline over a number of years. It would take an incoming Kindergarten class of unprecedented size relative to births five years ago and recent Kindergarten class sizes (which drive the enrollment projection) for the decline not to continue next year.

    But I repeat myself--I don't have anything more to add on the topic of enrollment, and will bow out of this conversation.

    Jeff,

    You dragged the entire town on a wild goose chase about declining enrollment for two years. You turned out to be wrong. You cost 300 families their local school and untold grief. I can certainly see why you wish to bow out of the conversation.

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