Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hoboken Public Schools K-12 non Special Education Student Enrollment Drops Over 25% since 2010

An examination of the K-12 student enrollment over the past 5 years of the Hoboken Public Schools indicates that the total district K-12 enrollment has gone from 2039 non special education children in 2010 to 1523 in 2014 according to state mandated ASSA (Application for State School Aid) reports filed by the district. This is a reduction of slightly more than 25% (see Figure 1). Moreover, when one considers that the number of school choice students has risen from 50 in 2010 to 166 (well over 200%), the reduction in the Hoboken resident population of K-12 non special education enrollment is actually 32% (see Figure 2). 

Figure 1: 2010-2014 Total District K-12 Enrollment
Figure 2: 2010-2014 Total Resident District K-12 Enrollment
When the 2010 and 2014 ASSA data is broken down by grade we can see that the drop in enrollment is occurring at every grade but with particular emphasis between kindergarten and first grade and from third grade to sixth grade. There appears to be no change in high school enrollment, but one must consider that the majority of "school choice" students from outside of Hoboken are enrolled in the high school. The "bump" between grades nine and eleven is primarily due to "school choice" students-- a policy Superintendent Raslowsky and I were responsible for and Kids First opposed in the spring of 2009. Back then we were thinking of 10-20 students a year…not 8X that number which is currently being implemented. If not for "school choice" there would be at least 100 less students than the already low 416 students currently enrolled in the high school (see Figure 3)….a building designed for 1502 students

Figure 3: 2010 vs 2014 K-12 Enrollment by Grade*
*note: the "bump" in student enrollment in grades 9, 10, and 11 for 2014 is best explained by the 
increase in Choice (non resident) students. A program I brought to the district in 2009. Special education students not included since not reported by grade. 

This 25% drop in non special education K-12 district enrollment (-516 children) far surpasses any increase in the charter school population over the same period. For instance, in 2010 there were 468 children in Hoboken's charter schools. In 2014 there were 631 children in Hoboken's charter schools or an increase of 163 children (Figure 4) vs. the over 500 students lost in the full district. 

Figure 4: K-12 Student Enrollment District and Charters
Why is K-12 district enrollment plummeting? What exactly is going on? Its not certain why parents are abandoning the school district. It could be related to the drop in QSAC scores from 87% to 45% under the leadership of Curriculum Chair Person and current Board President Ruth McAllister (Tylor); 

Figure 5: Most recent results of the Instruction and Program
DPR for the Hoboken School District  
Perhaps its the violence and vandalism reports, perhaps its the graduation rates, perhaps its the NJ Report Card results, maybe its the test scores, maybe its the SAT results, perhaps its having 6 superintendents in 6 years? A general revoking door of principals? No doubt, its likely not one single reason. What is clear  however is that this rapid decline in enrollment of the public schools is not happening because of the city's charter schools. And the enrollment decline would be even more severe if the district wasn't accepting as many students from out of town (n=161) as part of the school choice program. 

Further analysis with full enrollment population is fortcoming