The Portland Public Schools community is having an equity discussion about elective offerings in middle schools (and more broadly). PPS Board member Paul Anthony has filled a federal civil rights complaint about the issue. In speaking on the OPB program “Think Out Loud,” Anthony related an anecdote that compared the poorer, mostly minority Lane Middle School with 12 elective choices to the more affluent, Whiter Mt. Tabor Middle School with 24 elective choices (here).
Why does Lane have fewer elective choices? The answer is not clear to me. Lane, with fewer students, has more teachers and spends more per student. Why are not those teachers used to provide more elective choices. I do not know. Does Lane need more teachers or does it need to be forced to used the teachers it has differently?
In what follows, I have selected a few data charts from the PPS document “School Profiles & Enrollment Data: 2014-15.” (here: If this data is faulty, where is the correct data?)
(1) Mt. Tabor has more students: Lane has 471. Mt. Tabor has 662.
(2) Lane has more classrooms. Lane has 38. Mt. Tabor has 32.
(3) Lane has more teachers but Mt. Tabor has foundation funding for a part-time teacher (0.17 FTE). Lane has 33.25 FTE teachers. Mt. Tabor has 32.75 FTE teachers.
(4) Lane spend more per students. Lane spends $7,189 per student. Mt. Tabor spends $5,374 per student.