Alabama

LOW PROFICIENCY and HIGH ACCESS
COMBINED NATIONAL OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN/PROFICIENCY STATE RANK: 36th
Opportunity to Learn Index Score: 59% (18th)
Percentage of Students at National Proficiency Level or Above: 21% (Tied-45th)

 

 

Disadvantaged Student Group (1) Opportunity to Learn
(compared to White, non-Latino students
Native American 91%         
Black 57%         
Latino 65%         
Poverty (FARL) (2) 68%         

Alabama ranks 36th among the states when the Opportunity to Learn of the state’s historically disadvantaged students is combined with a measure of educational quality (3). Alabama’s Black, Latino and Native American students, taken together, have less than 60 percent of the opportunity to attend the state’s best-supported, best-performing schools as the state’s White, non-Latino students. A low-income student has less than 70 percent of the opportunity to learn as the average White, non-Latino student.

Opportunity to Learn Core Resource Resource Access Rank
Access to High Quality Early Childhood Education (4) 28th      
Access to Highly Qualified Teachers (5) 26th      
Access to Instructional Materials (6) 46th      
Access to College Preparatory Curriculum (7) 19th      

The key Opportunity to Learn resources used in this report are high quality early childhood education, highly effective teachers, well-funded instructional materials and a college preparatory curriculum. All students must have equitable access to key educational resources if they are to have equitable opportunities for success.

Key Research Findings: Alabama is one of a group of states with comparatively low graduation rates, a comparatively high percentage of students from disadvantaged groups and comparatively low funding for instruction. High performing schools in states of this type tend to have greater percentages of highly qualified teachers, while their low performing schools have lower percentages of highly qualified teachers.

Opportunity for Success

Native American, Black, Latino and low-income students are more likely than White, non-Latino students in Alabama to be additionally disadvantaged by attending schools where they have little chance of becoming proficient in basic skills and graduating on time. Black students and low-income students are twice as likely to find themselves in such schools than are White, non-Latino students.

Dividing the percentages of Native American, Black, Latino and low-income students in these “drop-out factories” by the percentage of White, non-Latino students in these schools gives us the comparative disadvantage of each group: (Higher numbers are worse: more of a disadvantage)

Group Comparative Disadvantage
Native American students 130%         
Asian American students* 54%         
Black, non-Latino students 270%         
Latino students 150%         
Low income students 210%         
Comparison is to all White, non-Latino students 100%         

Taking steps to improve access to key resources, improving the teacher-to-student ratio and increasing the percentage of highly effective teachers in the state’s less effective schools will improve the Opportunity to Learn of the state’s minority and low-income students.

Economic Consequences(8)

Total Annual Economic Burden to Taxpayers Because of Inequity: $2.0 billion (9)

Potential Return on School Improvement Investment:
(Differences attributable to high school graduation per annual cohort)
250%
 
State Annual Total Lifetime Health Loss
 
$89 million
 
State Annual Crime-Related Loss
 
$59 million
 
State Tax Losses (Lifetime)
 
$306 million
 
Annual Lost Lifetime Earnings
(Difference attributable to high school graduation per annual cohort)
$630 million
 
Net Annual Potential Revenue Increase from Equity
(After deducting estimated cost of improving schools)
$279 million

Social and Civic Consequences

Changes attributable to educational equalization with highest performing large group:

College Graduation (25 years of age+)(10)
Increase Expected Attributable to Equitable Access
 
  Black, Latino, Native American (total) 64%
 
Employment (11)
Increase Expected Attributable to Equitable Access
 
  With High School Diploma 5%
  Further Increase with Bachelor's Degree 4%
 
Income(12)
Increase Expected Attributable to Equitable Access
 
  With High School Diploma 44%
  Further Increase with Bachelor's Degree 74%
 
Health(13)
Increase Expected Attributable to Equitable Access
 
  Black, non-Latino 24%
  Latino 31%
 
Civic Engagement(14) (National Election Participation)
 
  Increase Expected Attributable to Equitable Access 3%
 
Incarceration
Decrease Expected Attributable to Equitable Access to Education
 
  Black, non-Latino 73%
  Latino ---

 

 

* Performance for sub-groups of the Asian American populations (Hmong, Cambodian, etc.) varies drastically. Further federal and state disaggregation of data isneeded to more accurately speak to performance results of Asian Americans.

(1) Enrollments (2005/6): Native American (2,694), Asian American (2,159), Black, non-Latino (84,680), Latino (5,472), White, non-Latino (163,788), FARL (115,364).
(2) Students eligible for Free and Reduced Price Lunch.  This measure is similar to the state’s percentage of children living in poverty:Native American (29%), Asian American (18%), Black, non-Latino (41%), Latino (33%), White, non-Latino (14%).
(3) The NAEP percentage of all public school students scoring at or above proficiency for Grade 8 Reading is used as a proxy for system quality.
(4) Access for 4-year-olds: NIEER Yearbook.
(5) Ratio of disadvantaged to advantaged student access: State Consolidated Performance Reports for School Year 2004/5 in Peske, Heather G. and Kati Haycock: Teaching Inequality: How Poor and Minority Students are Shortchanged on Teacher Quality. The Education Trust, June 2006.
(6) NCES.
(7) Access to AP Math; USED/OCR.
(8) Earnings and Revenue: Levin, Henry. The Costs and Benefits of an Excellent Education for All of America’s Students. Columbia University, January 2007.
(9) Numbers are rounded.
(10) U.S. Census, American Community Survey (ACS), 2006.
(11) ACS.
(12) ACS.
(13) National Survey of Children’s Health, Indicator 6.1.
(14) Potential Civic Engagement is represented by national voting rates by educational attainment applied to adult educational attainment of the state. U.S. Census Bureau. Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2004; American Community Survey, Educational Attainment Adult Population. 2004 Voting Turnout Rate from United States Election Project: elections.gmu.edu/Turnout_2004G.html
(15) Bureau of Justice Statistics, Special Report: Education and Correctional Populations, January 2003.

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