Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dallas ISD Enrollment Crisis

Dallas ISD is facing the most massive loss in enrollment since the White Flight days of over a decade ago!  

The current kindergarten enrollment posted this morning shows a drop of 1,136 from last year’s kindergarten enrollment. This is a drop of 8.5% and over 1,000 students smaller than any kindergarten class in 18 years!

Most of this kindergarten drop can be attributed to the 5.9% drop in births in Dallas County between 2009 when there were 42,276 births, and 2010 when there were only 39,769 births. Look at the birth numbers in Dallas County for the last 25 years below.  The birth numbers have not been this low in 18 years!

That still does not account for the remaining 2.6 percentage points, or 30% of the loss which is probably equivalent to the loss in most grades in DISD that are happening due to the DISD reputation deteriorating since 2012, teachers leaving, and the continuing growth of charter schools.

An even greater loss happened to the 12,105 students DISD had enrolled in the 5th grade last year.  Only 10,566 have returned to enroll in a DISD middle school in the 6th grade!  This is a 12.7% loss, one out of every 8 students!  It is the largest such loss on record this year!  Prior to the beginning of moving 6th grade into middle schools this loss was less than 5%!  The reputation of DISD middle schools is powerful and apparently making families move out of DISD!

Total DISD enrollment fell by 10-2-15 to only 158,593 which is 1,660 less than last year’s enrollment, and 3,162 students less than the 161,755 that were budgeted for the 2015/16 school year. 

DISD must face many issues, among them a dropping birth rate, the need to accelerate Pk-8 transitions, and the absolute necessity to restore and enhance the professional status of teachers.  Scripting classroom teaching would only be acceptable to less than life-long professional teachers.

According to DISD Data Portal, DISD now has only 214 more Pre-K students than 2 years ago.  It also is reported that over 800 Pre-K students not counted on Data Portal are being served in daycare centers by certified DISD teachers so as to avoid student transportation costs and time in the half day program.  That is a good investment.

Note, all of the above counts of current enrollment are not official except for the day recorded.  The official annual counts are made in one more month.  Given the pattern of the past month it can be anticipated that these numbers will go down even more.  If DISD staffed for the budgeted enrollment that may mean that as many as 150, or more, teachers may have to be let go once the final numbers are known.

Yesterday an article was published about the history of Dade Middle School over the past three years.  It helps explain why DISD enrollment is dropping.  See