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Wisconsin. Dept. of Public Instruction.

Suggestive studies of school conditions; an outlined study in school problems for women's clubs, parent-teacher associations and community organizations online

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Compute the teaching expense per pupil in each of the various grades.
When you come to the high school, it will not be possible to separate by



WHERE DOES OUR DOLLAR GO?




PLATE XX



92 Suggestive Studies of School Conditions

9th, lOlh, nth, and 12th grades, but it will be necessary to compute
instructional cost per pupil for the high school as a whole. (See high school
principal's report to the state superintendent.)

It may be advisable or interesting to compute unit costs by subject
studied, especially in the high school. The method of doing this is as
follows : Suppose that a history teacher teaches 5 classes a day and receives
$600.00 salary for the year. Each class which she teaches would cost one-
fifth of $600.00, or $120.00. Suppose that there are 20 pupils in her class.
The cost of teaching each one of these pupils this subject for a school year
would be one-twentieth of $120.00 or $6.00. A computation of the com-
parative costs of high school subjects will be found valuable. Which are
the most expensive? In computing this, the costs are usually shown in
terms of 100 student hours. For example, for the history class above
studied, the cost per student hour is 3|c and the cost per 100 student hours
would be $3.33.

5. School and Other Civic Activities

It will be valuable to determine how much the school costs in comparison
with other local activities. Get from the town, village, or city clerk a
record of activities and expenditures for the past year. What part of this
do the school expenditures represent? Compare in detail how much the
community spends for schools in comparison to what it spends for admin-
istrative expenses, fire protection, board of health expenses, etc., etc.

6. Cost of Recommendation

As each topic in this outline is presented to the club it will be noted that
they may be divided into three sorts — (a) to involve no financial outlay (b)
to involve added expense for the schools or citizens (c) to involve a possible
saving for the schools. For all problems coming under heads (b) and (c)
compute the cost or the amount of saving possible. Obtain from the school
clerk the assessed valuation of the school district. Divide this into the
amount raised by the local district for the maintenance of its schools dur-
ing the year. Compute the proportions which the yearly school cost
represents of the assessed valuation of the school district.

No district may legally borrow money for school purposes to more than
five per cent of its assessed valuation. What limit does this place on possi-
ble outlay expenditures for the local schools?

Go very carefully through all recommendations which have been made
to determine what they will mean in an added tax burden and which of
them had better be abandoned or put off on this account. Revise club list
of recommendations to make it as practical and economical as possible.
Every school district should be willing to increase expenditures in order to
increase school efficiency but there is inevitably a point beyond which in-
creased expenditures would not bring returns to compensate for the
added tax burden.

7. Budget

A budget is a collection of estimated expenditures for consideration of
the taxpayers in a district or for the common council or a city council in a



School Finances 93

city. It should include estimated probable expenditures for teaching
salaries, fuel, janitor expenses and all the main points shown in the financial
report of past expenditures to the state superintendent.

Get from the school clerk a full account of budget methods in the dis-
trict. How closely are items estimated for any coming year? Is money
appropriated separately by items or in a lump sum for the schools as a
whole? After money has been appropriated, is it redistributed according
to budget estimates or are changes made in distribution? The an-
nual school meeting comes the first Monday in July. Before this time
get a member of the school board to talk to the club on the board's esti-
mates for expenses in the coming year. Invite the board to be present at a
club meeting and make report to them and to the club as to what recom-
mendations should be considered which will involve some expenditure.
In the case of any club recommendations which will take added funds
suggest to the school board that it incorporate provision for these in its
report at the annual meeting.

Every voter in the district should attend the annual school meeting to
talk over projects for the good of the schools. Why not make this a live
affair instead of the dead routine meeting which is held in most locahties?
It is on this occasion that the good of the schools may be most materially
advanced by the citizens of the community — it is their opportunity to
benefit the school system. If possible, hold the school exhibit at this time
and urge all citizens to come out for the annual meeting. There is no
reason why a brief program should not be presented at this meeting with
speakers and musical numbers.



s. C.-4



XA II. THE SCHOOL EXHIBIT

At the close of the year's work, the club's school exhibit should be held
in cooperation with the school authorities. In case that not all the sections
presented in this outline can be covered there, it is better to cover a few
thoroughly, than to cover a great many in a slip-shod manner. The ex-
hibit should consider only those which have been exhaustively studied.

Each study which the club makes should furnish one or more charts on
the lines of those which are scattered through this outline as suggestions.
These charts should be colored where possible. In addition to the charts
there should be graphical respresentations by means of objects, models,
etc. For example in the work on the school lunch it will be well to have
several tempting lunches prepared along good dietary lines and exhibited
together with the chart giving menus. If it is desired to show graphically
the difference in earning power between the boy with a high school educa-
tion and the boy without, a number of coins representing the day's earning
of each may be fastened under a glass cover with the caption — "Which
would you rather have?" and an explanation of the meaning. There should
be an outside speaker at the school exhibit. The superintendent or prin-
cipal should also be called upon to speak. A good topic for the latter
would be — "What I would do for the schools with a bequest of $10,000."

A word of caution with regard to charts and exhibits may be in order.
It is essential that everything be made constructive, that is, that the remedy
be shown along with the bad condition. Should the club show floors nrt
scrubbed often enough, school grounds unbeautified, desks in poor condi-
tion or other backward features of the school system, there should always
be included the remedy, perhaps usually with a "Why not make this
better" or "Your interest will help" or "Let's have more windows in the
schoolhouse!"

This exhibit may include samples of school work by school pupils such
as form the staple of ordinary school exhibits. It may also include a pro-
gram by the school children. Much emphasis should be placed upon the
club studies which have brought results previous to the time of the exhibit.
It may be well to have a booth marked "Results already attained" wherein
are grouped the charts showing conditions which have already been reme-
died by the action of the club. Lunch served by th? domestic science girls,
tables or racks made by the manual training boys, a little play or special
program, a sample quarter session of regular school work, all would con-
tribute to the success of such a school exhibit as this.

Objects should be used as much as possible. An effective method of chart
mak'ng is to lie or fasten to the heavy cardboard the object which is
needed for graphic representation^e. g. bank, textbook, or other article.

In conclusion it must not be supposed that because a study is made one
year the same study should not be repeated during other years. In one
county in Wisconsin the number of children using toothbrushes was
found to increase by over 100 per cent between one year and the next.
If the county superintendent had ceased getting this data after the first
year, it would not have been kno.vn what the results of this study were.
It is very valuable especially in connection with studies where improve-
ment is most needed that yearly analysis be made to show progress and
opjinrlunily for advancement.



APPENDIX ON METHOD



To study local conditions intelligently, it is necessary nowadays to be
acquainted with means of collecting, arranging, and interpreting figures.

Moreover, the duty of a club is not done when it merely instructs itself
on school questions. It must also educate and inform other. citizens, so
that all will have the benefit of studies made. It should hold a school
exhibit (see section 17) at the close of the year's work, and show there
charts and posters concerning school facts. This section aims to tell how
a club may best work with figures.

You will need

several colors of chalks and inks

a protractor to measure angles

a ruler

a compass

squared paper (squares about 1-4 inch)

large chart paper (18"x28")

pencils, pens, etc.

You will need to know how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide, and
also how to obtain a percentage (ordinarily by dividing the larger into the
smaller number).

The first thing is to be sure that your figures to start on are complete.
Don't leave out any children and expect to get correct results on enroll-
ment, attendance, etc.

Always check results to see if they add correctly, across and Up and
down. Always include a total column both ways to check by. Use cards for
children or other individual data, where possible, rather than page lists.

It is not necessary for a club to do all the work of arranging and inter-
preting figures itself. The work in addition is splendid material for the
school children. Geometry students can help in plotting curves in their
study of graphs, and drawing students can do much in making artistic
posters or in coloring and filling in outlines.

Example of Study

For example: We wish to study non-promotions in city grades for the
state of Wisconsin. First of all we shall look up our figures and divide the
children into groups by grades and "total failed," "incomplete," and
"promoted." Our table when complete will show in this fcrm:



96



Suggestive Studies of School Conditions





Total
No.


Failed
No.


Dropped
No.


Promoted

No.


Total


103676
18821
15190
13676
13459
12503
11366
10315
8346


7949

1849

972

844

1065

1038

861

863

457


8637

1939

1205

1137

1076

1003

819

891

567


87090


1st grade


15033


2nd grade


13013




11695


4th grade


11318


5th grade


10462




9686




8561


8th grade


7322







You will notice that in each case the top or left hand figure is the sum
cf the column crosswise, or up and down, and that the figure 103676 is
the sum of the data for the grades as well as of the three column totals.
This means that the table checks.

Next should be computed percentages. When this is done the table will
look like this:

NONPROMOTION CH.4RT WISCONSIN CITY SCHOOLS 1914-1915





Total


Failed


Dropped


Promoted




No.


Percent


No.


Per cent


No.


Per cent


No.


Per cent


Total


103676


100


7949


7.7


8637


8.3


87090


84.0








18821


100


1849


9.8


1939


10.2


15033


80.0






2nd grade


15190


100


972


6.4


1205


8.0


13013


85.6


3rd grade


13676


100


844


6.2


1137


8.3


11695


85.5




13459


100


1065


8.0


1076


8.0


11318


84.0








12503


100


1038


8.3


1003


8.0


10462


83.7








11366


100


861


7.6


819


7.2


9686


85.2






7th grade


10315


100


863


8.4


891


8.7


8561


82.9








8346


100


457


5.5


567


6.8


7322


87.7







You will notice that the per cents in each line of figures add up to 100
crosswise, although up and down of course no check is possible. From a
table like this one can see at a glance what grades fail the greatest number
of pupils and from what grades pupils are most likely to drop. It should
be mentioned that "dropped" means "dropped during year," not "failed to
enroll." Notice that the total columns are at the top and left hand instead
of at the right hand and bottom, as is usual in accounting. This is so that
they will be near the headings and will occupy the prominent place which
their importance demands, rather than being placed at the end of a mass
of material.

We now wish to show graphically the facts brought out by the above
table. To do this we should use squared paper. The first thing to con-
sider is: "What is the largest figure which I must show?" In this case it is



Appendix on Method



97



18821, as we wish to make the graph to represent the relations of the dif-
ferent grades to one another in the numbers of pupils failed, incomplete,
and promoted.

Should we count 100 children to the square our graph would need to
be 189 squares high. This is, of course, an awkward height. We try letting
each square represent 200, and find that 95 squares is still too high for a
graph. We decide in this case to let one square equal 500 children, and so
make our graph 38 squares or (on |inch squared paper) 9 5 inches high. For
the width of the curve we decide to let each grade be represented by the
fourth squared line, which will make our chart 28 squares or 7 inches wide.
We make an ink line around the amount of squared paper which our chart
will take, and make notations outside the graph area for each grade line



and each line


re


presenting


1000 children.




(S


ee


Pl


at


e


XXI).














gr

19000
Total No. of
children in

1700O
160OO

15000

No. promoted

14000

13000

12000

11000

10000

9000

8000

7000

6000

5000

4000

3000

No. Incomplete
2000
No. failed

1000
\


Number of Children Promoted, Failed
in Wisoon3in City Schools 1

ade grade grade grade gra
L E .T 4


and incomplete
914-15.

de grade gra

5 -6 1


de gr!


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PLATE XXI



TcS Suggestive Studies of School Conditions

We will have for this graph four curves to represent columns, "total,"
"failed," "incomplete," and "promoted." Let us first follow up the total
column. Our first figure for the first grade is 18821. Following up the grade
one line to approximately 4-5 of the distance between 18000 and 19.000 we
make an ink dot representing this number. (See plate 1). The next figure
is 15190. On the second grade hne we follow up to a point above the 15000
line, which will represent this amount. In the same way we make dots for
13676, 13459, and the other figures in this column. When we have finished
we diaw the line which represents the total number of children in each of
these grades. In the same way we draw the lines for the children failed,
incomplete, and promoted, using for each a different color of ink, and for
the failed curve, which is the one we want to be the most prominent, red
ink. The finished graph will represent the appearance of plate XXI.

Suppose we want to represent by bars, a very common form of graphic
representation, the number of children failed, incomplete, and promoted
in Wisconsin schools during a single year. To represent this is very simple.
We first make a black bar representing 100 per cent of the children. Let
this bar equal a given length, — say 4 inches. This represents the total
children enrolled in school. In the next bar we wish to show the number
who were promoted. We kno>v that this equals 84 per cent of the total
children involved. We get 84-100 of 4 inches, which will be 3 -1-4 inches.
The number of failures is 7.7 per cent of the total. 77-1000 of 4 inches is
approximately 5-16 of an inch. We shall draw a bar of this length to rep-
resent this fact. 8.3 per' cent will represent a bar about 3-8 of an inch.
When finished we have a series of bars like this:



Total, 103676-




Promoted
87090-84f«



Failed

7949-

7.7^

Incomplete
8637-8. 3/o



Suppose that instead of wanting to use the bar method we wish to make
a circle graph of the facts as to nonpromotions. The whole circle will
represent the total children enrolled or 103676. The number of degrees
taken from the circle will show the various groups of children, those failed,
incomplete, and promoted. The children having failed are, as has been
said, 7.7 per cent of the total. 7.7 per cent of 360 degrees is approximately
28 degrees. We shall mark off this amount on the circumference of the
circle from any given radius, and then draw the radius from this point to
the center. 8.3 per cent, or the number incomplete, would represent 30
degrees, which number again will be represented by a second segment of



Appendix on Method ^9

a circle. To check the circle with the facts we shall take 84 per cent of 360
degrees, Avhich is found to be 302 degrees. By using our protractor we
find that this is the amount which is left of the circle. The complete graph
will look as follows:




The bar and the circle graphs are the commonest form of graphic rep-
resentation. In finances the dollar may be divided up into segments by
the circle method to show vividly comparative expenditures. Other
examples of possible means of graphic representation are to be found in
newspapers, reports, magazines, and bulletins on almost any subject. A
bulletin published by the Russell Sage Foundation, No. 130 East 22nd
Street, New York City, "A comparative study of the school systems of
forty-eight states," which can be procured for 15 cents, gives a number
of excellent examples of graphic representation. For the club which wishes
to make a more extensive study of methods in this line perhaps the best
work is "Graphic methods for presenting facts" by Willard C. Brinton,
published by the Engineering Magazine Co., New York City, and sold at
$3.00.

One method which is like the bar method, but looks different, is to use
instead of black bars symbols or little figures, such as dollar signs, or
representations of children, etc. For this we use proportionate numbers of
symbols in the various lines, e. g.
Your tax money
What the high school pupil gets
What the grade pupil gets



100 Suggestive Studies of School Conditions




EACH YEAR SEES $354,400

ECONOMIC WASTE

IN

WISCONSIN

THROUGH NON-PROMOTIONS



Yearly Expenses

goes to educating

Repeaters



How many failures are preventable by



Good teaching

Good attendance

Good home cooperation

Good will of teacher and pupil



CAN OUR SCHOOLS AFFORD



TO FAIL CHILDREN?



PLATE XXII



Appendix on Method 101

m Did hlot <=>

Graduate. Graduated.



kkkik




Very often no ordinary graphic representation will show the thing as it
should be shown. We must cultivate ingenuity in seeing the relations of
facts. For example: In the study just explained in detail, that of nonpromo-
tion, connection may be made with the cost of maintaining the schools
of Wisconsin. It was found that approximately $4,430,000 is spent for the
city grades each year. If 8 per cent of the children fail, this means that
each year $354,400 is spent for the education of repeaters in grades. In
this fact lies the "feature" of the study. As a final showing a chart should
be made such as plate XXII.

Each study that your club makes with regard to the school should
produce one or more graphic charts showing conditions. This should be
made on large size round paper. Use plenty of ink so that they may be
seen at some distance. Colors should be used where possible, especially
the brighter colors, — red, violet, etc. Objects or object charts are also
very effective. This was discussed in section 17, "The School Exhibit."
Where the name of a city or village is used in the headline, it should be
made to stand out by using larger letters or some more prominent color
of ink. This is also the case with the keyword or feature symbol of the
chart.

All charts should be saved for the club's annual exhibit which will give
a summary of facts concerning the schools.



s. c— 5





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Online LibraryWisconsin. Dept. of Public InstructionSuggestive studies of school conditions; an outlined study in school problems for women's clubs, parent-teacher associations and community organizations → online text (page 9 of 9)