Nov 9 2007

Selected data from the Tennessee Department of Education 2007 Report Card:

Alcoa Maryville Blount State
Schools 3 17 19 1714
Students 1589 4792 10,919 925,898
Teachers 103 323 659 60889
Students per teacher 15.4 14.8 16.6 15.2
Administrators 7 18 36 3866
African American 22.4% 4.1% 1.6% 24.8%
Hispanic 5.8% 2.1% 1.9% 4.7%
White 71.3% 90.8% 95.6% 68.8%
Limited English 3.9% 2.4% 0.9% 2.9%
Disabilities 14.9% 13.7% 17.1% 15.4%
Economically Disadvantaged 50.8% 24.3% 47.3% 54.7%
Female 46.4% 48.8% 49.1% 48.5%
Male 53.6% 51.2% 50.9% 51.5%
Per Pupil Expenditures $9,415 $8,979 $7,336 $7,794
Local funding 54.4% 52.5% 39.7% 43.1%
Federal funding 6.5% 6.6% 8.5% 11.1%
State funding 39.1% 41.0% 51.8% 45.9%
% Proficient Math K-8 91% 95% 91% 90%
• Change from 2006 -5% -1% 0% 1%
• African American 82% 87% 80% 82%
• Hispanic 74% 100% 93% 86%
• White 95% 96% 91% 92%
% Proficient Reading K-8 96% 96% 92% 90%
• Change from 2006 0% -1% 1% 2%
• African American 90% 90% 86% 85%
• Hispanic 73% 100% 93% 82%
• White 98% 97% 92% 93%
Attendance 95.8% 95.8% 92.9% 93.0%
Graduation* 90.5% 91.4% 77.6% 90.0%

(*2007 Graduation rates for Blount Co. system not available, 2006 figure used. Click post title to see table in wider view.)


• The Blount Co. system spends the least per pupil, has the lowest percentage of local funding, and the lowest achievement.

• Alcoa spends the most per pupil and has the highest percentage of local funding, and has results in the middle.

• Alcoa has the highest percentage of minorities and Blount Co. has the lowest. All three systems are below the state average.

• Alcoa has the highest percentage of economically disadvanted and Maryville has the lowest.

• Hispanic students are outperforming in Maryville and Blount Co. schools and underperforming in Alcoa schools.

• Schools in the three Blount Co. systems outperform the state averages in most categories.

Your thoughts?


Get rid of TA's

Get Rid of the Teacher's Aids. Every teacher has one or 2 teaching assistants. So obviously someone isn't doing thier JOB But when they do not want to buy textbooks and put that money into salaries????? I have a problem with my tax dollars doing that. When a few friends' kids do not even have a math or english book to take home to do homework and have to share, there is something wrong. Four years of neglected textbooks to go towards raises/salaries and those salaries can't do the job. Well it is pitiful to see the scores that RNeal posted. I have seen them before and to be honest they aren't any different then the last 6 years. Thank you mr. neal for posting.


I have a question for you. Do you know a teacher? I don't have to ask if you are a teacher, because it is obvious you are not. For clarification i am not a teacher, but my is a teacher. She teaches in the county school system. She teaches at an elementary school. She only has an aid for 30 minutes a day, but in all honesty she needs an aid ALL DAY long!!! You may ask why. Aid are needed to help the teachers because the teachers are not able to do their jobs anymore. They can't just teach, they have mountains of paperwork to do.
In our situation, I am working hard to get her out of teaching. One day I will be able to tell her that she can stay home. GOD has blessed my wife with the ablility to teach and LOVE all children. She truely is a great teacher, but she is becoming overwhelmed by all the "other stuff" she has to do.
TA's help teachers with all the other stuff.

I also have insight on the graduation rates of the three systems. I have heard that the Maryville school system dumps there problems on the county high schools. Alcoa might do it as well, but i think that might be worth looking into for all those who would want to really know the reasoning behind the bad numbers for the county.

One other thing is the local funding. When you see local funding for Alcoa, Maryville, and the county keep in mind that Blount county has to split the money they get from taxes. So, when you see the tax rate with 0.95 ($24,225,000) going to schools remember the break down goes like this:

Aloca - 8.8891% ($2,153,384)
Maryville - 27.3333% ($6,621,492)
County - 63.7776% ($15,450,124)

Just something to think about

GOD Bless!

Teacher to pupil ratio

I noticed Maryville has the lowest student to teacher ratio. I wonder if that is the key to their success? They have, on average, almost two fewer students per teacher.

I know you had to use last year's graduation numbers, but I think 77.6% (Blount County) is still a little scary, especially given that there are more than twice as many students as in Maryville and about 5 times as many as in Alcoa. What does that say about the local workforce? It is even well below the state numbers.

Does anyone know what might factor into that? Block scheduling (or do the city systems use that, too?), overcrowding, rural population, etc.?

Less credits to graduate.

Less credits to graduate. Truth radio has commented that alot. Maybe some merit to it? Because when they do flunk out of HS then they could look forward to going back to school to graduate with a GED at Everrette HS. Oh wait no that is wrong "my bad" they will go to our Eagleton grammar school aged schools to take classes since they are half empty.

Are you saying...

JAC: Does Blount County require fewer credits to graduate with a diploma? You'd think that would net a higher percentage of graduates.

R U local??????

Blount county schools require more credits to graduate then even what the University of Tennessee requires to enter, oh BTW GO VOLS.
You of all should know what the BCSB wants for graduates for credits. Oh "my bad" your kids are home-schooled.

Your bad

JAC: While we are handing out personal details of various bloggers' lives (mine, mostly), perhaps you'd like to tell us where your kids are schooled? I know that's a private and personal decision of you and yours, but it seems that there are no sacred cows here [in your opinion].

But since you've brought it up, did you know that homeschoolers pay as much in property taxes as every other Citizen (which goes toward the education of those enrolled in public schools), but also have to pay for their own curriculum, and often private school affiliation and testing? It's a real bummer. On the other hand, there would be a real crisis if some change in the law made it necessary for all those homeschooled kids to re-enter the public schools. There would likely be close to one thousand additional kids within the borders of Blount County, including cities. It would certainly have an impact on those student-to-teacher ratios.

I noticed Maryville has the

I noticed Maryville has the lowest student to teacher ratio. I wonder if that is the key to their success?

My guess it has more to do with the much lower percentage of economically disadvantaged students.

Lots of studies (I know that's weak but I'm too lazy to google) tie poverty to a range of socioeconomic problems. There may be a chicken and egg aspect to it, but basically more affluent people have more ability and opportunity to be more involved in their child's education. (Edit: and they probably tend to be better educated themselves.)

If there was some way to measure parental involvement, I bet that would be a very revealing statistic in terms of performance and achievement. Too bad the NCLB formulas don't include that.

One idea I've tossed out and gotten ridiculed for is to pay parents (which are probably more likely to be single mothers) of kids in lower income families to attend parent/teacher conferences, school functions, counseling meetings, and whatever other types of interactions schools have with parents.

Some parents may want to be more involved but may not have adequate transportation, or are working two jobs, or can't afford babysitters for their other kids. This could help them. For the plain old lazy and shiftless, getting $25 or whatever to go to some meeting might get them to show up, and maybe some interest and enthusiasm might rub off.

Either way, the kids are going to see them getting involved and showing an interest in their education, and maybe that would get them more interested, too.


When looking at the school profiles it is not possible to understand the higher teacher to student ratio given or needed for those meeting ADA standards. That can skew the overall ratio a great deal.

RNeal possibly

It can possibly work if those parents are actually wanting it for that cause. But for this Pre-K program that they are wanting is ludicrous. Let the joe-jane public pay for thier own pre-k child care and not the tax dollars that can be used for adding classroom or textbooks or salaries. But doing a pre-k schooling is a waste since it is not a "teaching" but rather a "baby-sitting" class. what do you think?

I have mixed feelings about

I have mixed feelings about pre-K.

Obviously the earlier you start educating a child the better.

That used to be what parents did, but now both parents are working to pay for SUVs and big brick houses, so kids are entertained by TV and video games.

So in that respect, pre-K may be better than day care. And a lot of working people, especially single mothers, can't even afford day care, so pre-K could help them a lot with their finances and their kid's education.

On the other hand, with Tennessee's schools in such a mess and our state's performance consistently ranked near the bottom, it seems like we ought to get that house in order before we start building on additions.


Well the ending was good. But I for one have paid out every year for my kids classrooms for supplies. Do I complain about doing so, NO. But I had to pay for "PRE-school. I didn't go to the school board to allow my kids to enter that and have the tax dollars go towards the classes. Also if you allow this pre-school to go through, then what are the cons and pros?

Here's Gov. Bredesen's pitch

Here's Gov. Bredesen's pitch for pre-K:


Here are some success stories from around the state, including one from Alcoa:


The only downside I am aware of is the cost.

Mixed feelings on preK

I have mixed feelings about preK. I'm telling my age here, but when I was a kid, Kindergarten was not even required. It was optional, and my parents didn't pick it. I've always been grateful for the extra year of freedom! (Kidding.) And somehow, I managed to do well in school. If it is parental involvement that makes the biggest difference in educational outcome, it seems like encouraging longer parent-child time would be more in order than whipping those babies right out of the Blount Memorial newborn nursery and slapping them into preschool. I do realize that not everyone has the luxury or desire to stay at home with their kids, though.

i will agree there local

It is the parents responsibility and not the tax payers. That is my whole point. Why should we have to pay for those that want to pop out 3-4-5 kids and still can't manage to pay for them. Heck they are getting state aid for food, shelter, child care and whichever they ask for. I do not see the justification on pre-k. Spend more time with your kids and not all the other non-essentials. I shouldn't have to pay to raise thier kids, which we are doing through our taxes. And my kids go to Carpenters, for which the parents and PTO had to pay for the playground equipment grass seed, leveling the dirt mounds, and paved areas. All that WAS included in the original price tag on building the school. But was took out during the construction and was told that it wasn't part of it. Funny how the school board is the only department in the county that can do whatever they want with the money once the full commission gives them thier budgets.

Also a couple of questions

Also a couple of questions for any of you educators who might be reading.

Is the high $ per student at Alcoa related to the economies of scale, i.e. in a bigger school system it's less expensive on a per pupil basis?

How come the percentage of female students is lower than the general population?

I was always under the

I was always under the impression that Alcoa is able to spend more per pupil because of the presence of Alcoa Aluminum. I'll admit I may be wrong. Similarly, Oak Ridge is able to spend $10,602 per pupil because of the plants there.

Keep in Mind:

Keep in mind, Maryville & Alcoa have tiny school systems in terms of number of students. Maryville has just under 5,000, Alcoa doesn't even have 2,000. Clearly, they've done a good job with their respective school systems.
In contrast, Blount County has exceeded 11,000 students this year. BC is doing pretty darn well when you consider the greater number of challenges that come with educating so many students. Walk into ANY of the 19 Blount County Schools and you will find some impressive work going on and some incredibly impressive kids. It's the only place left where you actually find the "neighborhood" school concept. Especially in places such as Carpenters, Porter, Friendsville, Lanier and Fairview. Sure, the high schools are jam-packed, but give Blount an "A" for being the first to introduce Freshman Academies. Heritage is into its second year of the new program, William Blount will launch one next year. They are designed to help give freshmen a better academic shot in their first year--which sets the tone for all the high school years.
Finally, take these report cards with a grain of salt. The system of grading these schools has its flaws. Hopefully, the results can be used as a guide to help schools improve for their core customers: the students. They shouldn't be used to bash the schools, teachers, or breed a culture of superiority/inferiority among students. Unfortunately, that has happened far too often in this community.

I did not think they are

I did not think they are proposing to require pre-K. As I do not think they require kindergarten. Evidenced by homeschooling, apparently they cannot force you to send your kid to school at all. I

Mandatory education vs. mandatory school


Technically, you are correct about "requirement." In Tennessee, as in the rest of the U.S., we have laws mandating education of children beyond a certain age. This is what gives the parents the choice of public, private, or homeschool. In Germany, for example, the law specifies "mandatory school attendance," so homeschooling is actually against the law and they will take your kids away, place them in state custody, and possibly throw you in jail.

Here is the law regarding compulsory school age:
“between the ages of six (6) and seventeen (17) years, both inclusive”; also applicable to children under age 6 who have enrolled in any public, private, or parochial school for more than six weeks; a parent of a six-year-old may make application for a one-semester or one-year deferral with the principal of the public school in which the child would be required to attend."

But I think if you just skipped Kindergarten, your kid would have to start in Kindergarten when you did decide to enroll them in school, because Kindergarten is now an official grade level. If you homeschooled for Kindergarten, I guess you'd be allowed to start in first grade.

Bizgrrl, our school board wants it

Our school board wants it, Our govenor wants it, our parents that can't take of thier own kids wants it. The TAX PAYERS do not want it. Well let me re-phrase that, THIS tax payer does not want that. I am sure if you took a poll on here or even in the daily times, I can't see any common sense tax payer would want it. So I won't put words in others' mouths. But Have to tell ya if you don't start talking about it now, it will be too late since it is already in discussion to get passed. Heard a teacher tell me this Friday at the school:

IF you can breed then you can feed

She saw that on a bumber sticker. She said she had to laugh but it is true, why should we pay for baby sitting which is what pre-k is. Feed, sleep, color, snack again, play, and maybe start to learn the ABC's. But most importantly, it will cost per each school: 2-4 more teachers, 2-6 (love this one) teacher's assistant, lots of school supplies, food, and the big one..... more classrooms used, which will bring our school capacities overboard again. just to house kids that parents neglect. True fact there, neglect will say it again. Why have them, so you can have social status? Then again we can Truth radio come to commission meetings and post up on a powerpoint on the side of the wall the dead fetuses. Now that's something that should be shown at a commission meeting, some county business.

Pay as you go

To me the biggest issue here is being able to adequately fund the current K-12 programs statewide. If that were already being done and the proposal to add an additional grade level program were considered, I would be more than willing to consider it myself.

Fund what you've got first.

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