Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's Crappy! Chart! Thursday!

Yes, it's that time. Time for another not-easily-readable data geek chart.

What can I say? The kids (Or my snot-sharing little soccer team. Or possibly the hockey locker room. If there's a place with a nice, revolting biohazard-y vibe, it's a hockey locker room) shared a back-to-school cold. I feel dreadful. So instead of pictures of food, or something about the various Puget Sound islands we camped on over the summer, I've got a chart. And it's not even very good. As long as you're here, you could take a peek.

Or, you know, not. There are things that are more fun than Crappy! Chart! Thursdays! Like lying on the couch, feeling lousy and hoping this doesn't end in antibiotics. Again.

Anyway. So, FRL is Free-Reduced Lunch, and is often used as a way to get a handle on poverty rates. If you've come this far, you may be clued in on that. If you're struggling to read it without a magnifying glass, the light green represents where levels were in 2000-01; the dark green brings it up to 2008-09 levels.

One of the things that I find interesting about the information on this chart (which may enlarge? I dunno. I don't test it, I just type and post.) is that of the 8 largest districts in the state (and Bellevue), Seattle had the least change in the percentage of FRL student population. In fact, between 2000-2001 and 2008-2009, its FRL percentage only rose by 1.1%, from 40.2% in 2000-01 to 41.3% in 2008-09.

Even Bellevue and Kirkland, fairly well-off districts, had a larger demographic shift than that. The Kent, Evergreen (Clark County) and Federal Way districts all posted double-digit shifts. I don't want to pooh-pooh Seattle's percentages, but it is interesting that the district with the smallest demographic change on that front (and others. I betya can't wait for another installment of Crappy! Chart! Thursdays!) also happens to have... yes, you can probably see where I'm going, but I'm going there anyway... the largest central office growth. It's also the largest district in the state, so you would think at some point we'd get this thing called economy of scale. Nah. That's crazy-talk.

Uh, anyway. In theory, it would be the smaller districts, dealing with big demographic changes, struggling with central office bloat. But... it's not. It's the biggest district (rhymes with "Shee-attle"), that's dealing with the least demographic change. Hmm. If Tim Gunn looked at demographics instead of whacko dresses made of paper and groceries, he would be very concerned.

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