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Education Statistics Quarterly
Vol 4, Issue 3, Topic: Featured Topic: Schools and Staffing Survey
Schools and Staffing Survey, 1999–2000: Overview of the Data for Public, Private, Public Charter, and Bureau of Indian Affairs Elementary and Secondary Schools
By: Kerry J. Gruber, Susan D. Wiley, Stephen P. Broughman, Gregory A. Strizek, and Marisa Burian-Fitzgerald
 
This article was originally published as the Introduction and Selected Findings of the E.D. Tabs report of the same name. The sample survey data are from the NCES Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS).
 
 

Introduction

The Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) is the nation's most extensive survey of elementary and secondary schools and the teachers and administrators who staff them. Sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), SASS has been conducted four times: in school years 1987–88, 1990–91, 1993–94, and 1999–2000. This report introduces the data from the 1999–2000 SASS.

The 1999–2000 SASS covered four school sectors: traditional public, private, public charter, and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Traditional public schools are the subset of all public schools in the United States except public charter schools. Traditional public schools are defined as institutions that provide educational services for at least one of grades 1–12 (or comparable ungraded levels), have one or more teachers to give instruction, are located in one or more buildings, receive public funds as primary support, and are operated by an education agency. They include regular, special education, vocational/technical, and alternative schools. They also include schools in juvenile detention centers, schools located on military bases and operated by the Department of Defense, and BIA-funded schools operated by local public school districts. Traditional public schools do not include public charter schools. Private schools are schools not in the public system that provide instruction for any of grades 1–12 (or comparable ungraded levels). The instruction must be given in a building that is not used primarily as a private home. Public charter schools are public schools that, in accordance with an enabling state statute, have been granted a charter exempting them from selected state or local rules and regulations. BIA schools are schools funded by the BIA, but may be operated by a local tribe, by a local school district, or as a public charter school.1

The traditional public school data come from a sample of schools on the 1997–98 Common Core of Data (CCD) that was selected to be representative at the national and state levels. The private school data come from a sample based on the 1997–98 Private School Universe Survey (PSS), updated with more current information from 1998–99 private school association lists (Broughman and Colaciello 1999), that was selected to be representative at the national and affiliation2 levels. Data on public charter schools include the universe of public charter schools that were open during the 1998–99 school year and were based on a list provided by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) as described in The State of Charter Schools 2000 (2000). The BIA school population frame was the Office of Indian Education Programs: Education Directory (BIA 1998) list of schools that were operating in school year 1997–98. The data were collected in school year 1999–2000, using the most current frames available for sampling. In all cases, schools had to be open in 1999–2000 to be included in the 1999–2000 SASS.

Once schools were selected, the public school districts associated with the selected traditional public schools were included in the sample, as were the school principals. School library media centers were included for the traditional public, private, and BIA sectors. Each selected school was asked to provide a list of its teachers and teacher assignments. These lists made up the teacher sampling frame.

The SASS design features parallel questionnaires for districts, schools, principals, teachers, and school library media centers, facilitating collection of complementary data sets that provide policymakers, researchers, educators, and the general public with a broad range of information on the condition of schools and staffing in the United States. In 1999–2000, interviews were obtained from approximately 4,700 school districts, 12,000 schools, 12,300 principals, 52,400 teachers, and 9,900 school library media centers.

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Selected Findings

This report is intended to give the reader an overview of the SASS data for school year 1999–2000 through tables of estimates for traditional public, private, public charter, and BIA schools and their staff. Altogether, these 60 tables present a synopsis of the types of information that can be produced with the data. Comparisons across different types of schools, such as community type, region, school level, and school enrollment, are also possible within each sector. Selected findings are described below.

School safety

Teachers' perceptions of school safety across all school levels tended to differ by sector. Private school teachers were less likely than teachers in other sectors to report being threatened with injury in the past 12 months. Among private school teachers, 3.9 percent reported injury threats, compared with 9.6 percent of traditional public school teachers. Teachers in public charter schools (10.8 percent) and BIA schools (12.6 percent) were most likely to report being threatened with injury.

Private school teachers were also less likely than teachers in other sectors to report physical conflicts among students as a serious problem in their school. Just 1.0 percent of private school teachers reported that physical conflicts among students were a serious problem in their school, compared with 4.8 percent of both traditional public school and public charter school teachers. BIA school teachers were more likely than teachers in other sectors to report physical conflicts among students as a serious problem: 11.7 percent of BIA school teachers reported such conflicts as a serious problem.

Among traditional public school teachers, reports of being threatened with injury varied by community type.3 Teachers in central city schools were more likely to report threats of injury in the past 12 months than teachers in urban fringe/large town schools and teachers in rural/small town schools. In central city traditional public schools, 13.5 percent of teachers reported injury threats. In urban fringe/large town schools, 7.9 percent of teachers reported injury threats. In rural/small town schools, 8.6 percent of teachers reported injury threats.

Central city traditional public school teachers were also more likely than other traditional public school teachers to report physical conflicts among students as a serious problem. In central city traditional public schools, 9.4 percent of teachers reported conflicts as a serious problem, compared with 3.3 percent of teachers in urban fringe/large town traditional public schools and 2.7 percent of teachers in rural/small town traditional public schools.

Schools' use of various security measures varied by sector. BIA schools were the most likely to use video surveillance of students, at 22.0 percent, followed by 14.9 percent of traditional public schools, 11.9 percent of public charter schools, and 8.1 percent of private schools.

Class size

As reported by teachers, average class size for self-contained4 classes tended to be somewhat larger in traditional public and public charter elementary schools than in private and BIA elementary schools. Teachers in self-contained classes in traditional public elementary schools and public charter elementary schools averaged 21.2 students and 21.4 students per class, respectively. In private elementary schools, teachers in self-contained classes averaged 20.3 students. In BIA elementary schools, self-contained classes were even smaller, with an average of 18.0 students.

Class size for departmentalized5 instruction in secondary schools also differed by sector. In traditional public and public charter secondary school classes with departmentalized instruction, teachers averaged 23.4 students and 23.7 students per class, respectively. In private secondary school classes with departmentalized instruction, teachers averaged 20.3 students. BIA secondary school classes with departmentalized instruction were even smaller. These teachers had classes that averaged 16.5 students.

Within the private sector, there were differences in class size across the three major types6 of private schools—Catholic, other religious, and nonsectarian—at all school levels. Teachers in Catholic schools tended to have larger classes than did teachers in other religious and nonsectarian private schools. Teachers in self-contained classes in Catholic elementary schools averaged 23.8 students, compared with 17.3 students for teachers in other religious private schools and 17.2 students for teachers in nonsectarian private schools. At the secondary level, Catholic school teachers in departmentalized instruction classes averaged 23.3 students, compared with 17.0 students in other religious schools and 11.4 students in nonsectarian schools.

Programs in elementary schools

At least 40 percent of elementary schools in all sectors reported offering students extended day, before-school, or after-school daycare programs. Private and public charter elementary schools were the most likely to offer such programs. An estimated 65.1 percent of private schools and 62.9 percent of public charter schools offered such programs, compared with 46.5 percent of traditional public elementary schools and 40.3 percent of BIA elementary schools.

Public charter elementary schools were more likely than elementary schools in other sectors to provide programs with special instructional approaches, such as Montessori, self-paced instruction, and ungraded classrooms. Programs with special instructional approaches were offered in 51.9 percent of public charter elementary schools, compared with 32.8 percent of BIA elementary schools, 17.3 percent of traditional public elementary schools, and 20.0 percent of private elementary schools.

Talented/gifted programs were more prevalent in traditional public and BIA elementary schools than in public charter and private elementary schools. Among BIA elementary schools, 84.0 percent provided talented/gifted programs, compared with 71.8 percent of traditional public elementary schools, 32.8 percent of public charter elementary schools, and 15.9 percent of private elementary schools.

Programs in secondary and combined schools

Traditional public secondary and combined7 schools were more likely to offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses than were private, public charter, and BIA secondary and combined schools. Among secondary and combined schools, an estimated 51.2 percent of traditional public schools offered these courses, compared with 35.7 percent of private schools, 30.5 percent of public charter schools, and 25.9 percent of BIA schools.

Among private secondary and combined schools, availability of AP courses varied by type, with Catholic schools much more likely than other types of private schools to provide such courses. Compared with 29.3 percent of other religious secondary and combined schools and 28.4 percent of nonsectarian private secondary and combined schools, 77.8 percent of Catholic secondary and combined schools offered AP courses.

The presence of programs for talented/gifted students in secondary and combined schools varied by sector, with BIA secondary and combined schools the most likely to offer such programs. An estimated 94.4 percent of BIA secondary and combined schools offered such programs, compared with 60.3 percent of traditional public secondary and combined schools, 31.3 percent of public charter secondary and combined schools, and 21.4 percent of private secondary and combined schools.

Teacher salary schedules

Public school districts were most likely to use a salary schedule to determine base salaries for teachers, compared with private and public charter schools. An estimated 96.3 percent of public school districts used a salary schedule. This contrasts with 65.9 percent of private schools and 62.2 percent of public charter schools. (Data on salary schedules are not available for those BIA-funded schools that completed the "Public School Questionnaire.")

Of those schools or districts using a salary schedule, public charter schools offered the highest base salary for teachers with a bachelor's degree and no experience. The average starting salary for teachers with no experience in public charter schools that used a salary schedule was $26,977, compared with $25,888 for public school districts. Private schools offered the lowest base salary, with teachers with a bachelor's degree and no experience earning $20,302 annually.

Among public school districts with a salary schedule, Alaska, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, and New York offered the highest starting salaries for teachers with a bachelor's degree and no experience, with a starting salary of $31,016 or above. Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota offered the lowest salaries for these teachers, with a starting salary of $21,396 or below.

For public charter schools with a salary schedule, there were differences among schools based on school origin—that is, by whether the schools originated from preexisting traditional public schools, originated from preexisting private schools, or were newly created as public charter schools. The average base salary for teachers with a bachelor's degree and no experience was $28,754 in preexisting traditional public schools, compared with $26,662 in newly created public charter schools and $24,804 in public charter schools originating from preexisting private schools.

Of those schools or districts using a salary schedule, public school districts offered the highest base salary for teachers at the highest step on the salary schedule. Teachers at the highest step of the salary schedule in public school districts earned an average base salary of $48,728 annually. Teachers at the highest step of the salary schedule in public charter schools earned an average base salary of $46,314. Private schools offered the lowest average base salary for teachers at the highest step, $34,348.

Among public school districts with a salary schedule, Alaska, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania offered the highest starting salaries for teachers at the highest step, with a base salary of $59,948 or above. North Dakota and South Dakota offered the lowest salaries for these teachers, with a base salary of less than $34,000.

Prior teaching experience of principals

The vast majority of principals at all school levels had served as teachers prior to becoming principals. Principals in traditional public and BIA schools were more likely than their counterparts in private and public charter schools to have had teaching experience. In traditional public schools, 99.3 percent of principals had been teachers, and in BIA schools, 98.7 percent of principals had been teachers. In private and public charter schools, 87.4 percent and 89.3 percent, respectively, of principals had been teachers.

Among private school principals, there were differences across types of private schools. In Catholic schools, 98.6 percent of principals had been teachers, compared with 79.4 percent of principals in other religious schools and 89.5 percent of principals in nonsectarian schools.

Among principals of public charter schools, there was variation by school origin. Public charter schools that were previously traditional public schools were the most likely to have a principal with teaching experience, with 96.8 percent of principals of preexisting traditional public schools reporting experience as a teacher. This compares with 88.9 percent of public charter school principals of preexisting private schools and 87.7 percent of principals of newly created public charter schools.

Professional development

Across all sectors, more than 40 percent of full-time teachers reported participating in professional development activities that focused on in-depth study of content in their main teaching field in the last 12 months. Among full-time traditional public school teachers, 59.3 percent participated in such professional development activities, compared with 55.2 percent of full-time public charter school teachers and 43.1 percent of full-time private school teachers. An estimated 55.8 percent of full-time BIA school teachers participated in such professional development activities in the last 12 months.

Full-time traditional public school teachers were more likely than full-time teachers in other sectors to participate in professional development activities on the uses of computers for instruction. An estimated 70.7 percent of full-time teachers in traditional public schools participated in such professional development activities. This contrasts with 62.2 percent of full-time teachers in BIA schools, 56.9 percent of full-time teachers in public charter schools, and 52.1 percent of full-time teachers in private schools.

School library media specialists

Library media centers in traditional public schools were most likely to report having at least one paid state-certified library media specialist. Among library media centers in traditional public schools, 75.2 percent reported having a paid state-certified library media specialist, compared with 57.9 percent of library media centers in BIA schools, 23.5 percent of library media centers in public charter schools, and 20.2 percent of library media centers in private schools.

Within the traditional public and the private school sectors, reports of having a paid state-certified library media specialist differed by school enrollment. In traditional public schools with less than 100 students, 61.5 percent of library media centers reported having a paid state-certified library media specialist, compared with 89.5 percent in traditional public schools with 1,000 students or more. In private schools with less than 100 students, 4.8 percent reported having a paid state-certified media specialist, compared with 80.4 percent in private schools with 1,000 students or more.

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Footnotes

1Some BIA-funded schools (those operated by public school districts) are included in both the results for BIA schools and the results for traditional public schools. Similarly, a few BIA-funded schools (those operated as public charter schools) are included in the results for BIA schools and for public charter schools.

2SASS uses 20 affiliation categories, into which all private schools are divided based on religious orientation and association membership. See appendix B of the full report for a list of the affiliation categories.

3Community type is a three-level categorization based on the eight-level U.S. Census Bureau definition of locale. A central city school is a school located in a large or midsize central city. An urban fringe/large town school is a school located in the urban fringe of a large or midsize city, in a large town, or in a rural area within an urbanized metropolitan area. A rural/small town school is a school located in a small town or rural setting.

4SASS teacher questionnaires define teachers in self-contained classes as teachers who teach multiple subjects to the same class of students all or most of the day.

5SASS teacher questionnaires define teachers in departmentalized instruction as teachers who teach subject matter courses (e.g., biology, history, keyboarding) to several classes of different students all or most of the day.

6NCES typology is a nine-level categorization into which schools are divided based on religious orientation, association membership, and program emphasis. See appendix D of the full report for details.

7A combined school (or school with combined grades) has one or more of grades K–6 (elementary) and one or more of grades 9–12 (secondary); for example, schools with grades K–12, 6–12, 6–9, or 1–12 are classified as having combined grades. Schools in which all students are ungraded (i.e., not classified by standard grade levels) are also classified as combined.


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References

Broughman, S.P., and Colaciello, L.A. (1999). Private School Universe Survey: 1997–98 (NCES 1999–319). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Bureau of Indian Affairs. (1998). Office of Indian Education Programs: Education Directory. Washington, DC: Author.

Office of Educational Research and Improvement. (2000). The State of Charter Schools 2000. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

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Data source: The NCES Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), 1999–2000.

For technical information, see the complete report:

Gruber, K.J., Wiley, S.D., Broughman, S.P., Strizek, G.A., and Burian-Fitzgerald, M. (2002). Schools and Staffing Survey, 1999–2000: Overview of the Data for Public, Private, Public Charter, and Bureau of Indian Affairs Elementary and Secondary Schools (NCES 2002–313).

Author affiliations: K.J. Gruber, S.D. Wiley, and S.P. Broughman, NCES; G.A. Strizek and M. Burian-Fitzgerald, Education Statistics Services Institute.

For questions about content, contact Kerry J. Gruber (kerry.gruber@ed.gov).

To obtain the complete report (NCES 2002–313), call the toll-free ED Pubs number (877–433–7827) or visit the NCES Electronic Catalog (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch).


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