Increasing Rates of Students Educated Outside of Their Neighborhood Schools

By Jack Reiling

Last updated on December 6th 2022

for Data Visualization for All
with Prof. Jack Dougherty
Trinity College, Hartford CT, USA

Exploring The Question: Introduction

The question I was investigating was in each town, how many students are educated in a different district, and how has it changed over time? I dove into the research of students' education, specifically if they are leaving their traditional schools to receive outside education. IE: Seeking education from Charter, Magnet, Technical schools or attending another neighborhood public school. This data is crucial to towns because they need to be aware of the percent of students staying within their district to receive education. Towns can look at this percentage of students leaving their neighborhood public school in correlation with how their school systems are performing, or if there are enough opportunities being offered. However, we found towns with the highest populations had students tending to leave more often such as Hartford, Bloomfield, or New Britain. As I refer to 'Neighborhood Public Schools,' it is in reference to student's traditional schools they go to such as public where they are districted. These students that choose education outside of their neighborhood schools may choose Magnet, Technical, Charter, etc. The School and State Finance Project has a commitment to equity. This is relevant to being educated outside of home districts because the quality of education varies across the state. Being able to choose which school you go to is one way we can help make education more equitable.

My Key Findings

Hartford and Bloomfield are amongst the highest in towns with students being educated outside of their neighborhood public school. An interesting statistic we found was Windsor, a suburb of Hartford also has a higher percentage of students educated outside of their neighborhood public schools, however, they experienced students choosing their neighborhood public schools at a higher rate from the school years 2016-2022. A key statistic to note is Bloomfield and Hartford are both in the top 2 for the % of Students educated outside of their neighborhood public schools. Notice the Percent increase of Hartford and Bloomfield over the school year interval of 2016-2022. These towns grew at the fastest rate with Hartford rising from roughly 51% in 2016-2017 to 61% in 2021-2022. Comparitively, Windsor and Coventry had a -2% decrease over those years, so more students stayed within their town's neighborhood public schools over the 2016-2022 school year interval. Click each header to sort the chart.

Here is a live link chart of the information This is important due to the fact that Hartford and Bloomfield are recognized as the highest amongst students being educated outside of their given traditonal schools. This means that school choice are opting to choose what school they go to in Hartford and Bloomfield. For towns like Windsor and Coventry, they are tending to stay more within their traditonal schools. Another reason this important is because Hartford and Bloomfield are also towns with a majority of students of color. This matters because historically, students of color have had unequal educational opportunities.

We found the majority of students who left tend to be from towns such as Hartford, New Britain, and Bloomfield. In this Choropleth Map, we found this information through the data taken from the school years 2016-2017 to 2021-2022. You can clearly see the percentage point difference map illustrates the change in time and the percentage increase of students leaving their district to receive education outside their neighborhood public school for Hartford, Bloomfield, East Hartford, Manchester, and New Britain. In the 2016-2017 school year, Avon had a total of 86 students educated outside of their neighborhood public school. In 2021-2022 they had 145 students educated outside of their neighborhood public schools. This can be correlated to a 2.0% Point Percentage increase as well. In the map, a town with a negative means over the interval of 2016-2022 schools years, more students tend to be staying within in the town to be educated. For example, the lowest, Windsor, has a -2.0% decrease. For a postive increase in students leaving, such as Hartford with a 9.3% increase, this shows sutdents are leaving at a very high rate.

Here is a live link chart of the information . Why does this matter? For towns such as Windsor, they have a better understanding students are staying within their region to be educated. Windsor and other towns like Coventry know that their education system can be credited to some success over the last 6 school years, but more importantly, they know students and families are depending on their neighborhood public schools now more than ever. Continually, towns such as Bloomfield and East Hartford, suburbs of Hartford, tend to be higher within the interval of students leaving. However, Windsor, is an outlier.

Finding My Answers

For my information, I had to look into the data from all 33 Hartford area towns. Each town was reported with total students educated from their district. According to EDSIGHT database, they reported the total enrollment for each respective town or district. To address my question, I had to calculate the total number of students educated outside of their district. For this, I took the total number of residents educated in said district, or the enrollment number, and subtracted it by the students in the ‘Public School’ section. This shows the difference of students that are not educated in the districts’ traditional public schools. To calculate this change of time I had to then look into data from previous years. I chose the earliest year I could find, the years 2016-2017. I was given a number, which resembled mostly a smaller change, except for Manchester, Bloomfield, East Hartford, Hartford, New Britain, Windsor, and West Hartford. I then added the total enrollment. My next calculation was the percent educated outside of neighborhood public schools. These numbers allowed for a more precise understanding of each town's disparity and students getting educated somewhere else. I also did the same thing for the 2021-2022 data. I was able to find the Point Percentage difference as well, a key finding in my work that explains this story. All of this work was calculated in my Google Sheet .

Conclusion and Credits/Work cited

There is a clear tendency for students to choose to study outside of their given district for traditional schools in the 33 Town area. The key findings indicate cities such as New Britain and Hartford and the more populous towns tend to experience a larger percentage of their students leaving to attain education elsewhere. Certain respective districts have grown vs. others which have decreased, but as an area, the 33 Towns are experiencing split results from 2016-2022 school years. The largest growth however, is Hartford and they are on the rise as well as all of the more populated areas.


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