Wallet Hub Ranking More of a Wallet Flub

As I mentioned in an earlier article, ‘Wallet Hub’ has produced its second education related ranking list.  The first Wallet Hub ranking list came out last year and was full of holes, this one is no different.

Terry Stoops at John Locke has an opening first shot at this ‘ranking’ list.  Here’s an excerpt with emphasis added, but go read the whole thing:

“The first six data points are used to determine the “Job Opportunity & Competition” portion.  The next seven are used for the “Academic & Work Environment” portion.  North Carolina ranked 50th on the former and 34th on the latter, which combined magically to produced an overall rank of 50 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia.  (The decision to compare states to a city is a curious one.)

But it is pretty apparent that North Carolina fares reasonably well on most indicators, considering that a number of recent efforts to raise teacher pay are not represented in the data used (because data collection understandably lags).  The most interesting aspect of the ranking is that North Carolina earned a rank of 50 out of 51 despite that fact that only two of the 13 indicators come anywhere close to the bottom.

Yeah, using that Common Core math are we, Wallet Hub?

Here’s the first line item of the data sent to me:

STATE Average Starting Salary for Teachers
(adjusted for cost of living)

North Carolina Results: $31,894
North Carolina Ranks: 40
Sources: National Education Association Years 2012-2013 & 2014

I can tell you that this first line item is probably wrong just based on the outdated sources used. Some went back to 2011. All listed were just the source such as Census or NEA, but no link to the actual data set they used.  That’s, um, really helpful.

For example, for the above first line item, Wallet hub cited the ‘NEA for 2012-13 and 2014’.

The NEA has a 2012-13 starting teacher salary ranking chart showing $30,778 as the starting salary that year. But the NEA’s 2014 average starting salary chart isn’t out yet.

So what was Wallet Hub referring to when they cite NEA 2014? Were they using portions of the NEA’s ‘2014 Ranking and 2015 Estimates‘?  We have no idea. They didn’t tell me or link to the source document as I requested.

Why not use the actual number of $33,000 directly from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s 2014-15 salary guide?  Too easy?

Also remember, that $33,000 isn’t the final compensation. Each district is responsible for adding supplemental pay to these salaries.

Conveniently for the ‘war on education’ narrative Superintendent Atkinson keeps trying to drive, DPI no longer publishes the supplemental salary schedules. That’s ok though, I took the data sets they directed me to and made one. Converting it to a PDF made it fuzzy, email me if you want a cleaner spreadsheet version.

TommyLee ReallyWallet Hub didn’t include their ‘cost of living’ formula when I asked, but they did communicate to me that to calculate cost of living they, “consulted the cost of living index here: https://www.coli.org/ via the Council for Community and Economic Research.

So, I went to the site.

You can only get state by state comparison data if you pay for it.  The only tool open for general use is city by city comparison.

It is unknown if Wallet Hub used city by city or state by state since their methodology used was as vague as one can imagine. If they used the city by city one, then the number they came out with is frankly useless in a ‘state ranking’ scenario.

Old data, vague data sources, no idea what formula’s they used for anything  – one has to conclude this ‘Best and Worst’ list has about the same integrity as a drinking straw being used for indoor plumbing.

Wallet Hub? Try Wallet Flub.


Posted in Education, LadyLiberty1885, Narratives, Polls, Random Musings | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

KEA Pilot Cost: $511,360

The Kindergarten Entry Assessment pilot conducted in half of North Carolina’s elementary schools in the 2014-15 school year apparently cost $511,360.

This $511,360 figure comes from the Department of Public Instruction response to a Freedom of Information Act request I original sent to Wake County Schools earlier this year.

It is unclear if the $511,360 is money from the Race To The Top – Early Learning Challenge grant or if the funds came from the Department of Public Instruction budget.

The pilot included 193 Kindergarten teachers and was executed across 51 school districts. In the current school year, the KEA has apparently been rolled out to all elementary schools in North Carolina.

You can view the break out of the costs at the bottom of this article.

Note the large amount of ‘technology’ related line items.  The KEA depends on the use of technology and devices to ‘capture’ observations on these kindergarteners.  The KEA is, of course, Common Core aligned.

Bob Luebke at Civitas has an excellent article about the KEA, the data collection inherent in it and the privacy concerns it raises. ALL parents should read it.

The KEA has an array of ‘constructs’ to assess your 5 or 6-year-old on. Only a few are being used right now, but the rest of them deal with highly subjective items like ’emotional literacy’.

Officials at the Department of Public Instruction gave conflicting answers on whether the data being collected stayed at the school or if it was being passed along into the Statewide Longitudinal Database System (SLDS).  Remember, the data in the SLDS and the P-20w database will follow kids through college and into the workforce.

Parents should ask themselves, do I really want this information, much of it subjective, following my child through to college?

Parents CAN opt out of this photo/video data collection, however the vast majority have not been informed by their schools about said opt out.


Posted in Common Core, NC DPI | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

What They’re Saying About Education in #NCED – (10/02/15)

NCED IconHere are some quick hits about education in North Carolina.

Some of you may have seen the “Wallet Hub” rankings of the Best and Worst states for teachers. North Carolina was listed as number 50 of 51. The Left is making a big deal of it, shocker right?

This is the same outfit who did this ‘ranking’ for the first time last year and Kay Hagan used it in her campaign.  You can read my take-down  of that story here.

I’ve obtained North Carolina’s data sets and will be taking a closer look at it. A cursory glance at it so far leads me to believe their conclusion and our state ranking aren’t quite right. Go figure, since it’s based mostly on data from a teachers union.

Update: Terry Stoops at John Locke beat me too it with , A closer look at the WalletHub data. I’ll still be taking a closer look myself.

#1 – KEA: Big Government Comes to Kindergarten

#2 – Former Union County Board Member Marcella Savage Pleads Guilty To Fraud Charges

Marcella Ramirez Savage, 42, of Waxhaw, was charged with two counts of swearing falsely to official reports, two counts of obtaining repairs and supplies for private a vehicle, and one count of enforcement of local government finance.

Savage’s attorney said his client has a lot of shame and wanted to take responsibility for her actions. Savage faced 45 days in jail but since she plead guilty to the local and state charges she received 12 months probation and must re-pay $1223.97.

#3 – You Will Be Made To Care: CMS to create video to address transgender issues


It gets worse… teaching tolerance is involved: http://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/youth-resources.htm#school

Also see: Bullied: A Student, a School and a Case That Made History: Teaching materials for educatorsExternal Web Site Icon from Teaching Tolerance

#4 – Teacher Pay: If a $750 bonus is an “insult,” then please insult me
Related: What’s missing from discussions on teacher pay

#5 – DPI examines State Funding Trends in Education

#6 – The Education Budget: Three Things You Should Know

#7 – Contracts presented to the State Board of Education for October, 2015

#8 – 28 New Charter School Applications

Twenty-eight nonprofit boards submitted applications to open public charter schools in August 2017. A spreadsheet of applicants is available on the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) Office of Charter Schools’ website.

#9 – SAS’s Ann Goodnight perpetuates STEM Myth While Bemoaning ‘Skills Gap’.

I tried posting a comment for two days on the article, it was finally let through by the moderators. Go read it.

#10 – Opportunity Scholarship expansion narrowly defeated

#11 – In case you missed it, I’ve been on Freedom Action Network Radio a few times in the last week talking about Education and the Legislature. 

#12 – So, Is June Atkinson running or not?

Posted in Education, Common Core, June Atkinson, NC DPI, NC Board Of Education, NC Ed Updates, Charter Schools | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment