October 2012                                                                                                                   http://parca.samford.edu

In This Issue
Nov. 6th Constitutional Amendment Analysis
2012 ARMT Test Scores
Strange But True
PARCA Friends on the Move



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Greetings from PARCA


Dear PARCA Supporter,      


We are pleased to welcome Thomas Spencer as Senior Research Associate at PARCA.  Tom's role will involve research on improving state and local government, as well as helping PARCA explain how its findings on governmental efficiency and effectiveness can be applied to make Alabama a better place to live, work, and do business. To read more about Tom, click here.


This month's issue of The Perspective contains several valuable, informative PARCA research studies.  You will find an analysis of the statewide Constitutional Amendments that will be on the upcoming ballot, as well as the release of our 2012 Statewide ARMT Test Score Comparisons. 


Please feel free to contact us with any comments. 


Jim Williams

Executive Director

Nov. 6th Constitutional Amendment Analysis


This year's General Election on November 6th will include 11 proposed statewide Constitutional Amendments.   PARCA has created an analysis of these amendments.  To read the full analysis, click here. 


2012 ARMT Test Score Comparisons


Schools that are making progress use data to understand where they are, to know what their challenges are, and to monitor gains in student achievement.   Much of that data comes from statewide tests of reading and math competence. These tests serve a valuable purpose in assessing the quality of teaching and learning in public schools.


PARCA has been collecting and analyzing test score data for the Alabama Reading and Math Test (ARMT) since 2005. We have just released our 2012 ARMT Test Score Comparisons for every school system in Alabama. These annual assessments are important to the goal of raising academic skills throughout the state. They provide information that students, parents, teachers, policy makers, and taxpayers can use to evaluate progress and direct improvement efforts where results are below expectation.


In analyzing the data PARCA found that one of the most difficult challenges facing education in Alabama is improving the education of students in poverty level families. This student subgroup has been low-performing on the ARMT. Nevertheless, the state is making improvements in this area. Gains have ranged from 6 to 16 percent in Reading and 9 and 31 percent in Math. The largest increase in the ARMT for Poverty Students was in Math for 5th Grade. For more trends, by system and by school, click here. 


Strange But True


STRANGE BUT TRUE - "Alabama's Convoluted Constitution"


On November 6th, Alabamians will vote on eleven proposed statewide constitutional amendments.  Eight of those are truly statewide in scope, but the other three are of local impact only.  An additional seventeen amendments on the ballot affect only a single county and will be decided solely by the voters of those counties affected.  All 28 of these amendments will become part of the state constitution if approved. 


The story behind these proposals illustrates why the Alabama Constitution has 857 amendments, the most in the country. Three-fourths of these amendments are local rather than statewide. To read the full story about Alabama's convoluted constitution, click here.


PARCA Friends on the Move


-   PARCA Board Member R. Preston Bolt, Jr., Managing Partner at Hand Arendall, has been elected as a Regular Fellow of the American College of Bond Counsel. Click here for more information. 


-   David Bowsher, PARCA Roundtable member and Partner with Adams and Reese has been appointed to ABI's Southeast Advisory Board. Read more about his appointment. 


-  PARCA Roundtable alumni David Fleming receives BBA Small Business Advocate of the Year honorary Award for his work as President and CEO of Operation New Birmingham. Read more here.

-  PARCA Roundtable member Elizabeth Dotts Fleming was recently named Executive Director of The Schools Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County. More information about her new role can be found here.