Educational policy analysis archives

Educational policy analysis archives

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Educational policy analysis archives
Arizona State University
University of South Florida
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Educational policy analysis archives.
n Vol. 10, no. 32 (July 26, 2002).
Tempe, Ariz. :
b Arizona State University ;
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida.
c July 26, 2002
Geographical distribution of teacher absenteeism in large urban school district settings : implications for school reform efforts aimed at promoting equity and excellence in education / James E. Bruno.
x Research
v Periodicals.
2 710
Arizona State University.
University of South Florida.
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t Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA)
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1 of 21 Education Policy Analysis Archives Volume 10 Number 32July 26, 2002ISSN 1068-2341 A peer-reviewed scholarly journal Editor: Gene V Glass College of Education Arizona State University Copyright 2002, the EDUCATION POLICY ANALYSIS ARCHIVES .Permission is hereby granted to copy any article if EPAA is credited and copies are not sold. EPAA is a project of the Education Policy Studies Laboratory. Articles appearing in EPAA are abstracted in the Current Index to Journals in Education by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation and are permanently archived in Resources in Education .The Geographical Distribution of Teacher Absenteeism in Large Urban School District Settings: Implications for School Reform Efforts Aimed at Promoting Equity and Excellence in Education James E. Bruno University of California, Los AngelesCitation: Bruno, J. E.. (2002, July 26). The geogra phical distribution of teacher absenteeism in large urban school district settings: Implications for school reform efforts aimed at promoting equity and excellence in education. Education Policy Analysis Archives 10 (32). Retrieved [date] from reform efforts aimed at promoting equity and excellence at urban school settings are heavily dependent upon the qual ity of teaching personnel that are used to deliver the instructiona l program. Social Justice and other public policy issues related to e quity and excellence at urban schools have begun to examine the impact that teacher absenteeism, and by extension the reliance on subst itute teachers to deliver instructional might have on educational att ainment. This study


2 of 21combines school district data gathering mechanisms on teacher absence rates at school sites with Geographical Information Systems (G.I.S.) to map the association between a school's geographical environmental space and the propensity for teacher absence. The d isparity between teaching resources as delivered by the school distr ict vs. teacher resources as actually received by students in the c lassroom via teacher absenteeism is examined in the context of schools l ocated in positive (high income) and negative (low income) geographica l space. The study concludes that there is a strong association betwee n the geographical quality of the school site setting, teacher absente eism, and the reliance on substitute teachers to deliver instructional progra ms. Disparity in teacher absenteeism rates across large urban geographical a reas threatens the promotion of equity and excellence in the schools b y attenuating or lessening the effect of school resources to support instruction and amplifying the risk factors of students in the clas sroom. IntroductionAssemble all the worst things in Americagambling, liquor, cigarettes, and toxic fumes, sewage, waste disposal, prostitutionput it all together. Then you dump it on black people and their schools. (Koz ol, Savage Inequalities p. 17) The above insight is from a book that attempts to d ocument the bleak environmental or geographical space context of some of our urban sch ool settings and its possible impact on the communityespecially children and adolescen ts that live in the community. Schools located in what might be termed, Negative G eographical Space or N.G.S. (Bruno,2000) are particularly troublesome with rega rd to promoting equity and excellence in their instructional programs. One edu cational research finding that seems to remain constant is that school reform efforts ai med at promoting equity and excellence in the schools are strongly dependent up on the quality of teaching personnel needed to deliver the instructional program to stud ents in the classroom. It is common knowledge that urban classroom teacher s also tend to work under more stressful working conditions therefore use their si ck days more frequently. In general, urban classroom teachers, teach more students a day teach less academically prepared students, teach in more dangerous, high crime geogr aphical areas of a large urban area, and generally lack teaching and instructional mater ials to deliver a quality instructional program. In essence, the geographical or environmen tal context of these school working conditions, even more that student poverty, are str ongly associated with teacher attendance at the school site, their morale as prof essional educators, and a their sense of teaching efficacy in the classroom (Corcoran, Walke r, & White, 1988). With its [the urban school's] outdated textbooks an d crumbling, dirty facilities, it operated in conditions that would no t have been tolerated in other mixed or predominantly white communities. ( Diver-Stamnes, 1995, p. 17) The issue of teacher absenteeism is rapidly becomin g an important topic area of


3 of 21 educational policy analysis largely because of its direct impact on the quality of instruction and its association with poor participa tion in school reform efforts. (Ehenberg, Rees, and Ehenberg, 1991). In an effort to explain the why to teacher absenteeism, some research studies have also examin ed the role of gender and its association with teacher absence (Scott & McClellan 1990). All of these research efforts are directed towards developing a better un derstanding of the problem of teacher absenteeism and more importantly the propensity of teachers to use all of their available sick days as an "entitlement" of the profession.Because of high levels of teacher absence and the e xtensive use and reliance on substitute teachers to deliver instructional progra ms there is a strong attenuation or a lessening of the impact of school resources that ar e devoted to instruction. There is also a corresponding amplification of student risk facto rs such as poverty. These two major consequences of teacher absenteeism, attenuation of school resources and the amplification of student risk factors, make the tea cher absenteeism issue one of extreme importance for urban schools. Of particular importa nce is the impact that teacher absence might have on school reform efforts aimed a t promoting equity and excellence at these schools. From a social justice perspective another important issue to examine is if there is any systematic bias in the distribution of teacher absenteeism with higher teacher absenteeism in the low-income areas of larg e urban school districts. In essence, because educational researchers have suggested that the effectiveness of substitute teachers is far below that of regular teachers (Ols en, 1971). Teacher absenteeism, by extension, has implications for school reform and t he quality of the instructional program at a school setting and policy issues deali ng with improving equity and excellence in the schools.In many instances in urban school settings, a subst itute teacher cannot be found and a regular classroom teacher to cover the classroom ti me period from their free or preparation period. (Locker, 1999, Mckay,1999) Fi nally from a purely financial perspective, teacher absenteeism is extremely expen sive and substitute teacher salaries have to be paid in addition to regular teacher sala ries thus adding to the per pupil cost of education. In essence, there is an attenuation or l essening of school resources needed to support instructional programs at these schoolsa situation that would not be tolerated at predominantly white, suburban schools.Of course there are many legitimate reasons for a t eacher to be absent. Typical reasons include illness, professional development, personal reasons, family bereavement, etc. (Alberta Teachers Association, 1998). Sometimes as teachers approach retirement age and have accumulated sick days with the school dist rict, they begin to take their takes off to pursue their own personal interests or outside moonlighting" activities. Since in most urban school settings each teacher is permitted to "bank" 10 days of sick leave per year, the total amount of sick days for a teacher can rap idly accumulate over a career in the classroom. What is most troublesome for educational policy makers is when classroom teachers at certain school sites begin to view thei r absenteeism from the classroom as an entitlement that goes with the teaching position. T he sense of entitlement has enormous implications for the cost of instruction. Consider the following example: Assume a 180 day school year:


4 of 21 100 teachers at $75,000 (salary plus benefits) = $7,500,000 or $416 per day per teacher Assume that each teacher takes 10 days of sick leave per year = 1000 teacher days missed or 10% of $7,500,000 = $750,000 of resources not being received and replaced with a su bstitute teacher at $200 per day = $200,000 The net loss to students is $7,500,000-$750,000-$20 0,000 = $6,550,000(thus the disparity of resources actually received by students in the classroom can be quite large and significantly impa ct on the quality of the instructional program and threaten e fforts aimed at promoting equity and excellence in the schools). In addition to the attenuation of school resources towards instruction, when this sense of entitlement is most prevalent or biased towards sch ools located in negative or low-income geographical space the very students mos t in need of instructional quantity and quality are harmed. The challenges posed to tea chers and educational leaders between the quality of geographical space or school site location, poverty, and school issues have also been explored in educational resea rch studies. (Bruno, 2000; Lippenant, Burns, McArthur, 1996).Purpose of StudyThe purpose of this study extends these research ef forts to examine the quality of geographical space and teacher absence linkage sinc e it indirectly examines how school site location impacts on access to educational oppo rtunity. Specifically this study examines the association between the quality of geo graphical space or the environmental context of the school setting and the rates of teac her absenteeism at the school site for all of the high schools located in a large urban.The Substitute Teacher in Urban SettingsEquality of educational opportunity at a school exi sts when a child's educational opportunity does not depend upon either his parent's economic circumstances or his location within the state (Wi se, 1972, p. 146) As previously noted, issues related to quality of educational opportunity and the related issue of equity and excellence at urban schools str ongly depend on the quality of classroom instructional programs. The reliance on s ubstitute teachers to deliver instruction, because of teacher absence has great s ignificance for these urban students because parents or the economic circumstances of th ese students make the school setting the only source of educational development. Instruc tional programs delivered mainly by substitute teachers, non-credential teachers, inexp erienced teachers, etc. therefore are extremely important. Some of these issues have been previously and non-empirically addressed in various books on the problems of urban school setting. (Kozol, 1992).


5 of 21Since the quality of substitute teachers and not fu lly interchangeable with the quality of the regular classroom teacher at most school settin gs, the issue of teacher absence has both practical (in terms of cost) and theoretical ( in terms of equity) significance for the educational policy maker.The regular high school classroom teacher is requir ed to obtain a bachelor's degree in a same field that is related to his or her teaching a ssignment. This could range from the sciences, such as chemistry, to education such as s pecial ed., to mathematics such as algebra II, to the fine arts such as painting. The regular classroom teacher is also required to complete two years of a teacher trainin g program in a post graduate department of an accredited institution. While ther e are some exceptions, substitute teachers are typically under qualified to teach in the field of the regular classroom teacher, but are expected to fill the shoes of any regular teacher, whatever the subject matter field of the absent teacher (chemistry, math ematics, physics). In some school districts, the minimum education req uirement level for substitute teaching is set at extremely low professional level s. For example, in the state of Utah, all a substitute needs to teach is a high school de gree and no criminal record. Fairfax County, Va., demands only two years of college for its substitutes. (Streisand & Toch, 1998). In recent studies, it was found that a large number of teacher-training graduates failed the recently introduced teacher-licensing ex am. Last spring, nearly sixty percent of Massachusetts' education graduates failed a basi c reading, writing, and subject matter test. A recent nationwide study by the Educational Testing Service found similar high rates of failure. (Streisand & Tock, 1998). It is also noteworthy that most substitute teachers are usually not equipped with lesson plans for the classroom periods that they cover and typically show a film or do other "filling time" classroom activities. In the substi tute teacher chat room found on the Internet, playing word bingo with the kids was a hi ghly recommended form of filling class time. In essence, these substitute teachers are really not "substitutes" in an educational sense, but according to students highly paid "babysitters" to students that need quality teachers the most and require greater amounts of formal instructional time. This study will focus on teacher absenteeism at the high school level of instruction because this level is most directly associated with equal educational opportunity via AP courses, preparing students for post high school gr aduation education exit exams from high school, and general preparation for post secon dary education. It is also the setting where students at one of the most important stages of their psychosocial development require time connections with their classroom teach ers for purposes of modeling, receiving vision for a future, advice, and counseli ng. Finally, the role of geographical space on teacher absenteeism is often neglected as a variable in educational policy studies. Geographica l space has its own unique qualities with regard to understanding behaviors such as teac her absenteeism. For example there is Location of the school setting: Where is the school located in geographical space? Where is the exact location and what is the land us e surrounding the school setting i.e. the quality of the geographical space since it might impact on the quality of the instructional program, teacher turnover, and teache r absenteeism.


6 of 21Livability of the geographical space surrounding th e school: What is it like to live and be schooled in the geographical space of the sc hool setting? Since most teachers don't live in the same geographical space as the school setting there is a tendency to ignore what it is like for students to live and study in the area. The social well being of the community, crime rate, ext ent of graffiti, etc. all impact on the livability of the geographical space and workin g conditions in the classroom. It also impacts on student preparation for class and a ttitudes towards school. Likeability of school site area: How do other peopl e in the community relate to their space and how is the pride in the community? Community well being, quality neighborhoods, and the support for schools are linked and have a major impact on the instructional program and what is exp ected from teachers and directly impacts on the motivation to teach. Locus of Control: How does this geographical space dominate others in the area or is dominate with regard to quality? How are ideas, people, and goods moved into and out of the geographical space. What is the inve stment in the community, resident turnover, etc and how do others view the g eographical space. Conditions where the geographical space is considered as negat ive implies that the space has little attractiveness for either living or working. This characteristic relates to teacher turnover and the sense of entitlement with regard to absence from the classroom. This characteristic of geographical spac e might affect teacher absenteeism and teacher turnover. This study combines recently developed data gatheri ng mechanism on teacher absence rates at high school sites in a large urban school setting with Geographical Information Systems (G.I.S.). The purpose of this study is to m ap the association between the school's geographical space or physical environment (income level) and the propensity for teacher absence. The disparity between instruct ional resources as delivered vs. instructional resources as actually received by stu dents in the classroom is examined in the context of a large urban school setting.Specifically, the purpose of this study is twofold. First, to examine the geographical association betw een the quality of negative geographical space of a high school setting in a la rge urban school district (median family income in the area) and the rates of teacher absenteeism. Second, to examine how teacher absenteeism measures and the need for substitute teachers (filled and unfilled) are associated with school performance at the school site. MethodsThis study used teacher absence information collect ed at all high schools in a large urban school district. The average absence per teacher wa s especially noted along with information regarding the number of unfilled substi tute teacher positions. G.I.S. methods were then used to plot these school settings by tho se above and below a threshold 8.0 days of teacher absence per year per teacher at the school site. The quality of the geographical space surrounding the school setting o r the median level of income for the zip code of the school setting was then applied to the map of school sites that were


7 of 21 color-coded by high and low rates of teacher absent eeism. Finally, other important variables at the school site that might be related to substitute teachers, such as academic quality as measured by the Academic Performance Ind icator or API, were also collected for each school site. In this study the following variables were collecte d at each high school site in the school district.Table 1 Description of VariablesDescription Variable How often a teacher is absent from the classroomTea cher absenteeism rate Teachers without fully state certified credentials– many teaching in areas with no expertise Number w/o credential Teachers with less than 2 years of experience in th e classroomusually younger teachers Number < 2 yrsexperience Number of requests to take the place of a classroomteacher Substitute teacherrequests Number of times a substitute teacher cannot be foun d for the classroom Substitute requestsunfilled Number of students leaving school and not entering any other educational program Drop out rate Number of students that leave before the end of the school year Transiency percent Number of times a students is asked to leave school for disciplinary reasons Number suspensions Number of times a students is asked to go to a diff erent schoolusually a continuation school Opportunity transfers Police reported crimes against propertyCrimes again st property Police reported crimes against individualsCrimes ag ainst people Number of teachers needed to service student educat ional needs that are left unfilled Number of unfilledteaching position Level of academic performance at the schoolAcademic Performance Index FindingsNote in Table 2 that the average absenteeism for th e school district was 8.27 days per teacher per year. Note that this figure ranges from a low of 6.3 to a high of 11.4. Note also that the number of unfilled substitute teacher positions ranged from 9 to 306. The impact that geographical space might have on these statistics will be explored in a later


8 of 21 section of the study.Table 2 Descriptive Data for Senior High Schools in a Large Urban Area (n=49)VariableMeanSt. Dev.Min.Max. Teacher absenteeism rate8.271.066.3311.44Number w/o credential26.8410.8861Number < 2 yrs experience46.3114.61989Substitute teacher requests1447590.51932571Substitute requests unfilled85.3956.69306Drop out rate5.533.2.4715.7Transiency percent37.212.416.777.1Number suspensions534.8345.2231608Opportunity transfers76.2248.72272Crimes against property11.279.2254Crimes against people78.2434.637199Number of unfilled teaching position4.275.1021Academic Performance Index531.8283.3370737 Note from Table 3, the high inter-correlation betwe en teacher absence rates and academic performance (r = .54) and the amount of un filled substitute teacher positions (r = .45)Table 3 Inter-correlation of All Variables with Teacher Abs enteeism Rates (**=p<.01)VariableCorrelation Teacher absenteeism rate1.00Number w/o credential.37**Number < 2 yrs experience.24Substitute teacher requests-.01Substitute requests unfilled.45**Drop out rate.40**Transiency percent.50**


9 of 21 Number suspensions-.04Opportunity transfers.19Crimes against property.44**Crimes against people.64**Number of unfilled teaching position.52**Academic Performance Index-.54** With the complete address for each high school site the exact geographical location of a school site was identified to within five feet of its actual location. When the median family income for the zip code that contains the sc hool site was added, a pictorial representation of the quality of geographical space and output indicators (especially teacher absenteeism) was visually depicted.Figure 1 depicts the large urban geographical area while Figure 2 is a plot of the location of school sites with teacher absenteeism above 8.00 Figure 3 is a plot of the location of school sites with teacher absenteeism rates both ab ove and below 8.0, while Figure 4 is the same plot with the quality of the geographical space (median level of income) overlaid on the map. Figures 5 and 6 specifically e xamine school sites with above and below 8.0 teacher absence rates and Academic Perfor mance Indices (API) above and below the 500 point average for the school district Figure 1: The Los Angeles Urban Area (zip codes)


10 of 21 Figure 2: Distribution of High Teacher Absence Scho ols (> 8.0) Figure 3: Distribution of High and Low Teacher Abse nteeism Schools (Symbol X = highest and triangle = lowest)


11 of 21 Figure 4: Distribution of High and Low Teacher Abse nteeism Schools with Geographical Space (Dark areas highest per capita i ncome-(Symbol X = highest and triangle = lowest) Figure 5: Distribution of High Absenteeism-Poor Per formanceLow Absenteeism-High Performance Schools (Symbol X = hi ghest absence-poorest performance and triangle = lowest absence and highe st performance)


12 of 21 Figure 6: Distribution of High AbsencePoor Perfor ming and Low AbsenceHigh Performing School and Geographical Space (Dark Are as have Highest Per Capita Income-(Symbol X = highest absence-poorest performa nce and triangle = lowest absence and highest performance)Table 4 High Teacher Absenteeism Schools (n = 27)VariableMeanSt. Dev.Min.Max. Teacher absenteeism rate9.01.778.0511.44Number w/o credential29.221.61129.2Number < 2 yrs experience47.614.21947.6Substitute teacher requests1444.4637.11932571Substitute requests unfilled99.262.815306Drop out rate6.13.091.2515.7Transiency percent39.813.618.4277.1Number suspensions628.5393.9591606Opportunity transfers78.559.82272Crimes against property13.011.2354Crimes against people91.0438.642199Number of unfilled teaching position5.755.5021


13 of 21 Academic Performance Index505.7474.16370653 Number of schools (n=27) Percent in Negative Geographical space (low communi ty income)= 96% Note from Table 4 that high teacher absence (>8.0) was separated from those schools below 8.0. Note the variations in the API's for the se two groupings of schools (370-653) with an average of 505.Also note that there is fa r more criminal activity and higher teacher turnover at these high absence schoolsTable 5 Low Teacher Absenteeism Schools (n = 22 )VariableMeanSt. Dev.Min.Max. Teacher absenteeism rate7.3.526.37.97Number w/o credential23.910.5849Number < 2 yrs experience44.815.22283Substitute teacher requests1451.1542.64022508Substitute requests unfilled68.451.99237Drop out rate4.83.3.4713.34Transiency percent34.110.3316.7453.7Number suspensions419.8234.923895Opportunity transfers53.525.12100Crimes against property9.25.6221Crimes against people62.620.837113Number of unfilled teaching position2.53.9018Academic Performance Index563.884.2426737 Number of schools (n=22) Percent in Negative Geographical space (low communi ty income)= 10% Note in Table 5 that low absence schools have an AP I of 426 to 737 with an average of 564. Also note that there we less unfilled substitu te teacher positions.Table 6 Inter-correlation of Variables with Teacher Absente eism ** p <.01 p <.05VariableHigh absenteeismLow Absenteeism


14 of 21 SchoolsSchools Teacher absenteeism rate1.001.00Number w/o credential.26.19Number < 2 yrs experience.24.31Substitute teacher requests.44**.31*Substitute requests unfilled1.00**.33*Drop out rate.21.45**Transiency percent.49**.31*Number suspensions.07.21Opportunity transfers.07-.02Crimes against property.61**-.16Crimes against people.51**.19Number of unfilled teaching position.52**.37*Academic Performance Index-.45**-.37*Number of schools2722 Note from Table 6, the correlation with academic pe rformance was -.45 and -.37 and the number teaching without teaching credentials .26 to -.19.Table 7 High Teacher Absence-Low Academic Attainment School s (n=16)VariableMeanSt. Dev.Min.Max. Teacher absenteeism rate9.2.908.111.44Number w/o credential33.510.22261Number < 2 yrs experience52.415.11989Substitute teacher requests1465.1619.54772571Substitute requests unfilled11667.422306Drop out rate6.72.92.8 15.7Transiency percent45.614.129.377.1Number suspensions761.5451.5591608Opportunity transfers82.8147.92198Crimes against property15.813.8354Crimes against people110.238.262199Number of unfilled teaching position8.445.7121


15 of 21 Academic Performance Index454.136.7370497 Number of schools (n=16) Percent in Negative Geographical space (low communi ty income)= 100%Table 8 Descriptive Analysis: Low Absenteeism-High Academ ic Performance Schools (n=16)VariableMeanSt. Dev.Min.Max. Teacher absenteeism rate7.3.536.37.97Number w/o credential21.410.2849Number < 2 yrs experience8915.42283Substitute teacher requests1482548.35842508Substitute requests unfilled64.555.216237Drop out rate4.22.1.47 8.7Transiency percent31.18.9 16.7446.2Number suspensions382.7192.723685Opportunity transfers47.423.22100Crimes against property8.35.2220Crimes against people57.114.13889Number of unfilled teaching position1.52.007Academic Performance Index598.471.0510737 Number of schools (n=16) Percent in Negative Geographical space (low communi ty income)= 5%Table 9 Correlations for High-Absence and Low-Absence Schoo ls With Regard to Academic Performance (above and below 500 on the API)VariableHigh teacher absenteeism schools with low performance Low teacher absenteeism schools with high performance Teacher absenteeism rate1.001.00Number w/o credential.22*.19*Number < 2 yrs experience.09.41**Substitute teacher requests-.03.45**


16 of 21 Substitute requests unfilled-.79**.40**Drop out rate.33*.36*Transiency percent.69**.31*Number suspensions-.10-.15Opportunity transfers.03-.10Crimes against property.69**-.10Crimes against people.76**.35*Number of unfilled teaching position.57**.52**Academic Performance Index-.88**-.33*Number of schools1616 See Figures 5 and 6 for a geographical mapping of t hese schools. From Table 9 note the high correlation and differences in these correlati on measures with regard to the number of teachers with less than 2 years of experience an d the number of substitute teacher requests. Most important is the number of substitut e teacher requests that remain unfilled and teacher absence.Policy Issues: The distribution of teacher absencesThe principal finding of this study is that the eff ect of teacher absenteeism is felt not equally across all school sites, but is felt most u nfavorably in the urban schools or schools that are located in poor, low median family income geographical space. This finding corroborates the findings of other studies regarding how poverty impacts the urban school. As one national study has found, with teaching vacancies, rural and small town schools (10%) are less likely to use substitut e teachers than central city schools (24%) and urban fringe schools (16%). These rural and small town schools (96%) are more likely to hire qualified teachers than central city schools (90%); but they are almost equally likely to do so when compared to urban frin ge schools (95%) (NEA, 1998). The amount of teacher absences at schools in these negative geographical space areas is also an indicator of teacher morale and stress. Whe n there is high teacher absence, it tends to lower the morale of remaining teachers res ulting in higher teacher turnover. This could be the cause of the failure of these sch ools to attract more committed teachers or the danger and stress posed by working in high-r isk neighborhoods that result in teachers leaving the classroom.Since urban districts are often plagued with gang v iolence and unsafe schools and neighborhoods, the latter condition is highly signi ficant to examine for the policy maker since there is an actual threat to a teacher's phys ical safety. As a result and as expected, there should not only be more teacher absence in po orer areas of the city, but lower retention rates of qualified and experienced teache rs.Summary, Recommendation, and ConclusionsAs noted earlier, students in a classroom eventuall y lose the desire to learn when the


17 of 21regular teacher is frequently absent and the delive ry of the instructional program is by an array of substitute teachers. In essence, teache r absenteeism has important implications for school reform, teacher training, educational le adership, and issues related to social justice aimed at promoting equity and excellence in the schools. The use of substitute teachers puts added strain on the efforts of school reform by not only increasing the costs of instruction, but by changing the delivery of ins truction from fully credentialed and permanent teachers to part time and substitute teac hers. In addition with heavy reliance on substitute teachers to deliver instructional pro grams, the teaching efforts of the regular teacher towards school reform might be unde rmined. One of the main characteristics between successful and unsuccessful school reform efforts is the closing the disparity between resources as distributed vs. resources as received in the classroom. The degree of teacher absence at a school site is d irectly related to this resource distribution-reception disparity.Finally educational leadership has to recognize the fact that teaching at low-income area schools increases the propensity of teachers to be absent. With this in mind highly trained substitute teacher pools might need to be d eveloped at the site so that instruction is continued when the teacher is absent. The short age of substitute teachers (Lilly, 1998) and the effective use of substitute teachers (Holda way and Benhaw (1974) in the classroom have also been studied and should be cons idered part of school administrative training. (Pitkoff, 1993). Some states implementing large scale studies of substitute teaches include Wisconsin (Substitute Teaching in W isconsin, 2000) amd Nova Scotia (Unicomb et al., 2000)In conclusion research on low-income schools should examine in closer detail the disparity between resources as delivered to the cla ssroom vs. resources as actually received by students in the classroom. Teacher abse nteeism is a major contributor to instructional resource disparity or resources that are not actually being delivered to students in the classroom. In addition the notion o f attenuation or the lessening of the impact of school resources and the amplification of risk factors of students needs to be examined in much closer detail by educational resea rchers. This study partially demonstrates that the dual pro blem of attenuation of school district resources and amplification of student risk are bot h impacted by teacher absenteeism. In addition, the quality of geographical space as meas ured by the median income of the area is also highly associated with teacher absente eism. This association between the quality of geographical space, teacher absenteeism, and educational attainment raises issues of social justice and has the potential to u ndermine school reform efforts at promoting equity and excellence in urban schools.ReferencesAlberta Teachers Association, Substitute Teachers P rofessional Replacements. April 17 available athttp:/ rents/pamphlets/pg\uide16.html Bruno, J. E. (1997). It's About Time: Leading School Reform in an Era of Time Scarcity. Corwin Press, Inc., CA. Bruno, J. E. (1970). The Use of Monte Carlo Techniques for Determining Optimal Size of Substitute Teacher Pools in Large Urban School D istricts. Socio-Econ. Plan. Sci. 4


18 of 21pp. 415-428.Corcoran, R., Walker, L.J., & White, J.L. (1988). W orking in Urban Schools. Washington D.C: The Institute of Educational Leader ship. (ED299-356) Diver-Stamnes, A. C. (1995). Lives in the Balance: Youth, Poverty, and Education in Watts State University of New York Press, Albany. Ehrenberg, R., Rees, D., & Ehrenberg E. (1991). Sch ool district leave policies, teacher absenteeism, and student achievement, Journal of Human Resources, 26 72-105. Holdaway, E. A. and Benthan, J. A. (1974). The pro vision of substitute teachers Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 20 (1), 24-33 Joyce, M. R. An Analysis of Difference in Classroom Routines of Regular Teachers and Their Substitute Counterparts. Dissertation Abstracts International, 1975 Sep, 3 6(3-A), pp.1212-1213Kozol, J. (1992). Savage Inequalities Harper Prennial. Lilly, D. Shortage of substitute teachers has schools scrambl ing. Nov 10, 1998. Available at seattletimes.comLippman, L., Burns, S & McArthur, E. (1996). Urban Schools: The challenge of location and poverty. U.S. Department of Education, Naional Center for Education Statistics. Washington, D.C.Locher, Paul. (1999). Good Economy Procipitates Substitute Shortage. Retrieved Apr. 17, 2001. Available at 990117dr5.html McKay, G. No Substitute: Substitute Teachers become Hot Commo dity. Jan 26, 1999. Available at e/19990125subs9.asp Pitkoff, E. (1993). Teacher absenteeism: What admni strators can do. NASSP Bulletin, 77 39-45 Scott, K & McClellan, E. (1990). Gender differences in absenteeism. Public Personnel Management, 19 229-253. Streisand, B. & Toch, T. (1998). Many Millions of Kids and Too Few Teachers Available at 914/14teac.htm Substitute Teaching In Wisconsin. (Fall 2000) The Statewide Study of the Problems that Districts are having in attracting and retaining qu ality substitute teachers. Retrieved Jun 1, 2001. Available at /2000-01/sept00/subs.htm Unicomb, R., Alley, J., Avery, P., & Barak, L. (199 2). Teacher absenteeism: A study of short term teacher absenteeism in nine Nova Scotia schools. Education Canada 32 (2), 33-37.Wise, A. (1972). Rich Schools Poor Schools: The Promise of Equal Edu cational


19 of 21 Opportunity Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Woods, L. L. and Woods, T. L. (1974). Substitute: A psychological study Elementary School Journal, 75 (3), 162-167.About the AuthorProfessor James E. BrunoGraduate School of Education and Information Studie s 1032A Moore HallUniversity of California, Los Angeles 90095Phone 310-825-8354Fax 310-206-6293Professor James E. Bruno has taught at the Universi ty of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for over 30 years and is currently engaged i n research dealing with a wide range of interrelated topic areas impacting on children a nd adolescents. These areas include the perception of time and human behavior, social justi ce and community well being associated with geographical space, time-space dist ortions for children and adolescents in a new world order, and the use of information te chnologies for assessment and instructional support in educational settings. He presently teaches in the UCLA honors undergraduate program, the GSE&IS education minor p rogram, UC-Fresno joint doctoral program in educational leadership, and doc toral program in urban studies at UCLA.Email jbruno@ucla.eduWebsite 2002 by the Education Policy Analysis ArchivesThe World Wide Web address for the Education Policy Analysis Archives is General questions about appropriateness of topics o r particular articles may be addressed to the Editor, Gene V Glass, or reach him at College of Education, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 8 5287-2411. The Commentary Editor is Casey D. Cobb: .EPAA Editorial Board Michael W. Apple University of Wisconsin Greg Camilli Rutgers University John Covaleskie Northern Michigan University Alan Davis University of Colorado, Denver Sherman Dorn University of South Florida Mark E. Fetler California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Richard Garlikov Thomas F. Green Syracuse University


20 of 21 Alison I. Griffith York University Arlen Gullickson Western Michigan University Ernest R. House University of Colorado Aimee Howley Ohio University Craig B. Howley Appalachia Educational Laboratory William Hunter University of Calgary Daniel Kalls Ume University Benjamin Levin University of Manitoba Thomas Mauhs-Pugh Green Mountain College Dewayne Matthews Education Commission of the States William McInerney Purdue University Mary McKeown-Moak MGT of America (Austin, TX) Les McLean University of Toronto Susan Bobbitt Nolen University of Washington Anne L. Pemberton Hugh G. Petrie SUNY Buffalo Richard C. Richardson New York University Anthony G. Rud Jr. Purdue University Dennis Sayers California State University—Stanislaus Jay D. Scribner University of Texas at Austin Michael Scriven Robert E. Stake University of Illinois—UC Robert Stonehill U.S. Department of Education David D. Williams Brigham Young University EPAA Spanish Language Editorial BoardAssociate Editor for Spanish Language Roberto Rodrguez Gmez Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico Adrin Acosta (Mxico) Universidad de J. Flix Angulo Rasco (Spain) Universidad de Teresa Bracho (Mxico) Centro de Investigacin y DocenciaEconmica-CIDEbracho Alejandro Canales (Mxico) Universidad Nacional Autnoma Ursula Casanova (U.S.A.) Arizona State Jos Contreras Domingo Universitat de Barcelona Erwin Epstein (U.S.A.) Loyola University of Josu Gonzlez (U.S.A.) Arizona State


21 of 21 Rollin Kent (Mxico)Departamento de InvestigacinEducativa-DIE/ Mara Beatriz Luce (Brazil)Universidad Federal de Rio Grande do Sul-UFRGSlucemb@orion.ufrgs.brJavier Mendoza Rojas (Mxico)Universidad Nacional Autnoma deMxicojaviermr@servidor.unam.mxMarcela Mollis (Argentina)Universidad de Buenos Humberto Muoz Garca (Mxico) Universidad Nacional Autnoma deMxicohumberto@servidor.unam.mxAngel Ignacio Prez Gmez (Spain)Universidad de Daniel Schugurensky (Argentina-Canad)OISE/UT, Simon Schwartzman (Brazil)American Institutes for Resesarch–Brazil(AIRBrasil) Jurjo Torres Santom (Spain)Universidad de A Carlos Alberto Torres (U.S.A.)University of California, Los


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