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Class Size

As reported by teachers in 1999-2000, average class size for self-contained classes tended to be somewhat larger in traditional public and public charter elementary schools than in private 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.

Class size for departmentalized 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.

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.

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.

Programs in Schools

At least 40 percent of elementary schools in all sectors reported offering students extended, 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.

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

Teacher Salary Schedules

Public school districts were most likely to use a salary schedule to determine base salaries for teachers, compared to 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.

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.

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.

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 56.9 percent of full-time teachers in public charter schools and 52.1 percent of full-time teachers in private schools.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2002).