Common Core Data
Original User Guide (PDF)
School District Data Book Overview
The School District Data Book is an electronic library containing social, economic and administrative data for each of the 15,274 public school districts in the United States. The School District Data Book contains the most comprehensive database on children's demographics and children's living environment ever developed.
The School District Data Book is contained on a set of 51 CD-ROM's. Using a conventional microcomputer equipped with a CD-ROM reader, immediate access is provided to data for every school district, county and state and the United States as a whole.
This immense database of approximately 20 gigabytes of data (after reduction by data compression) provides up to 200,000 data items for each school district or county. The mapping features enables users to view maps of all individual school districts in the nation for the first time.
Demographics of "Relevant" Children. Perhaps the most important feature of the data in the School District Data Book are the 1990 Census School District Special Tabulation data which comprise more that 90-percent of the subject matter data in the SDDB. This is the only source of detailed demographics about children and their living environment for county and sub-county (school district) areas.
The 1990 Census school district special tabulation (Census 2000 counterpart now under development) provides a detailed set of demographic data. The grade ranges of school districts are adjusted so that each district has one grade range that is the same over all the territory it covers, and, to the extent possible, every grade is covered by exactly one district for each block in the country. Sometimes this cannot be achieved at the district level (by adjusting grade ranges) so accomodations to its peculiarities are made in the tabulation of census data for each block:
If a block is only claimed by a K-9 district in the school-district maps (i.e., no secondary district is indicated) then all children resident on that block in the decennial census are attributed to that district. If (the entire area of) a block is claimed by a K-9 district AND a K-12 district, then only children "in" grades 10-12 are attributed to the K-12 district for that block (the others are attributed to the K-9 district.)
Some school districts have different grade ranges in different areas, and have so indicated in the mapping survey. (For example, in Tennessee, most school districts are counties, and county districts are k-12. In a few counties, city districts serve elementary grades within their boundaries, and the county district provides only secondary grades in the city, but all grades outside. In making the tabulations, the grade range differences are respected by creating pseudo districts with different grade ranges. In the published tabulations, data for the pseudo districts are combined, and grade ranges are inadequately described as if they were the same for the entire district.) We have records of these explicit adjustments, there is no record of those done only in the block-by-block tabulations.
The School District Data Book enables users to:
The School District Data Book has been developed under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The principal interest of NCES in developing the School District Data Book is to provide an effective way for the Department and Congress to access, analyze and interpret data from the 1990 Census School District Special Tabulation. However, since this information can benefit state and local education agencies as well as researchers, policy analysts and administrators in a variety of other organizations, NCES implemented a program to meet these broader needs.
Chronological Background go to top
Census Mapping Project
Development of the School District Data Book started in 1988 with the Census Mapping Project. Under this initiative, sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics and coordinated by the Council of Chief State School Officers, all states participated in a program to develop school district maps. The maps, the first complete set ever to be developed for the nation, were the critical first step in the development of the database.
A public school district is an area whose public schools are administratively affiliated with a local education agency recognized by the state education agency as responsible for implementing the state's elementary and secondary public education program. Through the Census Mapping Project, 15,274 school districts were mapped.
School districts delineated by the Census Mapping Project are usually the same as those referenced in the NCES Common Core of Data Program. Accordingly, the Census Mapping Project used names and codes from the 1989-90 Common Core of Data as a means of identification.
Most areas of the U.S. are covered by one or more school districts. However, there are parts of some states that are not covered by any school district. These 60 areas are referred to as "balance of county" areas and treated as "pseudo" school districts in the SDDB. As a result, all areas of the U.S. are accounted for through the Census Mapping Project.
Paper maps developed by individual states were sent to the U.S. Bureau of the Census. The Census Bureau digitized the maps and transferred the resulting data into the Census Bureau's TIGER System. The TIGER (Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing) System is used by the Census Bureau as a way of tabulating address-oriented data. Once the school district maps were a part of the TIGER system, each of the nation's 6.5 million census blocks could be uniquely associated with their respective school districts.
Proximity/MESA and SDDB Development
In 1992, the National Center for Education Statistics contracted with MESA to develop the School District Data Book. It would be MESA's responsibility to assemble the raw data into the databases that became a part of the SDDB and to design and develop the software to meet the goals of the Department of Education for utility and ease of use.
1990 Census School District Special Tabulation
In 1993, under the sponsorship of NCES, the Census Bureau produced the 1990 Census School District Special Tabulation files that comprise approximately 95 percent of the SDDB's data. MESA and Census Bureau staff worked together to develop data compression techniques to transfer the data files from a mainframe computing environment into microcomputer databases.
The Census Bureau delivered the school district special tabulation files to MESA on approximately 200 high density magnetic tape reels. MESA transformed the census special tabulation data into a database structure suitable for CD-ROM and microcomputer use.
Additional Statistical Data Sources
In 1993-94, MESA acquired two non- decennial census data files and integrated these into the SDDB CD-ROM framework. Described in more detail below, these files include:
Seven Cartographic CD-ROMs were developed, containing boundary and related mapping files, through the use of the Census Bureau TIGER/Line files. The TIGER/Line files are a product of the Census Bureau and are themselves contained on CD- ROM. They contain data describing attributes of all street and non- street (such as rivers) features of the entire U.S. The TIGER/Line files were augmented with school district boundary coding derived from the Census Mapping Project.
Using the TIGER/Line files, MESA developed boundary files for all school districts in the U.S. and other types of geography. These boundary files are used by the MESA IMAGE System GIS, and other software, to draw maps of school districts. The boundary files are an integral part of the SDDB CD-ROM series.
The boundary files contained on the cartographic CD-ROMs may be used directly with the IMAGE System to display thematic and orienteering maps. For more information on the features of the IMAGE System, click here. The boundary files may also be exported to a transportable format for use with other software.
SDDB Software go to top
MESA developed the software to be distributed on the SDDB CD-ROM providing access to the data. The SDDB software design is critical to meeting the goals to have the data not only easily accessible but also highly usable -- by users with varying interests and technical backgrounds.
The main features of the SDDB include:
The School District Data Book is distributed only on CD-ROM. The 44- volume statistical CD-ROM set includes a U.S. by State volume and state by school district and county volumes.
Basic content of each CD-ROM includes:
Each State CD-ROM. Each of the State CD-ROM contain, in addition to the basic content, State, district and county 1990 Census school district special tabulation data for that state. Several states require two or more CD-ROM, while in other cases two or more states are contained on one CD-ROM.
In addition to the 44 statistical CD-ROMs, there are seven SDDB cartographic CD-ROMs. The cartographic CD-ROMs contain boundary files and mapping related data are are used to draw maps and support visual-based analyses.
1990 Census School District Special Tabulation go to top
See update note for a description of this database restructured as of January 2001.
The 1990 Census School District Special Tabulation data are provided for each school district, county, state and the U.S.
Data are organized by 7 types of tabulation records:
Tabulation Record Type Number of Items 1 - Characteristics of All Households 981 2 - Characteristics of All Persons 5,688 3 - Characteristics of Households with Children 808 4 - Characteristics of Parents with Children 3,187 5 - Children's Households Characteristics 808 6 - Children's Parents Characteristics 2,813 7 - Children's Own Characteristics 2,271
Roughly 70 percent of the data items in each record correspond to the Census Bureau subject matter tables used in the 1990 Census Summary Tape File 3. The additional tables follow similar numbering/reference nomenclature but have been defined by NCES to meet more specific types of data uses; e.g., dropout population and at-risk populations.
For record types 3 through 7, tabulation categories are further detailed by type of enrollment:
1 - Total Enrolled & Not Enrolled 2 - Total Enrolled (Public & Private) 3 - Enrolled in Public School 4 - Enrolled in Private School 5 - Not Enrolled
For each type of enrollment category, as applicable for a school district age/grade coverage, in record types 3 through 7, the data are further broken down by the following age/grade categories:
1- Total Relevant 2- Pre-Kindergarten 3- Kindergarten 4- Grade 1- 4 5- Grade 5- 8 6- Grade 9-12 7- Age 0- 2 years 8- Age 3- 4 years 9- Age 5-13 years 10- Age 14-17 years 11- Age 18-19 years 12- Age 3-19 years 13- Age 5-17 yearsTop 100 Database go to top
The "Top 100" database was developed to provide a compact file of key data items to be provided on each CD-ROM for each district, county, state and the U.S. A copy of this dBASE structured file is contained on each statistical CD-ROM. These data have been drawn mainly from the 1990 Census school district special tabulation and include items listed below.
Persons by Sex Persons by Type of Household Persons by Urban/Rural Status Persons by Race/Ethnic Origin Labor Force Status Educational Attainment Families Households with Children Housing Units by Tenure/Occupancy Occupied Housing Units by Urban/Rural Status Economic Characteristics - Median Gross Rent - Median Housing Value - Per Capita Income in 1989 - Median Household Income - Public Assistance Income in 1989 - Poverty Status, Income in 1989 Dropouts At-Risk Pre-School Age Children At Risk School Age Children Attributes of Children - Sex - Urban/Rural Status - Race/Ethnicity - Age - Household Type - Poverty Status - Enrolled in School - Sex - Race/Ethnicity - Enrolled in Public School - Sex - Race/Ethnicity Administrative (Common Core of Data) Students Teachers Schools Financial (Census of Governments) Total Revenue Local Revenue State Revenue Federal Revenue Total Expenditures Current Expenditures Instruction Expenditures Support ExpendituresFinancial Data go to top
The financial data, from the 1989-90 Survey of School District Finances, includes data on the following subjects (complete detail not shown).
Total Revenue by Sources Total Local Revenue Taxes by category Parent Government Contribution Local Intergovernmental School Lunch and other charges by category Interest Earnings Other Total State Revenue Direct from State State Revenue on Behalf of LEA Total Federal Aid Federal Aid Through State Direct Federal Aid Total Expenditures by Function Current For Instructional Programs Instruction by category Support Services by category Noninstructional Current Spending by category Capital Outlay Expenditure by category Payments to Other LEA's & Governments Interest on Debt Long-Term Debt Issued Long-Term Debt Retired Long-Term Debt Outstanding, End Yr Short-Term Debt Outstanding, Beg Yr Assets at End of Year Sinking Fund Bond Fund
Administrative Data go to top
The administrative data have been derived from the 1989-90 Common Core of Data - School Level File. Using the school level data, school district level aggregates were prepared for the following subjects.
Schools Teachers Students Reported in Schools by Race/Ethnic Origin Schools by Enrollment Size Students in Schools by Enrollment Reported Size Schools by Type of School Students by Type of School Schools by Urban/Rural Category Students by Urban/Rural Category Teachers by Urban/Rural Category Schools by School Free Lunch Eligibility Students by School Free Lunch Eligibility Teachers by School Free Lunch Eligibility Schools by Percent Black Students in Schools by Percent Black Teachers in Schools by Percent Black Schools by Percent White Students in Schools by Percent White Teachers in Schools by Percent White Schools by Percent Hispanic Students by Percent Hispanic Teachers in Schools by Percent Hispanic Schools by Percent Native American Students by Percent Native American Teachers in Schools by Percent Native American Schools by Percent Asian/Pacific Islander Students by Percent Asian/Pacific Islander Teachers in Schools by Percent Asian/Pacific IslanderHow to Order the SDDB
To obtain an order form, contact Proximity.