In the library field, numbers matter. There are really only two statistics anyone cares about: your circulation (the number of materials “checked out”) and the patron count (who comes to your programs). It can be maddening. I interviewed a teen librarian in my last career as an academic researcher-type, and she was properly irritated with this. She’d recounted times she’d had two or three people attending a children’s or a teen program and the quality of the interaction was so high, it was fantastic, but on the paper, she had to write that three people attended. Over the past few years, our own library’s storytimes have exploded in popularity and it’s getting hard to fit more people in the room. The “quality” of the interactions is not great since the librarian nearly has to shout over the babies and toddlers’ babbling now, but heck, they’ve got the numbers!
In education, it’s the same. Everyone wants to know how MANY you served and how MANY are where they ought to be. Few even care how MUCH growth each one has, really. Numbers only matter in aggregate. This is why special education programs are always getting picked on by taxpayers: why should we help the few with stuff that costs so much (or bodies; extra aides can be pricey, so we do our best to avoid giving them full-time hours or benefits) when the gifted get their needs ignored?