No Excuse Left Behind
Thanks, Combest, for linking to an article in the St. Joseph News-Press about the St. Joseph School District’s response to No Child Left Behind:
Several other district subgroups didn’t meet goals this year. Black students, Hispanic students, students eligible for free and reduced-price lunches and non-English-speaking students didn’t meet the goal. If any of those subgroups miss the target again next year, the district could again appear on the “needing improvement” list. […]
Of the district’s overall scores, Cheri Patterson, the district’s director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, said, “We are darn proud of those scores. They are good scores.”
The implication is that a few unteachables are causing trouble for everyone. And I agree that 100 percent proficiency is not a realistic goal. But let’s see how good those “good scores” really are. The Post-Dispatch website shows that out of all the different grade levels and subjects, only for 3rd-grade, 5th-grade, and 6th-grade math did more than 50 percent of St. Joseph students achieve proficient or advanced scores. One hundred percent may be too high a bar — but is 50 percent? In fact, at the 3rd-grade level, the Special School District of St. Louis scored higher than St. Joseph in both subjects tested. If a special school district, in which 100 percent of students enrolled have disabilities or challenges, can teach more than half of its 3rd graders to read at their grade level, why can’t St. Joseph?