Tuesday, March 28, 2006

More data to chew on (and your editor blows a gasket)

DC Board of Education member Victor Reinoso (District 2, Wards 3 & 4) has put together a package of data [warning: large PDF]that he presented to the District 2 Parent Leadership Council meeting last Thursday. The package is chock full of good data including student performance information on schools throughout the district, boundary maps for District 2 schools and the facilities consolidation principles approved by the board last week. Of most interest to me are is the 2005 Student Performance Index numbers compiled by the 21st Century School Fund. The index represents the combined percentage of students at basic & above basic in both reading and math (200 being the highest score). Here's the breakdown for the District's public schools by school type:
  • Elementary School Mean = 144
  • Middle School / Junior High School Mean = 97
  • Senior High School Mean = 43
[I'm unsure if these are the straight average of the schools' scores or if they're weighted by student count]

The Senior High School average is just brutal. And this includes schools such as Banneker (181) as Schools Without Walls (175) with very high scores. Anacostia Senior, Ballou Luke C. Moore Academy and Woodson all have scores below 30, with several other schools lurking in the 30-40 range. Again I ask, where's the shame? The fact that the District has one, let alone many, schools where less than 20% of the student population is functional in reading or math is a disgrace.

The District is charging you Filet Mignon prices for hamburgers even McDonalds wouldn't sell.

(ok, my Howard Beale, "I'm mad as hell..." rant is over)

UPDATE: Links fixed.


Anonymous said...

both those links above seem to be out of service.

Nathan said...

Thanks for pointing out the dead links. Fixed now (hopefully).

Mari said...

Why are the numbers so low? Has there been a large influx of ESL kids from countries with lousy literacy rates? High truancy? Any guesses?

Nathan said...

No idea, Mari. Its a mystery to me so far. Part of it may be that elmentary schools and high schools are very different beasts serving two very different populations (children vs. teenagers). I guess DCPS just does better at teaching children than it does teaching teenagers.

Ellie said...

There are a variety of factors that could affect the numbers. I would guess that the problems include...

1. hs (high school) kids having more family responsibilities that cuts into their necessary study/rest time (such as helping with younger siblings/their own children, earning money to help the family, etc.)

2. less parental supervision for hs kids which may lead to truancy, incomplete homework, less studying

3. hs kids more likely to have problems with drug/alcohol usage

4. learning disabilities that have gone undiagnosed continue to drag down the student's productivity as work gets more difficult with each grade

5. more hs kids may buy into anti-intellectualism

6. hs kids are more likely to be aware of and discouraged by the crappy state of DC schools

7. ESL kids who enter DC schools in the later grades tend to learn english at a slower rate than young children

8. I'm sure that there's something about years and years of crappy curriculum, lack of supplies, crumbling buildings, and some marginal teachers that come into play