Sunday, January 14, 2007

Why can't districts evaluate the Schools of Choice program?

Dave Groves of the Oakland Press wrote an article that provided an interesting look at movement of student populations that result from the Michigan Schools of Choice Program.

Oakland Press: Schools of Choice (12/24/06)

The second sentence concludes, “Administrators said it is difficult to judge whether the policy has helped raise academic achievement levels, but note that it is not difficult to see how struggling districts have been devastated by the loss of state funding that follows their students to districts they choose to attend.”

The money argument is loaded with hypocrisy, but I’ll address that another time. For now, let’s look at the more important student achievement piece, and how schools fail to track student achievement.

I have no doubt that many administrators would indeed find it difficult to conclude whether a child is having more academic success in one school versus another.

Isn’t that sad?

One would think the first thing that a school would do when a child transfers into the district is assess where they are. Are they below grade level, on par, or above? Where is the student academically after one year in the district? Shouldn’t there be some comprehensive data collection, reporting, and analysis?

This type of analysis should be going on with ALL students!

What if there is a large influx of School of Choice students that are entering the district below grade level, and the district incurs substantial cost to bring them up to level. Wouldn’t the district want to know the financial impact?

Wouldn’t a district want to share their success of helping those children?

Another scenario might be that a student enters achieving at grade level, and basically maintains that status. But, districts can’t even determine if that is what is happening!

And, regardless of individual student performance, administrators should at least be able to judge whether the student has more educational opportunities at one school or another by examining the curriculum.

It seems to me that it’s not that judging is difficult, but rather whether schools are that interested in measuring student achievement and opportunity.

==> Mike

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kids are leaving the public schools in droves- and for good reason. Studies continue to show that children in public schools lose points on standardized tests as they progress through our system. We need to compete with countries like China, our current system isn't going to cut it.