Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Setting Goals

From Making Student Achievement the Focus: A five-year action plan for District of Columbia Public Schools (working draft):

We have two related goals: to create the best urban school district in the country and to close the achievement gap that persists along racial and socioeconomic lines.

To be fair, this is pretty much boilerplate, and after skimming through the rest of the plan I can't identify anything in particular that addresses these goals specifically. For example, the plan isn't different enough from plans already in place in other cities to think that it represents something that would surpass those cities. But it is pretty weird to state your district's goal not in comparison to other cities. It certainly isn't the kind of thing which leads to a "focus on kids." It is an adult politician's goal. And obviously, we're used to the "achievement gap" rhetoric, but does it really work as an operational goal for an individual district? Do you really want to make your goal essentially holding one group still and adding resources so a second can catch up?

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