Thursday, August 20, 2009

This Flawed Measure Proves My Point!

Tom Vander Ark on his former district's failure to make AYP:

Other than the fact that most people don’t care, is the problem with FWPS or NCLB? I think the answer is both. FWPS is a well run a traditional public school district. They have focused and competent leadership and a few schools of choice (in a state with no charters). But they’re running up against the limits of what can be accomplished in traditional schools. Our schools, especially secondary, are just not design to prepare all students for college. The ‘No Excuses’ cadre of new small charters with a long day/year and heroic effort have pushed the boundary back but are a challenge to scale. Equity and excellence at scale will take innovative tools and schools to approach NCLB goals.

And speaking of NCLB, the FWPS example shows a couple of the problems that must be addressed in reauthorization. A growth model would cut FWPS some slack and a model that differentiated remedy would focus attention on chronic failure.

In other words, the NCLB measures are too coarse to determine if the district is really failing, but it doesn't matter, because their eventual failure is an article of faith.

Well, "faith" isn't exactly the right word, because it doesn't take much faith to believe one can continually change the definition of success until failure becomes inevitable.

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