Thursday, January 21, 2010

RI, the South, and the Chance for Success Index


That article, “Quality Counts and the Chance-for-Success Index,” by Macke Raymond and her colleagues at CREDO, noted that grades on the Chance-for-Success Index are strongly influenced by measures of family income and the level of education achieved by parents living in a state (variables included in the index). So while states tend to interpret their grades as measures of the quality of their schools, the grades don’t really capture the contribution of the state’s schools to the success of its young people; instead, they reflect how wealthy the state is.

Raymond and her CREDO colleagues re-calculated the Chance-for-Success index for 2009, leaving out the family background variables, and found that state rankings changed substantially. Hawaii, Rhode Island, Indiana, Alaska, Nebraska, and North Dakota all dropped significantly. Florida, Texas, Maine, Idaho, Arkansas, and Mississippi all gained. Take look for yourself here.

One thing that's funny is that the next day there was a post on Flypaper about the sad state of New Jersey's schools, which rank #2 on the unmodified CFSI score and #1 on the adjusted CSFI.

Beyond that, there is precious little movement in the top states based on this analysis: some middling states go down to low and some low go up to middling, but the top states, all in the northeast, mid-Atlantic, midwest or Virginia, are consistent.

Whatever this analysis is worth (and it may not be much), it is the kind of thing that makes me scratch my head about the steadily increasing Southern influence on education policy in Rhode Island and Providence. We keep pulling in more Southerners, who seem to have had some success in pulling their states from terrible to OK, but if we were just up to the level of our New England or Mid-Atlantic peers, we'd be way above Florida, Texas, etc.

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