Thursday, January 13, 2011

A state report card . . .

Two report cards on public schools at the state level have been released recently. In this post I’ll share a local one compiled by the League of Education Voters. Below, are the grades for 2011 with a summary of how the grading is done found here.  The grades are not good for either year and the prospects in the short term on these goals is not much better.

Ratings (2010 rating in parentheses)

Invest in early learning.   C+ (C+)
  • Ensure every child reads by third grade – close achievement gap
Prepare all children for college, work, and life.   C- (C+)

  • Every high school student opportunity graduate with meaningful diploma
Focus on math, science, and engineering.   C- (C)

  • Support every student in passing Algebra I by 8th grade
Prepare everyone for 21st century job market.   D+ (C-)

  • Increase number of students completing one year after high school and return for a second year
Invest in what works.   C- (D+)

  • Improve transparency, accountability, and funding necessary for student achievement

I think that this quote form the report summary will give you a context for understanding the above rankings.

The report paints a pretty gloomy picture.

In our last Report Card, we wrote that whether we make progress will come down to our collective will to do the things that matter. Invest in early learning; make sure kids read by third grade; focus on cutting our dropout rates. Well, we didn’t do those things. Our reading scores have flatlined. We are near the bottom of national rankings for college-going, we are one of nine states where the achievement gap is actually growing, our graduation rates are in the bottom third, and a full 18 points behind the national leader. While our SAT scores rank us at the top, the test is voluntary, taken by kids intent on going to college. The good news: for kids who believe they’re going to college — mostly White, affluent, or Asian kids — we do pretty well. For everybody else, we don’t prepare them for much of anything.

One piece of information I found interesting was the chart comparing Washington’s per pupil spending to the national average. In 1980 we were 13% above the national average, in 1992 we were at the average, and in 2007 we were at 89% of the average. Given the current condition of the state’s economy and the cuts that are being done to this year’s and next year’s budget the trend line will most likely continue the negative path.

Please know that the League of Education Voters is one of the leading advocacy groups for public schools in this state. They have a strong presence in Olympia and are pushing the legislature to continue the reform agenda passed over the last two sessions.  They are aligned with many of the current national trends, but are truly focused on supporting the education of all Washington students as shown in this quote from the report..

And finally — and most importantly — we put kids first, and we tell the truth.

1 comment:

stacy said...

Actually, we already know this research, yet we DON'T follow the advice. For years I know primary teachers have been saying to help the kids BEFORE third grade, yet most of the interventions happen AFTER third grade. WHY? Why the "flooding" before the test in 4th grade and then those SAME students are left to flounder on the 5th grade test. Why not reserach better more efficent methods of homework, why can't the middle school and elementary meet and see what they expect as homework. We are not doign our children favors by sending home a "packet." I am sure we can do better, we need to do better. So why are we NOT following the research, are we, I hate to say it... always doing what we have done? If that is the report card we KNOW what to fix. Put the resources into the younger kids, when they are still can be helped. Please. No more excuses why we stink and the helplessness of the missing money. Sorry to rant a bit here, but really were you surprised by the info given on the report card.