A LYS Principal submitted the following:

Thank you for your interesting presentation of data to our board. My staff and I have been discussing your premise assumptions for several years.  We think you are correct, however there were a number of principals in the audience that were grumbling.  

At my campus we always have a large number of very LEP, late registering students.  Students that a number of my sister schools seemingly had no room for. To educatate these students we have to work our tails off. This is not the case at every campus in my district. We know that the playing field is not equal but this is never truly acknowledged at any principal meeting.  But now, because of you, it has been acknowledged at a Board meeting.

SC Response Evidently my presentation surprised a number of folks, but I don’t know why.  I didn’t say anything that I haven’t been commenting on for the past fifteen years.  I guess seeing the results in black and white and having those results discussed in an open forum upset the world-view of some people. To get the LYS Nation up to speed, I’ll give you the summary of my presentation.

1. There are external factors that impact the ability of a campus to educate the students that it serves. 

2. The external factors that create the greatest levels of adversity that have to be overcome, in ranked order are: Economic Disadvantaged, Limited English Proficient, and Mobility.

3. These external factors can be weighted to create an “Adversity Gauge.”  The greater the “Adversity Gauge,” the harder a campus must work, to keep up with a campus with a lower “Adversity Gauge.”

4. Raw campus performance scores tell an incomplete story.  Much like a raw golf score.  Shooting par on a U.S. Open Course is a much more difficult task than shooting 5 under par at a typical golf course.  Golfers understand this.  Though they respect the 5 under par score at the typical course, they celebrate and revere the even par score at the U.S. Open.

5. Raw performance scores adjusted based on the “Adversity Guage” provides a more complete picture of campus instructional quality. 

7. Based on the above assumptions, there are a number of “High Performing” schools that are barely shooting par at a regular course.

8. Based on the above assumptions, there are a number of “Struggling” schools that are shooting par at a U.S. Open course.

As I expected, the reception of my report was mixed. There were some principals at “High Performing” campuses that tried to make the case that their school was different. That even though their students were not as poor, LEP or mobile as students at other campuses, they still faced their own unique challenges.  I do not refute this, I just point out that the playing field is far from equal.  And as proof, I offer this final piece of evidence. Every principal that has protested that the “Adversity Guage” is a flawed premise, I have offered the chance for that principal to move to tougher campus.  Not one has taken me up on the offer.

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