The Third (of Many) Problem with the A-F School Rating System

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Last week I wrote that the Texas School Accountability System in its current form is designed to further an anti-public school agenda. There are a host of reasons why this is the case, but today I will focus on only one… Value Added Performance

 

The Anti-Public School Politician needs a school’s accountability system to produce two things.

 

  1. An acceptable number of “failing” schools to “justify” the incremental dismantling of public education.

 

  1. An acceptable number of “successful” schools to prove the Anti-Public School Politician is an effective leader.

 

A system designed to produce these two outcomes will over-emphasize non-controllable performance variables (see: Economic Status and Other At-Risk Factors) and under-emphasize controllable performance variables (see: Instructional Quality; Content Exposure; Motivation).

 

To truly measure value added performance, which means that every group of students is expected to improve, requires a sliding scale. Meaning that different student groups are expected to meet different standards. Standards that show actual performance growth.

 

This is not a case of having lower expectations for some students. This is the case of having high, yet fair, expectations for all students.

 

Here is a fairly accurate illustration of what the current A-F School Ranking System actually does. Think of a 100-yard dash.  The state sets an acceptable finish time of 15 seconds. So far, so good.

 

But then the state says if you like to run, move up 10 yards. And, if you are an athlete, move up 10 more yards. And, if you are a sprinter on the track team, move up another 10 yards.

 

Now kids, start running.

 

And for those of you who designed the contest, make sure that you act “surprised” when a whole bunch of “those” kids don’t meet your “objective” standard.

 

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn…

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