Where You Stand…Where You Sit…

This article raises a legitimate point, but couldn’t it have just as easily taken the opposite tact and been titled “Minority and Special Needs Students More Likely To Be Overlooked In Diverse Schools”?

It’s a conundrum, sure, but made clearer if one decides that the unit of analysis is kids or schools.* Like welfare reform, there is a dual client issue (the schools serve the kids) but either we’re going to get at subgroups of students or not. Congress made its decision; the law wasn’t called “No School Left Behind” for a reason — namely the glaring achievement gaps between different groups of students.

This article is about PA so consider, for example, 5th grade reading scores there. In 2003, 67 percent of white students proficient, 28 percent of African-American students, and 30 percent of Hispanic students. Unless you ignore or exclude a lot of kids from your accountability system, a lot of schools in a state with numbers like that will be identified as “needing improvement.” After all, those kids do go to school somewhere.

Incidentally, the subgroup size issue that the article hinges on is basically a state decision, they get to decide on the size which in turn leads to the number of targets for schools.

*An obvious political risk for a political party (no names, but it is one of the two major parties) that chooses schools/adults instead of kids…

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