Wednesday, August 31, 2011

800! 800! Everyone at 800! Cake or Death?!?!

From the Press Enterprise newspaper,

"Almost half of schools in California and in Riverside County are meeting the state's goal of an Academic Performance Index of 800, according to data released today by State Superintendent Tom Torlakson."

Ok well then about half better shape up or ship out by 2013-2014. Three years baby.

"Torlakson announced that a record 49 percent of California schools met or exceeded the state's Academic Performance Index target, even as the federal No Child Left Behind Act's formula threatened to label 913 newly identified campuses as failing.

In all, 55 percent of elementary schools, 43 percent of middle schools and 28 percent of high schools met or surpassed the state API target of 800."

Why such dismal rates for high school? Aren't the "bad" kids dropped out already? Yes and no. Dropout rates factor in, as does the initial administration of the CAHSEE. And plus, burn out factors in, as kids at this age are generally disenfranchised by the education institution. They know it is a pointless exercise mimicking something "good", they smell something fishy but can't quite put a finger on it. They know if they purposely fail, it does not affect (effect? affect? I'd miss that question on the test. Epic fail.) them one bit. It does however, matter for the school. Tired of Mr. X marking you tardy? Tired of Mrs. Y's incessant yammering about atoms? Tired of your parents waking you before dawn to go rot in a dark box devoid of stimulus every day? Fail the test and the school just might disappear.

"I applaud the hard work our students, teachers, parents, school employees and administrators are doing to improve -- even in the face of severe cuts to school funding," Torlakson said. "At school after school, and among every significant ethnic group, California's students are performing better than ever. The failure here is in our politics, not our public schools."

Um no. The failure is that politics are in schools. They run the unions, the curriculum, the corporation-run testing system, get the idea.

"The six Inland districts with the highest API are: Temecula Valley Unified (859), Menifee Union Elementary (843), Murrieta Valley Unified (843), Lake Elsinore Unified (833) and Corona-Norco Unified and Redlands Unified, (815 for both).

The five districts with the most improvement are Nuview Union Elementary (38 points), Banning Unified (24 points), Alvord Unified (23 points), San Jacinto Unified (21 points), Lake Elsinore Unified (20 points) and Romoland Elementary (20 points).

"Year-in and year-out, Riverside County's students are improving faster than most other students in the state. This new data bears that out. Among the state's 16 large counties, our students scored the fourth-largest gain on this year's state Academic Performance Index," Riverside County Superintendent of Schools Kenn Young said in a news release. "We scored the third-largest API gain over the span of the last dozen years, and in the English Language Arts portion of the federal AYP testing, we led all large counties in improvement over that extended period."

Redlands Unified posted a 15-point improvement on the API. Colton Joint Unified and San Bernardino City Unified both improved by 14 points.

Despite gains, the continued rise in No Child Left Behind standards put more schools on the state's Program Improvement watch list, according to data also released today. Program Improvement requires a number of steps to help struggling students and voluminous, time-consuming reports to the federal Department of Education."

You gotta love it. Some schools vastly improve, only to be sanctioned with program improvement, doom-and-gloom status.

Both the state API and federal AYP are based upon results from the statewide Standardized Testing and Reporting Program, which showed nine consecutive years of rising scores among California students, and from the California High School Exit Examination."

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