Friday, May 22, 2009

School Report Cards

Worcester's school report cards (as required under NCLB) came out this week. Some highlights:
  • the district has 23,109 students registered, of which 39% are white, 36.4% are Latino, 13.6% are black, 7.9% are Asian, 2.6% are multiracial (or classify themselves as such), and 0.4% are Native American
  • The district is 52% male and 48% female
  • There are 1639.5 teachers employed in the district (yes, that's a half-time teacher). 98.4% of them are licensed in his teaching assignment, and the ratio of teachers to students is 1 to 14.1 (before we get too excited, let's remember that the ratio is an average that necessarily includes special ed classes that have very few children in them).
  • The cover letter points out "Schools receiving federal Title I funds that do not make A(dequte) Y(early) P(rogress) for two consecutive years must allow parents the opportunity to transfer their child to another school in the district that is performing satisfactorily. Schools that have not made AYP for three years in a row, in addition to offering parents the right to choose a new school, must also offer parents a chance to access supplemental educational services for their children." (This might include tutoring or after school classes.) All but three elementary schools in Worcester--West Tatnuck, Flagg Street, and Nelson Place--receive Title I funding and so fall under this umbrella. The city so far has managed to avoid having much of this happen (school choice makes it partly a moot idea, anyway), but there it is. Keep in mind that, using my local school as an example, missing AYP could mean that the white subgroup of children missed having their MCAS scores go up by 0.2 out of a hundred on their English Language Arts MCAS. Rather ridiculous. And of course, much of the school report card is based around this relentless drive to have everyone passing the MCAS by 2014, which has always had limited relationship to reality.

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