Monday, March 22, 2010

More questions raised about the Race to the Top related audits is carrying the latest set of questions about some of the ten schools that were recently officially tagged for school audits that may have real consequences for schools.

The two schools complaining to WBKO are both considered “Non-Title 1 Schools” under the criteria used by the new Race to the Top formula adopted by the Kentucky legislature in January. That means they get relatively little federal support money from the federal Title 1 program. In other words, these are not high poverty schools by Kentucky standards.

That leads to a further discussion about why we are going to spend a lot of extra money in these two schools over the next three years – $1.5 million each – while other, clearly lower-performing schools won’t get a dime.


Click the “Read More” link to see some schools that won’t get a dime but definitely should be ahead of Caverna and Metcalfe if we are going to spent big bucks to turn around only a few schools.

First, look at the most recent No Child Left Behind summary for Caverna High School.

With one hiccup in the 2002-03 school year, Caverna consistently made Overall Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) until just three years ago. Caverna’s 2009 average proficiency rate for reading and math combined was 37.39 percent. That’s really bad, but hold on.

Here is a similar table for Metcalfe County High School.

Metcalfe started to falter four years ago. Its combined proficiency rate averaged across reading and math was 35.15 in 2009.

Now, consider some schools that had a notably lower combined (averaged) proficiency rates for reading and math, but which ARE NOT in the running for either the management audits or the huge supplemental turn-around funding.

Here is the NCLB summary for one such school, Iroquois High School in Jefferson County.

Why is this school not going to get $1.5 million in extra support money or a management audit to see if the leadership in the school knows what it should be doing? In 2009 this school’s combined math and reading proficiency rate average was only 31.40.

Or, how about the Holmes High School from the Covington Independent School system? This school apparently is skating because it has been constantly reconstituted by shifting grades around. But, the same, terrible Overall AYP performance has been going on ever since NCLB tracking started. But, no audits, no extra money for this school, either. Holmes averaged proficiency rate in 2009 – 28.58 percent.

Finally, here is NCLB summary for the Deming High School in Robertson County.

This school actually showed on the trial run of the Race to the Top accountability formula back in January but somehow disappeared from the actual accountability list. Maybe that is because the actual list suddenly shrank from 12 to just 10 schools.

Anyway, Deming’s averaged math/reading proficiency in 2009 was a dismal 26.84 percent. Deming got lucky on NCLB in 2006-07, but it is clear that the school has basically been on the skids for Overall AYP since 2004-05, a five year period.

So, what do you think? If we can only spend extravagantly in just 10 schools, did our educators from Washington and Frankfort wind up selecting the right 10 schools?

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