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There's No One Correct Way To Rate Schools

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Marcu, I am deeply offended by your post. I teach in a poverty stricken school. I don't want or need an "excuse for poor performance." I work my tail off for my students and give them every opportunity I can to succeed. They don't all succeed. It's not an excuse, it's fact.

It's really sad that there are so many people out there who believe that poverty is the determining factor in student or school success ("lower income schools receive lower ratings regardless . . .") despite the mountains of evidence against it. Look into 90/90/90 schools and AVID as two obvious examples. Every time a blogger spews this misinformation, it gives high poverty schools an excuse to be low performing and exacerbates the problem. AVID students are 75% from poverty and more than 90 percent complete the requirements to go to 4-year university. 90/90/90 schools are 90% poverty, 90% ethnic minority, and 90% of students are proficient on state tests. All kids are capable of learning and deserve great teachers. Being poor is no excuse for low test scores and accountability is vastly more important at high poverty schools than at affluent schools. Stop making excuses for the kids who need great teachers the most.

My favorite example to drop into such discussions comes from an EdSector report by Chad Aldeman, which included this information about schools and their "grades" in the FL school report card system. “While [the 'D' school] got dismal marks from state and federal accountability schemes, it was actually quite successful in a number of important ways. It graduated a higher percentage of its students than [the “A” school] and sent almost the same percentage of its graduates off to college. Once they arrived on college campuses, [the 'D' school] graduates earned higher grades and fewer of them failed remedial, not-for-credit math and English courses than their ['A' school] peers. “In other words, D-rated [High School] was arguably doing a better job at achieving the ultimate goal of high school: preparing students to succeed in college and careers. But because Florida’s accountability systems didn’t measure college and career success in 2006, nobody knew.” I wrote more on the topic in this blog post: "Why Rank Schools?" http://accomplishedcaliforniateachers.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/why-rank-schools/

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