Monday, April 20, 2009

A Premier Misrepresentation

1pre·mier
Pronunciation: \pri-ˈmir, -ˈmyir, -ˈmē-ər;
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English primer, primier, from Anglo-French, first, chief, from Latin primarius of the first rank —

1 : first in position, rank, or importance
2 : first in time : earliest

In case you hadn’t noticed, Dr. Lewis has taken to linking the word “premier” with “DeKalb County School System” in his speeches and references these days. He attaches the word “premier” to the front of the name of the school system – as if it’s a corporate tag line or a copyrighted word association. In fact, the word “premier” is part of the school system’s logo on the website.

“Premier DeKalb County Schools” is downright false advertising that fails to overcome the reality of just how truly poor this school system really is. In fact, Dr. Lewis has diminished the definition of the word “premier” to the point that it has become a non-word to anyone who hears it pass his lips. He would better serve his “stakeholders” (another favorite buzzword) to simply allow pure, clear air to pass his lips instead – the pure air of honesty.

Here are some facts about DeKalb County Schools that serve to show that not only is DeKalb not premier, many of our schools can’t even rise to the level of "adequate".

Governor’s Office of Student Achievment

The data here tells several stories. Perhaps as a harbinger of future performance, our first grade students have lost 6 percentage points in the number of students who exceed performance expectations on the CRCT over the last three years. Moreover, the number of students who are NOT meeting expectations has risen by 2% in Language Arts and 8% in Mathematics. In fact, in 2006-07 (the last year with published data) 14% of first graders did not meet reading standards, 24% did not meet language arts standards and 24% did not meet mathematics standards. In the corporate world, an inability to hit performance targets this badly would trigger replacements. However, our school board just renewed our superintendent’s contract until October, 2011, in effect, a reward. This adherence to the status quo, with such dismal first grade performance doesn’t give us much hope for improvement.

Along with this decrease, comes a system-wide drop in enrollment of about 2%. (Are we losing our best performing students?) Our results on the high school graduation test have improved in the last three years, with Hispanics making the greatest gains, and everyone having trouble with science. However, students with disabilities are failing the test miserably. The failure rate on the End of Course Tests is frightening. The most recent scores show 47% failure in 9th grade literature, 26% failure in American Lit, 66% failure in Algebra 1, 60% failure in Geometry, 59% failure in Biology, 58% failure in Physical Science, 38% failure in U.S. History.

The good news is, our graduation rate has risen about 10% in three years. The school system has not shared exactly how they determine the graduation rate though - do they track students across four years or do they simply divide the number who began the year as a senior by the number who graduate (as many schools do). Disaggregated, though we find that the graduation rate for Title 1 schools is only 67.4% compared to 79.0% for Non-Title 1 schools. Sadly, the graduation chasm between males and females is wide: 76.4% of females graduate, compared to only 68.5% of males. The K-12 retention rate supports the gender discrepancy: 37.7% of females are retained from K-12 compared to 62.3% of males. (Are we sending our boys an early lesson that they are not capable?) Of those who did manage to graduate, only 35.7% qualified for the Hope Scholarship in 2007. Interestingly, DeKalb supplied 6,213 of the total 104,123 high school graduates in the State in 2007 – nearly 6% of the total – imagine how many more we would have provided had they all made it through to graduate. Conversely, imagine how many we have sent into society ill-prepared.

Further, we continue to segregate students based on performance, thereby creating environments with low performers separated into different schools from high performers. For example, the brand new Arabia High School, with all of its learning potential and possibilities to serve as a new kind of learning environment for so many, in the end has been introduced as more or less, a magnet school, requiring an application, essay and lottery to gain admission. Our best resources seem to only be focused on our best students – leaving the under-performing to flounder. Why are we not focusing more heavily on those most at-risk? Why do we not invest millions into new, different and exceptional educational opportunities for them? One size does not fit all. The DCSS college-prep diploma, which requires more credits that the state does, may not be achievable for all. Does that mean some must be ignored or forced to achieve the same goal using vaguely different routes? What is wrong with offering a truly impressive, positive vocational opportunity which could carve a path to a viable career for so many – especially our boys, who we seem to be failing the most?

Adequate Yearly Progress

In July, 2007, the AJC listed over 100 metro area schools having trouble meeting “Adequate Yearly Progress” (AYP). Of the list, Cobb had 14, Gwinnett had 14, Fulton had 15, Atlanta City had 18 and DeKalb had a whopping 40. Of those in DeKalb, the most egregious was McNair Middle, which hadn’t made AYP in 8 years and required state intervention. In addition, Clarkston and Cross Keys High Schools hadn’t passed AYP for 5 years at the time of the report. (Cross Keys did manage to make AYP last year though!) At the time, students from the following 12 high schools in DeKalb were allowed to transfer to a “receiving” school: Avondale, Cedar Grove, Clarkston, Columbia, Cross Keys, Lithonia, MLK, McNair, Miller Grove, Open Campus, Stephenson and Towers. In fact, of the 21 high schools in DeKalb, only four were allowed to accept these transfers: Lakeside, Chamblee, Dunwoody and Druid Hills. Fast forward to 2008 and you will find that although we have many individual schools passing AYP, some even labeled “Distinguished”, we still have 40 schools that failed to make AYP (out of a total of 143 schools).

Currently, DeKalb’s District AYP Status for 2008 was still “Needs Improvement” meaning too many of our schools have missed AYP for two or more consecutive years. In fact, DeKalb has only met 15 out of 22 criteria markers. Needs Improvement (NI) schools must offer options to parents – such as tutoring or school choice – and may need to take specific action to improve student performance. (This is scaled on a grading system that includes Needs Improvement, Adequate Did Not Meet, and Adequate.) Although the system is making improvements, having made AYP in K-8 as well as some high school markers, it is still evident that the system struggles with math on the graduation test. But as you can see, as a system, DeKalb Schools still have two levels of improvement in order to reach the level of “Adequate” as defined by the state. So where do they get the deluded idea that they are instead, “Premier”? Let’s be honest -- Premier is a far cry from Adequate and several miles from Needs Improvement.

50 comments:

Ella Smith said...

The word primier as part of our name has bothered me a great deal. I know this is our goal as a school system and it is a great goal but to use it currently to describe our school system I feel is inappropriate as we are not at all a Premier School System in the State. We have 40 schools not meeting AYP. This is not a Premier School System.

fedupindcss said...

I always thought the use of "premier" seemed grammatically incorrect, or at least really clunky.

They keep using it in the hope that if you say it enough, people will believe it.

Dunwoody Mom said...

CRCT starts tomorrow. I'll be interested to see if there is an improvement in the Math scores after the 2nd year of the new curriculum.

Anonymous said...

The big lesson here is don't get on Cere's bad side!!!

Cerebration said...

That's right Dr. Lewis. If you get on my bad side, I go out and get data.

Ella Smith said...

I disagree with Celebration from time to time and she can handle disagreement. Apparently for some reason Dr.Lewis apparently did get on Celebrations bad side.

I just know she is a great person and fun to debate.

Cerebration said...

Thanks, Ella. In fact - I was kidding - certainly that post wasn't from Dr. Lewis - and certainly my post is not aimed personally at the man. He is so hopeful that he really is leading something "premier" that he has just started saying it out loud - sort of like the little engine that could.

I, however, can be a very cynical realist. Someone has to be...

---------

And - to repost once again - that other list of annoying data -

Here are the enrollment numbers for the past several years --

2005-2006 102,330 (see note) +2,280 2.279%
2006-2007 101,817 (513) -0.501%
2007-2008 100,526 (1,291) -1.268%
2008-2009 99,778 (748) -0.744%
2009-2010 - hasn't been published, however it was stated at 97,000 in news reports in August.

Note: Enrollments for 2005-2006 include 1,622 students relocated due to Katrina.
Without Katrina: Enrollment: 100,708 / Change: 658 / 0.657%

HOWEVER -- here are budget numbers

From Dr. Lewis' 11/03/08 State of the System powerpoint presentation - here are his statements about the budget -- (I copied and pasted this from his PPT)

Current Reality
􀁻 General operations budget FY2007 ($820M)
􀁻 General operations budget FY2009 ($890M)
􀁻 91% of Budget for Salaries & Benefits

SO - under Dr. Lewis' leadership - we have continual declines in enrollment (even after factoring in Katrina AND Clayton) and an enormous increase in the operations budget - and still we have a system that overall cannot make Adequate Yearly Progress.

Ella Smith said...

Great information Cerebration. You are great!!!!

Anonymous said...

Although I agree that there is certainly room for improvement, I think it's important to note that while the NCLB standards do not change, the students who comprise our school population do change--and not always for the better. You state that a CEO who performed as poorly as Dr. Lewis would be fired. However, a CEO is able to fire his employees. Dr. Lewis cannot "fire" the students and get better ones.

So, in order to really gauge whether the DCSS performance has improved or declined, you would have to normalize the data to account for changes in student populations.

Cerebration said...

Well that's certainly a different perspective, Anonymous. Hmm - I actually don't have a response, I'll need time to digest the idea that the problem lies with our "raw material".

How do we change that? Are the parent centers doing any good? Who do we have leading that effort? And can you tell me a little more about how exactly the student population has changed? Some specific issues/problems with ideas as to how to address them would be good to hear.

What about the teachers and principals - do you think they're doing the best job they can? I mean considering...

Ella Smith said...

The student population overall has changed. Students appear not to come to school very prepared. From my prospective we are suppose to teach all information at school for many students without the students putting in the needed time to study and in many cases without any support from parents.

Now some students do come to school prepared but in my 29 years of teaching I have seen a big decline in parent support and also student's in general putting anytime outside of class.

For instance in Biology we have so much to cover that there is no way we can review the material over and over to make sure the students have learned the material. Many are just not putting in the time at home.

Anonymous said...

Cere:

New Anonymous here. While I agree that the "Premier" moniker is silly and the county has made little progress in AYP, I question whether your analysis was entirely fair to DCSS.

NCLB forced the nation to realize that certain groups have traditionally failed to achieve academically in the public schools. And one of those subgroups makes up a large portion of students in our system. This is painfully clear from the DCSS data. But nationwide, there has been little progress. It is not just a DCSS issue.

Google Education Watch for individual reports on all 50 states released this month. Also, go to the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation website for an analysis of the NCLB data which calls into question all the state reports because of inconsistency in state testing, The Accountability Illusion.

This is a national issue. As far as English Language Learners and kids with disabilities, should we really hold them to the same standard and require them to take the same test as students without these obstacles?

NCLB has focused the issue. But the statute has completely failed to address a remedy. We've thrown a ton of money at the issue and made lots of consultants and testing companies very wealthy. But no results.

I agree with what Shayna Steinfeld wrote earlier this year. Let's find the state or school system with the most analogous student population AND the best scores on national norm referenced tests (not the CRCT!) and examine them to see what they are doing.

Ella, you are also correct. Students do not come to school prepared to learn. Parents push social promotion. Teachers are burned out. It is not a good mix.

Ella Smith said...

As far as English Language Learners and kids with disabilities, I do believe that we should really hold them to make yearly progress on the same standard and require them to take the same test as students without these obstacles. I do believe that severe disabled students should also make progress but not take the same tests.

As a special education self-contained class I know my students are not going to score as well as the students in regular education but I do everything possible to give them the opportunity to learn as much of the same material in Biology as their counterparts.

It is true that my students will not achieve at the same level and this should be taken into consideration. We do agree on this, but I want my students to have the opportunity and be pushed to excel. For instance the end of course tests in high school give us and the child's parents and indicator of how they will do on the Georgia High School Graduation Test. This is important for the parents and the students to understand how they perform compared to regular education students.

Maybe we do need to expect lower test scores but hopefully this students are making progress toward becoming productive citizens in society.

New Anonymous, I totally hear your points but I do have a slightly different spin on the same points.
Thanks for your feedback.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I realized the fallacy of these tests a few years ago. I don't know, maybe the rules have changed a bit since then, hopefully.

A student, who spoke very little English, enrolled in my child's school a week before CRCT. This child had to take the CRCT. The teacher said all she could do was have the child just randomly fill in circles. But, yet, the school and this teacher were both responsible for the results of this child's test.

Look at the data said...

Please stop blaming the students and their families for being unprepared. Take a look at the ITBS scores for first graders in 2004. The system average was 77th percentile for reading. Look at the same cohort of kids in 2006 when they are in third grade. The system average drops to 56th percentile. By 2008 when these kids reached fifth grade, they drop another point to the 55th percentile. These kids started out just fine. The longer they stay in Dekalb schools, the more their performance sinks. Nothing premier about that.

Anonymous said...

How can they improve Math test scores when they are changing the curriculum? Are they still testing in Algebra and Geometry? Or are they testing only in Math 1 and Math 2?

Cerebration said...

I understand all the points about the difficult situations many of our county students come to us from. It’s very hard to educate students who have little support at home and come to school hungry. However, we do quite a lot to alleviate as much of these issues as possible – starting off with free and reduced breakfast and lunch.

Why give up though? Why just say, oh, that’s good enough because these kids are poor or have bad parents or bad attitudes. Many times, behind a bad attitude is a very low self-esteem – bred by years of being made to feel less intelligent – therefore, less important than others.

I am saying that by creating beautiful, magnet schools for high-achievers or highly-motivated students (or students with highly motivated parents) with admission requirements, we are only serving to emphasize the message to the lower performers that they are not worth the investment. They are being left to the worst schools, with burned out, overwhelmed, undersupported teachers in a classroom of students exactly like them. Do you not think for one minute that they are getting the message that they are the ones causing the school to fail – that they are the “losers”?

How about – Dr. Lewis – if you take Ron Clark to lunch. Ask him what his secret is – how does he motivate the most underserved, poorest, most difficult to educate students in the city? I realize that his school is private and fairly selective – but they do employ teaching methods that could work in some of our schools. He already offers an online “teachers club” with great input and lesson plans - we could buy a membership for each lead teacher at least. We also have access to something he does not – Title 1 money – and millions of dollars of it. If I were Dr. Lewis, I would hire people like Ron Clark to spend some time, quietly observing our “failing” schools and ask for some ideas, input and techniques to reach these students – in Pre-K and K and 1st grade and beyond. The data is irrefutable – these children are being sent to us more or less prepared – and as time marches on – they are performing worse and worse. Why? What message are we sending? What kind of teaching is going on and what can we change? What are we missing – could it be “love”? My mother in law was a second grade teacher for 30 years and she always said her first task was to make sure her class (often up to 40 students) knew she loved them.

We need the Ron Clarks of the world to help us. We need Ron Clark’s sponsors to help us. We need Burnie Marcus to help us with our special education facilities. We need leaders of private schools and Catholic schools to offer a critique of our system. We need input, professional input from successful people. Our system has almost 100,000 students – Dr. Lewis is one person. He can’t personally make all the necessary changes. No wonder he just started calling the system “premier” – it’s like making a wish.

http://www.ronclarkacademy.com/.

http://greatamericanteachersclub.com/

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have data on attrition/transience rates for the county? One of the difficulties of meeting AYP in some of the subgroups is the transience of the students. For example, a non-English speaking student arrives mid-year and is required to take the CRCT. The student may stay for a couple of years, become proficient in English, and reach an acceptable level on the CRCT. Then, that student leaves the county and is replaced by another non-English speaking student who will require a few years to pass the CRCT.

I know that this is an issue at our school, where the international population has grown rapidly over the past 6-8 years.

This is just something I've observed, but have no data to back it up. It seems that Adequate Yearly Progress should apply to individuals rather than schools. It's hard for a school to improve its test scores every year when the population that they are serving continues to change.

Cerebration said...

That is an initiative - to track progress individually. The most painful part of NCLB - and I would say the most successful part - was the part that forced systems to separate the data - revealing that the failures were occurring in small, often over-looked groups of students. Exactly the kind you point out - English language learners, learners with disabilities and the poor and minorities.

No longer can it be swept under the rug that these groups of students are not being educated to the same level as their peers. At it's core - it's an economic issue - all of the students who struggle can be labeled as low economically.

The revelation (which is not such a revelation to most of us) is that wealthier students do better in school. Now - what do we do about it? Taking no action is not the answer. Throwing up our hands and proclaiming it's the parents fault is not the answer. I think we haven't begun to scratch the surface of the "answer" - and I hope that we can quit denying and laying blame and get to work - the future of our country is at stake in reality.

Cerebration said...

To read about the initiatives NCLB spawned in DCSS visit this link

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/instruction/improvement/

Cerebration said...

To read the report about the DCSS overall performance on NCLB visit this link

http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ayp2007/summary.asp?SchoolID=644-0000-b-1-0-0-0-0-0-0-8-0-0.

You will notice as you click through the tabs, that DCSS is not making AYP in these categories: Academic Performance in All Students, Black, Hispanic, ESOL and students with disabilities

and graduation rates -

http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ayp2007/second.asp?SchoolID=644-0000-b-1-0-0-0-0-0-0-8-0-0.
Graduation Rates for the class of 2007 --

All students - 64.6%

Breakdown:
Asian - 76.6%
Black - 62.8%
Hispanic - 40.8%
White - 82.4%
Multi-Racial - 78.6%
Students w Disabilities - 21.5%
English Language Learners - 23.5%
Economically Disadvantaged - 61.7%

Anonymous said...

LookAtTheData,

Is this data from a static group of students? For example, if Susie left in 3rd grade, are her scores thrown out? And, if Julio arrived in 5th grade, are his scores removed from the dataset?

I'm not saying that there's not LOTS of room for improvement...I'm just interested in knowing the effects of transience on our county-wide test scores. I know in our school, the kids who start 1st grade is a much different group than those who finish 5th grade. Many leave the county, the country, or DCSS.

Cerebration said...

That's exactly correct - transiency is a big problem and we have so many apartment complexes enticing poor families to move often in order to take advantage of a free month's rent. The children really suffer when they move a lot. That is a big component of the problem with the scores. But we don't really know for certain, since DeKalb doesn't track this.

If you think the dropping or changing enrollment is bad in elementary school - wait until you get to high school. Lakeside, for example, in the past several years has consistently had over 500 freshmen (mostly due to transfers) - yet by the time those freshmen are seniors, there are usually less than 300 left. And the demographics are completely different as well.

Perhaps the school system is just too darn big - too impersonal and unable to even track students or identify problems. Perhaps if we dismantle the monster and create several smaller, more manageable systems.

ConcernedDad said...

I'm new to Georgia as a parent, and can't seem to understand why they test Algebra 1, Geometry AND Math 1.

How are we supposed to track data with the new Math 1 curriculum? How do we track our students "development" through the schools for AYP?

Any thoughts?

Cerebration said...

I'm not familiar with the new math initiatives, however here's a link to Dr. Lewis' letter about some of it. Anyone else have info to contribute?

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/files/782724DA1F1B4EF9A2D37CB339EFFD92.pdf

themommy said...

Concerned Dad

If I understand your question correctly, here is what I think the answer is.

If your child is a freshman in high school this year, the standardized test will cover Math 1. If your child is a sophomore or up, then they are tested in a subject area they are actually taking.

Math 1 is being taught for the first time this year to freshmen. This class began the new blended math in 6th grade. It was also rolled out in the elementary schools about the same time.

Does this help at all?

I am not a fan of the new curriculum because it presumes that all students will reach the same level of math proficiency (some can go higher). It is not politically correct to say this, but this isn't the reality. Students, like the adults they will become, have different strengths and weaknesses.

ConcernedDad said...

To Cerebration and themommy,
Thank you for your comments. I am a math teacher from a different state, and have just moved here. I am a "data freak". I have been tremendously concerned with the GPS and realize what they say is "learned" in middle school, is just not possible. So, I'd like to see my school justifiably tested, but what do they have to base it on? If they just look at the "Math 1" scores, and if they are terrible (assuming they will be), is that the child, the teacher, or the insane curriculum proposed for the students. How do we validate AYP when we have such a messed up curriculum?

Sorry to be frustrated, but I'm concerned for our schools and our children. I've seen teachers so afraid, that they are only teaching what the standard says, and not making any conceptual understanding for the students. Too long of a response, but I'm just tired of seeing my own child not loving school (math specifically.

Anonymous said...

Concerned Dad: I am a parent of a current 9th grader and have followed the "math wars" because the 9th graders have been the guinea pigs. AYP is based in part on the CRCT scores for math in 4th and 8th grades and the High School graduation test (which has a math section.) But state law also required End Of Course Testing (EOCT) in Algebra I and Geometry I. With the new integrated math now required in grades 8 through 12, the state is phasing out Algebra I, Geometry I, etc. So for students in the new GPS math courses, they will take an EOCT in Math I this year. In fact, 9th graders who completed Math I on the block system last semester already took the Math I EOCT. I have heard from one administrator and one HS teacher that the scores were absolutely awful.

Since the state and county failed to implement the "accelerated" component of the Math I course last year (no materials or training were ready in time), DCSS allowed some students to continue with the traditional math courses. It is pretty complicated to explain on a blog, but that is why there is such a mish mash of math courses in DCSS high schools.

The CRCT and EOCT tests are to be based on the state curriculum standards (GPS). That is why teachers panic about covering the standards. No other state in the nation has the same mandatory integrated math program making it very difficult to transfer into a GA high school or to transfer to a private or out of state high school.

Anonymous said...

Concerned Dad:

More information on DCSS test scores is available on the DCSS website.

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/instruction/testing/

Also, if you call or email Tony Eitel, the director of Assessment and Accountability, he will gladly talk to you about test data and will also send it to you. He is a really good person. For example, last year he gave a group of parents the 8th grade math ITBS sub-test scores for all middle schools. Once you drill down into the data it was clear what is wrong- almost every middle school in the county had drastic drops in computation scores. As a math teacher you know that it is very hard for students to move to advanced math courses without solid computation skills. Unfortunately, I do not feel that the state DOE curriculum has addressed this critical omission.

To clarify a question, if a 9th grader is taking Math I this year, they take an EOCT written for Math I. My child is taking two math courses: Advanced Geometry I and Advanced Algebra II. These students will take the EOCT in Geometry I. There is no EOCT written for Algebra II.

Open+Transparent said...

The superintendent of a true "premier" school system doesn't cowardly hide from the public and press when an 11 year old commits suicide from bullying in a school with a bunch of administrators and staff who ignores the pleas of the student's mother.

There is nothing "premier" about the DeKalb County School System as long as ultimate insider Crawford Lewis is in charge.

Cerebration said...

I have to plug my own post here. I wrote one a while ago and John Sutton just posted a comment - reminding me of it. I think the points made on that old article are relevant here. Give it a read if you like -

http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2009/02/what-is-etwinning.html?showComment=1240438020000

ConcernedDad said...

Maybe I've missed out, but how do you make AYP if you are switching curriculums and students aren't ready? Who decided this - is it political? If so, where is the rationality? How do we keep funding for our schools who are fighting such an uphill battle?

Anonymous said...

Concerned Dad- excellent questions. Curriculum, including pedogogy, was developed by the state Dept. of Education. It follows a constructionist theory with emphasis on students working in groups to "discover" mathematical theory. It is very controversial. After 8th grade CRCT scores were released last year, the state says that they expected the initial classes' scores to decline (38% of 8th graders state wide failed) but after the teachers adjust to the curriculum, math scores will improve. Everyone is waiting to see if that is the case.

Because of the curriculum change, many feel that the only what you can track progress is to follow the ITBS math scores. Fulton parents did an analysis and found that ITBS scores fell in 2007 and 2008 after several years with the new curriculum.

Cerebration said...

Why do DeKalb students have to serve as the guinea pigs for this new math? IMO - this is Gloria Talley cozying up to Cathy Cox, the Gov and the State Board. Nothing more.

Cerebration said...

I mean, we have a 66% failure rate for freshmen on the EOCT in Algebra 1. This new math curriculum is supposedly very high end, creative and requires a very experienced, professional teacher who has had in-depth training on it to teach it. Why are we doing this? I guess that when the failure rate goes up, they will say it's just due to year 1 of new math. But what will they do about the kids who never get taught this level of math - new OR old?

Anonymous said...

Cere, Every high school in GA must discontinue the old courses and teach the new integrated Math I, etc. I have heard that some school systems are continuing with traditional teaching styles, but still must cover the new standards which are a combo of algebra, geometry and statistics. I think Fulton and Gwinnett have made some adjustments. I heard that DCSS is requiring teachers to follow the lesson plans as provided by the state. This will be Kathy Cox' legacy.

BTW, did anyone notice how much DCSS has in the budget each year for new Math textbooks? This is costing millions, plus summer school, tutors, etc. Multiply that by all the public schools in the state and Cox made some textbook salesmen and publishers very, very rich. Since Ga's curriculum is unique textbooks had to be written just for GA. Boondoggle.

Cerebration said...

Yes, but she IS smarter than a fifth grader!

Cerebration said...

If you would like to hear Dr. Lewis speak, attend this:

2009 Community Cabinet & Breakfast Meeting
DeKalb County House Districts 58, 90, 92, and 93
DeKalb County Commission Districts 3 and 5

Guest Speaker

Dr. Crawford Lewis
Superintendent
DeKalb County School System

When and Where

Saturday May 2, 2009

9:00 am to 11:00 am

New Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church

Dexter O. Rowland, Pastor

2580 Snapfinger Road

Decatur, Georgia 30034

For additional information and/or directions, please call

678.360.0742 or 404.371.2988

"Working for DeKalb, Working for Communities, Working for YOU"

DeKalb Legislative Community Cabinet organized by former State Rep. Stan Watson in 1997!

ConcernedDad said...

I hear that DECA (an early college high school) scored very well from DeKalb county. Any other scores made public on the new math EOC?

Cerebration said...

Hmm - anyone know this? I have a feeling that those test scores don't come out for a while, but I'm not sure.

I think the DECA is proof that programs providing a very different way to get a HS diploma are not only successful, but in demand. I would even go out on a limb to say that the times - they are a changin' and lots and lots of kids cannot relate to the format we deliver HS in today. Lots do - and they are successful - but the ones that don't fit in a traditional format should be given several variations on a high school theme. Many kids nowadays have to work - and if high school were set up to allow for school and work that would be good. If HS could provide an opportunity (especially for boys) to learn to do something productive with their hands - preferably taught by men - this would be good. If HS could be delivered in a way that is more similar to the delivery of college courses or tech schools - this would be good. I guess a military academy is a good thing too - but why not some options for ordinary, everyday kids?

Options need to be identified. Experiential learning is more productive. Methods need to be identified to promote and encourage alternative education for boys. Girls too - but we are seriously losing far too many of our boys - to dropping out - to poor self-esteem, to not attending college and to a life of low income.

Anonymous said...

To concerned Dad:

I do not believe the Math I EOCT scores have been released for the fall 2008semester. The 9th graders who are taking the test this spring will take it next week so there are no spring scores yet.

The State Dept of Ed decided to not count this years Math I EOCT scores so I don't know if any of the scores will be released. (normally an End Of Course test counts for 15% of a student's final grade.)

I don't think DECA would have any Math I scores to report.

Here is the state site on the Math I EOCT. They control this program.

http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ci_testing.aspx?PageReq=CI_TESTING_EOCT

Cerebration said...

how interesting. Waaay back in 2005, they didn't count the EOCT for Algebra 1 for the same reason. What will be next?

ConcernedDad said...

I apologize if my "overhearing" was incorrect. Now, I'm looking to find individual school scores and can't seem to find them anywhere. Is there a link for each schools scores? (For EOCT?)
I've been looking at the website
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/instruction/testing/ and don't seem to see the actual school and their score.

You all have been gracious in replies. Thank you!

Cerebration said...

How about this -- a place called "Zillow" - a real estate site - has charts and graphs comparing DCSS performance on EOCT's and then you can scroll to the bottom and get the scores for individual schools --- see if this helps...

Check out these charts everyone. It's not the prettiest picture - certainly not "Premier".

http://www.zillow.com/school/GA-Decatur/Dekalb-County-9149/

Cerebration said...

Here is another place - it's the source of Zillow's charts if you want back-up or more data.

http://www.education.com/

Anonymous said...

Concerned Dad:

The best source for DeKalb scores is the DCSS website. Go to right side of page, scroll down to Testing.

A very good source of state wide scores is the Governor's Office of Student Achievement. www.gaosa.org
Go to Accountability, then Report Card, then K-12 public schools. The data is for 2007-08, but it is very comprehensive and slice and diced many ways.

Cerebration said...

There's always good old Great Schools - you can check all kinds of data for individual schools here - this link is to Lakeside's GHGTS results -

http://www.greatschools.net/modperl/achievement/ga/770

Anonymous said...

Concerned Dad,

Keep in mind that the Kathy Cox and her office sets the "cut" scores for each state test. These are not nationally normed tests.

I am very leery of using state data to say any curriculum is successful and working.

At one meeting, a state official announced that the 9th grade PSAT scores looked good. This is the grade level that has had the blended math since 6th grade. BUT they have never released the scores, which makes me think she is just bluffing.

This same official made an offhand comment that the only concerns they are hearing about the new math are from parents in the northern arc of metro Atlanta. Lovely.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, how can the DOE seriously say this with a straight face? Does everyone remember that AJC editorial by the mother (who is an engineer) in Fayette County? And many people in my office live in Peachtree City and are livid over the middle and high school math program.

I think many teachers and parents "trusted" the DOE to get it right. The HS teachers, counselors and parents never seemed to focus on what was being implemented until it was too late. Now, I think many feel that the GPS math will last 4-6 years then we will all go back to traditional mathematic courses.

In the meantime, our school systems will have spent many millions in textbooks, supplemental materials, tutoring, and summer school.

Cerebration said...

Today's AJC has an article promoting the NAACP's event today at Morehouse. I wish I had known about this earlier - it sounds like a great program. If anyone out there attends, please post what you learned there on this blog.

The NAACP will host a free conference on public education today to encourage parents to demand improvements from their schools so kids will be better equipped for college.

Mediocre benchmarks on state standardized tests, slow gains on the achievement gap, and ambiguous student discipline policies that create racial disparities threaten the future success of Georgia’s students, said Ed DuBose, state NAACP president.

The Georgia State Conference NAACP Education Action Alert will show parents how to advocate for their kids. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Morehouse College’s Kilgore Center in Atlanta.

...One study, “Education Watch” by The Education Trust of Washington, D.C., shows that minority students on average in Georgia continue to lag behind whites on state standardized tests, are less likely to pass Advanced Placement exams and are less likely graduate in four years.

The probe, which analyzes test data from 2007, also shows the achievement gap widens on a national assessment and that proficiency rates dropped for both white and minorities when scores in some areas were compared to peers nationwide.

“States were allowed to set their own standards under No Child Left Behind, and states have set wildly different standards,” said Anna Habash, a spokeswoman with Education Trust. “In eighth grade math, Georgia [says] that 81 percent of students met standards; the national assessment [National Assessment of Educational Progress] says only 25 percent of students are meeting the standard … ”
.

Read the full article here -
http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/printedition/2009/05/02/naacp0502.html?cxntlid=inform_sr.

There is GOOD news in today's AJC. It seems that Clayton County has regained accreditation! Hurrah!
http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/clayton/stories/2009/05/01/school_accreditation_sacs.html