Posts Tagged ‘choice’

DOE releases some detailed choice data

June 12, 2013 2 comments

There is some newly published (as far as I know) data on the DOE website covering Delaware school choice on a very detailed level, including per district, per school, charter/VoTECH/TPS, demographics, special ed stats, and even a simple display of “percent meeting standard.” Much of it is data that is not available in other form and you couldn’t reconstruct it if you tried. There is plenty here to keep us all busy. Note that the spreadsheet has multiple tabs.

(h/t commenter openaccess)


Musing on school rankings

June 9, 2013 12 comments

In my youth here in Delaware, the schools were simply ranked by performance, probably based on some national test. Everyone knew which were the “best” schools and districts. Moms and new brides consulted that list when doing their house-hunting. Now, it is pretty hard to figure out where the best schools are. We have different schools for different things, and buses crisscrossing the county willy-nilly. When I tell people my son is going to Dickinson, there is a visible gasp. But Dickinson has the right programs for him, and I think public perception is lagging behind reality.

It is hard do find that ranking list now, and maybe it doesn’t really matter anymore. The DOE performance pages are fairly impenetrable to casual readers. The white suburban population of the 1960s was very homogeneous and had similar schooling needs, so maybe the ranked list made sense then. But now we are trying to educate all different kinds of kids in the same system.

Our answer to that was various forms of choice, which turned out not to be such a good idea. Before, we had the corrosive idea that ‘To get a better education, you have to move to a different neighborhood.” But now we have replaced that with the equally corrosive idea that “To get a better education, you have to move to a new school.” So we started building White Flight Academies like CSW and NCS.

Why not build the high-quality programs we want inside all our neighborhood district schools?

The answer lies in transparency. Speaking as a Red Clay parent, we aren’t using our powerful new data to find out objectively WHY and HOW and WHEN students are failing. As a consequence our experts have no idea how to design instruction and intervention to prevent failure and assure success. They are just winging it, folks.

And Red Clay’s secret union/District meetings to design policies on instruction and what happens in the classroom are closed to parents. So the two main sources that might be able to inform us on improving education – data and parents – are unwelcome in the very meetings that are supposed to do that.