Total Pageviews

Search This Blog

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Betty Burney's misinformation campaign

In an editorial last weekend Duval County School Board vice chair Betty Burney wrote about the scores of the post secondary reading readiness tests at the intervening schools and how they were as good as anyone’s around. This is what I learned today about the post secondary reading readiness test. First there isn’t one. Let that sink in for a moment.

After I collected myself, the teachers I asked told me they thought what she was talking about was actualy just a component of the college preparedness test or CPT. For the most part only juniors and seniors take it, though a few sophomores do too. It is encouraged but optional and at my school some students opt not to take it. A colleague at Ribault told me as far as she knows the test is not required for all their juniors and seniors to take (though she couldn’t be sure as she wasn’t quite sure what the test was).

To me the tests seem like one for students planning to go to college take, the most motivated and high achieving students of any school body. I have my concerns that it represents an entire student body which is what Mrs. Burney’s editorial seem to imply. I boils down to this, all the seniors who scored a three or better on the f-cat and took the test 78% may very well have passed the test, but that is not indicative of how the entire student body is doing. This at the very least also calls into question Mrs. Burney’s points and perhaps even her veracity.

A jaded individual might think she was cherry picking statistics that seemed to support the point she was trying to make which is reading is not the problem at the intervening schools that many make it out to be. Even if we were to give Mrs. Burney the benefit of the doubt and say she just looked at the stat and didn’t realize only the most motivated students took the college reading readiness test, again not the entire student body as the guest column seem to imply, then we have to ask the question, as a school board member, why didn’t she know?

This is a problem the school district has. They cherry pick stats that support their points, they disregard stats when they don’t report what they want (this past years FCAT for example) and then they make stuff up, discipline problems are not way down, instead teachers ignoring bad behavior and enduring toxic learning environments is way up. The district does all this why Rome is burning down around them.

This is also the same district that pushes kids along without the skills they need to be successful, has crammed every child into a one size fits all curriculum, is run by an administration that is more interested in protecting their niche of power than doing what is right for the kids and either doesn’t have the ability or will to fix the problems our schools have. Which I readily admit would be hard. There will be a lot of pain as we attempt to extricate ourselves from the hole our schools are in. But wouldn’t it be worth it if in a few years we could point to our school system as a jewel of the city, not the thing that holds us back as many do now. Aren’t our kids worth it?

How are people supposed to get outraged and leap to action when they aren’t give all the facts, when their leaders say don’t worry about the big hole in the boat and all the water rushing in, everything is fine. Well friends for a lot of schools on the west side and north side of town, everything is not fine.

If I am wrong on any point please get back to me. Set me straight and I will shout it front from the rooftops until I can’t speak or somebody listens. Not enough people are listening now and part of the reason is they haven’t had the chance because they haven’t gotten the facts.

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you brother. It's getting so bad my mom comes home everyday stressed out of her mind from work. She told me she could get fired for just one of her students not improving from las year, meanwhile she has a kid in the 2nd grade that doesn't know what 1 + 1=. And when I said don't worry you have tenure she told me no they did away with that and it blew my mind. How are teachers supposed to perform at their best if they're worried about job safety everyday? And how can a teacher improve a student who obviously needs special care? Is he or she supposed to spend all his time on that student leaving the bright students who actually listen, wand and need to learn alone to fend for themselves because the teacher knows they'll do well on a simple test? It's just not right what's going on in Duval County. My mother works eleven hours a day and still brings home work to do. It's just not right!