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Thursday, December 19, 2013

My take on Jacksonville’s school grades

First I have to say our schools were never as bad as they were reported to be. The privatization movement had to be jumpstarted but when Florida’s poor education reputation began to spread like wild fire, hurting business and home prices something had to be done and thus we have had frequent changes to the grading system. This is a grading system that has fundamentally changed education and not for the better. Now it is hard to fail kids regardless of what they do and don’t do, others are put in classes they have no business being in and discipline has been gutted too. Furthermore when boiled down all school grades tell you is zip codes, the poorer grades are in the zip codes with the poorer families.

I also think there is a degree of hypocrisy going on. Vitti knows the grading formula has been massaged to the point of irrelevancy but there he was saying look how good our schools have become, while at the same time not mentioning the district still received a C grade overall. The grading system is a joke and he knows it but in his defense I imagine the same scenario was played out by superintendents all over the state who likewise know the system is a joke. 

Furthermore if you haven’t picked up on it I think the system is a joke but I wonder what the people who put I in place think. I mean if our public schools are now moving mountains, then why do we need vouchers and charter schools which despite having advantages aren’t performing any better. Is it they don’t believe in the grading system or is it because they want to fill the coffers of friends, supporters and all to often of then themselves?

Finally we’re not anywhere where we could and should be. Discipline is still a huge problem. Rigor needs to be stepped up and more kids should be in tracks, be it college or trade that play to their strengths. Then there is poverty, we can’t continue to ignore it and hope we miraculously improve. Though changes to the grading formula might make it seem like we have. 

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