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Saturday, June 13, 2015

The District robs Peter to pay Paul (rough draft)

I looked at the science scores for the Transformation schools and compared them to last years and a lot of them had some real improvement. 

From the Times Union:  Vitti pointed out that while the district’s overall results mirrored the state’s generally static outcome, schools in one of the district’s toughest regions — the 36 so-called Duval Transformation Office schools — showed some significant gains. For instance, Andrew Jackson High School made a gain of more than 20 percentage points in Biology, while Pickett Elementary School increased by more than 38 percentage points.
He attributed the improvement to the concerted effort the district has put into improving instruction in the lowest-performing schools.
Overall, however, the percent of Duval students passing in all five subject areas still trails the statewide average. Vitti said the district still lacks consistent improvement.
“We have to strive for that consistency or we’re not going to be the district that I want us to be,” he said.
The gist is where we have had some gains at the Transformation Schools overall we are flat and friends that is a problem. All we have done is played a game of three card Monty as we moved many of the teachers with proven records of success to the transformation schools and replaced them with novices.
Where yes we have seen some improvement in some of our lowest performing schools we did it at the expense of our higher performing schools that have dropped because many of their best teachers were cherry picked out. We in effect have robbed Peter to pay Paul.
I believe as soon as the money spigot turns off in two years many of those teachers that left are going to want to return to the schools where poverty is not crippling them and where generally more parents are involved which means we will be right back to where we were, one high performing part of town and one low performing one.
The district really needs to develop strategies that lead to all our schools having experienced teaches in them which means giving our newest teachers a lot of extra resources until they can develop and stand on their own. If we want to be successful we can no longer throw our young teachers into the deep end hands tied without the resources that need and say good luck.  
Furthermore for goodness sake we need to get rid of Teach for America and yes I know there are some great ones. We should be looking to develop teachers who will be in the classroom for a lifetime who are highly trained rather than settling for some who think I will give that a try before leaving in two years or less to do something else.
Simply moving the pieces around the board is obviously not working.

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