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So, you think you’re excellent?

May 26, 2009

A few months ago I had coffee with a friend who has a child in a public school which has teetered on the brink of mediocrity for a few years now.   As we left the table she mentioned that, for all the good and bad, at least this particular school was still the best in her district.   I almost dropped my coffee cup.   Thankfully, the ladies at The State of Ohio Education Blog have put these generalized rankings into better perspective with their recent post:  “A Closer Look at the Definition of Excellent” – and the need to improve the metrics behind the designation.  Per Colleen Grady, seventy four districts in Ohio hold an “excellent with distinction” rating, yet:


Of the seventy-four districts with this rating:
Five districts provided no services to gifted students
Forty-eight districts served less than 25% of identified gifted students
Six districts have an average ACT composite score of “21”, barely the state average
Six districts offer no Advanced Placement courses
Thirty-six districts do not have a single student participating in PSEO
Forty-three districts had at least one building with below expected value-added growth; one had seven buildings with below expected gains
Fifty-two districts had at least one building with below expected value-added gains in reading
College remediation rates range from 9-54% with the average remediation rate of 31%”

I am hard pressed to understand – or explain –  how any Ohio school district can ignore the needs of an entire segment of the student population and yet earn an excellent rating.  

In our district, still reeling from a recent failed levy attempt, teachers and administrator cuts are already being felt.  Overheard on the playground – a teacher recently commented that without the classroom aides more attention and focus will have to be spent next year on those kids who struggle – teaching to the lower end of the mixed ability class spectrum.  When a parent mentioned that the gifted kids would really need differentiation in that environment, this experienced primary teacher replied that “those kids can take care of themselves.”  Excellent, indeed.




2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 26, 2009 9:08 pm

    Well said! Thank you! Love, Goddess

  2. Paul Bernish permalink
    May 27, 2009 2:47 am

    I sadly see no real sign that Ohio (and other states) really understand this issue.

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