Monday, August 20, 2007

DC Schools are Good! DC Schools are Bad!

Full Disclosure: I believe No Child Left Behind and its provisions are nonsensical and destructive to progressive educational trends in this country and the District of Columbia. The Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and Highly Qualified Teacher requirements are the bane of most teachers' existence and baffle real educators all over the country. NCLB was passed by the 107th Congress (a banner session for destructive federal legislation; PATRIOT Act, Homeland Security Act, Use of Force in Against Iraq etc.) and has continued to actually leave students and teachers behind. Its executed by Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings.

Just a quick aside here: Secretary Spellings doesn't have an education degree, she majored in political science. She doesn't have a teaching certificate (but she substitute taught once in Texas!). She has never been an administrator at a school or sat on a school board. Her children attend parochial schools (as in not public). However, she administers a program that measures highly qualified teachers in America's public schools. Qualified teachers. She's never been a teacher. Ok. Watch Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) school the Secretary on her credentials. Aside over.

Ok, on to the original post topic. From the Washington Post on Saturday, "Modest Gains in D.C. Schools" and in the Washington Examiner Weekend Edition, "Two-Thirds of D.C. Public Schools Fail." Theses two papers took the same information and came up with two totally different stories and (mis)leading headlines. Not so strange, it happens all the time and I love comparing the Post, the Washington Times and the Examiner. There's a civics lesson on media bias almost every day with these three.

The Post story focuses on some of the statistics dealing with the number of schools that rated well on the D.C. imposed standards as well as the AYP standards of NCLB. The article conducted a comparative analysis with last years numbers that showed some gains for DC schools on the macro level. For the record, neighborhood schools Bancroft, Capital City and Elsie Stokes each made AYP in reading but not math, and both Bell Multicultural and Lincoln failed to meet AYP in either math or reading.

The Examiner article focuses on the release of the data (just before the start of school). NCLB allows for parents to move their children to other local schools if their school isn't keeping up with federal standards. Apparently some parents wanted the numbers earlier to evaluate potential relocation.

Oh yes, on a related note, there is an election tomorrow, yes, TOMORROW for the school board. Jeff Smith resigned earlier this year and left a void for School District One, which is comprised of political Wards 1 and 2. Vote at your usual local polling station.