Friday, March 07, 2008

Meanwhile, over in the schools administration building

"Dumber than a bunch of rocks."

The Trenton School District has had another glorious week.

First, there was the story of conflicting understandings of what actually occurred at a meeting between District Officials and representatives of the Schools Development Authority (SDA). In an article by reporter Lisa Rich in the Times, (Mix-up swirls around TCHS), readers were "entertained" to learn that the fate of the city's 75 year old high school was still up in the air because the participants in the private meeting walked away with completely opposite understandings of what was said.

That's right. Trenton School Officials and State Representatives couldn't even agree on what their stated positions were with regard to the ongoing drama of trying to save Trenton's iconic central high school building.

This morning we were treated to another telling article by Ms. Rich wherein the school officials claim that the district's failing grades on the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) test are misleading. (Trenton district says AYP data misleading)

Mandated by the Federal No Child Left Behind rules, the AYP doesn't account for fact that many of Trenton's schools house elementary and middle school students. The elementary students are improving, but the middle schools are not and that is dragging down the systems scores.

But if the elementary school kids are showing Adequate Yearly Progress, why isn't that translating into the middle schools as those students are promoted through the system?

1 comment:

Chrissy said...

I noticed these stories too, just as a pack of middle school-aged kids traipsed by my house, obviously playing hooky, given the time of day.

I went to a school that was grade 1 through 8, and it was called an elementary school; I know times have changed, but no one claimed that the upper grades were part of a middle school: we were all part of the same school. Now, right near my house is the Hedgepeth-Williams/Robeson complex, and I do believe there is a distinction there between middle and elementary, and there are separate entrances, etc.

STILL. What the heck is happening to these kids as they transition from the lower grades into the upper grades, which in our case here, is on the same "campus"?? Why should there be special rules and dispensation for Trenton? If these kids are falling behind in the upper grades, it's a pretty good indicator of how they'll do in high school and beyond: NOT GOOD. I'm sure this is an unpopular thought, because I am aware of the challenges that face urban kids, but we need to hold our institutions, communities and residents to the same damn standards that everyone else is using, or else we will never, EVER get out of this hole. We need to raise the bar, instead of coming up with lame excuses for lowering it.