I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Holiday Weekend DOE Document Dump: Let the Gnashing of Teeth Begin Part I

Charter Schools—the Good News and the Bad News........

Today the DOE dumped a lot of information on the public, just in time for some significant commotion prior to the long Memorial Day weekend.  As was the case a few months back and even more recently with the writing test scores fiasco, the data does not look good. 
The attached spreadsheet below illustrates data from 3rd grade reading and mathematics which I have downloaded from the DOE site and sorted.   I’ve organized third grade reading and math results, then sorted them from highest percentage of proficient sorcerers in each subject to the lowest number.
The scores for the most part are low.  Much of this is due to new, tougher scoring and more rigorous standards, which we all knew would be coming.

But some of the scoring issues have to do with parents that have not 100% fully bought in to their end of the partnership with our district and their children’s schools.  That’s right, it is a partnership. 
Teachers are not miracle workers.  Schools, teachers, volunteers, administrators, the latest technological gadgetry and educational pedagogy combined with the best of intentions and stacks of Title I money cannot overcome complacent, dispassionate, and apathetic parents.

Those who are familiar with our local communities and schools will see from the chart above that the schools that are scoring the best have parental engagement, input, and “buy-in”—this is a large part of their success! 
Many of the schools that have low scores, unfortunately, do not have the same level of parental engagement.  This is a chiefly a societal problem—not a scholastic one.
I’m not going to do the usual dissertation on Poverty in our district to explain low scores away, though;

while I know this is a significant factor in why some parents do not engage and participate in the education of their children, I believe this is becoming too easy an excuse.   There are lots of poor people all around this country who, despite their economic uncertainties, still do their jobs as parents and look after their kids and keep up with their schoolwork.   We need parents to commit time to help their kids with schoolwork.  Give us time, and we’ll give you the tools to help your kids succeed in school in Escambia County-simple as that. 
So Instead of lamenting the apathetic-- I choose to focus on the positives of today’s data which are that several of our Charter schools are doing very well! 
Byrneville Charter School had a 95% proficiency rating for their 3rd grade mathematics--#1 in the district from a percentage standpoint. 
Pensacola Beach Charter Notched a 92% proficiency rating in Reading, which is #1 in the district from a percentage standpoint.
Bravo to both of these excellent Escambia County Charter Schools!
Not all Charters are doing well, though.
At the bottom of the district’s rankings, in both reading and mathematics, is the struggling A.A. Dixon Charter School.
AA Dixon is dead last in both Reading and Math in the Escambia County School District.  At the bottom.
At Dixon this year, 96% of the third grade students failed to score at a level of “3” or higher (proficient) in Mathematics.
At Dixon this year, 91% of the third grade students failed to score at a level of “3” or higher (proficient ) in reading.
Dixon continues to struggle and with these results the future appears to be very uncertain for them.

More to come on these disappointing scores and their political and economic ramifications in my next blog entry


Anonymous said...

Jeff...I am curious if you are aware of Dixon's intention to let its teaching staff go in order to avoid paying them thought the summer? Apparently they were all told the news Friday after the kids left for the summer.

Anonymous said...

This is a false statement. The teacher were not let go nor were they told that they were going to be let go.

Jeff Bergosh said...

Anonymous, I was not aware of this, however it does not surprise me. Now with the rest of the FCAT scores coming out today, the future does not look good for AA Dixon. I would suggest that you put you application in with the district HR department if you are interested in teaching in the Escambia schools, and I wish you luck in your job search.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the test scores at Dixon weren't as bad as you had hoped. In fact it looks like with all the learning gains the students earned enough points for a D! Also what happen with Globals scores I hope they don't get a D or F that would be pitiful, especially with all the money spent on resources, what a WASTE.

Jeff Bergosh said...

Anonymous--I was never rooting against Dixon. I simply wanted them to honor what they said they would do and also perform for these kids and manage their (TAXPAYER) money appropriately. With respect to their grade for this year--If by some miracle they are indeed given a "D" instead of an "F" I will be astonished given the dismal scores. However, with all of the testing troubles and machinations this year from DOE-who knows what will happen? I know of a couple schools that will end up with a "B" even though the points they earned this year would point to a much lower letter grade. But, because of the increased rigor of the tests this year, DOE has stated that schools fo this year only will not drop more than one (1) letter grade from last year. This would not apply to Dixon, though, becuase they were already an "F" from last year. Anonymous-I never root against public schools and I am a fan of charter schools--A BIG FAN. If Dixon performed like Byrneville does, we would not be conversing. There is a distinction to be made between demanding accountability versus "rooting against" a school. I'm of the camp of the former, not the latter.

Anonymous said...

What about saying great work because more than 60 percent of the kids had learning gains! But what about GLOBAL ACADEMY, what a waste of TAXPAYERS money! They did horrible on the test!