Monday, September 10, 2007

Me day

My me day (where my three-year-old stays until 2 at pre-school) is under water and lit with a gray light. It's the kind of day where one asks herself the question--how badly do I want to shop at the mall? Badly enough to drive in that?

So, I've done the breakfast dishes earlier than usual, made the bed and am looking for a good read. I found a new e-zine called Brainswash supposedly for libertarianish conservatives and tried to read this article on how politics is broken, but the sports metaphor got so long, I gave up.

Meanwhile, I wish Missoulapolis would move to Flower Mound to follow the politics here--it would definitely make me take better notice of the goings on around me. Her comments on NCLB got me thinking about accountability in Texas schools. Schools are rated on how many kids pass the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, but not just how many kids pass overall. It's that plus how many kids pass in various subgroups. As far as I can tell, those subgroups include Caucasion, Black, Hispanic and Economically Disadvantaged. It takes at least 30 members of a race to make up a subgroup.

A school I recently reported on had an over 90% passage rate of TAKS overall; they didn't have enough Black kids to rate as a sub-group; the Hispanic subgroup had a passage rate of around 84%, and the economically disadvantaged was around 66%. The principal wants to get each subgroup up to the 90% rate. So, what are you going to do? I asked her. Can you single out kids in the subgroup? My recollection is she said no, but they were going to work in a general way to get everybody up to speed.

I also asked her what the big deal was at getting 90% passage rate overall and in the subgroups, other than the school gets an "exemplary" rating from the state. But then what? More federal dollars? State dollars? The elementary school my daughter goes to got an exemplary rating and then we got a letter from the Denton County Appraisal District that our property values are higher, and now so are our taxes. No, no extra money, she said.

Just the satisfaction of a job well done, I guess.

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Blogger Mike LaRoche said...

Public education, what a mess.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Hey stranger! We're all thinking of you.

7:58 PM  
Blogger Mike LaRoche said...

Thanks, Nancy. I haven't been posting lately because I've just been feeling down for the past few days. I hope to have an new entry posted at the Swamp around midnight (Pacific time) though.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

As someone who graduated from a Texas high school only.... OMG, 10 years ago?!?! Whoa.... OK, anyway, lemme get past the shock of that number.... OK. As someone who went to a Texas high school.... recently enough to be subject to the weird Texas testing systems, I have to say that the Texas school system is really.... cold and strict. The process of transferring there from California was hell, and my CA school actually ended up faxing us an altered version of my transcript because the TX high school was very specific on the titles of the classes they were willing to accept.

It's probably just fine when you've been in the Texas education system all your life (or at least since 9th grade?). The testing always baffled me, though. Lots of tests. Including one that determined whether or not you could graduate from high school.

12:15 PM  

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