This past week, the accountability scores were released ranking each school district based on the students’ academic achievement. I think this is a nice way to inform parents and the public on where their child’s school and school district stand as far as academic performance is concerned. My big worry, however, is that our concern has become too focused on test performance and rankings rather than truly servicing the needs of our students, parents, community and state.
It is my belief that rankings don’t give the public a realistic picture of the students who are being served in each of the respective districts. I find it unfair to rank small districts along with large districts; wealthy districts with poor districts; districts with parental and community support with districts that have limited to no support from parents or the community.
I don’t want to make excuses for teachers or anybody else for that matter. In fact, I work in one of the top three districts in the state, but I can’t help but feel some compassion for my counterparts. Teaching isn’t easy. You really have to love your job in order to come to work every day. I feel it’s time to acknowledge the fact that most of the teachers come to work each day with the sole purpose of educating and helping make a difference in the life of a child.
I want the public to know that there are many factors that play into how a child performs. Socioeconomic status, exposure, resources, a nurturing environment, all play a major role in the success or failure of a child. I would like some of the community members in each of the low-performing districts to step up and give some of their time to help fill in the gaps of the school districts by mentoring a child, tutoring, etc.
I would also like for the state to set up partnerships in which low-performing districts could meet to have professional development with higher performing districts in order to make improvements.
If we really want to improve the education of all the students in our state, we have to change our focus of school district rankings and do some things that may never have been done before. It’s time for everyone in the community to get involved because these students are our future doctors, lawyers, teachers etc.