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August 23, 2014

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New school rankings unveiled with much fanfare, but some teachers grumble

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Christopher DeVargas

Principals of the 37 top-ranking schools in Clark County took a celebration ride down the Fremont Street zip line Feb. 23, 2012.

Ranking system implemented for public schools

KSNV coverage of Clark County School District imposing a school ranking system to help parents determine where schools stand, Feb. 23, 2012.

CCSD zip line

Principals of the 37 top-ranking schools in Clark County took a celebration ride down the Fremont Street zip line Feb. 23, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Students are the ones often encouraged to “reach for the stars,” but now that mantra will also apply to Las Vegas schools after the Clark County School Board unanimously adopted a new school ranking system Thursday night.

Unveiled with great fanfare with educators taking flight on the Fremont Street zip line, the school rating system — called the School Performance Framework — seeks to measure student achievement among the district’s 217 elementary schools and 59 middle schools.

An announcement of high school rankings is expected in April, with alternative and special education schools following in August.

With Thursday’s announcement, Clark County becomes the first school district in Nevada to implement a school ranking system. Las Vegas’ new rankings follow other major urban school districts with school rankings: New York City, Los Angeles, Denver and Miami-Dade.

Gov. Brian Sandoval applauded the School District’s new ranking system on Thursday, calling it a “significant step forward.”

“The School Performance Framework will provide parents with important information about their child’s education and hold educators, administrators and the public accountable,” he said in a prepared statement.

“I applaud the state’s largest school district for implementing this level of transparency and I look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders to improve our state’s education system,” Sandoval said.

The new framework, which has been in the works since the fall, ranks schools in five tiers, from five stars for the highest-performing schools to one star for the lowest-performing schools.

Five-star schools will be placed in a special “autonomous” school zone, where they will be given more flexibility over curriculum, budget, staffing and day-to-day operations. These schools will be treated similarly to the district’s empowerment schools, which are given more autonomy in exchange for greater accountability.

Of the 357 schools in the district, 37 schools achieved the five-star status this school year. These high-performing schools will serve as models for lower-performing schools to aspire to, according to the School District.

The rationale is that by identifying the top-performing schools, the district can better focus on improving lower-performing schools by giving them additional support, such as first preference in new teacher hiring and additional professional development training for teachers.

Further, principals and teachers from lower-performing schools can learn from the best practices in place at the five-star schools, said Clark County Schools Superintendent Dwight Jones.

“This is about learning,” he said. “This isn’t designed to punish (low-performing schools).”

Some teachers, who first learned about the new school-ranking system during their professional development day on Tuesday, did not see eye to eye with Jones.

About 100 teachers gathered at the Edward Greer Education Center on Thursday night to urge a resolution to their contract talks and protest the new School Performance Framework. Some even handed in signed petitions to the School Board opposing the new school rankings and proposed teacher evaluation system being developed at the state level.

“It encourages winners and losers,” said teachers union President Ruben Murillo, of the new ranking system. “This is absolutely a competition between schools.”

Murillo sat on a 36-member special advisory panel — made up of seven teachers, six principals, two parents and other community members — that has met monthly since the fall to develop the new school rankings.

Murillo said he supports the new framework in general, but there is too much emphasis on testing.

Under the new ranking system, schools are assigned a numerical score out of 100 points, based on how well they did on various categories, such as academic performance, student growth and school climate. The numerical scores — which were not made public — determine how many stars a school receives.

The majority of the points a school can earn — 80 percent — is based on the percentage of students who are proficient in core subject areas and how much they’ve improved year over year on standardized tests. Some teachers say this definition of a good school is too narrow.

“There are amazing things happening at every school, no matter how many stars they have,” said Theo Small, an 18-year veteran fifth-grade teacher at Sandy Miller Elementary School in the eastern Las Vegas Valley. Miller — which showed a 12 percent improvement in reading and writing last year but had a 2 percent decline in math — received a three-star rating.

Small said when members of his staff learned about their school’s ranking on Tuesday, they were “crestfallen.” Sandy Miller teachers were adamant they were an “exceptional school,” he said.

“Our teachers work 12-hour days, spending their vacations grading assignments. We can’t work any harder,” he said. “I can’t imagine what it’s like being at a one-star school. Our morale took a huge hit.”

The rankings will not be used to evaluate school administrators or teachers this school year, officials said. However, they were developed to comply with a new state law mandating academic achievement be used in teacher evaluations, which goes into effect in July 2013.

Schools dissatisfied with their ranking have from March 15 to April 15 to appeal. They will be given an opportunity to challenge the way their numerical scores were calculated and share mitigating factors with the School District.

The rankings will continue to be tweaked, but Jones said he expected improvements from low-performing schools. Should schools continue to be among the district’s lowest performers, the School District might institute the “turnaround model,” he said.

Currently, five schools have replaced more than half of their staffs, some including the principal. The Las Vegas Sun has been tracking the results of the turnaround process at Chaparral, Mojave and Western high schools and Elizondo and Hancock elementary schools this school year.

“If schools can’t get better, we should look at all options to turn that school around,” Jones said. “Every child should have the opportunity to attend a high-quality school.”

School Board members all heralded the new ranking system at their bimonthly meeting Thursday night. The new school rankings proposal passed 6-0, with School Board member Lorraine Alderman absent.

“I’m encouraged,” School Board President Linda Young said of the reforms taking place in the district. “If we’re going to do things differently, we’ve got to think outside of the box. We’re moving in the right direction.”

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  1. What is wrong with competition?!?

    The union opposition to this just underscores how unions, especially public sector ones, protect those who can or will not perform at the expense of those who do.

    It's no wonder that "social promotion" is so popular. It is teaching children from the very beginning that mediocrity is acceptable and as adults and parents they will vote and act accordingly.

    Shame!

  2. Quit complaining!

  3. Boftx...absolutely nothing is wrong with competition providing that the competition is taking place on an "even" playing field.

    Think about it for a minute: If you and I were to have a race up 5 flights of stairs and you were given a 75 lb. backpack to carry during the climb and I was not--would you consider that a competitive challenge? This is the nature of the problem, we are trying to come up with nice sounding comparisons of areas that are simply not comparable given the many, many variables impacting one school's performance vs. another. Not only is this true for one academic year, but it changes each year as new students with varying academic abilities come and go.

    On the other hand, I agree with you about the "social promotion" issue, 100%. This generation of kids are learning that mediocrity is acceptable AND they are also being taught (erroneously) that people will go out of their way to "accommodate" them if they can't excel in a certain area by giving them extra time or "do-overs" for the lack of a better term.

    While some may argue that this may be a good idea in the academic environment (which I do not agree with, by the way), what will become of those kids when they go out to the real world--will they be "accommodated" at that point in their lives? I doubt it, so think about what we're doing by training the kids to expect both sensitivity and equal-ness in a world that is anything but.

    Sad harsh reality will smack them in their face and, sadly, at that point, they have been so acclimated to having the expectations that have been engrained in their minds that they may never fully recover.

  4. Every couple/few years there's outrageous spending on some glittery new program that's supposed to fix things.

    Unfortunately, these programs are for the benefit of those who want to write on their resumes what they did to improve schools. The fact that the programs don't work doesn't seem to matter.

    No program will work as long as social promotion rules. Teachers are given mixed messages: Have high standards, but don't give low grades. Each year, I see the actual standards for both behavior and academics drop lower and lower.

    A system where students have to meet standards to get into the next level in a subject area makes sense. What we have - kids coming in years below grade level, without prerequisite skills to understand the instruction - is idiotic.

    Until that is addressed by holding to actual standards instead of dumbing down the curriculum and/or passing virtually all students, the district can and will try to pull the wool over the eyes of the public with all the hoopla about new programs that are just expensive nonsense, a waste of money.

    botfx asks what's wrong with competition. The problem with competition is that it creates losers.

    I would rather see students cooperating to help each and get things done other rather than competing with each other and creating losers. Those kids who like competition will naturally engage in it one way or another, anyway.

  5. By the way, bot, having standards for each student to reach before being moved to the next level of instruction - what we need - is not competition.

    (I know you're talking about schools and teachers competing, but if competition is so good, then, logically, it must be good for students, right?)

  6. Teacher & Opinion Vegas...

    Good takes.

    Another 'feel good' effort from CCSD with NO SUBSTANCE, concocted by 'certain adults' to make other 'certain adults' look good; with ZERO substantive benefit to the students.

    Are people so shallow as to believe that they're getting a true & accurate reading of local schools by virtue of a 'Star System'? Or, that a teacher is 'good' or 'bad' by virtue of the amount of 'stars' the school in which they've been assigned to work in recieves???

    Get real.

  7. If the goal is create better schools, I don't see what is to be gained by publicly shaming the schools or the teachers. It breeds resentment and mistrust between teachers, administrators, and the public. There is nothing wrong with having systems in place for evaluating employees in any industry. However, those evaluations should stay between management and workers if any dialogue between those sides is to be honest and constructive. We don't want teachers to fear that anything negative in an eval will result in a public flogging. We don't want teachers to fear the administrative evaluation. We want it to be a reflective process where admins and teachers can work together on areas for improvement.

    As for social promotion (which a couple of posters brought up): The research on the topic is remarkably consistent, although not conclusive. It usually is a bad idea to hold kids back. Any gains that are made in the early grades are usually lost by 8th grade. It's a better idea to invest the time and expense of retention on tutoring programs to help get the student on track. Of course, if I'm an elementary teacher (or a school for that matter) competing for a bonus now, and the idea is to make myself look good now, what do I care if the kids lose those gains from retention later with some other teacher and school? I'd want to win now.

  8. I agree with boftx. I'm really annoyed by Murillo's comments. We should get rid of the idea that we have to give blue ribbons to everyone that competes, so that we don't have "winners" and "losers". Guess what...in life, there are winners and losers. And guess what else...neither label is permanent. And that's a good thing. Otherwise society would be held back by the underperformers, far more than it already is.

    I don't have too big of an issue with unions in general, but those comments were ridiculous.

    And teacher, you're right, every few years there's some new program that's supposed to be revolutionary and that's supposed to fix our schools. This is the first program/concept that I've personally seen/experienced/implemented in the private sector and had huge success. I know this is a different industry, but I think this idea actually has some substance. The status quo is a failure. So rather than poke holes in these ideas, maybe you should make a realistic, cost effective, proposal of your own. More money for the same crap isn't going to cut it.

    For those critical that this program doesn't actually DO anything. I agree. But it sounds like there are a lot of politics involved in the district, and they need to SLOWLY implement this program and get everyone comfortable before they take major action based on the results of the data. The good thing is that they're actually collecting and analyzing the data.

    Now, if there's a major flaw in the methodology being used, then that's another issue. BUT...you can't just criticize the methodology, you have to come up with an alternative.

  9. "Some teachers, who first learned about the new school-ranking system during their professional development day on Tuesday....." I am happy this is happening but how come the teachers knew nothing about this new rating scale until Tuesday and the District announced the rankings on Thursday. How come the teachers did not know about this? Or did they? The District has got to stop keeping the teachers out of the loop.

  10. "This is absolutely a competition between schools."

    I have always thought that competition is a good thing. Isn't it?

  11. Competition can be a great thing. I played sports as a kid, and I loved it. I also remember one thing I heard consistently while competing: If you aren't cheating, you aren't trying (I still hear athletes and sports commentators say that). People in a contest are always looking for an edge , legitimate or not. And you always want to keep any edge you get to yourself, lest your opponents catch up with you. Whether it's in business or sports, public sector or private, if you set up a contest or incentive program, people will find a way to beat the system, to get an edge any way they can.

    Competing over test scores is no different. We've already seen massive cheating scandals uncovered in school districts in DC, ATL, NYC, LA, and even a little of it here in LV. All of these people are cheating to make themselves look better because they fear for their jobs, their funding, their livelihoods. People want to be labeled winners, not losers. They will often to whatever it takes to be on the winning side, darn the consequences. Competition breeds cheating and deceit. It also stifles collaboration. Again, I want to keep my edge so I can stay on top. Screw the other school and their kids. To me, that idea has no place in schools. It's not something we should be teaching kids.

  12. Jeremiah, I guess it depends on how you look at it. Yes, a certain portion of people, with low morals, will always try to cheat the system. It doesn't matter if there's competition or not. Look at the issue with the firefighters and their sick leave. There's no competition there that caused that, at least not that I'm aware of. (not trying to pick on you, firefighters, but it was the first example that came to mind)

    Some people suck. That the sad truth. But I really think that more people don't suck. Some of the "massive" cheating scandals that you mentioned were investigated and found to be less massive than initially thought. Personally, I think that anytime there's the government (school districts) and large special interest groups (unions) involved, I believe very little of the accusations or explanations that I hear about. Both sides lost my full trust a LONG time ago. There are too many examples of corruption, dishonesty, and waste on both sides.

  13. It is NOT about the teachers. It's about the students. Teach them to read, write, graduate or forget it all. Arizona does for $1,000 per student per year LESS than CCSD.

  14. If you look at the map of the 5 star schools that explains it. The parents in these areas are probably more involved with their kids educations and aren't dealing a blackjack game during the swing shift on a Tuesday. I know many people like that (including family) and their kids do horrible in school..not all, but a lot. It may not be the largest cause but it definitely is a factor.

  15. It's too bad that some teachers think this is an "attack" on them. It's one thing to have an issue with the district, but to claim that the community "hates" teachers sounds a little pathetic. I realize that everyone in the universe seems to enjoy being a victim now, and avoids any personal responsibility like the plague, but this is about improving the performance of our students, by any means necessary. Your employment and happiness as a teacher is absolutely secondary. Sorry, but that's the way it is, and that's the way it should be. You shouldn't be fighting for anything more than that.

  16. The rich will keep getting richer as the 4 and 5 star schools are almost all in the wealthier areas of LV (check out the map and it's very easy to see). So why would a good teacher ever move to a 1 or 2 star school? They wont, so those schools are just going to keep getting worse and worse. We need to pay teachers and administrators willing to work in the roughest areas much more than ones that chose to move out to the suburbs. It seems that main reason that most of the principals who were on Fremont St. were there, was because they were placed at a wealthier school.

  17. It's telling that CCSD's new standards were going to take parental involvement into account and then decided not to. But it's also obvious why...parents who complain the loudest about higher standards for teachers are also the ones who generally never have time to actually meet their teacher and are no-shows for parent conferences, meet-your-teacher nights, etc. Maybe that reality is a little too complex for the community to accept...

    ...and if there's anything that's as predictable as the sunrise, it's that those same people will always be 100% behind "get tough, end social promotion" until their son or daughter, niece or nephew is told he'll/she'll have to do 7th grade over.

    So the SUN could maybe do a story on the brave teachers who actually call the bluff of "get tough" principals and CCSD administrators and really do fail a student or two- and print the excuses of administrators and parents that forced them to recheck the grades and "magically" find that they passed. Or the SUN could pay for a poll of CCSD parents, asking how many of them are in regular contact with their kids' teachers or otherwise involved with their school, and correlating these results with "5-star, 4-star," etc. schools.

  18. The problem with this, or any other ranking system, is that it tests the students and ranks the school. Some years, you'll have better groups of kids than others. The real problem here is that we already have a ranking system-- grades. And that places the responsibility where it belongs: the student.

    You want accountability? Tie student success to the child tax credit and other benefits. If your child doesn't show up for school, or fails, you lose your money. Levy fines for missed parent conferences.

  19. Jon Z, you know as well as anyone, that partially subjective grades, given out by teachers, are not a way to determine whether or not teachers & schools are effective. A bit of a conflict of interest, there.

    I will say that your suggestion on tax credit, or something similar, to make parents accountable, is an outstanding idea. But, when I hear other teachers mention that type of program, it's to replace the accountability on the schools, teachers, and district. What they're basically suggesting is that the teachers and schools don't matter at all, success is completely dependent on the parent. The reality is that parents, schools, and teachers are responsible.

    Please don't be one of those people that refuse to implement something that affects you until another program that affects another group is also implemented. I've had communication exchanges with you, and I believe that you're a good, caring teacher. I know you're better than that.

  20. Thousands of teachers showed up at the school board meeting. We protested from 4pm to 8pm. We yelled until we were hoarse. We are working to save our schools. We are in the trenches. Teachers are tired of watching all these "reforms" actually damage students. It's time for the public to stand up for public schools. No more failing our students. No more drowning students in tests. No more rating schools and making students and teachers accountable without the proper resources and support! Time to show up at school board meetings! Teachers are the heart of every community. Public schools are the soul. Time to do what is right and invest in our future and our children.

    EVERY school in our district should be treated like a five star school. EVERY child deserves an adequately funded education. EVERY teacher should be treated like a professional.

  21. @first grade teacher accountability is part of every profession. Education is such a subjective profession that by its nature it is very difficult to quantify. This method is much more equitable than the all or nothing criteria of NCLB. I am dismayed by the responses of teachers who want NO accountability. Educators have a responsibility to the kids,patents and to the citizens of the state. Teachers want to be treated and compensated as professionals,and they should. However, professional responsibilities include being held accountable for the performance and improvement of the students in their charge. I applaud the efforts that you put in every day, Thanks.

  22. Why is it that when students fail we hear the teachers blame the students and the parents. But when the students succeed teachers congratulate themselves? Is there any other profession that is quick to praise themselves and so very reluctant to accept responsibility for their failings, other than cops that is?

  23. Wow a lot to look at in these comments.
    Problem: Parent teacher conferences.
    Answer: Make it mandatory for parents to attend similiar to jury duty. Employers must comply. No excuses.
    Problem: Screaming at the top of our lungs till we were hoarse.
    Answer: Calm down this won't achieve the results you want.
    Problem: I'm not paid enough to work in a low qualified school for fear of my job.
    Answer: As a teacher it should not be about pay it should be all about what you bring to the table for our future. Districts need to work with these teachers to help them stay the coarse.
    Problem: To much administration.
    Answer: Get rid of the deadwieght. If they can't figure out what that is, I'm sure many people on these forums who have first hand knowledge would be a great place to start the evaluation.
    Problem: Exposing failures
    Answer: I like the comment that said that if a teacher is rated poorly then that teacher should be able to post what transpired between them and the district admin. This way it would shed some light on the subject and the community would be more informed. Kind of like showing us the districts shortcommings.

  24. Here still, I am compelled to comment because of the superficiality of this initiative. Let me be clear: Yes. There has to be some accountability for those involve in education. However, it is NOT only the school, the administrators, or the teachers who should be accountable. There are many stakeholders in education and for the nth time, I will enumerate them: The Policy Makers, the School Board, the Superintendent, and the layers under him, the parents, the community; AND the school, the principals, the teachers; AND the students themselves. I, as a teacher have NO control over everything else, except myself and HOW I teach children.

    Ranking schools HAS NOTHING to do with improving HOW I teach. And it is HOW I teach that largely make children learn or not learn -- regardless of demographics. HOW I teach is a combination of what I know, my experiences, directives from above, my students, my motivations, and my philosophy in education. No matter how big the stick the policy makers and my principals carry, as soon as I close my classroom door, I and only I make the decision of how I teach that day and every day. No one knows how I teach UNLESS the principal, a parent, a colleague, an expert-teacher, or a student SAYS SOMETHING about what I am doing.

    Which brings me to the point I am trying to make: The current initiatives are but 'band-aids' -- palliative solutions to a cancer that is attacking the very core of education. Threats such as firing teachers DO NOT help improve education. Threats get compliance and unreliable results. Improving teacher efficacy DOES help improve education. Improving teacher efficacy gets compliance and buy-in, hence results.

  25. Comments continued:

    We must look at the delivery of professional development. I have sat at countless of pseudo professional developments where for hours and hours the 'developers' sound like a grown-up in a 'Peanuts' cartoon show: blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, reading endless power-points, and stacks and stacks of handouts. We go back to our classroom dazed - the words and handouts joining the detritus of the previous professional development sessions.

    We must look at teacher evaluation. The only real initiative that will help improve teacher efficacy is a sound evaluation system where various perspectives of a teacher performance is culled from administrators, colleagues, parents, students, and from teachers themselves. An effective mentoring system and process must be in place and a reasonable timeline for improvement set. From the start, expectations must be very clear. When the process of evaluation and mentoring has been followed and the timeline set for improvement has not been met, then firing a teacher should be pursued.

    I believe there are people who are destined to be good teachers and there are those who strive to be. Sadly, our pre-service training for teachers and our teacher recruitment processes are wanting, and the only avenue by which we can create effective teachers is through practical experience -- as teachers -- supported by mentors and principals.

    These are the initiatives I would like to see. Reporting who got five stars or one star does not improve teaching or student performance. Nor does zip-lining over Fremont Street.

  26. improveLV: signs that there IS INTELLIGENT LIFE OUT THERE. It is NOT about the teachers. If they can't teach or are not happy, pray it doesn't affect job performance or they are OUT OF HERE. I know of NO industry/career/occupation where subordinates (teachers) are allowed to run the whole show and where management (CCSD administration) must cater to line worker ideas.

  27. Student competition within the grade level is a positive thing. It lets the individual know where they personally rank within their peer group authentically. Competition between schools is a different matter, as all things are NOT equal as far as actual subjected populations.

    It bears remembering that there are thousands of teachers here who are also PARENTS who send their children to schools within the district. Don't think for one moment that they have low expectations for their child's performance or delivery of education. It would truly be an interesting study to see WHERE the children of educators in Clark County are going, and if, by chance, those schools are the higher performing. I will leave that to your imagination for now, and hope administration takes that into account and publishes their findings.

    What needs to be addressed, as an integral part of educational reform, is parent participation. From basic observations, parents are most involved with Kindergarteners and grade 1, then it wanes. Teachers can write communications weekly or daily from grades 2 on, and are lucky to get any kind of response. Perhaps with social promotion being halted, this may get their attention, and begin the road to recovery for not just the student, but their family. Just coming to school just doesn't cut it anymore. Be there to gather as much as you can, to prepare for your future. Do everything you personally can, don't settle for less than your personal best.

    When students have that need to learn in their minds and hearts, there is no stopping them. Ever. And it warms a teacher's heart to see parents being actively involved in seeing to it that quality education is happening for their children.

    When a person reads report card comments of a student, that reflect several grades, you can get the gist of that child's strengths and weakness, and if any problems are on-going. What is highly noticeable at the at-risk schools, are the perpetual problems a child has year after year. There needs to be an effective way to address this, as this is an indicator of a child's ability to succeed. Many parents are reading the same comments every year from 5 or more different teachers and/or schools, each with the types of interventions taken at the school level and are either ignoring the problem, move around to avoid problem and/or consequences, or need extra support and are not following through with the resources given them. Unfortunately, this happens a lot.

    We all have some responsibility in educating our youth. Each person must do their part. PARENTS are a child's first teacher, and that job does not end at any grade, it is for life. We, in the community support all children in any way that we can.

    Change isn't easy, but it can be a positive thing for all involved. I am sure that Superintendent Jones will ammend the plan as we all go along, culling what doesn't work and expanding on what does work.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  28. Star:

    We have been harping about parent involvement for decades now and nothing has been done except for token initiatives. The reason is: You cannot legislate good parenting nor can we legislate who should and should not have children.

    We cannot choose our leaders either because of politics and politicians. Those who have money control everything.

    We, the teachers, are the only ones left who have any kind of influence on our future through the education of children. It is imperative that we do the right thing by our children.

    Society has become grossly materialistic. Money and power are the only ones that matter. Look at our own Las Vegas. Instead of helping teachers, they come up with initiatives that have nothing to do with helping teachers become better at helping students achieve. We are threatened with dismissal if we don't give them the correct numbers that they can display for the world to see. Even the evaluation process is being used as a tool to threaten instead of mentoring. Look at the amount of assessments we have to do each week that take precious time from instruction. Our salary, benefits, and our very own dignity are under siege.

    It amazes me how our leaders cannot see helping teachers as a solution. Bin Laden was taken out quietly and efficiently because of highly-trained soldiers - training that involved intensity, with the most modern equipment available, and the best mentors in the world.

    Our children and the future of our society are no less important, but no one in power seems to think so.

  29. Besides awarding bragging rights to the winners, competition helps identify individuals and/or areas that need more attention. In the case of CCSD, there are a *lot* of the latter.

    When I was in elementary school. almost every class was split into A and B groups (and in one case I remember, a C group, as well.) The A group got bragging rights and extra work assigned to them. The B group still had to meet the same requirements for promotion. There were no losers as such. Those who worked harder got something to show for it. Those who did not were still accountable for themselves and could be more readily identified as needing help.

    The same should be true for schools.

  30. Star, first off, I appreciate your positive approach. I think that very similar arguments made against the level playing field in this school comparison can also be made for student comparison at the same school. Not every student has the same things going on in their lives. Not every student has involved, supportive parents. We can come up with a million excuses as to why there shouldn't ever be any comparisons/competitions, ever. But I think we'd all agree that it would be silly to do that.

    I'm not saying that every detailed component of this program is 100% correct, but at a high level, I (as a parent) am extremely happy to see that data is being analyzed and published. I think that parents and other community members need to do our part to educate ourselves on the methodology used, as opposed to having a kneejerk reaction to these reports.

  31. Did everybody see the compensation packages that the teacher union officials make?
    Question for the teachers: Is your union boss worth over $600,000.00 a year in salary? I don't have to be as educated as you to see that is WAY out of line.

  32. chuck, as crazy as that sounds, it's actually pretty common for leaders of such a large group to receive a high salary. We have to keep in mind that there's a huge difference between the union leaders and the individual teachers that they "serve". If you've worked with the district and different teachers, I'm sure you've seen some of the great teachers that are out there. And they (the effective ones) are criminally underpaid for the work that they do.