“To say that bureaucrats or politicians could pick the right energy source for Kentucky or for our country is basically to embrace the failed central planning policies of the Soviet Union.” –Thomas Massie, Lewis County judge-executive, on cn|2’s “Pure Politics”
In honor of the national School Choice Week, here are some video clips from today’s charter school rally in Frankfort.
Kentucky is one of only nine states that do not have these innovative public school options for students and parents. It requires legislation to create charter schools here, and the crowd attending the rally clearly thinks it is well past time for timid legislators to get off the dime to do something for students and parents instead of just appeasing certain adults running the state’s public school system.
This video by Reason.tv features highlights from the School Choice Week kickoff in New Orleans.
“People tend to focus more on adult issues than kid issues…if we focus on children…we wouldn’t be arguing about the dollars…”
We need school choice in Kentucky.
On problems with education research, state education rankings and teacher preparation
Part 1 of my discussion addressed concerns about Quality Counts continuing to use its own Cumulative Promotion Index (CPI) calculations for high school graduation rates when extensive research completed for the US Department of Education in 2006 shows now readily available data from the Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR) calculation is more accurate (find many years of AFGR data for all the states here).
In my first blog, I focused on Kentucky’s impacts. Using a less accurate graduation rate formula matters for Kentucky’s Quality Counts rankings.
In this addendum blog, I examine data for all the states to point out that Quality Counts’ use of less accurate graduation rate estimates matters a lot all across the nation. Arizona, Rhode Island, South Dakota and New Mexico have been hurt the most, but many other states also got poorly treated, as well.
Click on the “Read more” link to see data on all 50 states that shows which got very poorly treated by Quality Counts’ continued use of a less accurate, obsolescent graduation rate formula instead of the now standard Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate calculation.
Education Week’s “Curriculum Matters Blog” ran an article as I was leaving for a conference last week about “NCLB Waivers Could Undermine Graduation Rates, Group Contends.”
The Alliance for Excellent Education in Washington, DC claims that if the graduation rate requirement in NCLB is set aside, that Kentucky’s own graduation rate accountability plan would only count this important school statistic for 14 percent of the overall score for each school.
Under current NCLB rules, graduation rates are a separate accountability item that schools must meet to make overall Adequate Yearly Progress. This is treated as a separate, stand-alone requirement and is not diluted in importance by being averaged with other accountability measures such as test scores. The Alliance specifically cites Kentucky for reducing the importance of graduation too much in its waiver request.
Per Education Week, Alliance President Bob Wise, the former governor of West Virginia, said:
“If test scores in earlier grades or other indicators count far more for measuring a school’s progress than whether a student actually graduates, the fact that high school graduation rates count for so little in the proposed indexes could create an incentive for schools to ‘push out’ low-performing students in order to increase scores on standardized tests.”
It is uncertain how much influence the Alliance will have with the US Department of Education, but their concerns are definitely worth considering.
Certainly, there is widespread, bipartisan agreement that the current graduation rate in Kentucky is too low. Both Governor Beshear and his wife have mentioned such concerns repeatedly in their requests to change the minimum high school dropout age.