The Courier-Journal reports that the latest idea to turn around “Persistently Low-Achieving” Shawnee High school is to turn it into a Primary to grade 12 school.
How dumb, but how insidiously clever!
Dumb, because mixing five-year olds in with a group of high school students with a long and chronic history of problems is probably akin to committing child abuse with those younger students.
Clever, because the NCLB test results for all grades are added together in a K to 12 school. That way, the generally higher grades for the elementary and middle school grade kids will offset the deplorable high school results, hiding the fact that the high school kids do a poor job.
For an example of how that works, look at Jefferson County’s Brown School’s NCLB report (available from a set of pull down menus here).
Brown is P to 12 school. You will see that its report does not provide separate scores by grade level structure for elementary, middle and high schools. Instead, the data for all the tested grades are averaged together. Since Reading is tested in grades 3 to 8 but only in grade 10 in high schools, it is clear that bad high school grade level performance will be totally hidden with the clever trick Jefferson County wants to pull.
I guess the school management team in Jefferson County thinks it is better to sacrifice the futures of a lot of younger kids to create a mirage of progress in a failing high school, a school which could keep right on failing its older students after this slight of hand takes place.
Commissioner Holliday, are you watching this?