News reports from the Grayson Journal-Enquirer indicate that leaders at the East Carter Middle School in Carter County are upset because they have been identified as failing to meet No Child Left Behind (NCLB) targets for nine straight years. The school’s leaders are complaining that their scores are higher than other schools in their area (Really? – Stay Tuned).
The East Carter Middle staff whines about poverty. Their school did report that 366 students in its NCLB tested population of 623 students in 2010 were in the federal free and reduced cost lunch program – a poverty rate of 58.7 percent. Hold that thought.
The grim fact remains that, after 20 years of KERA, East Carter does a poor job with its students and needs to spend more time on strong corrective action instead of making excuses.
This graph (click on it to enlarge), taken from the school’s 2010 NCLB report (access from pull down menus here), shows that even with the confidence intervals added (the thin horizontal lines above and below the actual proficiency rate scores shown by the small black squares), not one student group in the school met its Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO) in reading. Not one group.
Here is the same sort of AMO graph for the Allen Central Middle School in Floyd County. At Allen Central 220 of the 319 students tested under NCLB in 2010 were in the federal free and reduced cost lunch program – a poverty rate of 70 percent. That is a lot higher than the East Carter County’s 58.7 percent poverty rate.
Now, you can begin to understand why I am losing patience with educators who keep making excuses instead of progress. Schools like Allen Central show IT CAN BE DONE!
It gets even worse! Click the Read More link to see how.
Thanks to the “Safe Harbor” provision, a huge NCLB loophole, East Carter Middle School was allowed to claim ‘success’ with its white students even though they actually scored well below the AMO. Safe Harbor says that no school in Kentucky has to worry about NCLB if it just shows minimal progress with its kids.
How minimal? Consider East Carter Middle’s biggest challenge: students with learning disabilities. In 2009 these special kids at East Carter Middle scored only 32.32 percent proficient. So, 67.68 percent were not proficient. Under Safe Harbor, if that non-proficient group had been reduced by just one-tenth, or 6.768 percent, the school would have met Safe Harbor for this group in 2010.
In fact, the school did reduce the percentage of non-proficient learning disabled students to 61.11 percent, a 6.57 point reduction. East Carter Middle almost qualified for the Safe Harbor “Get Out of Jail Free Card” with its learning disabled students, missing the requirement by only about 0.2 percent. Had the school met Safe Harbor with these kids, the school would have escaped trouble even though the real proficiency rate for these kids would only have been 40.89 percent.
That is obviously FAR below the 100 percent figure too many of our school folks keep whining, incorrectly, about.
But, then, it seems like NCLB has created an educator ‘cottage industry’ of whining instead of performing in Kentucky.
My advice to East Carter Middle School – get yourselves over to Allen Central Middle School and find out how they do it. Ditto for a lot of other “Culture of Can’t” educators who are spending too much time whining about NCLB and not enough time doing what they are clearly doing in Allen Central – working for kids.