WDRB in Louisville has looked at the new public school testing results and declares:
However, when you dig past the article’s headline, things appear even less rosy.
A few example comments from the article:
Saying Jefferson County took a hit for its College and/or Career Readiness Rate is certainly correct. In 2015-16 the Kentucky School Report Card’s DELIVERY_TARGET, CCR tab shows the rate was 63.4 percent. It dropped by more than six points to 57.0 in 2016-17.
Regarding the achievement gap, I took a quick look at the district’s elementary schools’ combined math and reading proficiency rates over the past two school terms. Table 1 shows the results.
As you can see, the elementary school level white minus black proficiency rate on KPREP math and reading combined in Jefferson County, already very large, increased by a full additional point between 2015-16 and 2016-17 even though the white proficiency rate dropped by 2.1 points. The gap in 2016-17 of 31.0 points is considerably larger than the statewide average of 26.1 percent, by the way. The black combined proficiency rate is also 1.6 points behind the statewide average.
There is a big problem with gaps here. Currently, scarcely more than one in four black elementary school students in the district is proficient across these two critically important subjects.
At the present time the Kentucky Department of Education is conducting a massive audit of management in Jefferson County and it is clear that the district’s performance is very much on Kentucky Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt’s mind. Reacting to the new scores, Pruitt told WDRB:
“My hope is that they’re going to have a real hard conversation about, ‘Why did our numbers go down? What did we do differently? Are we really paying attention to instruction or are we simply buying more books for us to practice tests?'”
Over the past week I have had “interesting” Twitter conversations regarding Jefferson County Schools with some of the folks from that region of Kentucky. I think some of them will have a very challenging time trying to have a “real hard conversation” about the obvious – and obviously growing – problems in their massive school system. For the sake of the district’s students, I hope this new information finally helps those folks work through their denial to get really serious about using their already significant resources in a more intelligent and efficient way for students.
Data in Table 1 come from the 2017 Kentucky School Report Card for Jefferson County on the DELIVERY_TARGETS, PROFICIENCY/GAP tab.