We go through the same cycle every time results from the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) are released.
Individuals who don’t know a great deal about this test, sometimes aided and abetted by education professionals with obvious agendas, blindly jump on a simplistic score analysis and declare success for Kentucky.
One major problem with such simplistic analyses, as I recently pointed out, is that Kentucky’s student demographics are far less diverse than the rest of the county.
This even holds true when we try to compare our largest city school system in Jefferson County to other large city school systems in the nation, as this graph shows.
Jefferson County has a far higher percentage of whites than any other true ‘urban’ school district that participated in the 2009 NAEP Trial Urban District Assessment in Reading.
It has a far lower minority population, a much lower proportion of students still learning English, and even a notably lower poverty rate (based on enrollment in the federal free and reduced cost school lunch program).
All of those differences give Jefferson County a huge, unearned advantage in any simplistic comparison of scores to other, true ‘urban’ city school systems.
But, that doesn’t stop those simplistic comparisons from coming.
It didn’t stop Jefferson County spokesperson Bob Rodosky from telling the Courier-Journal, “I think we’re very competitive.”
Well, that’s a bit like sending a college basketball team off to play a junior high school team and then declaring that college team is competitive against other colleges.
(Graph Updated 3Jun10)