The National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), just Tweeted out an interesting graphic showing those participating school districts that had the largest increase in Grade 4 NAEP math scale scores between 2009 and 2019. You won’t find Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) in the original graphic although Kentucky’s largest school district did participate in the NAEP.
So, I added the JCPS data, extracted from the NAEP Data Explorer, to the graphic.
All the JCPS additions to the graphic are in red for a reason: JCPS’ Grade 4 NAEP math score is actually a point lower in 2019 than in 2009, though this small difference isn’t statistically significant.
Still, a number of other districts, all with MUCH higher minority enrollment than JCPS (JCPS was 42% white in the 2019 NAEP Grade 4 Math assessment while next closest Atlanta was only 18% white and Detroit was just 2% white!) made notable gains in the past decade while JCPS, at best, stayed flat.
Things like this call for real changes in Kentucky’s school council driven education system, but so far, I don’t see that happening.
Maybe, someday, we will wake up like Mississippi did in 2013 and pass a major literacy initiative.
Furthermore, even if enacted, these Kentucky bills probably will run into implementation problems so long as the state maintains its awkward school based decision making (SBDM) system. With over 1,100 different SBDM school councils in Kentucky holding major power over what actually happens in the classroom, there is no way centralized legislation is going to have the sort of universal impact that Mississippi is achieving. But, a bill to bring more rationality to the way Kentucky’s schools are governed (SB-7), is languishing in the Kentucky House.
And, while Kentucky dithers around, other states, and large school districts, are not standing still.