HISTORIC RELEASE OF LETTER GRADES UNDERSCORES STATE’S EDUCATION REFORM AGENDA
Louisiana, to its credit, just released its first-ever letter grades for every school in the state, based primarily on student test scores (with a + or - to show if there were year-over-year gains) – all of the data is here: http://www.louisianaschools.net/lde/uploads/18947.xlsx. Not surprisingly, given its demographics and the catastrophic failure for decades prior to Katrina and reform, a high percentage of schools in New Orleans – 34% – got an F, which apparently enemies of reform are trying to use to argue that reform isn't working, but this is of course a total distortion of the facts (deliberate or ignorant – you decide). In reality, there have been stunning gains (though from a very low base, so there remains massive work to do), as highlighted in the press release below – here's an excerpt:
While state officials point to significant overall improvement from 2010 to 2011, among the highlights noted is the growth of schools in the Recovery School District, which assumes responsibility for chronically failing schools. Specifically:
· For three of the last four years, Louisiana's school turnaround model has been ranked highest for the percentage of gains achieved from one year to the next.
· Schools in the RSD Improved to Achieve An Average Gain of 6.7 Points or 11 Percent -- More than Three Times the Average Statewide Gain for All Schools (2.2 Points, or 2.4 Percent).
· If current standards had been in place in 2008, 76 percent of RSD schools would have earned an F. Today that figure is down to 44 percent for RSD schools statewide, and 36 percent for RSD New Orleans schools.
"The mission of the RSD is to transform failing schools," RSD Superintendent John White said. "And given that our students have made more progress than students in any other district, our schools are on their way to achieving their mission. Nonetheless, the letter grades are a reminder of how much farther the RSD and the state as a whole must advance to ensure our students thrive academically and professionally, regardless of whether they pursue college or the workforce after graduation."