Magnet scores 're-routed'

Magnet school students’ test scores are “re-routed” to schools they might have attended but don’t in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. That makes low-performing school look better, a “pure deception” and a “sham,” according to Barry Erwin, president of the Council for a Better Louisiana.

A school board member says it’s fair because the magnet schools are drawing high achievers from the regular schools.

Huh?!?? writes Robert Pondiscio at Core Knowledge Blog. He quotes Woody Allen: “No matter how cynical you are, you can’t keep up.”

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  1. A politician engaging in artful rationalization? Alert the media.

    There’s no small irony in quoting Woody Allen to highlight the crudity of the rationalization as well.

  2. I actually don’t really have a problem with this policy if it keeps neighborhood schools from opposing magnet programs out of self-interest. One of the big issues in my local district is the fact that the district’s Gifted & Talented Education program doesn’t have enough slots for all the children who qualify. The solution ought to be very simple- simply add additional GATE classes. But expanding GATE is opposed by the central administration. The “official” reason is that they believe all students benefit from being in heterogeneous classes. But given that several of the schools in the district have only recently made AYP and 2 are still in PI status, I’m positive the real reason is the administrators fear what would happen to test scores if all the gifted kids were concentrated in a single school.

  3. So the good test scores of the magnet schools should be used to obscure the lousy test scores of the neighborhood schools so the neighborhood school personnel and administration won’t object to the existence of the magnet schools?

    I suppose that’s the pragmatic consideration but it does put the educational considerations in second place. Not something that ought to be noised around for sure.

  4. Margo/Mom says:

    See–the point of keeping data is to know how things are going. Why not just give out extra points to the kids who stay in the neighborhood school. No reason, just to be nice. Or maybe we can have a lottery to give out extra points to the winners. Or to schools that sell the most candy. Or give out grades to kids based on what they would have learned if they came to class instead of cutting. How about sending my check in a restaurant over to the next table where I would have sat if there hadn’t already been somebody sitting there.

  5. Either way the bright students’ scores are being used to artificially inflate the overall school averages. I’d rather see the kids get the appropriately challenging coursework they need and have their scores be re-routed than have them stuck in their neighborhood school to serve the same purpose.

  6. Margo/Mom says:

    I don’t know that it’s a given that “gifted” students will outscore the others, particularly if instruction is poor. My state has stopped breaking out scores by gifted status, but when they did, our closest neighborhood middle school was doing poorly by them, same as they were for the low income, minority and (I assume) disabled kids. Don’t know for sure about the disabled kids because their scores were never counted back then–you know, to boost the school’s score.

  7. M/M- one of the criteria for qualifying for the district’s GATE program is scoring in the 98th percentile or higher on a standardized test. So by definition, these kids are outscoring their peers.

    The problem is that the number of students in the district schools who meet the criteria far exceed the number of available slots. And that’s not even taking into consideration all the kids living in the district currently enrolled in a private or home school who would also meet the criteria. Obviously not all of these would enroll in the district GATE program if guaranteed a slot, but I bet a significant number of them would. I know at least 2 families in our homeschool support group that left the schools specifically because their kids qualified for the GATE program but did not get a slot.

  8. Margo/Mom says:

    My state has a somewhat more comprehensive set of criteria for identifying giftedness.