Making the Grade

Today was one of "those" days. I didn't sleep well - woke up 3 times in the middle of the night with a start, sure that it was 6am and time to get up for work - and so I didn't feel right all day. I spent the day exhausted and shouting. I haven't felt so frustrated and ineffective since ALP was in my class and I had to wonder if maybe my class had gone through a second honeymoon period, readjusting and reequilibrating in his absence. At least tomorrow is a teacher work day so I have a bit of a grace period before I go back in there and try to right the ship.

Meanwhile, the big news in the real world is that Chancellor Klein and Mayor Bloomberg unveiled the results of their bold and semi-controversial school grading system. The system grades schools based on student achievement relative to schools with similar student demographics. According to the NY Times, elementary schools like mine "are grouped mainly by racial and socioeconomic background." The grade is based on the following assessments:
The largest portion of a school’s grade, 55 percent, is based on the improvement of individual students on state tests from one year to the next, a so-called growth model analysis. Thirty percent of the grade is based on overall student achievement on state tests. An additional 15 percent is based on the school’s environment, measured by attendance figures and parent, teacher and student surveys

So, hypothetically under this system it shouldn't matter if a school is "high-need" so long as their students are making progress from year to year. In fact one school with as many as 86% of its students passing the state exams, unheard of at a school like mine, still received a failing grade. And sure enough looking over the complete list I saw more than a few schools in the Bronx that I know personally from summer school and fellow Fellows that received B's and A's. Unfortunately my current school is one of the 50 Elementary Schools that scored a D. Disheartening news, but then again as far as I can tell it doesn't change any of the day to day pressures and realities of my job. It's just one more test my school has failed.


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