My title has nothing to do with a walnut — or is it just “nut”? — who is trying to run for President.
Instead, it has been claimed by some that there are quite a few schools wherein 90% or more of the students are poor, 90% or more of them are black or Latino, yet 90% or more of these same students score at the very highest proficiency levels on official competency tests. Thus, 90-90-schools.
The fact that nobody seemed to be able to produce an actual list of such schools didn’t diminish the true believers’ faith. Their belief was that any school could accomplish this miracle if only it was staffed with brand-new, inexperienced teachers who had “snap”. “Snap” is a term popularized by Richard Whitmire, the fawning biographer of Michelle Rhee.
Well, I found a 90-90-90 school, right here in DC!
Twenty-one out of 22 students, or about 95%, of the kids there who took the DC-CAS are Black or Latino, according to OSSE-NCLB data.
The same fraction is “Economically Disadvantaged”.
Now, guess what fraction is officially at the VERY HIGHEST LEVEL on the DC-CAS, namely “Advanced”, in Reading in 2011?
Not just 21/22.
No, all 100% of the students are in the “Advanced” category.
Both in reading and in math!
There is no elite public school in the city – not even in upper NW – that has ever reached those numbers. No charter school comes near.
Mind you, this is a special education school. If it’s anything like Sharpe, a lot of these kids have multiple handicaps, including physical ones.
At the Mamie D. Lee special education school, in case you were wondering, the staff administers the test VERY differently than is done in normal schools. But somehow, I kinda doubt these numbers. Just because some of them look a bit like Dr. Steven Hawking doesn’t necessarily mean they are as smart as him…
In fact, let me quote from the principal of the school:
- The Mamie D. Lee School community will promote excellence in instruction and student achievement by providing a comprehensive educational program, emphasizing a collaborative approach, thereby meeting the needs and interests of students with mental retardation, thus ensuring an equal opportunity for success, independence, and productivity in our society.
If 100% of the students at a school for students who are mentally retarded and have limited intellectual functioning, and/or other disabilities, are scoring “advanced” on the DC-CAS, I suggest that there is something wrong with how the test was administered.
So, now do you believe in 90-90-90 schools, or are you a reactionary?
(Anybody like to comment on this?)