Part Fifteen of Many
Here we come to the last four of the 78 promises that Michelle Rhee made to get $64.5 million.
Did she and her successors reach any of these four last goals?
Even though they fiddled with the definition of “Free and Reduced-Price Lunches”, which almost surely made the numbers better than they would be otherwise, Rhee and Henderson have continued their long losing streak.
Today we look at the poor-nonpoor achievement gaps in 2013 for DC Public Schools.
More technically, we are comparing the percentages of students scoring at the “advanced” or “proficient” level in elementary and secondary math and reading. in two groups: those eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, and those who are NOT eligible. The USDoE and most school districts use the data entered by parents on lunch application forms to decide not only who is eligible for the lunch subsidies, but also as a proxy for poverty or the lack thereof.
Unfortunately for consistency in our ability to measure things over time, in SY 2012-2013 DCPS allowed schools with a sufficient number of students who did qualify as poor, to declare every single child in the school as ‘economically disadvantaged’. It meant free school lunches for the students, which in theory is a good thing (if the food is actually edible, which is sometimes but not always the case), but does make our data-crunching harder by making the data for 2010, 2011, and 2012 not really comparable to that for 2013 — if you are serious about measuring the ‘achievement gap’ between the poor and the non-poor in DC Public Schools. A statistician has told me that this change also probably had the effect of reducing the apparent achievement gap.
You can see in the following table that once again not a single goal was reached:
So, for example, and as usual starting at the top line, Rhee promised that in 2013 the difference in the ‘proficiency’ rates of poor and non-poor students in DCPS in reading would be 26.7%. (Keep in mind that a reduced gap is a Good Thing.) However, the gap was actually much wider: it was 46.5%. In elementary math, we were promised a gap of 26.9%, but it was actually 43.5%. And so on. I notice that the gaps are smaller at the secondary level; I suspect that may have something to do with the re-definition of FRPL, but cannot prove it.
In any case, here is the grand total of all of these failures:
Successes: 1.5 (one and a half)
Total number of goals measured: 78
Success rate: 1.9%
Failure rate: 98.1%.
Mayor Gray, why are you enabling our bungling and failing Chancellor, Kaya Henderson?
City Council, why aren’t you calling hearings?
The saga so far:
- (this one)
Once again, let me credit my colleague Erich Martel for coming up with the idea of going back to the original promises and seeing if they were kept or not, and sharing his findings with me. These calculations are generally my own, so if you find any mistakes, don’t blame him. Blame me.