The scathing report by Novato Unified School District staff presented Tuesday night criticized North Bay Educational Foundation’s charter petition on several points. Novato Patch Editor Brent Ainsworth has a story that reports that out here.
During both the presentation and subsequent questions and comments by trustees, I was struck by criticism leveled at the expectation that 75 percent of charter students would score at proficient or above. Having paid attention to test scores far too much over the years, I couldn’t see what the complaint would be.
NBEF Board Member Robert Verhoeff spoke at the conclusion of the presentation and trustee discussion to take staff and, in particular, Trustee Derek Knell to task for criticism of that goal. Knell made a comment along the lines of, “Where are we? Alabama? Who wants just 75 percent proficient?”
Verhoeff pointed out in his comment where NUSD falls below that number. And that's true for many of the scores for the district as a whole.
Before Verhoeff even began speaking, I already knew the numbers and was showing those around me. Why, there are links posted and tables posted right on the district’s website. Fancy that! Last spring's scores show the district ranging from a low of 64 percent proficient or above (in sixth grade) to a high of 80 percent (fourth grade) for English-language arts. For math, NUSD ranges from a low of 50 percent proficient or above (in eighth grade) to a high of 78 percent (in fourth grade). (You can see the summary data on the state's site here.)
If you’re like me, the first thing you did when you got home last night from the meeting was — on a lark and because you were pretty sure you knew what you’d learn — find out what Alabama’s numbers look like. You can see on the PDF I uploaded that, according to Alabama’s State Department of Education, 87 percent of third graders and 77 percent of eighth graders meet or exceed the standards in reading. For math, it’s as many as 89 percent (in fifth grade) and as low as 71 percent (in seventh grade) meeting or exceeding the standards.
All of which brings to mind a paraphrasing of a line from an amazing rock ballad.
Well, I heard Mr. Knell sing about her.
Well, I heard ol’ Knell put her down.
Well, I hope Derek Knell will remember ...
a Southern man don’t need him around anyhow.”
There were lots of other reasons the staff issued its scathing report of the charter, but the number 75 percent shouldn’t be referenced again. You know, glass houses and all, y'all.