Friday, October 29, 2010

School Takeovers Imminent for NSHS and SSHS?

The JG editorial page reported this morning that the Indiana Department of Education may be ready to turn failing schools, including NSHS and SSHS over to charter operators after the election. The state will be formulating rules for the handover, which could presumably occur any time after that.

When the district did their LEAD school shuffle it seemed likely that the state would at least give them some time to see how they performed. On the other hand, last spring's high school End of Course Examination (ECA) results for SSHS and NSHS (which have been kept out of the papers and off TV prior to the election) are so bad that the IDE may feel, as I do, that improvement is unlikely without intervention, at least until elementary school improvements filter up.

Of course at the end the JG laments the loss of control by our locally elected board. Hey, if it happens, it happened on their watch. And the JG has endorsed all but one incumbent for reelection for the "progress" they district's made, like making AYP when the tests got easier. How much more evidence of the impotence of our board do we need to see?.

By the way, "Waiting for Superman" is playing at the RAVE. If it doesn't shake you up, go ahead and vote for the incumbents.


siestagirl said...

here is a link to the proposed rule for school takeover

courtesy of the ISTA.
This will be very interesting to see if the state actually takes over a high school. Since the school would actually function as a charter school, parents and students would be able to choose to attend or not attend the charter, correct?
The state should add to the rule: takeover of recently closed schools and make Elmhurst a charter!!

Code Blue Schools said...

I suggested that to the Save Elmhurst Group. They though they could work it out with Wendy but found out the hard way who they were dealing with.

I don't know if Tony and Mitch will actually take over a school. They may not want to but they will probably have to to show they are serious. They could also keep dumbing the tests down to make themselves and the district look good and make the man in the street think they've fixed the problem.

Anonymous said...

The problem is at the end of the day you still have the same parents and students - and most them simply don't care! If you could hold the parents to the fire, along with teachers, they could make real progress.

Code Blue Schools said...

So you're saying it can't be fixed even if we get the kids up to speed by the end of Grade 3?

Anonymous said...

Yes. Indianpolis Public 60 schools worked hard to get their kids up to par through 3rd grade. They started in 2001 with a change in curriculum to Open Court, which is heavy on phonics. And yet their passing rates at the high schools are lower than Wayne. Parents don't care! Even with all the hard work you put in, parents don't care if they attend school conference, their teens skip school, etc. After 3rd grade it still goes out the window.

Code Blue Schools said...

The IPS third grade passing rate in reading looks like it's around 60%. FWCS is around 65%. The scores drop from there on up. Our suburban schools are above 80% and it looks like we have to get to that level to be have any hope of sustaining it into high school.

Do you think it's possible to get FWCS 3rd graders up above 80% passing in reading? That's what I want to find out at least in a couple of schools if I get on the board. I agree, if that's not possible, I'm wasting my time running. And even if it's possiible maintaining it will be the next problem.

Anonymous said...

I think that FWCS maybe able to raise their schools above 80%. However, even if they get it to that level in 3rd grade, without parent support, it will fall down after that year.

One must realize that the IPS system demographics are that of 90% minority, and 70% single parent homes; literally their Section 8 housing, make Eden Green seem like nice suburban apartments. Thus there schools are in shambles. The only schools that compare to IPS are Village, Prince Chapman and Harding.

In regards to charter schools, one must remember that Benoit Academy and Bethlehem Lutheran Church tried to give out scholarships to the families in the Southeast of Fort Wayne, and even with free tuition both schools shut down. Simply, it's a matter that some parents really don't know or don't care.

Code Blue Schools said...

You may be right about maintaining after Gr.3 Although currently FWCS is not as bad as IPS, it will get there eventually. We're already close south of Coliseum. And Wayne is worse than Harding on the recent ECA scores. Are we past the point of no return?

Personally I think we need to find out if it can be saved at least by starting in K-3. But I beleive the current establishment is afraid that the public will get confirmation of what the district already truly believes. That it can't be done with anything resembling the present system.

Eileen said...

I think it can be saved. At least I don't think anyone should give up. The children need us. They can't come up with the answer themselves.

It's not going to be a one answer fix. Districts around the country like FWCS are fighting the same battle. Just look at Northwest Indiana and you will find a similar situation.

In the classroom, I'm fighting an uphill battle daily. I'm trying to reverse the results of growing up hearing language that does not match the language found in schools or books. FWCS is going to need teachers willing to do whatever it takes and an administration that will seek advice from the classroom teacher.

Spencer Clay said...

Code Blue,

When is the movie "Waiting for Parents" going to be released? I am so tired of teachers being blamed for FWCS failures. Great parents. I was at a game and I all I heard was "fuck this and fuck that" or "nigger this or nigger that." It is impossible to win with these types of people. The problem with FWCS is that it bases all of its decisions on raising a certain percentage of its students' test scores. God Bless America.

Code Blue Schools said...

Spencer - read the blog. "Waiting for Superman" is playing at the RAVE now. We saw it Friday. Superman finally shows up at the end of the movie and saves a school bus from running off a cliff. He's played by Mark GiaQuinta.

I agree with Eileen. It going to take some extraordinary teachers not just to work in the classrooms but to come up with the ideas and strategies. I'm told FWCS doesn't seek its answers from the teachers or principals. But from what I've seen from tutoring in a kindergarten class, I have to wonder if one teacher in a classroom is going to be enough in K-3?