School’s Academic Achievement Should Be Applauded

Congratulations are in order for the students, teachers and administration at Crothersville Community Schools. Their dedication, diligence and determination resulted, we learned last week, in the elementary and high school being given by the State Department of Education a top grade of A following the results of a number of tests and other metrics to determine how students and the school’s education efforts are progressing. (Metrics is the new business speak language for results of a number of different criteria some of which do not include testing.)
It wasn’t too many years ago that the school was placed on academic probation because of similar less than stellar results.
Students and staff should be proud of their achievement and parents and the school community in general vicariously share the youngsters’ success. When the students win, the rest of us feel we are winners as well.
But we all need to understand that the results are just a snapshot in time of how a certain group of students fared. The next year’s testing and results will be up to a new and different group of students. Of course it will be Crothersville Schools which will be given the judgment, but it will be a new crop of students who will be responsible for that scoring placement.
What should be of particular pride should be that fact that Crothersville, among the smallest enrollment schools in the state, did better that a lot of biggest schools in Indiana. And that has to chagrin Gov. Mitch Daniels who has proposed no school smaller than 1,000 students in the state.
And because some of those larger, well funded schools systems didn’t get an A, don’t be surprised when the rules and criteria for tests results interpretation are changed. That has happened a lot over the past six-plus years of the administration’s “freight train of change”: change the rules & move the goalposts.
One particularly troublesome aspect of the grading criteria is that schools must show constant improvement. That is a lofty goal but frequently unachievable.
Consider a salesperson having being given a goal of improving sales 10% every year. The first few years perhaps sales in his/her territory are good and goals are achieved. But there comes a time of critical mass (another business speak term meaning as much as can be accomplished) where those increases are no longer possible.
Does that mean the sales associate is doing a bad job? Nope, it means that if you are in the top tier of sales, continuing to improve sales gets tougher.
And such is how it could be for judging education progress. Especially testing a new crop of youths each year.
But for now students, staff and community can rightfully feel proud of the state’s “Grade A” classification. It’s the best school system-wide score in two counties.
While the community is proud, we should also challenge the next batch of test students to continue to live up to the success and have the same dedication, diligence and determination to show next year that Crothersville is still a Grade A educational system.