Dear Mark Johnson, Delaying School Performance Grades? How About Just Eliminating Them.

It was about this time last year that Mark Johnson hurled praise upon a new and improved school performance grading platform and revamp school report card interface.

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Johnson was touting the “new” tool in December of 2017 as a way to help parents “choose” what is best for their students based on a skewed report enabled by some secret algorithms stored in SAS headquarters.

What those school performance grades do not put into account are the very factors that have the most effects on student achievement – socioeconomic factors such as poverty and opportunity gaps and external forces that weigh against a student’s ability to focus on learning such as something like… weather.

That disconnect is what makes the following news so ironic. From yesterday’s Charlotte Observer:

A little over a year ago, North Carolina officials proudly unveiled revamped school report cards that Superintendent Mark Johnson described as “the kind of information (parents) need, in an accessible format we can understand.”

Data about each school’s academic performance, teacher qualifications and school climate can be especially helpful to families deciding whether to apply for magnet, charter or private schools.

But this year’s data won’t be posted until after most such applications close, state officials said this week.

“Because of (school districts) and charter schools that have been impacted by Hurricane Florence, DPI has delayed the release of the 2017-18 NC School Report Cards until later this winter. The timing remains a little uncertain – looks like late February or March,” Todd Silberman, a spokesman for the Department of Public Instruction, said in an email.

Hurricane Florence is being used as the excuse for the delay in reporting the very school report cards that do not in themselves take into account factors that actually would affect a school’s performance and its students’ achievement.

Did Hurricane Florence allow for the affected schools to have the needed flexibility in scheduling to make sure that all students had enough class time and attention to do well on any of the very tests that the school performance grades rely so much upon? No, the state just let them forgive a certain amount of days.

And did Hurricane Florence stop Mark Johnson from launching his own website site ncsuperintendent.com? No, In fact, he used it to divert all traffic from the official DPI site to a place that very much looks like a campaign launching website. That action received a lot of needed attention like here: Literally Using Hurricane Florence to Launch a Personal Campaign Website – Mark Johnson’s www.ncsuperintendent.com.

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So a hurricane is being blamed for the inability for a website to show school performance grades and school report cards that never take into account how catastrophe and poverty actually affect student achievement but that same hurricane is a good enough excuse to allow a state official to divert official state business to a personal website to help launch possible future political ambitions?

Now that’s some crude irony there.

And “irony” is a literary term.

Maybe I just found my real-world connection.

 

 

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