The State Department now issues "District Performance Scores" (DPS) and rankings to every district every year. Our DPS did improve last year, up 2.9 points to 95.2. However, it's out of 250, and our "improvement" did not meet the state-mandated minimum requirement.
The editorial on "progress" states that the state has set a goal of 120 by the year 2014 and that Lafayette can attain this goal with an annual growth of 3.1. However, the DPS is one year behind the test scores. So our 2014 DPS will be based upon our tests from the spring of 2013 which means we have only seven testing periods left to achieve the goal of 120, which means we must grow at an annual rate of 3.54 and not 3.1.
But someone is missing the point here. The inaccurate growth rate cited in the editorial is less relevant than the fact that we have never achieved the state-mandated minimum regardless of which number we use.
Furthermore, since 2001, our state ranking has dropped from 17th to 18th to 20th to 22nd. The state's calculations are weighted heavily toward the LEAP scores. However, the Iowa tests are administered in the 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th grades. The LEAP is administered only in 4th and 8th, so we have far more data using the Iowa scores and can do "longitudinal analyses" (comparisons over time), and these scores are even more discouraging.
The staff is also showing that our ACT score went from 20.6 to 20.9. However, the national average went up even more, meaning we are further from the national average now than we were before. Furthermore, LSU announced that its average ACT increased from 24.5 to 25.5 and that its goal is a 26.
The numbers speak for themselves, and the message is clear. People deserve the whole truth, and when it's unpleasant, that's when it takes courage to say it. The bottom line is simple; something needs to change. Either the current leadership must change its approach, or the elected leaders of this "school corporation" must change leadership. One way or another and for the sake of our kids, it's time for a change!
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