All the children are above average ...
“After Number of Gifted Soars, a Fight for Kindergarten Slots”
Nearly 5,000 children qualified for gifted and talented kindergarten seats in New York City public schools in the fall, 22 percent more than last year and more than double the number four years ago, setting off a fierce competition for the most sought-after programs in the system.
On their face, the results, released on Friday by the Education Department, paint a portrait of a city in which some neighborhoods appear to be entirely above average. In Districts 2 and 3, which encompass most of Manhattan below 110th Street, more students scored at or above the 90th percentile on the entrance exam, the cutoff point, than scored below it.
But experts pointed to several possible reasons for the large increase. For one, more middle-class and wealthy parents are staying in the city and choosing to send their children to public schools, rather than moving to the suburbs or pursuing increasingly expensive private schools. And the switch to a test-based admissions system four years ago has given rise to test-preparation services, from booklets costing a few dollars to courses costing hundreds or more, raising concerns that the tests results were being skewed.”.................
Ah. You know how to push my buttons. I'm still stunned, after reading the entire (what, 400 page?) Georgia report that resulted in the APS scandal, at how high the bar was before a school was even considered a suspected cheater in Georgia.
I'm still stunned that administrators who left the sinking APS ship because of their involvement were hired elsewhere in the country, as administrators and consultants.
I'm still stunned that THE APS rehired at least one of them, and other school districts in the metro Atlanta area hired others of them.
I'm still stunned by the findings in the long-term Atlanta Journal/Constitution study regarding the amount of obvious cheating going on throughout the nation.
I'm stunned at the number of teachers who justify it and say they had no choice.
And - like most conservatives who thought No Child Left Behind was a bad program when it was initially passed - I'm stunned by concepts such as the one that, each year, a school's fifth grade class must do better on the standardized tests than the fifth grade class did the year before. Every year. If a school's fifth graders averaged an 88 this, year, then they must average more than an 88 next year, or the school fails. Two years in a row, and your school is publicly ID'd as a failure. With each successive year, the penalties get worse - including some loss of funding, parents being able to pull their kids away (and if the bright kids are pulled away, is that going to help the school catch up on scores?), and the government getting involved in plans for your school.
if you've reached the point where you have fifth graders averaging a 98, then you 'failed' as a school if your fifth graders average only an identical (but not better) 98 the next year, or a 97.9998, notwithstanding that your school's demographics change, that you have more students for whom English is the second language, that districts have been redrawn and you may have students who didn't receive the benefit of your school's programs in years K-3 or 4, that you have more students in your classrooms each year . . ..
No Child Left Behind is madness, for the most part - yet madness is not a reason to cheat.