Saturday, May 03, 2008

Race as a Dodge

The Sacramento Bee uncovered an interesting new (or heretofore undiscovered) way that schools are making an end run around NCLB requirements. Of course there is no honor in any of this because the schools are playing the NCLB game. After all, they aren't conscientiously objecting to NCLB, they just aren't passing the metric under certain data alignments like, say, is a student black or white?

This is just another example of how the Feds are compromising the integrity of the system and corrupting the profession in addition to making a mockery of racial background.

From, Sacbee.com - Schools reclassify students, pass test under federal law by Laurel Rosenhall and Phillip Reese:
Will C. Wood Middle School faced a vexing situation when last year's test results came out in August. Most students had met the mark set by No Child Left Behind. But African American students' math scores fell far short of it, bringing the school into failing status in the eyes of the federal law.

One hundred students were categorized as black when they took the test last spring. But if the school had fewer than 100 students in that group, their low scores wouldn't count. So Principal Jim Wong reviewed the files of all the students classified as African American on the test, he said, and found that four of them had indicated no race or mixed race on their enrollment paperwork. Wong sent his staff to talk to the four families to ask permission to put the kids in a different racial group.

"You get a kid that's half black, half white. What are you going to put him down as?" Wong said. "If one kid makes the difference and I can go white, that gets me out of trouble."

Over the past two years, 80 California schools got "out of trouble" with No Child Left Behind after changing the way they classify their students, a Bee analysis has found. The changes nudged their status from failing to passing under the federal law.

The state allows school officials to comb through test results every August, changing students' demographic information to correct mistakes that can happen, for example, when clerks register new students or when districts swap student files.

Thousands of schools make demographic corrections, and the majority have no bearing on their No Child Left Behind status. But the correction process may allow some schools to escape the scrutiny intended by No Child Left Behind, The Bee found.
Read the rest of the article for graphics and extended analysis - definitely worth a read.

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