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March 10, 2011

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I live in an area where one school district had a 100% graduation rate at their 'alternative' high school. The way they accomplished this was to 'dumb down' what they'd present as curriculum and attach the test sheet to the printouts .. .all anyone had to do to get a diploma was copy what had been handed them.
For 2 students who would better have benefitted from twice recommended in IEEs electronic based education (18.0 grade level comprehension), who wanted to be a volcanologist, they gave printouts which said there were no 5.0 or above seismic events in the 'continental' United States between 1917 and the 1980 eruption of Mt. St Helens - St. Louis, Seattle, Yellowstone, Long Beach, El Centro, Sylmar, Nome, Anchorage, etc (totaling 35) seem to not be part of the 'continental' United States.
When that district split into two and continuity of service was picked up by the new school district, they refused to reconsider the exisiting graduation credits.
These two school district and the USOE would prefer tracking two intelligent young women whose needs they aren't willing to meet into a life of dependency on public assistance.
I've tried contacting the superintendent of the new school district ... he's ignored me every time but one - when there was something in it for them, a gift he didn't have the basic decency and civility to acknowledge.

The question would be whether schools ever do anything at all that would "generalize to other measures and to performance in the real world."

If I did not receive a response from the superintendent or school district, I would take it directly to the school board.

The portion of this article on Duval Elementary in Gainesville, FL leaves out a big part of the story.

For the years when the school's fifth grade math scores showed continual increases, the fifth grade students were blessed to have an amazing master teacher, Ms. Gloria Merriex, who both taught and inspired every student in the fifth grade each year.

Sadly, in Spring 2008, Ms. Merriex passed away quite suddenly, leaving the school in shock and distress. It was no surprise for those of us who know and work with the school to see the sharp decline in the 2009 scores. It was impossible to replace Gloria and keep the scores high.

If you would like to know more, there is a documentary made about this amazing teacher's success - http://de-de.facebook.com/pages/Discovering-Gloria-documentary/158543157520530?sk=info

Please be sure you understand context before you slander a school as possibly cheating their way to good test scores.

In my school district there are no neighborhood high schools. Parents submit requests and the district uses a convoluted algorithm to make assignments.

When our high school was second lowest in test scores, suddenly the district gave us more students from the "better" middle schools. Now our test scores are on top and certain other schools are rated as "failing." No school will ever stay on the failing list for long because the district will shuffle around the "good" students. Watch out! In the next two years my high school will go down in test scores proving that the teachers are doing a bad job. Clever huh?

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