Archive for August, 2008

13 out of 16 Robbinsdale Schools Fail AYP

August 18, 2008

The Sun Post reports three more (up from 2007) Robbinsdale schools failed AYP:

Just three of the 16 schools in Robbinsdale District 281 met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standards in 2008 under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

They are Forest Elementary School in Crystal, Robbinsdale Spanish Immersion School (RSIS) in Robbinsdale and Zachary Lane Elementary in Plymouth.

“We are really proud of our staff and our students,” Forest Principal Connie Grumdahl said of the results released last week by the Minnesota Department of Education.

The AYP data is based on students’ performance on the MCA-II tests administered last spring. Students in grades two to eight and the 10th grade took the reading test, while students in grades three to eight and the 11th grade were tested in math.

Statewide, 983 schools (including charter school and alternative learning programs) made AYP in 2008, while 937 did not. The number of schools failing to make AYP in 2008 is an increase of 210 schools over 2007.

Last year, 10 of the district’s 16 schools failed to make AYP. Three of the schools that were successful last year – Neill Elementary in Crystal and Sonnesyn and Sunny Hollow elementary schools in New Hope – did not make AYP this year.

As in 2007, none of the district’s three middle schools or two high schools made AYP this year.

This is the fifth consecutive year Armstrong High School in Plymouth, Cooper High School in New Hope and Plymouth Middle School have been cited.

Sandburg Middle School in Golden Valley was off the list in 2005, but has been cited each year since then.

Here is Superintendent Mack’s response:

“Student achievement has always been the highest priority of our district and our community, and it continues to be in our new strategic plan,” Superintendent Stan Mack said in a news release from the district. “We are working on a number of initiatives to help all students meet expectations.”

Do his initiatives include dipping into the budget by hiring a PR firm, offering skewed surveys and asking for more of our taxes in another referendum this November? Maybe we’ll make a 16/16 AYP failure score next year.

Educrats Never Sleep or, Get Ready For Referendum Round 2

August 13, 2008

A 281 CARE member writes at FreedomDogs (emphasis mine):

In May of 2006, as a prelude to a school bond referendum, District 281 hired Springsted, Inc., a public relations firm and paid them $36,620 to provide consulting, marketing, public relations and market analysis services to the District.

The referendum they helped construct was defeated and one can, in hindsight, say that the District threw the money down a rat hole – money, a radical might argue, that could have been used to feed a starving child!

They’re doing it again. Springsted has convinced the District that the rat hole needs to be replenished. They have hired Springsted again to do market analysis for a pondered referendum vote during the general elections this fall.

As a member of 281 CARE I can tell you that nothing close to $36,620 was spent by the opposition to defeat the last referendum. And, here’s the critical difference: The money spent by 281 CARE was private and VOLUNTARY. The funds used by the District to pay Springsted is, and was, public money. It comes from the District budget. I have studied their analyses and can see that they are toying with different ways to word their proposals so that they evoke the most public sympathy. Springsted has conducted extensive surveys and have concluded that the District 281 tree is ripe for referenda. (In reviewing their surveys it occurs to me that the way they worded their questions could have ONLY evoked sympathetic responses for the District – which is a kind way of saying that firms like Springsted know how to milk money from clueless educrats).

Now, this is not to say that the District shouldn’t hire a PR firm. However, the dishonesty of using public money to petition voters for more public money ought to discourage anyone who sees the growth of the public sector as counter-intuitive to our larger American destiny.

Let the public be forwarned. The full-court press is coming. They’ll be in your face again this fall. They will pull out all the stops, again, to wear the public down with the illusion that what they’re doing is ‘for the children.’ They won’t mention the words ‘school choice’ in any of their ads. They will not dwell on declining enrollment or empty schools or importing students from other districts in order to feed their huge bureaucratic beast. They will not mention the words ‘voucher’ or ‘tax credits.’ They will, instead talk of ‘investments’ and ‘sacrifices’ or improving the ‘quality of life’ or ‘increasing property values.’

I think they’re making a critical, crucial tactical error, however, in having the referendum voted on in a presidential election. The reason Districts always sponsor their referenda votes in off-years is so the general public can be minimized in their process. That way they can mobilize their strong union influence to make certain they pack the polls with those who have a vested interest in growing the education empire.

Well, like they said last week: Let the games begin!