Thursday, December 13, 2007

Test Results Show White Making A Difference

The latest ISTEP results provide some hope that IPS Superintendent Eugene White is succeeding in his efforts to turn around the troubled school district. The results are better than any in the past decade, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. "I am very proud," White said, "but the school's final numbers do not give us room to celebrate. It's up, but we want 75 percent, so this is not something I can brag about." Mayor-elect Greg Ballard applauded White on the results. "I am particularly impressed with the progress made in the Indianapolis Public Schools," he said in a prepared statement. "I applaud the leadership of Superintendent White and all those who educate our children."

According to the Star's Dan McFeely's report, statewide test results are up as well. He writes:

Overall, 64.7 percent of Hoosier students in Grades 3-10 passed both the math and language arts portions of the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus. Higher percentages passed one or the other: 74 percent passed math, 71 percent language arts.

That continued a gradual, decadelong increase in ISTEP results, according to the state, with percentages climbing from a low of 56.5 percent in 1997.

The high school results for IPS are still really bad. For example, only a quarter of 10th graders passed the math exam and only a third passed the English exam. The story notes that teachers are seeing a reduction in disciplinary problems this year after White implemented a school uniform policy. I'm curious what the test results for Indianapolis' charter schools looked like in comparison to IPS' and the township schools' results.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe one should look to the other school districts to determine whether progress is really being made. If most of the schools in Indiana are making progress where once they were in trouble could it be that the tests were rigged?

MsB said...

It's a bit of good news for sure.

I noted in the Star's sidebar on top & bottom schools in the State the bottom 5 in the whole state included 3 that were labeled "Charter" and the other 2 were unclear.

The real problem is that IPS no longer has healthy diversity. It is overwhelmingly students from lower income families (or in poverty) whose parents have low educational levels. I would like to know the percentage of IPS students who do not have a parent with a HS diploma. And likewise the percentage of IPS students with at least one parent with a 4-yr college degree (let along 2 parents w. a college degree).

That makes it incredibly challenging with regard to student acheivement. The kids, through know fault of their own, are behind from the start.

Until we get to the point where college-educated parents will add their kids to the IPS mix, instead of believing that as soon as their first child is approaching age 4 they need to start looking to move out of IPS or else they are a bad parent, the overall scores won't really take off.

There are a few exceptions--college-educated parents who are philosophically committed to public education and know that their kids can do well with an IPS education- because the parents bolster and support their learning. You'll find those kids mostly at Center for Inquiry or Key School, of course.

Imagine if you wholesale swapped the student body of Zionsville public schools with IPS. IPS would miraculously become a great school district.

Hopefully Mr. White's actions are a small step in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to IPS Superintendent Mr. Eugene White. Now only if the IPS School Board will not meddle in his plans or impede his progress. There are already rumblings because he has changed the status quo. Kids do not have a chance without supervision, guidance and an education.

Anonymous said...

The other difficulty with the 10th grade test is that even if the district gets near 100% of their kids to pass both parts EVENTUALLY-- they get NO CREDIT for that. The remediation and so forth are only for the kid to be able to graduate-- and all that hard work of the teachers and the students receives no acclaim.

Anonymous said...

ips has pulled in some good students in a few schools strategically placed that are helping boost the scores. sadly, this may not be long term. i am aware of many families that had to pull their kids from private or parochial schools because of property taxes and put them in ips magnet programs until they could move out of marion county. these kids will be enrolled in fishers, carmel, zionsville, and avon soon. it really is sad to watch families flee IPS neighborhoods because of the combination of unreasonable taxes and, on balance, bad schools. the general consensus is that you can navigate your way through elementary school, perhaps through middle school, but that the high school options are still all bad.

white wants to perpetuate the property tax status quo. he simply does not get that his 4.04% tax rate is probably a bigger problem resulting in outmigration than the quality of his schools. on that front, he is a failure.

to stabilize the older, established neighborhoods, white and IPS have to begin to understand that they must be a part of lowering the tax burden on those owning homes in their district. of course they won't.

property tax reform may or may not help. sadly, the formerly thriving neighborhoods in ips may already be in a death spiral.

Anonymous said...

Those who have carefully read, Losing Ground, by Charles Murray, circa 1984, will know why IPS cannot perform. The footnotes on the Coleman report are instructive.

Anonymous said...

Until we get to the point where college-educated parents will add their kids to the IPS mix, instead of believing that as soon as their first child is approaching age 4 they need to start looking to move out of IPS or else they are a bad parent, the overall scores won't really take off.

It won't matter if half the kids at IPS have parents who are college grads. The simple fact is that most college grad parents won't want their kids hanging out with kids from areas who think that driving without a license is OK, partying all day is OK, having kids out of wedlock in your teens is celebrated, welfare is something that is great, hip-hop lifestyle is great, etc. etc.. I wouldn't want my kids around bad influences. While there may be _some_ positive influences, only a very small % of poor students would benefit from middle class/rich students going to school with them.

Anonymous said...

Strange...when scores are bad, it is the fault of the teachers. They are lazy, uncaring and ill prepared. When scores go up, it is because the superintendent is good. Hmmmmmmmm!

Anonymous said...

10:11, I don't know where you are getting your information, but the incumbent IPS board gave their new Super, in 2005, one of the juiciest contracts in Indiana. He basically has full operational control. He negotiated these terms when the IPS board was desparate, and needed him badly.
His contract is a matter of public record--why don''t you bone up on it before you start throwing opinions around.

The current IPS board is nothing but a lapdog wagging their tails whenever he speaks.

Unfortunately, the love affairs between boards and their CEOs has never been stronger, all over Indiana. If you're a board member who asks too many questions, you're immediately flagged for "meddling" in the administration's business.

The whole climate of board-superintendent relations needs to change Indiana. It won't likely, soon. Don't beleive me?

I jsut googled the three northside school districts homepages. On all three, the "List of Board Members" includes the Superintendent's name first.

And therein you have the problem: most Supers in this area think they're a sixth or eight board member (depending on the size of the Board).

IPSkeptic said...

"Still, just 37 percent of IPS middle school students passed both sections of the test."
Where was the good news here? The lies, damn lies, and statistics about John Marshall Middle School are sickening. The fact is that the enrollment at the school dropped from last year by about 25% (657 down to 425).

Is it possible that the change in the school population might have had something to do with the improved scores, not that going from 20% passing to 28% passing (8th grade) is something to brag about. It is still just a 28% -- An "F" no matter how you grade it.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, it is a flawed test......the only true way to measure improvement is to compare scores for the same group of students...we always compare this year's group to last year's group which is not a realistic tool to measure improvement....plus constant boundary changes and reconfiguation of schools make it impossible...that might be the true intent of all of the movement...keep the balls in the air and no one will notice what the true improvement rates are.

Anonymous said...

I'm not from here so I really don't understand the whole ISTEP program. I may be wrong, but it seems as though teachers and students do NOTHING except prepare for how they are going to pass this test. How about TEACHING things and stop the worrying over the test.

Anonymous said...

anon 10:22 You are saying what most teachers say. We are spending almost all of our time preparing for a test to satisfy the politicians and neglecting the concept of education and becoming well rounded in our knowledge.

Anonymous said...

What has Eugene White done to address the incompetence of Dorothy White the person responsible for the release of the records and personal information of thousands of IPS Students? This very incompetent person should have been terminated long ago!
How can we expect disciplined students when there is no discipline for incompetent administrators?