Friday, June 02, 2006

Data Does Not Support CAC Recommendations

Repeatedly, schools have pointed out problems with the data used in the closure recommendations. It appears that either the CAC selectively picked data, choosing what best supported their decisions, or they had faulty data, or both.

The Graham Hill closure recommendation is a perfect example. The CAC report states that: "...students in the regular programs at Graham Hill fared less well than students in surrounding regular programs." For supporting data, they used the 2005 Reading WASL scores only.

An analysis of two years of WASL Reading, Writing & Math scores, however, shows a very different picture. The Graham Hill Regular program (with the high-performing Montessori students separated out), ranks 9th out of 17 programs in the south and southeast. Two neighborhood schools (Muir and Wing Luke) with the high-performing Spectrum students included, rank 6th and 7th, just a little higher than the Graham Hill Regular program. And eight programs, including those with the most capacity to accept additional students, rank lower than Graham Hill's Regular program. See www.savegrahamhill.org for details.

Using two years of data for all WASL topics completely undermines the CAC conclusion for Graham Hill. How many other closure recommendations rest on equally faulty data?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think that Graham Hill was selected for closure by the CAC for the same reason as Sacajawea: they felt political pressure to close a White school.

When you compare Sacajawea's numbers to Olympic Hill's numbers on all of the Board's criteria for closure, Olympic Hill is the clear choice for closure. But Olympic Hills is 21.7% White and Sacajawea is 61.2% White.

But why close any school in a part of town where there isn't any excess capacity? According to the district's Facility Master Plan, issued 1/18/2006, the district needs MORE elementary capacity in the Northeast cluster.

The CAC HAD to close a school in the northeast - not because there is over-capacity there but to show that not all of the closures in the Northeast/Central quadrant would come in the Central District.

Graham Hill's enrollment is 19.7% White (2005 Data Profile). It is the Whitest school in the area. The next highest in the Southeast cluster is Rainier View at 6.3%. Three schools in the cluster have less than 2% White enrollment.

So the CAC was sensitive to the accusation that they were closed predominantly poor and minority schools. They responded by closing a couple White schools that did not merit closure.

You might want to get past this sort of race-based politics and make decisions based on data, but the District does not want to do that. The district consciously chooses to make race-based decisions.

I realize how this makes me sound like some sort of White Power Nazi. I'm not. I'm not an advocate for any racial group. I'm an advocate for making open, honest, transparent decisions based on the data.