Wake County: Long travels=lower scores

Wake County’s response to the complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has people talking.  According to the News & Observer, “School officials presented data this week showing that the academic performance of elementary and middle school students who are involuntarily assigned declined the farther those students traveled to school.”

Here are some notable quotes from the N&O story and a short response:

“Test scores aren’t everything.  They’re not the only indicator of success.” – Yevonne Brannon, chairwoman of the Great Schools in Wake Coalition.

This is true.  Now, let’s define and apply the principle broadly.

“They’re drawing a correlation between achievement and time on the bus.  That’s not necessarily a connection you can make.” – Mark Elgart, president of AdvancED

Well, Mark, there does appear to be a correlation here, but the question is whether there is causation.  That is a pretty important question – a question that the school district staff refused to entertain.  That is why, school board member Keith Sutton, the authors of the report were forced to make “decisions using their own data” and “weren’t trusting the school system staff.”

“If the citizens of Wake County were to read the report, we’d be having a much different conversation right now.” – school board member John Tedesco

Admittedly, it is a long report (40 pages, single spaced), so I do not expect many citizens to read the report.  Rather, it is the responsibility of the school board and superintendent to tell the public what the report says.  In other words, you begin that “different conversation” and we will follow. And someone call the Washington Post.  It’s time for a follow-up story.

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