Parental Street Committee and School Choice(s)
I believe in some good ole fashioned parental street committee talk. What about you? Any two mamas, or more, gathered for more than fifteen minutes are bound to discuss several things: What they’ve been up to; how’s the family; and how are the kids doing in school? The third question is bound to come up around my way this time of school year. In a little over a week school choice applications are due and once again we’ve decided to throw our names in the hat. In my state schools get a grade of A-F. To look at the school your child is zoned for and see a big fat F next to its name, you have to wonder several things: What does this mean? AND What am I going to do?! Logically, I know that the scale and scores used to evaluate schools are skewed and are not a completely accurate picture of the school. But, I also rely on the parental street committee’s whisperings. If their whisperings match a low state school grade we’re looking for some school alternatives. In addition we also looked at national test scores, then at how our state and local public schools measured up. You can do this several ways: National: National Report Cards? National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the biggie of national school assessment? NAEP measures students in math, reading, science, writing, the arts, civics, economics, geography, U.S. history, and technology and engineering literacy. NAEP randomly chooses a nationally represented sample of students. NAEP will provide information on your state’s reading and math test scores. State: Looking for a letter grade to help simplify the information a little? Well, Education Week’s 2013 17th edition of the Quality Counts report provides a nice state by state letter grade and data map Local: Your state more than likely offers a letter grade to assess your local school. These are normally known as State Report Cards. The State Report Cards can provide you with information about school, district data, and student performance on tests, teacher qualifications and class sizes. All of which you can find on your state’s Department of Education website. Alternative: State Policy Report Card created by StudentsFirst.org While I know that school choice is not the answer to school equity, one can use it to their advantage. If you feel that you’re okay, then no need to put your hat in the school choice rat race. However, if you’re not impressed with the school your child is assigned next year, you may want to consider School Choice. At any rate, listen to the parental street committee, they haven’t steered me wrong yet!