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LRSD: Power of Us vs. Priority of Them

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2018

Who will take responsibility?

Of 995 Arkansas public schools, only the Division of Youth Services (2%) scored worse on ACT Aspire Math readiness than the Little Rock School District's (LRSD) Hall High School (3.9%). (State Average: 47%; LRSD Average: 36%)

Of 998 Arkansas public schools, only Arkansas School for the Deaf Elementary (8%) and Division of Youth Services (4%) scored worse on ACT Aspire English readiness than LRSD Hall High School (18%). (State Average: 70%; LRSD Average: 58%)

Of 994 Arkansas public schools, the bottom three scorers in ACT Aspire Science were LRSD Hall High School, LRSD J.A. Fair High School, and Dollarway High School, all with 4% meeting readiness and all under State control. (State Average: 40%; LRSD Average: 29%)

Of 995 Arkansas public schools, LRSD Hall High School was 987th (10%) and LRSD Fair High School was 989th (9%) in percentage of students meeting readiness in Reading on the ACT Aspire. (Arkansas Average: 41%; LRSD Average: 32%)

We tried to find a silver lining in growth, but Hall declined in Math (-.2 points), English (-2 points) and Reading (-1 point), while improving less than +.7 points in Science.

Perhaps most telling, 27% of Hall's core teachers (Math, Science, Social Studies, English Language Arts, Special Education) were absent ten or more days in the first semester of 2017. In the third quarter, 50% of core teachers were absent five or more days.

Triggered by six schools in Academic Distress, in January 2015, the Little Rock School District was taken over by 5-4 vote of the State Board of Education. Three-and-a-half years later, including over two under the same superintendent, here is the latest academic performance and growth of those original six schools, as well as the overall district:

Subject  Arkansas  LRSD  Baseline Cloverdale  Henderson  Fair  Hall  McClellan 
 Math % Ready (Rank of 995)  47%  36%  25% (847)  11% (964)  17% (939)  5% (990)  3.9% (994)   7% (987)
 Math Growth/Decline (Rank of 995)  -0.16  -1
(166 of 262)
 -15 (954)  -5 (771)  -1 (539)  +0.2 (451)  -0.2 (474)  +0.3 (437)
                 
 English % Ready (Rank of 998)  70%  58%  44% (954)  42% (964)  51% (896)  25% (992)  18% (996)  27% (991)
 English Growth/Decline (Rank of 998)  +0.2  0
(158 of 262)
 -6 (873)  -2 (679)  -2 (664)  -4 (790)  -2 (697)  +5 (166)
                 
 Science Ready (Rank of 994)   40%  29%  42% (964)  13% (946)  12% (961)  4% (993)  4% (992)  8% (982)
 Science Growth/Decline (Rank of 994)  -0.7  -1
(143 of 262)
 -5 (814)  -2 (615)  -3 (681)  -1 (501)  +1 (353)  +0.06 (406)
                 
 Reading % Ready (Rank of 995)  41%  32%  12% (972)  17% (936)  19% (913)  9% (989)  10% (987)  12% (973)
 Reading Growth/Decline (Rank of 995)  +0.26

 0
(160 of 262)

 -4 (751)  -1 (570)  -4 (747)  -5 (812)  -1 (578)  -2 (645)

 

The only positive academic news among the schools or even district-wide, in either performance or growth, was:

  • +5 English Growth at McClellan (166 of 998 schools in Arkansas)
  • +1 Science Growth at Hall
  • +0.3 Math Growth at McClellan
  • +0.2 Math Growth at Fair
  • +0.06 Science Growth at McClellan

Conversely, all of the other formerly Academic Distress schools and the overall district stayed the same or declined in all other subject areas, led by Baseline's 15 point drop in Math, 6 point drop in English, 5 point drop in Science, and 4 point drop in Reading.

Truly student-focused education demands urgency, with the best interests of students immediately prioritized over self interests of adults.

Sources

http://www.officeforeducationpolicy.org/arkansas-school-data-act-aspire

https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=42395912

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