Opinion
Accountability Letter to the Editor

Turnaround Article Was ‘Unbalanced’

October 17, 2011 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

I was disappointed to see what I consider to be unbalanced coverage in your article “Turnaround School Reaps Double-Digit Proficiency Gains” (Oct. 5, 2011). In a time when the mainstream media hails reform plans that include school closings and school turnarounds, we look to Education Week as a place to get an accurate picture of the success rates of such reforms.

The article correctly asserts that the percentages of students scoring proficient at the Academy@Shawnee, in Louisville, Ky., increased from under 5 percent to nearly 25 percent in math from 2010 to 2011 and from 22.58 percent to 45 percent in reading from 2010 to 2011. Unfortunately, it omits some very relevant details that shed more light on these numbers.

For example, these scores do not represent the entire school, but just the 100 10th graders for the reading scores and the 100 11th graders for the math scores. The article implies these were schoolwide gains. Also, though it is accurate that the school had 5 percent proficiency in 11th grade math in 2010 and 25 percent in 2011, if you go back a few years, you see that the scores were 24 percent in 2007, 20 percent in 2008, 18 percent in 2009, and 5 percent in 2010. In other words, the scores started dropping when this principal took over and have now been restored to their 2007 levels. The same can be said for the reading scores.

Gary Rubinstein

New York, N.Y.

The writer is the author of Gary Rubinstein’s TFA Blog and is a teacher at Stuyvesant High School in New York City.

A version of this article appeared in the October 19, 2011 edition of Education Week as Turnaround Article Was ‘Unbalanced’

Events

School Climate & Safety K-12 Essentials Forum Strengthen Students’ Connections to School
Join this free event to learn how schools are creating the space for students to form strong bonds with each other and trusted adults.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
Future-Proofing Your School's Tech Ecosystem: Strategies for Asset Tracking, Sustainability, and Budget Optimization
Gain actionable insights into effective asset management, budget optimization, and sustainable IT practices.
Content provided by Follett Learning
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Accountability Opinion What’s Wrong With Online Credit Recovery? This Teacher Will Tell You
The “whatever it takes” approach to increasing graduation rates ends up deflating the value of a diploma.
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Accountability Why a Judge Stopped Texas from Issuing A-F School Ratings
Districts argued the new metric would make it appear as if schools have worsened—even though outcomes have actually improved in many cases.
2 min read
Laura BakerEducation Week via Canva  (1)
Canva
Accountability Why These Districts Are Suing to Stop Release of A-F School Ratings
A change in how schools will be graded has prompted legal action from about a dozen school districts in Texas.
4 min read
Handwritten red letter grades cover a blue illustration of a classic brick school building.
Laura Baker, Canva
Accountability What the Research Says What Should Schools Do to Build on 20 Years of NCLB Data?
The education law yielded a cornucopia of student information, but not scalable turnaround for schools, an analysis finds.
3 min read
Photo of magnifying glass and charts.
iStock / Getty Images Plus