Henry Tyson gave a presentation on Monday night, mainly using DPI value added data on St. Marcus, which does show improvements in student performance. I later raised questions about the DPI summative WSAS data that actually shows decline, not improvement, in reading proficiency. I stated:
The premise for this proposal is that St Marcus is a high-performing school and this will add quality seats to Milwaukee’s K-12 schooling. The data tells a different story. This school year St. Marcus WKCE reading scores show that only 19% of St. Marcus students are proficient in reading. And that is at 2% drop from the previous school year.
This means that 81% of St. Marcus students, grades three through eight, on average were not reading at proficiency in the Fall of 2013. I might understand this if the early grades showed low scores but seventh and eighth grade showed proficiency. But the opposite is true. Seventh grade shows 17% proficiency and eighth grade drops to 15% proficiency.
Does that mean that 85% of St Marcus eighth-graders are graduating without being proficient in reading?
Henry Tyson strongly defended their work with:
• WSAS (WKCE) scores were adjusted two years ago which significantly affected their scores,
• Many students enter at 6th grade, and while 7th and 8th grade results are not good enough, St Marcus shows strong value-added results for those students,
• The 19% proficiency reading average for St Marcus is above the average for schools that are “80% African American and 80% low-income, and the City would be showing significant success if all schools were at that level”.
Henry Tyson stated that the difference between reading proficiency in MPS and at St Marcus’ is significant. MPS reading proficiency for all grades, all 160 schools including high schools, is 15.5% and for all elementary schools it is 16.8% compared to 19% at St. Marcus. Reading proficiency for St. Marcus and MPS overall is almost identical despite the fact that the K-8 special needs population in MPS exceeds 20% compared to a special education population of 6% at St Marcus. Many MPS elementary schools actually have a reading proficiency level that exceeds that of St Marcus.
But I must ask, with all of the advantages that voucher schools have in their possession with selection and de-selection of students, the ability to maintain low special needs populations, access to millions of dollars in private funding, the ability to fire staff without just cause and the support of many politicians, why aren’t they showing more success?
It is also important to note the use of the terms “high performing schools” and “high performing seats.” St Marcus is regularly referred to as “high performing.” How is that possible when only 15% of their 8th graders tested proficient in the fall of 2013 (no matter what they get for value-added results)? As recently as Tuesday’s article in the Journal Sentinel, on Monday night’s meeting, St Marcus is described as “the 2nd highest performing voucher school in Milwaukee.”
The terms “high performing schools” and “high performing seats” are used as a wedge against MPS schools as part of the MMAC’s strategy to create 2 school systems. This separate and unequal system of schools is intended to provide “high quality seats” for 20,000 students leaving the remaining 80,000 Milwaukee students to lesser quality seats.
Saint Marcus Lutheran School WSAS: WKCE and WAA Combined Fall 2013
|#Enrolled371||Tested370||% Minimal||%Basic||% Proficient||% Advanced||CombinedProficient and Advanced|
Numbers from DPI website at (pdf page 164):