This heads-up on the latest Houston mirage to be celebrated later today by the Secretary in search of a miracle comes from Texas Ed, who left this insightful comment at Bridging Differences (ht to Monty Neill):
This is slightly off-topic, but gets at some of the issues related to those currently in power. Sec Duncan is visiting a "turnaround" school in Houston this Friday. Houston ISD is touting Sam Houston High School as evidence that reconstitution is successful. Indeed, the school was closed under a low-performing rating and achieved recognized status two years later. Good for them, right? But wait--here is what REALLY happened.
The school was low-performing because too few African American students could pass the state math test. After the shuttering and re-opening of the school, the school was now two schools--one a 9th grade center and the other a 10-12 school. Formerly, the school was 9-12. When the school was split, the number of African American students was less than 30 in each school which, in Texas, is too small to be considered i the accountability ratings. Viola--the school is now acceptable even though the combined African American scores would have made the school low-performing.
Further, a new initiative called the Texas Projection Measure (TPM) was applied to increase the rating from acceptable to recognized. The TPM uses a statistical analysis to see if students who did not pass are on track to pass at the end of that level of schooling. So, in this case, 48% of the students passed under the old rules (which would have triggered a low-performing status), yet 68% "passed" using TPM. Now the school, is recognized.
But, under the old rules, the school would STILL be LOW-PERFORMING. This is the type of Enron smoke-and-mirrors that our CEOs leaders are using in education like they used in business to provide "evidence" that their theories work.