Sent to the Arizona Star
The Star is right to encourage parents to scrutinize school report cards, but not for the reasons you cite. While you noted that Catalina Foothills, Vail and Tanque Verde districts earned excelling labels, I wonder how many of your subscribers read between the lines and recognized that those are, not coincidentally, the wealthiest areas in the Tucson valley.
Nationally, schools that have 70% or more middle-class or affluent students do well on state, national and international comparisons. Schools that have 70% or more low-income/minority/English language learners do poorly. Low-income students have less access to books and enriching learning experiences outside of school and are more likely to receive highly scripted, low-level, test preparation activities as a mandated substitute for meaningful learning in an effort to “reform” the schools and raise test scores.
If this kind of learning is so wonderful, why don’t the parents of excelling districts clamor for it?
Link to Star editorial: