Good Intentions, Bad Results Lead to Edina Board Recommendations

In the election for Edina School Board, I will be voting for the candidates who

  • For_Newsletter_School_Scrabble_pexels-photo-256428.jpegbelieve that Edina Schools should focus on helping each student become the best they can be.
  • support grouping students in classes according to their abilities and allow the teachers to set the pace for their students.

I will be voting for Sarah Patzloff, Linda Friede, and Lou Nanne.

Why?

In 2013 the Edina School Board adopted a policy of “All for All”. There was, and still is, an education gap in Edina schools. One key focus of the plan was “looking at all district work and initiatives through a lens of racial equity”.

While the goal was noble, it did not work. State test scores (MCA) are one measure of academic achievement. 8th grade math scores ranked South View middle school as the number 1 middle school in Minnesota in 2008. In 2017 it was the 37th best school. MCA test results for 10th Grade Reading declined from 1st in 2013 to 19th in 2018. The test changes every year so there is some variability in results each year. The ranking of Edina Schools dropping relative to other Minnesota schools is very concerning because everyone takes the same test.

Another way to look at academic performance is to evaluate students to see if they are at, below, or above grade level. In 2017 65.6% of students were at or above grade level in math. In 2019 only 49.1% of students were at grade level in math. Reading had 63.5% of students at or above grade level in 2017. That declined to 59.0% in 2019.

All of the focus on racial equity has not improved the scores of those it was meant to help. All groups have declined.

So what happened? The purpose of education is to grow each individual toward their full potential in order to pursue their dreams. Previously classes had been organized by student’s abilities. The “All for All” program, in the search for racial equity, classes have a mix of abilities. This made the job of our great teachers, much more difficult.

How can you push and challenge the high achievers without leaving everyone else behind. Conversely how do you set the pace where the bottom 1/3 of the class really learns the material, without boring other students.

We need to go back to a focus on educational excellence, not racial equity.  Sarah Patzloff, Linda Friede, and Lou Nanne are committed to achieving education excellence in Edina schools.

 

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