Friday, September 26, 2014
On test scores, the same rules do not apply to Joplin R-8
It was more of the same nonsense we have been treated to every year since C. J. Huff took over the reins of the Joplin R-8 School District.
For those who were at the Administration Building for the meeting or watched it on the Turner Report or on the district website, you heard the following excuses for poor test scores:
-They (DESE) keep changing the rules
-We are working on it and we have new programs in place that will soon bring improvement.
-We are doing these things well and they are not measuring these things. Someday everyone else is going to wish they had been doing what we are doing.
-How about those beautiful new buildings?
All right. Maybe Jennifer Doshier, who is executive director in charge of something (the Joplin R-8 School District has more executive directors than you can shake a stick at if that's your idea of having fun) did not make the last comment, but it would have fit it nicely.
In other words, it was the same old bobbing and weaving that may have worked well for Muhammad Ali, but he, at least, had the ability to land a knockout punch. All we can expect from the crack team put together by C. J. Huff is more bobbing and weaving.
If some were put to sleep by the district's improvement on the MSIP 5 score, rest assured it had nothing to do with academics and the administrators told us that Tuesday night. Our improvements came solely as a result of improvements in the attendance and graduation rates.
And as the state auditors have been finding out the past few weeks, it is not hard to manipulate those numbers.
The board members who asked questions Tuesday night never received any straight answers from the administrators.
What no one asked, and what we should be asking, is this- Are we the only school district that has to face changes in expectations every year? Far from it, we are simply the only ones who have tried to make an art form out of whining about it.
The numbers tell the story. In the years before C. J. Huff arrived, Joplin's test scores were moving steadily upward. Ever since the pied piper of Bright Futures arrived, the scores have declined year after year after year- but the excuses, whether it be Angie Besendorfer or Jennifer Doshier who is given the thankless task of trying to put a shine on something that would seem more comfortable lying in a field, remain essentially the same.