Schools need fair measure of success

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, November 20, 2007

OK, boys and girls. Class is about to begin so put on your thinking caps.

Today’s lesson is going to be on accountability.

Now, let’s see, first we want each of you taxpaying students to consider how best to judge the use of your money, particularly how Mississippi spends it on its education system. If you were holding schools accountable for their success, you’d want a fair way of measuring that success, wouldn’t you?

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Grading our schools should not be much different than grading an individual student.

Would you ask a student one question and judge his knowledge on that one aspect or would you ask him a battery of questions?

You probably wouldn’t think about merely looking at one aspect of the student’s understanding and making that become the end all, be all to his education. Because it wouldn’t be wise.

State Superintendent of Education Hank Bounds doesn’t think it is wise to grade our schools like that, either.

Bounds wants the state to begin including graduation or dropout rates along with test scores to help rank state schools.

We think Bounds is on the money here. Not including such information only helps to mask the larger problem.

Mississippi’s dropout rates are atrocious and they need to be addressed.

Only when we judge schools fairly and across all aspects can we truly begin turning the educational barge. And you don’t need your thinking caps to understand how important that is.