Monday, January 18, 2010

A diverse problem

  Miller Middle School in Marshalltown, IA was marked by the US Department of Education as a persistently low achieving school. Here is a link to the article. More than a third of the students are not proficient in math and reading as judged by the Iowa Test of Basic Schools. Miller is one of 35 schools in the state listed as a low performing school.

  Marshalltown’s school superintendent Marvin Wade made the following 2 comments about the listing:
    “They didn't take into consideration poverty level and diversity, just student achievement”.
    “We will work for student achievement to improve but at the same time we are committed to develop the total child”.

  Disturbing comments, in my opinion. What role does diversity have in children not being proficient in reading and math? Would the scores be better if the school was less diverse? Or would the superintendant not have a ready excuse? I can relate to the ‘develop the total child’ talk. Maybe the sign welcoming visitors to Marshalltown can say, “Welcome to Marshalltown, home of well developed children who can’t read, write, or add”.


Anonymous said...

Marshalltown is actually less diverse than the nation as a whole; it is only diverse when compared to Iowa as a whole. Its level of poverty is a little better than the national average and its median income per household a little worse. Assuming these factors should even be considered as challenges, the superintendents of hundreds and hundreds of schools across the country who didn't make this list have far more to complain about.

Instead of sharing his excuses, Superintendent Marvin Wade should be sharing how he is fixing the problem. In the cited newspaper article, Wade says "...the direction that it [the school] needs to take are still unclear from the Department of Education." Well, I thought the listing made it perfectly clear. The direction they need to take is UP.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Wade sounds like he's playing the race card. Is there a bad list for the elementary, intermediate, and high schools? It would be fun to check the progress. Maybe there just happens to be a large percentage of dumb kids for these few years.

HankAnzis said...

What is diversity, anyway. If a school is 90% of one minority, is it more or less diverse than Marshalltown?