After a brief and efficient exchange with a district representative, there has been some clarification and correction on a claim that was made when the district announced the results of the 2018-19 Smarter Balanced test results.
The claim jumped off the page when I read it and I commented on it in my post of Oct. 23. Here it is:
“Students with perfect scores in both ELA and math have more than doubled in the five years of the assessment, with Ensign Middle School, Corona del Mar High School, Newport Coast, Andersen, Kaiser, Mariners, Davis, and Newport Heights Elementary School having the most perfect scores.”
Reading this, one could believe that there were a number of students who scored perfectly on both of the tests they took. But that student does not exist. It turns out that there are a number of students with perfect scores on either English or math, but not both.
A fix, but no acknowledgement
At the board meeting of Oct. 29, five of the seven trustees voted to return the general comments portion of the show to the beginning instead of making people wait hours to speak for three minutes on non-agenda items.
This is as it should be and as I commented on Oct. 29, it will improve efficiency and improve the dialog between the trustees and the members of the community.
The hand-wringing and wrangling over where to place the comments section is almost a comedy. The discussion took about 25 minutes and it was after about 15 minutes that the suggestion came to just go back to the old format. The fact is that there will never be an agenda format that will please everyone in the community and that should have been acknowledged during the debate.
In the comments reported by the Daily Pilot, Trustee and Board President Charlene Metoyer said, ““I want to thank the public for letting me try it this way. Obviously, it wasn’t the best decision, but we tried it.”
OK, it was a test and that’s fine. Nothing wrong with testing something to see if it works, then going back to the old way because it didn’t. What’s missing is the impetus for reverting back to the old format. The fact is that had a number of people in the community not brought up this subject, some members of the public would still be waiting hours to speak for three minutes.
Metoyer should have thanked the community for their involvement.
Here we go again. Again.
I had not planned to work yesterday – Veteran’s Day – but a client scheduled a telephone training session for an employee – I’ll call her Jane – and I did not postpone it.
This was my first time talking to Jane and I learned that one of her children lives out of state and is in the armed forces. He is 21 and has been in the service since just after high school. Jane has two other children, both of whom are college grads.
I took a left turn with Jane and asked her if her son felt “less than” because he did not – has not – gone to college. “Yes,” she replied.
On Friday, Nov. 8, three days before Veteran’s day, the district posted this headline on the home page of its website: “Estancia High School Students are College Bound.”
Click on the link and you get the story, the first paragraph of which reads, “As part of the American College Application Campaign (ACAC), Estancia High School seniors applied to at least one postsecondary institution – a University of California, California State University, private university, out-of-state college or university, community college, or technical program – this week. This initiative aligns with Newport-Mesa Unified School District priorities in preparing and supporting students to meet the demands of college and industry standards beyond graduation.”
Curious, I visited the ACAC website and learned that their mission is to “increase the number of first-generation college students and students from low-income families pursuing a college degree or other higher education credential.”
A worthy cause. Good.
But on Veteran’s Day, I could not help but think of Jane’s son and the honorable sacrifice he and so many other high school graduates have made by choosing to serve in the armed forces of the United States.
I thought of the millions of high school graduates – good kids, able kids – who just don’t want to go to college and would rather learn a trade. And I thought of the many grads across the country who can’t go to college because they have to work to support others.
There are millions of those kids and many millions more who drop out of college for one reason or another.
The last section of the ACAC home page provides a rationale for why students should seek a so-called higher education:
“Higher education will determine the future of our nation. Often, income inequalities are driven by a lack of access to college. Not only are college graduates half as likely to be unemployed as those with only a high school degree, they are also more likely to vote and be leaders in their communities. The economic health and social viability of a democratic society is determined by the education of its citizens. We must remove the barriers to postsecondary education access.”
I resent and reject this premise. While the stats on earnings and economic health may be true, college is presented as the only solution to a happy life.
So here’s what:
- I know a lot of unethical people – bad people – who are college graduates.
- I know a lot of people who are college graduates and are miserable.
- I know a lot of people who attended college, dropped out and are very happy.
- I know a lot of people – and you do, too – who never attended college but who are very successful.
The N-MUSD is not alone in its continued emphasis on college. And promoting college through the ACAC is good as I am sure it will attract some kids who want to go to college but didn’t think they had a shot.
The issue I have is presenting college as some sort of magical experience that is going to make one’s life perfect because one has a degree. What a disappointment for many when they discover that’s just not true.
In the N-MUSD and in districts across the country, we should be stressing quality of life, not the size of one’s income. We should help each student determine what he or she likes to do and help them find a path turning that into a career. (We can’t do that to the required degree because we do not have enough counselors.)
If that path is college – great. But if it’s not, we must equalize the value of those who wish to learn a trade or enter the armed forces.
Several years ago, the district started posting the names of high school graduates who chose service in the armed forces as their next step. You can visit that page here or you can read the 2018 list here:
NMUSD CLASS OF 2018
Gavin Connor, Early College High School
ARMY NATIONAL GAURD
Bekah Lomas, Estancia High School
Bryan Aceves-Rodriquez, CdM
Liliana Chavez, Early College High School
Eduardo Martin, Estancia High School
Rachid Haddouch, Estancia High School
Brett Beard, Newport Harbor
Leeley Fylling, Newport Harbor
Ryah Montano, Newport Harbor
Ryan Pham, Newport Harbor
To all of these students, I say, “Thank you.”
To the district, I say that I have no problem with promoting the ACAC college application program, but I do have a problem with the unequal promotion of the grads listed above who are making a great sacrifice in the name of freedom. I also say please update this list with the grads from 2019 asap.