Good schools require good data
June 12, 2013
The majority of Douglas County's schools rated four or five stars under an initial application of the rating system that is replacing the measurement under No Child Left Behind.
We feel the lofty goal of having every student, no matter what their ability, demonstrate proficiency in a variety of areas was at best a utopian dream.
The new system allows students to achieve at a more realistic pace. As long as they are showing improvement, that reflects well on the school and its staff.
More importantly, it's a system developed in Nevada for Nevada schools. Instead of blaming the federal government for setting rules and conditions that public schools would eventually be unable to meet, we have no one to implicate in our successes or failures but ourselves.
In the next year, both school administrators' and teachers' pay will be linked to the performance of their schools, something the federal government had trouble doing.
Public education is a political hot button. Politicians love to make sweeping pronouncements about it, and then claim victory after a few years, or hope that by the time a program has collapsed under its own weight, no one remembers.
We won't shed a tear for No Child Left Behind, but we'll reserve judgment on this latest program. Hopefully, state and local school boards will be able to connect teacher ability with student achievement in a verifiable way. Then taxpayers will know they're getting their money's worth, and good teachers will get the support they richly deserve.