What makes a school district great? If I asked that question to several different people I would probably receive several very different responses.
A mom that works out of town wants to know that her children are safe and cared for in her absence.
The parent of a college-bound senior wants a school system that will prepare their child academically.
The community desires thoughtful graduates that are able to communicate and collaborate because of their exposure to the fine arts, athletics, and other team events that enrich the culture of a town.
The owner of a local business wants graduates with job skills, character, and strong work ethics.
Taxpayers want financial security and transparency.
Our state and nation demands independent thinkers who possess a sense of social responsibility and citizenship.
The Texas Senate wants students that are able to produce passing scores on tests that do not consider security, job skills, citizenship, social responsibility, or practical applications AND do not test all academic subjects. They want to rank districts according to these tests using “A for Great” down to “F for Failure”.
So, let’s put this system to the test.
Kaufman High School and Norman Jr. High were just named UIL Academic District Champions for the third year in a row, defeating schools in our area by a large margin. Yet, based completely on test scores, it is possible that KISD would receive a lower ranking than the same schools we beat in an academic competition.
Each year, Kaufman ISD receives the highest financial rating possible on the state’s FIRST financial report. The district has been rated AAA by Standard and Poor and has also received the Comptroller’s Leadership Award for financial transparency. Yet, it is possible using the A-F system that Kaufman ISD would receive a lower ranking than a school in financial distress.
Each year, KISD students give back to their community in support of charity. Ongoing projects include Christmas at KHS for selected Pre-Kindergarten students, Meals for Mums which support the Kaufman Christian Center, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Pink Out in support of breast cancer research, canned food drives, blood drives, scholarship donations, and countless community service projects. Yet, within the state’s proposed rating system, these important social contributions will not be recognized.
Each year, KISD students advance to state competitions in Band, Choir, Track, Cross County, Fishing and Archery. Even more of our student teams are District, Bi-District, Area, and Regional champions! Even though these activities teach vital life skills, they are not deemed important enough to consider in the proposed rating system.
What makes a school district great? You can decide. I believe that Kaufman ISD is GREAT because we strive to prepare students for the future, instill each of them with a sense of purpose, and provide a school system in which we can take pride! It’s a shame that our senators in Austin would rather assign arbitrary rankings that are harmful to students and communities than praise and support what is good for kids!
Tuesday March, 31, 2015
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