Editorial: Test score trouble
Vail CO, Colorado
You never write nice stories about kids. We hear that often.
Thankfully, that’s not at all true. This community is bursting with good stories about kids, and we’re more than happy to tell them.
Wednesday’s paper had a large spread on page 2 about a high school student, Jeremy Windham, who’s sending care packages to U.S. troops in Iraq. Friday’s paper had a short story and photos of a group of charter school students who visited Beaver Creek’s sister resort in Austria.
During this past school year, there were two to three stories a week about various students’ achievements in public, private and religious schools. There were stories about students building robots, winning national cooking contests, going on missions to Costa Rica and worrying about the environment, among countless others.
We also write a story each time results are released for the Colorado Student Assessment Program. Though these stories are not as glowing as the regular features, they hardly show a student body going downhill academically.
While they show the county’s top students are performing at a high level, the results also reveal the consistent and ever-widening “achievement gap,” between students who speak fluent English and those still learning the language. And we often look to the experts in the school district to explain the sometimes mixed results of the tests.
This week, the district let the community down by not making its top administrators available on Tuesday to help us interpret results the day they were released.
Just about every other newspaper in the state had stories on Wednesday in which local school officials helped break down the scores.
Apparently, Eagle County administrators were on some kind of retreat, oddly planned for the biggest news day of the summer for a whole state’s schools. They spoke to us on Wednesday, a day late.
In covering our students, our goal is to show where our students excel, but also to find out where there is room for improvement, and we think that also is a valuable public service in which we hope to have the school district’s cooperation.
That’s hard to do when the educators are absent from school on such an important day.
” Matt Zalaznick for the Editorial Board.