The California Business for Education Excellence is a great source of data on PA schools.
This is a private effort to improve schools by recognizing schools who are getting it right, by publishing an Honor Roll of excellent schools using data collected by
The Board of Directors includes executives from State Farm, Macy's, the CA Business Roundtable, McKinsey and Company and Wells Fargo. I was pleased to see the many PA Schools on the Honor Roll for Scholar Schools. Check it out for yourself. But there is also room for improvement.
The data from edresults was also fascinating, particularly the "Actionable Data" tab which includes comparable data on school achievement by district, school, and various subgroups of students, including ethnicities, English language learners, Students with Disabilities and Socioeconomic Disadvantaged.
You can also search the "Actionable Data" tab for Beating/Lagging Expectations Charts which compare results based on similar school districts, not just absolutely. PA can be proud of many of the results and should be concerned about others, much of which has been discussed in other posts.
Personally, what I found most disturbing was looking at the relative performance for Whites and Asians in the last 10 years or so. While PA should be commended that this performance has consistently exceeded the average in similar districts, the relative performance has decreased for both Whites and Asians since 2002. If you look at the Beating/Lagging Expectations Chart for the district as a whole, in 2002, Math performance for Asians was just under 30% decreasing to under 10% (better than comparable districts) today. For Whites, the decrease was from approximately 35% decreasing to almost 20%.
This decline seems to be mirrored at most schools and most ethnic groups, although there is a lot more volatility for subgroups that have far fewer numbers of students. As has been noted elsewhere, the results are even worse for other sub-groups. I just want to point out, that it is not just smaller subgroups that have declined. The entire student body has declined relative to other similar school districts.
I do wonder why there has been a decline, particularly in the past seven years. Maybe it is just that other schools have gotten better where PA has stayed the same. It takes a more qualified expert than me to try to have theories for this change. But I'm hoping the next superintendent will work to improve the results for all students.
The overall achievements of our schools are enviable by most. However, as we strive for excellence, we cannot just rest on our laurels of past results. We can do better and we must for every student.