In a press release dated May 18, 2010, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) claims that “an analysis of high school performance and college completion data shows a strong connection between the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) college readiness pathway and success in obtaining a postsecondary degree.” This comes from a school system that recently claimed to have “raised the bar and closed the gap.”
The release goes on to acknowledge that “the analysis studied the impact of three of MCPS’ 7 Keys to College Readiness—which map out academic benchmarks at different grade levels that will prepare students for college-level work.”
The press release further goes on to acknowledge the accuracy of a conclusion first made in this column—barely half of MCPS graduates from the classes of 2001-2004 earned a college degree.
Superintendent of Schools Jerry D. Weast takes credit for this college completion rate, which the system insists is “practically twice the national rate.”
The analyses, which was “prepared by MCPS’ Office of Shared Accountability are reported for 33,788 students in the classes of 2001 to 2004.” Since Superintendent Weast arrived at the school system in 1999, the students who are the subject of his analysis received most of their education in the system before Weast’s arrival. In fact, all the students entered college before the roll out of the so called 7 Keys to College Readiness.
The analyses are available via the links below:
Focus on Key 4: Algebra 1
Focus on Key 5: Algebra 2
Focus on Key 6: Advanced Placement
It was exactly a year ago that the school system embarked on a glitzy media blitz promoting the seven academic benchmarks the system claimed was a path to college success. However, the new analyses, in addition to being based on students who had little exposure to Weast’s reform efforts, don’t seem to contribute anything new.
Educational indicators during Weast’s tenure, highlighted in this column, show a far more troubling trend (see here, and here). Last December, this column reported that Weast, was rankled over U.S. News & World Report ranking of America’s best high schools. Not a single county high school made the top 100 in the list.
This new salvo by the media savvy Superintendent armed with a eleven million dollar Office of Communications and Family Outreach further mitigates in favor of school performance being analyzed by an independent Office of Accountability and Ombudsman.
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