(Updated) Superintendent Kishimoto’s “end justified the means” form of a School Redesign Analysis

According to Hartford Superintendent of Schools Kishimoto, a key issue behind her decision to close Clark School and hand it over to Achievement First is because of “Declining Enrollment”

Declining Enrollment?

In 2012, the 8th grade class at Clark Elementary has lost 7% of its students since 5th grade

In 2012, the 8th grade class at Achievement First had lost 22% of its students since 5th grade

Meanwhile, in preparation for a rush vote to close Hartford’s Clark School and hand it over to Achievement First, Inc., Hartford Superintendent of Schools Christina Kishimoto has provided the Hartford Board of Education with a “School Redesign Analysis” that attempts to justify her proposal by literally selecting only those measurement criteria that will bolster her fraudulent claims.

The memo explains, “In order to make a redesign recommendation to the Superintendent of Schools, a performance analysis was carried out on three (3) of our district’s Northeast Neighborhood schools. The analysis was conducted in accordance with the district’s redesign/repurposing policy, which seeks to provide all children with high performing schools. The analysis was based on the following data points:

  • District OSI scores
  • Enrollment Data (Five-year trend)
  • Socio Economic Status percentages (Five-year trend)
  • School Attendance Rates (Five-year trend)
  • Student Retention Rates (Five-year trend)
  • School Building Capacity

Note that there is absolutely no reference to the fundamental issues associated with students that face language barriers, students that require special education services or issues related to having qualified teachers who have the experience and skills to face those vitally important issues.

If a graduate student at an institution of higher education tried to submit a paper with such a flawed analysis they would be given an “F” and sent packing.

To suggest that a school re-design analysis can be done without considering students’ language barriers and special education needs is beyond incompetent.

Here are just a few of the criteria NOT INCLUDED in the Superintendent’s analysis that wrongfully concludes that it is in the best interest of Hartford’s students to close the Clark School and hand it over to Achievement First, Inc.

The number of students coming from households where English is not the primary language.

Year Clark School Achievement First
2011-2012 26% 8%
2010-2011 26% 5%
2009-2010 26% 5%

 

The percentage of students requiring special education services.

Year Clark School Achievement First
2011-2012 18% 7%
2010-2011 16% 8%
2009-2010 14% 8%

 

The number of experienced Special Education Teachers and Special Education Paraprofessionals.

Year Clark School Achievement First
2011-2012 19.5 2
2010-2011 17.5 1.5
2009-2010 14.5 1.5

The one thing we know about dealing with the issues associated with poverty, language barriers and special education needs is that students need teachers who have the training, experience, ability and willingness to step forward and teach in some of the most complex and challenging classrooms in the country.

And when it comes to identifying successful teachers, here are just two measures of the difference between what is available to the students of the Clark School versus the students who attend Achievement First, Inc.

Teachers: Average Number of years of experience in education.

Year Clark School Achievement First
2011-2012 18.9 years 2.4 years
2010-2011 16.2 years 2.2 years
2009-2010 13.2 years 2.0 years

 

% of Teachers with Master’s degree or above

Year Clark School Achievement First
2011-2012 76% 40%
2010-2011 72% 34%
2009-2010 70% 28%

 

How the Hartford Board of Education responds to Kishimoto’s flawed “re-design analysis” will signal Hartford parents, teachers and citizens about whether they have a Board of Education that is interested in what is best for Hartford’s students or whether they are more dedicated to handing Hartford’s schools and the soul of Hartford’s public education system over to the corporate education reform industry.

The Board of Education should start by ordering Superintendent Kishimoto to provide the board with a “redesign analysis” that is not misleading and intellectually dishonest.