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Here we go again…

Thursday, Feb 23, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Center Square

Dozens of Illinois schools are failing to meet standards, according to a new report. While the governor’s budget includes hundreds of millions of dollars more for education, one analyst believes that’s a mistake.

The report by Wirepoints shows that 53 schools do not have any student who can do math at their grade level and that at 30 schools no student can read at grade level.

The report uses data from the Illinois State Board of Education and found that 18% of the state’s 3,547 schools have only 1 out of 10 kids who are capable of reading at grade level. […]

The Wirepoints report lists Spry Community Links High School in Chicago and shows that in the 2022 Illinois Report Card, none of the 87 students at the school could read or do math at their grade level.

Spry is in the Little Village neighborhood. Its students are poor and many use English as a second language.

We’ve done this before, but let’s do it again.

* From Jordan Abudayyeh at the governor’s office…

For people who are interested in facts and in supporting Illinois’ students and communities, it’s important to understand that a school’s proficiency rates correlate exactly with the income levels of the students and families they serve. This “report” singles out schools that serve some of the most underresourced families in the state.

These achievement gaps based on family income level are why Governor Pritzker is investing $300 million over the next four years to expand access to high-quality early learning programs to help close gaps in learning and development before students start kindergarten.

Illinois evaluates schools based on multiple measures of performance, including growth, student attendance, climate and culture surveys, and graduation rates. Illinois has among the most rigorous proficiency standards in the nation. Evaluating schools based on growth in addition to proficiency gives us a more holistic understanding of school quality because even if a student starts school below grade level due to living in poverty, a good school can still help that student achieve significant growth.

More…

For decades, Illinois ranked worst in the nation for funding education, and Gov. Pritzker is reversing that travesty. This uninformed article is clearly a politically motivated attack that uses bad data analysis to try to bash Illinois public schools. Looking at proficiency alone, and looking at performance in a vacuum, is an uneducated and uninformed way to examine student achievement and school performance, and most education experts agree that measuring growth in performance is key to understanding school improvement.

Background:

    • Illinois’ scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress – the gold standard of the nation’s report card – held steady across all grades and subjects from 2017 to 2019 while 31 states saw their scores drop in 8th grade reading and 17 states saw their scores drop in 4th grade reading.
    • Illinois has some of the most rigorous learning standards in the nation: ranking fourth most rigorous for 4th grade reading and fifth most rigorous for 8th grade reading. In Illinois, a student needs to earn a level of 4 or 5 to be considered proficient. In comparison, the rigor of Florida’s standards ranks 39th and 42nd, respectively, and a student only needs to earn a level 3 on the state assessment to be considered proficient.
    • Up until 2018, Illinois had the most regressive funding system in the nation, in which the poorest school districts had the least funding to educate their students. Gov. Pritzker has invested more than $1.2 billion into increasing funding for Evidence-Based Funding since taking office.
    • The funding gaps prior to Gov. Pritzker taking office were so severe that even with these increases in funding, eight out of 10 students in Illinois still attend underfunded schools.
    • In FY 2019, which is the year the author focuses on, the three school districts the author highlights – Decatur, Rockford, and Chicago – were among the least funded school districts in the state. They were all Tier 1 districts – the most starved for resources that respectively had only 64%, 61%, and 64% of the funding they needed to provide a basic standard of education to their students.
    • In each of these districts, more than two-thirds of students come from poverty, with learning and development gaps that start in utero. Each of these districts in 2019 achieved student growth in English language arts above the 40th percentile.

I highlighted the proficiency part because the pointy wires crowd doesn’t seem to understand that comparing Illinois’ proficiency numbers to Florida’s isn’t really possible because Florida’s standards are much lower than Illinois’. What’s important is achieving growth.

       

48 Comments
  1. - Emmerder - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 8:45 am:

    The Center Square carrying Wirepoints’ water. Not even trying to pass themselves off as a respectable news outlet.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 8:53 am:

    When you see Center Square and Wirepoints, it’s vertical integration of total misinformation.

    It’s important to the grift, like - Demoralized - picked out with Illinois Review and DeVore…

    It’s seemingly always “negative, anger, and aggrieved”… it’s not like Wirepoints wants good public schools, and keep also in mind the IPI “movie” on education… these are all not accidents… vertical integration… to make the grift a maximized monetary movement.

    As Rich highlighted, it’s rarely about honesty or honest comparison, it’s banking on the lazy in-law uncles banking on this useless information to do that bank withdrawal… again.

    None are allies of a better Illinois.


  3. - Perrid - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 8:54 am:

    Growth and proficiency are important. Standards need to recognize that students don’t all start at the same place, which is growth, but there are also bare minimum skills and knowledge that kids need to have. Rather than argue that proficiency isn’t a good metric, I think a better argument against the pointy wires crowd is that defunding a school that’s struggling will do NOTHING to improve the quality of that schools education. How could it possibly? If you want to argue that people should lose their jobs if their students fail that would at least be superficially logical (I am NOT saying it’s a good idea), or even suggesting closing a school and sending the kids elsewhere would meet that minimum logic standard (again, not saying it’s a good idea), but the idea that “punishing” schools with less funding will somehow magically increase the quality of results is just insane. “No child left behind” left a LOT of children behind, or didn’t they get that memo? Sheesh.


  4. - Enviro - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 9:03 am:

    I am more interested in knowing if the children have parents who read to them, not their income level.


  5. - Former ILSIP - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 9:08 am:

    Perhaps someone with more knowledge on this topic could elucidate how (if the linked article is accurate) Spry spends $35,600/student for such poor results. If funding is the main issue, would an even $50k/student fix the issue? More?


  6. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 9:09 am:

    ===if the linked article is accurate===

    Not even close.


  7. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 9:09 am:

    == school’s proficiency rates correlate exactly with the income levels of the students and families they serve. ==

    They conveniently skip over another factor: parental involvement. That is actually more important than income levels, or any other factor. I will concede that higher incomes often corelate to more involvement, but not always. If the parents don’t care, the kids won’t either.

    Mrs RNUG worked for the local school district, mostly disadvantaged early learning classes. It was darned near impossible to get the parents motivated.

    Currently both of us volunteer at a church sponsored inner city after school program for 6 - 12 year olds. Things haven’t changed. 10 and 12 year olds can’t read; they don’t even know sight words. We see the same thing all the time. The kids don’t show up because the parents don’t care if they go to school or not, so attendance is hit and miss. Heck, we even feed the kids a meal as part of the program / incentive to show up.

    To be blunt, I don’t think more money to support the parents will change anything. As long as you have unmotivated, functionally illiterate parents, you’re going to end up with illiterate kids.


  8. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 9:12 am:

    ===parental involvement===

    You can’t really legislate parental involvement.


  9. - Techie - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 9:16 am:

    Given how strongly parental income and parental involvement affect student performance, that needs to be the starting point in analyzing student performance.

    That said, of course the quality of the teachers, the staff, the building, the curriculum, and the resources matter a lot. To suggest that a woefully-underfunded state should fund education even less because students of poor families aren’t doing well is absurd, but then again, I don’t expect much different from the right-wing these days.


  10. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 9:18 am:

    “… it’s vertical integration of total misinformation.”

    There seems to be some level of coordination & integration in troweling out of this “data” … .

    Last weekend, waiting for the news, had WMAY on. It was the “Crypto Currency” show, and he had the 53 schools story. With the bonus those schools were providing students with litter boxes.

    Wonder where they have their coordination meetings. /s


  11. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 9:20 am:

    ===that needs to be the starting point in analyzing student performance===

    And how physically do you propose to analyze that?

    Stick to the topic, people.


  12. - Former ILSIP - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 9:24 am:

    @Rich Looking at the official OESE numbers, it looks like the total outlay (state/feds/etc.) is around $19,000/student at Spry. Not sure where the $35k comes from.


  13. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 9:26 am:

    ===Not sure where the $35k comes from.===

    Do you think that’s an accident?


  14. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 9:35 am:

    “…investing $300 million over the next four years to expand access to high-quality early learning programs to help close gaps in learning and development before students start kindergarten.”

    I am very much in favor of high-quality early childhood education as the way to close gaps in learning before kindergarten. It would be a good investment of education spending.


  15. - Big foot - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 9:36 am:

    Innate ability,early environment, aspiration level,quality of school….


  16. - Enviro - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 9:44 am:

    Anonymous at 9:35 am was me. I would like to add that high-quality early childhood education can also help make up for lack of parental involvement.


  17. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 9:44 am:

    The Daily Mail also ran with the story for some reason.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11774133/Report-reveals-no-students-proficient-math-reading-60-Illinois-schools.html

    I get this is wirepoints so automatically suspect and I understand the guv’s position that Illinois has tough standards, but I would like to better understand what is up with the special Normal Unit 5 charter school having such poor results (there is a Unit 5 tax referendum on the ballot).

    Also trying to wrap my head around how some schools could spend over $50k per student in some cases and not get better results.

    Hope an actual news outlet can follow up with context on the #s.


  18. - Steve - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 9:46 am:

    -It would be a good investment of education spending.-

    Where’s the empirical evidence this will improve reading ability?


  19. - Juice - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 9:51 am:

    I seem to recall a Republican party that once argued against “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

    Apparently DeSantis has an issue simply with the word “soft.”


  20. - DuPage - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 9:57 am:

    @- Enviro - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 9:03 am:

    ===I am more interested in knowing if the children have parents who read to them, not their income level.===

    Agree 100%.


  21. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 10:02 am:

    Language acquisition skills develop in childhood and diminish as we age.
    Kids can’t acquire skills if no one’s speaking/reading to them.
    The Brain Series does a good job explaining the importance of early childhood learning:

    Brain Development Episode:
    https://charlierose.com/collections/3/clip/15433


  22. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 10:08 am:

    == You can’t really legislate parental involvement. ==

    No, you can’t. But it is a critical component.


  23. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 10:09 am:

    It appears that some of this data is now being disputed, but the premise is accurate:

    The 30 Million Word Gap

    https://www.aft.org/ae/spring2003/hart_risley


  24. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 10:19 am:

    ===No, you can’t===

    Then what’s the point of discussing it on a state politics/government website?


  25. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 10:21 am:

    And, obviously, if the instruments used to measure proficiency are flawed, the results are also flawed. And if you’re going to do comparisons, the same instrument must, obviously, be used for all.

    I don’t know what tests are currently being used (been out of the biz for a while) but the ISAT from years ago was a joke.
    Some of the fifth grade passages were more advanced than the eighth grade passages.

    NAEP is good, or at least it used to be.


  26. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 10:23 am:

    == Then what’s the point of discussing it on a state politics/government website? ==

    Can’t try to solve a problem without all the data. Just pointing out government money can only address part of the issue.


  27. - PublicServant - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 10:43 am:

    === the pointy wires crowd doesn’t seem to understand that comparing Illinois’ proficiency numbers to Florida’s isn’t really possible because Florida’s standards are much lower than Illinois ===

    Well, they may not be that proficient at math and reading…just sayin.


  28. - H-W - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 10:44 am:

    Parental Involvement is a straw horse argument. It assumes poor parents are equally capable of assisting their children, and if they would only try, their poor children would compete equally with middle class children. That is a false argument.

    Working class and poor parents do not have college degrees. Working class and poor parents are much more likely to show deference to teachers than they are capable of working with teachers. Middle class parents have degrees, and for this reason are more capable of working with teachers. They also tend to see teachers as equals, or less (poor parents look up; middle class parents look at; affluent parents look down).

    In places like Inglewood, Pilsen, Little Village and several ethnic villages on the northside, many parents are not proficient in English or math. It is for this reason that Hull House was created to help immigrants from Europe. In any case, assuming that parental involvement is the fix, is a false argument.

    When I taught at Millikin University, I required every student who took my classes to perform 20 hours of community service (Service Learning) at one of the after school programs there, if they wanted to succeed in my class. I primarily worked with “Youth With a Positive Direction” (YWPD), a very successful program today.

    My students learned about poverty. They learned that poor parents do not have strong academic skills, and so cannot help with high school homework. The learned that poor parents often work in jobs that pay poorly, and at odd hours “inconvenient for parental involvement in school activities. They learned that these communities have very high aspirations for their children’s success, but lack the ability to contribute.

    Having college kids help poor kids with their homework made a lot of sense. It cost nothing, and it helped a lot. When we started (1996?), hardly any of the kid went to college. Ten years later, a large number of YWPD students going to colleges (including Millikin).

    As Rich notes, it is a decades old finding that money is the solution to education. If you disagree, spend less in your community and see what happens.

    But money cannot simply be spend on avoiding the public schools, or fixing bricks and mortar. Money must be used to assist families as well as assist educators. More money is required in poor communities, not less. And more programs are needed if we want to overcome the handicaps of poverty that too many Illinois children are made to experience needlessly.


  29. - Stormsw7706 - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 10:44 am:

    Yes there are failing schools. Always have been and probably always will be. That said, as a former educator, schools today are teaching at a much higher level than when I attended. The vast majority of schools are achieving. As to the FLA comparison our district routinely found massive discrepancies in learning with transfers from other states, particularly from the South. Illinois curriculum is light years ahead. Increased state funding has helped and it shouldn’t be diminished over a small smattering of results. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.


  30. - JS Mill - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 10:52 am:

    Hit tip to RNUG and Mrs. RNUG. We need more people like you that care and give their time.

    =It was darned near impossible to get the parents motivated.=

    Of all of the “reform” and “accountability” efforts over the past 40 years, parents have been left out of the equation.

    =Then what’s the point of discussing it on a state politics/government website?=

    Funding is a piece of the equation, but a strong educational culture focused on student success trumps funding everytime.

    If a school is in a high poverty area they have their work cut out for them. But if they have high attendance (parent support) and high expectations (from everyone) and offer after school and summer programs to help with tutoring and to combat learning loss that happens over the summer and gives working parents assistance they can be successful. Parents that are not engaged often have children that are not engaged.

    I think that has to be a bigger focus.


  31. - MisterJayEm - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 11:02 am:

    “Can’t try to solve a problem without all the data. Just pointing out government money can only address part of the issue.”

    Any number of government programs could allow families with very young children to have food, housing and transportation without the need for parents to hold down multiple jobs.

    My parents read to me as a young child because they had the time and the energy to do so. Parents who need to work multiple jobs have neither.

    – MrJM


  32. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 11:11 am:

    ===Parents who need to work multiple jobs have neither.===

    ^^^This^^^


  33. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 11:26 am:

    As someone who attended school and took some of these tests, I have to wonder why in the world anyone would use the results for any purpose at all.

    Half my class would just fill in ‘c’ for everything, then take a nap until the test period was over. None of these tests count toward a students grade.

    At the most basic level, the data here is questionable at best.


  34. - Dtown resident - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 11:59 am:

    You really cannot compare SAT/ACT scores across years and the College Board even says you cannot compare state level and school level scores and have any meaningful comparison. The international tests that some wring there hands about started in the 2000s. I can be seen as critical of using these as comparisons. Here is something interesting…one common test we can compare since 1970 is the NAEP. Even with the covid trauma and the impact that had on schools and scores….the kids still performed better overall than those doing the complaining. All of the Wirepoints/ IPI folks and the Eastern Bloc all graduated High Scool before 2000. The trends in the scores….https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/ltt/?age=9 . The NAEP scores are still higher than the “Good Old Days”


  35. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 12:46 pm:

    == Parental Involvement is a straw horse argument. ==

    Not really. If parents would just read some books to kids when they are really young, and make / encourage them to go to school, that would make a huge difference. You don’t have to have a degree to do either of those actions. But we see where parents don’t even do that minimum.


  36. - Morty - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 12:51 pm:

    -I highlighted the proficiency part because the pointy wires crowd doesn’t seem to understand that comparing Illinois’ proficiency numbers to Florida’s isn’t really possible because Florida’s standards are much lower than Illinois’

    They don’t like when people do that


  37. - Pundent - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 1:06 pm:

    =But we see where parents don’t even do that minimum.=

    And in many instances, particularly our poorest communities, there are a multitude of reasons why that doesn’t happen. The term parental involvement is thrown around like personal responsibility or a two parent home. In many instances it’s nothing more than an excuse as to why we can’t invest in our disadvantaged communities.


  38. - checker - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 1:13 pm:

    From Jordan Abudayyeh at the governor’s office…

    For people who are interested in facts and in supporting Illinois’ students and communities, it’s important to understand that a school’s proficiency rates correlate exactly with the income levels of the students and families they serve. This “report” singles out schools that serve some of the most underresourced families in the state. How in the hell does she know?And in my over 40 years as a South Side Teacher I never heard the term Proficiency Rate.Sometimes just a good meal.warm place, and a little understanding is enough for a kid to learn.But what do I know since everyone is an expert on education,


  39. - DTownResident - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 1:40 pm:

    To be very picky with comparing the Florida and Illinois state results….Illinois and Florida have similar levels for Proficient. Both of the states’ tests have Five levels of items. The difference is For Proficient, Illinois also labels it “At Grade Level”. Florida has the top level labeled Advanced, just like Illinois. The next level also labeled proficient, just like Illinois. The third level, Illinois labels Approaching proficiency. Florida labels that third tier At Grade Level. That is the split in them having more kids at grade level. The percentage at Advanced or Profficient is actually lower than Illinois but since they are tow different tests, that is hard to compare.


  40. - Pundent - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 1:52 pm:

    =This “report” singles out schools that serve some of the most underresourced families in the state. How in the hell does she know?=

    Um, there are 22 schools listed by name in the report. It’s not that hard.


  41. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 1:55 pm:

    checker, as Pundent notes, you ain’t much of a checker.

    Either learn how to use that newfangled interwebtubes invention or kindly leave.


  42. - JS Mill - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 2:38 pm:

    =it’s important to understand that a school’s proficiency rates correlate exactly with the income levels of the students and families they serve.=

    Evidence?


  43. - Ugh - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 3:17 pm:

    Let’s also factor in 3 years of COVID and one year of no funding increase in a new formula that is only 5 years old.


  44. - DownStateGrl - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 3:26 pm:

    Oh brother. Use the Google folks. Socio-economic status has long been known to be one of the primary indicators of educational achievement and attainment. And it’s not because poor parents are sitting around doing drugs and playing video games. They are working night shifts, multiple jobs, unprepared to challenge teachers or even probe them for more info/help…. Their kids are given the least qualified teachers and the least habitable facilities and they are not safe on the way to school, while they’re at school or on their way home. This “but tell me how many read to their kids” junk is such a red herring. They are literally trying to get by every single day. To make sure they have food and water and electricity. There is a little girl down the street from me who - if she misses the bus or if the bus doesn’t come before her mom needs to leave for work…. She doesn’t get to school that day. Because mom cannot afford to miss or be late for work and grandma cannot drive. Socio-economic status is one of the top predictors of educational achievement and attainment. Academic articles abound. Use the Google. These kids don’t have bootstraps to pull themselves up by .


  45. - Lurker - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 3:29 pm:

    This I know: the kids today are way smarter than my generation
    This I also know: the education opportunity disparity is growing

    We cannot leave so many children with so little opportunities. More funding is needed in poor schools. More community involvement is needed too. I’d like to see some of this money go to people outside the schools that can and will help these parents help their kids.


  46. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 4:12 pm:

    ====it’s important to understand that a school’s proficiency rates correlate exactly with the income levels of the students and families they serve.=

    ===Evidence?

    Jordan overstates this–it is highly correlated, but also nothing should be perfectly correlated unless you are measuring the same thing.

    In working with nationwide community & tech colleges I’m consistently amused with southern states that brag about doing things at the college level that are done at the high school level in other states.

    As mentioned above, reading to kids is a great way to help them, but that assumes the parents are comfortable reading. Some cannot read well and others have been beaten down about their skills over time that they don’t think they read well enough. Just saying parents should be more involved misses that the parents might not have time, but they might also have had bad experiences in education.


  47. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 6:28 pm:

    The governor’s spokesperson is spectacularly wrong in saying: “For decades, Illinois ranked worst in the nation for funding education, and Gov. Pritzker is reversing that travesty.”

    Ilinois’ spending per pupil (state and local) has been above the national national average as far back as as records are available.


  48. - DTownResident - Thursday, Feb 23, 23 @ 7:04 pm:

    Anonymous,

    The worst comes from this…we have had some of the worst funding gaps in the US. We have some districts that would spend upwards of 40,000 a student in wealthier suburbs but you will find some towns that were having 6,000 in poorer districts usually rural or small cities like Cairo. Granted cost of living closes some of those gaps but not a huge chunk of it. SB1 which implemented ideas started from Jim Edgar was created to close some of those gaps.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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