What Does "Education For All" Really Mean?
Looking at the graph, it does appear inconsistent that 77 percent of parents rate their schools as good while nationwide the same parents think only 18 percent pass that mark. Thus, being a resident of Fairfax county, my perception of how good schools are in my district needs to be backed by evidence. Just reading that the school my children attend says that their mission is "to ensure high levels of learning for all" is not enough. The school must actually make good on its promise. How can one tell? Whether we like it or not, this is where standardized measures play quite an important role.
Here are some measures that are useful:
- The two-year persistence rate in college of high school graduates from Fairfax county averages 93% in the past ten years (The national average is 78%).
- In 2011-2012, the on-time graduate rate in high school is 91% (The rate in the entire state of Virginia is 82% and the national average is 79%).
- 62 percent of graduates from Fairfax county obtained an advanced studies diploma in 2014 (The state average is 51%).
SOL tests in reading, writing, mathematics, science and history/social science measure the success of students in meeting the Board of Education’s expectations for learning and achievement. All items on SOL tests are reviewed by Virginia classroom teachers for accuracy and fairness and teachers also assist the state Board of Education in setting proficiency standards for the tests.Here, the reports that are made public are not the average scores, but the percentage of students passing the exam. This number is therefore more in line with gauging "education for all". For example, here are the numbers for Mason Crest elementary school for third grade:
|Above tables copied from GreatSchools|
Mason Crest Elementary School, like other public schools, is not selective in its enrollment. In fact, based on the “Developmental Reading Assessment, Edition 2, Word Analysis” (DRA2 WA), 25 percent of kindergarten pupils at Mason Crest are referred to an Early Intervention Reading Initiative program. The state average for this assessment is 16%. Thus, Mason Crest actually starts right at the beginning with a major challenge. Mason Crest likewise has to address achievement gaps (socio-economic status and ethnicity):
|Copied from Virginia's Department of Education School Report Card for Mason Crest Elementary School|