Some of us believe in data. I usually do. They tell stories unless you read closely. Here is a story of two schools that seem to be the same, but one excelled in third grade reading and the other did not. None of the usual reasons apply.
It is time to read closely.
There is a bumble bee in the story that gives us hope. Hope matters.
The two schools have similar populations. The higher achieving school, however, had students from families with lower economic levels. No, one did not use a military style drill and test strategy. Both are good schools. There is no easy answer to explain the differences. The story is interesting; it makes you think about the differences in schools in your own area. Click on the link: One Dearborn School Soars, Another Stumbles-Why?
A related article in Bridge Magazine cites the limits of state rankings to explain school gaps. Not all high poverty area schools are alike. Some schools have high teacher and administrative turnover. There are schools were students are transient. The location of a school may be near areas where many families are illiterate or do not speak English. Some areas may have high concentrations of students who are homeless or are part of the child welfare system.
It is worthwhile to read stories of real schools that struggle. Some are successful and others not. If we look at in our own districts, do we know more than the numbers tell us?