It was with great anticipation that the education stakeholders in Louisiana received the Department of Education’s publication of the School Performance Scores (essentially a school’s report card as determined by standardized test scores, graduation rates and attendance).
My colleagues and I of the faculty of Dutchtown High school could not have been more elated. Our score is 135.4, for which Dutchtown is awarded an A+, according to the new grading system instituted this year. That score ranks Dutchtown third among nonselective admissions high schools in Louisiana (only Erath and Mandeville as nonselective admissions high schools have higher scores). For the other area high schools which also earned an A+, congratulations, especially to St. Amant and Zachary (nonselective admissions schools).
Dutchtown is the perfect example of where the vectors that produce academic excellence intersect: a talented and dedicated cadre of past and present teachers who truly regard their vocation as a noble calling; a leadership team that encourages, recognizes and respects competence and collegiality in the classroom; a community of parents who place a high enough value on the education of their children that they actually participate in the process; and mostly a student body of curious and excited learners. We are a very fortunate place.
However, as proud as I am to be associated with this A+ school, I must commend as the real heroes of education those who strive daily against the obstacles of poverty, apathy and misguided rhetoric at those schools that are languishing under the label of “unacceptable.”
How sad it is to be labeled unacceptable by those who have benefited from the perfect conditions of their school experiences and who do not consider the burdens under which these less-fortunate schools labor.
This is not meant to suggest that nothing should be done to improve our schools, but to continue to beat on those schools without acknowledging or addressing the greater social context serves no useful purpose.