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Subj: Re: [Mpls] Audrey Johnson is running for re-election to the Board of Education
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Date:     3/13/2002

In order to keep this posting short I will address only two points raised by Audrey Johnson:

In a message dated 3/11/2002 12:21:13 PM Central Standard Time, writes:

>  We continue to refine the best practices that
>  will help us raise the achievement of those students who fall through the
>  cracks, to increase our graduation rates, and to continue to provide the
>  excellence that many of our students get from their educational experience
>  in our schools.
The Board's policies have not increased graduation rates or closed the test score gap.  
How will the continued refinement of failed policies help?
>  Our attendance policy is a vast improvement over what was happening before
>  and a successful pilot attendance program at North Star Elementary where
>  attendance went from 62% of the kids attending 95% of the time to 92%
>  attending 95% of the time,  has been put in place in other schools this
>  year.

How much did a pilot attendance program actually affect attendance rates at North Star Elementary? When the program started, what percentage of the students were already attending 94% of the time? 93% of the time?  

Before the pilot attendance program was started at North Star, I would expect that most schools with a similar demographic profile had poorer attendance rates. Different attendance rates, same attendance policy. Why?  Maybe the students who miss fewer than 1 school day in 20 actually want to be in school every day.

Just before the district stopped reporting the break down of NALT scores school by school, North Star's NALT scores were above the district average.  This is very significant because over 90% of North Star students received free and reduced-price lunches, and 95% of North Star students were black. North Star Elementary proved that low academic ability is not a characteristic of children from low income households.

North Star Elementary just happens to be a model school.  When the community school plan was implemented, class sizes went up at other schools in the same part of the district. Yet class sizes at North Star were reduced below the district average. Decisions which affect whether a school has the option of lowering class sizes are made at 807 NE Broadway.  

Why can't every school, and every student be a success story?

-Doug Mann, Kingfield