Thursday, October 25, 2012

NJ ASK 2012 Results - not Kid friendly!

Well, according to the NJ ASK 2012 score sheets, we had 10 Elementary Schools (Gr 3-5) and 4 Middle Schools (Gr 6-8) take these tests - each grade with a language arts and math test and 1 grade in each Elementary (Gr 4) and Middle school (Gr 8) taking a science test.

Now, when you compare these results with 2011 results - you find some troubling information. For the school district, 56% of the test score results were worse than last year and when you look at the breakdown - 61% and 54% of the test score results were worse than last year for the Middle Schools and Elementary Schools, respectively.

Here are the test score results:
 Just the %'s of those scoring Partially Proficient in the 2012 Results alone is a concern unto itself - but when you throw in the change from 2011, it does raise the concern to a level of a tad bit troubling.

Anyhoo, this is Edison and we need to do better than this for the Kids.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

NJ ASK Results compared to 2011 - by School

Well, here's the 2012 NJ ASK Results for Downtown Edison compared to 2011 by School. Now, Lindeneau and James Madison Inter were not included in the 2011 file I received, so there's no comparison for those two schools. When I get them, I'll share them with you.

Here's a summary of the results or go here:
Once again, if you're like me and don't want to stare at columns and rows of numbers to find what you'd like to see - there's an interactive Excel file that can sort all this data easily for you. Here's an example of a couple of things:

Here's all of Grade 4:
Here's a listing of the top 15 scoring at Partially Proficient:
Finally, here's the 2011 Results:

Anyhoo, anyone who wants the NJ ASK Results sheets for 2011 or the Excel file that I put together from those sheets - just drop me a note.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Say it ain't so - Super Dr. O'Me..Me..Me?!?

Really, you just gotta scratch your head and wonder what's going on over there on Mythomania Lane. I was a tad bit concerned when I saw a Letter to the Editor in the HNT today from Super Dr. Richard "Build the Trust" O'Malley - about "Breakfast after the Bell." Now, that was troubling on two fronts.

First, with a $212 million bucket of money to Spend this year, a local access TV channel, a complete and interactive website along with mobile access and a captive parent audience to boot - why does he need to be writing Letters to the Editor with these fluff pieces about himself?

Second, and more importantly, do we really need Senor O'Malley to pat himself on the back and tell us what a great job he's doing by providing nourishment to the kids in the district - after the bell?

Clearly, it's important and who's gonna argue with the fact that kids perform better when nourished? Did he really need to spend time researching this most basic truth? And, if it's so important to him, the staff and the kids, why didn't he just do it and avoid looking for credit for it? Does he think that the residents of this town wouldn't approve it even if there was no federal funding? Is this one of his 'I' - 'Me' great accomplishments these days that he wants to score up with the recently released NJ ASK Results for 2012? Geez, what a guy!

Not for nothing but here's a thought. Rather than focusing on fluff pieces like this - how about focusing on the inequity in the recent NJ ASK Results where the test scores in some Schools with Grades 3-7 are showing almost half the kids are Less than Proficient! Now, clearly Dr. O'Malley hasn't been around long enough to fairly lay blame or credit for these scores but these seem like thingies a tad bit more important than what he's writing about now.

But hey, at least we can be comforted in the knowledge that Super Dr. Richard "Build the Trust" O'Malley can always write a Letter to the Editor when he wants to tell us what a great job he's doing.

Anyhoo, what do I know - I still can't figure out who's in charge over there on Mythomania Lane.

NJ ASK 2012 Results by Escuela!

Well, recently received the Spring 2012 & 2011 NJ ASK Results by School  from my friends over there on Mythomania Lane. Took a look at the 2012 Results and plucked out the total student scores by School.
Here's are the 2012 NJ ASK Results by Elementary School:

 Here are the Middle Schools:
 Now, if you're like me and don't like looking at columns and rows of numbers to find what you'd like to see - there's a file with all the above numbers that you can sort to find the info you'd like to see. For example, have a key concern in those students who may be struggling and where they are in the district? Here's a list of the top 15 locations and subject of those scoring Partially Proficient:
You can also sort the file and see the scores on any particular test by grade for all the schools:
Finally, at least for me, it's easier to quickly pull up info that's important to see - so, there's one of these thingies for Language Arts & Math in the file:
Anyhoo, anyone who wants this Excel file is welcome to it. You're also welcome to the file received from the EBoE with all the NJ ASK Scores Sheets by School (from which I plucked the total student scores). Just drop me a note.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Edison High Turf Field - $931,000

Saw the piece in the Home News Tribune this morning on the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new synthetic turf field at Edison High School. Also, saw the comments by Super Dr. Richard "Build the Trust" O'Malley - and, once again, another reason-a-mundo to keep this guy away from numbers or presenting any numbers.

While waiting for him to "Build the Trust" as he promised - gonna have to start referring to him as Mr. "O'Mission" O'Malley when it comes to all the relevant facts about where all that money is coming from that they're Spending over there on Mythomania Lane.

First, let me say that athletics play an important role in public education and certainly here in Downtown Edison - and I'm kind of happy to see the new turf field at EHS and the one to be installed over at JPS.

Happy - but if a board member these days - would never have voted for it. Seem to recall that Board President Gene Maeroff voted against it but I could be mistaken. Tried to look the vote up in the minutes of the Special Board Meeting on May 5, 2012 - unfortunately, there are no minutes for that meeting on the school district's website. If I'm incorrect about Maeroff's vote, someone please let me know and I'll correct it.

However, that's $1.8 million to install these turf fields. Is it money "Smartly Spent" as O'Malley states in the article? Arguably, it can be said that it's not smart at all to spend that kind of money on this at this time. Seems there may be more pressing matters at hand where the money could be put to better use - the NJ ASK Results for 2012 come to mind as well as a host of other thingies.

But whether it's smart or not - here's what O'Malley says that's so typical O'Malley - "The cost of the new field was $931,000, paid using capital reserves." 

See, they had money put aside and sitting in a reserve account so it's not really costing you anything out of this 2012-13 budget!?! Well, it's true that there is a capital reserve and I'm sure they used it to pay for Edison's turf field.

What he's not telling you though is where they got that money from to put into the Capital Reserve account. Remember when they put together that Best-est Ever $212.2 million School Budget for 2012-13, which increased Spending by $7.2 million - yet they held the fiscal year tax levy flat? It's a miracle - and they did it through more state aid, better, smarter, and more efficient spending, right?!? Duh! State aid only went up $1.9 million over 2011-12.

They did it by using all that money sitting over there at Mythomania Lane that should of come back to us as taxpayer relief and Re-purposed it to fund their increased Spending of $7.2 million. They took that taxpayer relief money and turned it into more Spending in 2012-13. Hey, it's easy to figure out how much you can increase Spending when you know how much taxpayer money is being hoarded. Easy, but deceptive and misleading. But I digress, so let's move on.

Now, why is that "capital reserve" thingie important? Because you see, when they adopted the School Budget for 2012-13, they also took another $2.4 million sitting over there and put it into the Capital Reserve account - so they wouldn't have to give it back to the taxpayers. They did it on the same night the School Budget for 2012-13 was adopted!

They covered their $7.2 million Out of Control Spending increase in the Operating Budget and threw in an extra $2.4 million into the Capital Reserve account to boot.

So, you'll excuse me if "Hugs & Kisses" don't resonate here for Senor O'Malley or this Board that refuses to step up and Stop the Out of Control Spending going on over there on Mythomania Lane - or for Not keeping Super Dr. Richard "O'Mission" O'Malley away from the Numbers or any explanation thereof.

Anyhoo, if "the quality of a school district directly impacts the value of every home", as O'Malley says - then two things really, really worry me; (1) why does he run away like the dickens from any responsibility when rateables drop and (2) how can we truly measure the quality of this school district when all you get from him is sophomoric misdirection of the truth and political hyperbole?

Said it before and I'll say it again. We're all smart at something. What's important is not how smart we are but what we do with the smarts we have. If we use it to help people, that's a good thing. If we use it take advantage of people, trick people, play on people's lack of knowledge or hurt people - that's a bad thing.

What's going on these days over there on Mythomania Lane is not a good thing!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

NJ ASK Scores - Spring 2012

The NJ DOE released the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJ ASK) scores a while back to the districts and just received the total scores by grade by subject from the Edison BoE. These are total student scores for each grade and looking forward to getting the breakdown of these scores by school.

I simply took these total scores and compared them to our 2011 scores to see the change. Now, there can be a ga-zillion reasons for these changes but overall - these 2012 scores are a bit concerning. Seems there are areas where we need to seriously focus on and address to take away the inequity that appears to be sticking out. These are basic skills tests and we want to make sure that we're making every effort possible to educate all our kids - including those who may be struggling.

Now, in all fairness, I know the Board is focusing on these scores - they have it in one of their board goals for the 2012-13 school year. But you need more than words on a piece of paper - we need a well thought out plan that attacks the problem where it lays. For a district this large and diverse and the amount of money in play - you need to go a tad bit further than throwing a performance bonus on the Super to help these kids.

I truly hope there is such a correction plan in place.

Anyway, here's a score card of the total scores:
And here's a breakdown of the total scores for 2012 compared to 2011:
Finally, here's all the total scores:
Anyhoo, there's a PDF file received from the Edison BoE which contains the individual NJ ASK Total Score sheets that the above info was taken from. Anyone wanting this file - just drop me a note and you're welcome to it. When I get the breakdown of these total scores by school, I'll share that information with you.

An addition - %'s of Partially Proficient - Not Proficient or Advanced Proficient: