Analyze data to determine why schools are struggling
The articles in The News about the Buffalo Public Schools show that all parties who are searching to solve the problems are well-intentioned. The question is: Have they amassed and analyzed the facts available to identify the factors that determine why some of the schools within the system do well and others are failing? Without having this data available, whoever controls the schools or is chosen as superintendent will have great difficulty in providing good educational results for Buffalo students.
The News publishes the test scores of every school every year. The school system tracks the attrition, appointments and years of experience of teachers and administrators and the transiency of students in each school yearly. It also knows what special enrichment programs or lack thereof are available in each school, as well as any curricular changes that New York State may require school districts to implement.
It might be very beneficial to aggregate this data and then analyze it for 10 successful schools and 10 schools having difficulties. A picture may emerge that could give focus and an agreed-upon agenda for school improvement by all of the stakeholders. We might all be surprised. Is it worth a try?
Mary L. Banks