If you live in Kenosha and care about future generations, you should grab a copy of the Baseline Report 2017 that was released by a local non-profit, Building Our Future.
Building Our Future is Kenosha County’s first cradle-to-career collective impact effort focused on education and workforce development.
The baseline report is filled with information that measures success in school, utilizing testing results along with demographics. It’s also important to know that the measurement going forward will be the same so that comparisons to the baseline will show areas of progress or areas of decline.
A report like this cuts several ways. It measures all students and then divides students up, depending on the color of their skin and if they come from an economically challenged environment.
Here’s the problem, many people see the indicators and make them the problem rather than a measurement of the problem. When some read a report like this, they extend their own, personal beliefs and use the measurements to blame others or make excuses for inequities.
We’ve heard the blame game many times: it’s the test’s fault, it’s the teacher’s fault, it’s the student’s fault, it’s the parent’s fault, it’s because they are black, it’s because they are white, it’s because they are poor, etc.
Here is one example of the data:
Third grade English/Language Arts (ELA): Measuring reading skills is important because research has shown that third-grade reading proficiency is linked to high school performance, graduation and college enrollment for Wisconsin students.
In Kenosha County, about 45 percent of the students are meeting state ELA norms for third grade, and 67 percent of economically disadvantaged students are below proficient standards. When it comes to race, 56 percent of white students are proficient, 13 percent of black students are proficient, and 27 percent of Hispanic students are proficient.
Did you just fall into the trap of casting your personal bias or beliefs on a group of students because of the way the measurement tool works? To be sure, when conclusions are drawn on the measurements instead of defining the real problem behind the measurement, polarization and lines in the sand are drawn and everyone starts pointing the finger at something or someone instead of digging deeper.
Editorial written by and published in The Kenosha News