Committee Meetings Tonight Feb 13
There will be a Pupil Services Committee meeting tonight at 6:30pm, followed by an Education Committee meeting at 7pm at the Spellman Education Building, 782 Springdale Drive, Exton PA.
You can view the agendas here.
The meeting will be live streamed here.
If you’d like to make a comment at the meeting, you’ll need to attend in person. See this page for information on making public comments.
Some topics of interest that will be covered in tonight’s meeting are:
The Peacemaker Center Contract is mentioned but no supporting documents are included.
An overview of the K12 Comprehensive Counseling Plan. (Page 3) Careful attention should be paid to this portion of the agenda since the counseling department is integral to developing gender transition support for students (without parent knowledge or consent), although this is not specifically noted on the agenda.
The discussion about heterogenous grouping in 6th grade continues. The district will be providing justification for this change. (Presentation starts on page 4.) Of particular interest is page 11 where a claim is made that detracking improves scores for all. This is a false narrative that is *clearly debunked here.
The reason detracking appears to improve scores overall is a numbers game. If we are no longer tracking reading levels, then the above-level-readers have their higher-than-average scores included in the overall reading score, and this raises the overall average of all readers.
Also of note on the same page, "The earlier tracking begins, the stronger the negative effect on academic achievement for low-ability, minoritized and low-income students." This statement makes it seem that tracking is the problem. The problem is that students' needs are not being met, thus test scores are lower, and tracking shines a spotlight on this. Removing tracking might improve self esteem, but it does nothing to improve reading skills**
The district provided links (see board agenda) to the research utilized to make the decision on heterogenous grouping. A quick look at their sources raises some questions. For example: This research was conducted by two men who live in Italy. Surely the district could find something more relevant to 6th graders living in Chester County? And this research is a textbook, and not a study. While this study includes a sample of only 322 students.
Page 50 notes that "cultural competency is a key focus in Reading and English classes." What is cultural competency? It means "being aware of your own cultural beliefs and values and how these may be different from other cultures—including being able to learn about and honor the different cultures of those you work with." Perhaps the focus on cultural competency in English and Reading rather than focusing on reading skills would explain why the district wants to move to heterogeneous grouping at the middle school levels?
*Affiliate link. Purchases of this book will help to elect new faces to the school board in 2023.
**This is my opinion as someone who used to teach reading to middle schoolers in the Tredyfrrin/Easttown School District in the 1990s.