It wasn’t easy. The admission required a dose of humility.
But finally I had to admit defeat.
After weeks of discussions and brow-furrowing efforts, at last I was beaten by the College and Career Readiness Performance Index.
Before the start of this school year, educators were chattering about how AYP would be replaced with CCRPI, using information from CRCT and other factors.
The alphabet soup of education bureaucrats, from Washington, D.C., on down, was bad enough. But explaining what all this meant to parents was the real challenge.
See, when you’re writing about this sort of thing for a general audience, you have to boil down the explanations from the experts into something the public can grasp – preferably without their eyes glazing over. But what do you do if your own eyes glaze over while trying to get those initial explanations?
It didn’t help that every single education official who I asked to explain CCRPI only seemed to further complicate it. Making matters worse, at least to me, is that we weren’t talking about particle physics or something really brainy. We were just talking about a method for determining whether or not schools are doing their jobs.
Why in the world is that so difficult?
The problem, I suppose, is that rating the relative success of schools really is easier said that done (notwithstanding the obvious: that most anything is easier said than done). But that’s also why there are so many different factors that come into play in ranking schools on the new CCRPI. The thought is that if enough benchmarks are used, the broad spectrum will give a pretty good overall idea of how each school and school system performs compared to other public schools. It helps ensure that apples are compared to apples, to use another colloquialism.
All of that, however, doesn’t mean much if you can’t explain to parents why it matters – and that’s where I’m stuck. While I sort of get the concept – and I’m now thrilled to learn that my wife’s school received the highest rating in Columbia County – I just couldn’t figure out how to boil CCRPI down into a digestible explanation.
It doesn’t help that, not long ago, we finally figured out all the jargon that goes along with “Adequate Yearly Progress.” Now we have a whole new educationese vocabulary to learn, and I’m not even sure all of it is in English.
So, for any of the parents who were hoping for a good, succinct explanation of what all that means, I apologize for letting you down.
And if anyone figures out a way to explain it in such a way that it wouldn’t put a pet rock to sleep? I’d love to hear from you.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. Email barry.paschal@news-times online.com, or call 706-868-1222, ext. 106. Follow at www.twitter.com/