Mendacious Excuse, II

Having sentenced myself to read the School Board’s no-longer-secret (but probably still illegal) budget, I moved on from Page 11 and was stopped at page 12 by a further false excuse for Richmond’s lousy (and very expensive) performance:

Special Education Students

Another factor for consideration in educating the students residing in the City of Richmond is that approximately 4,100 or 17.5% of our students qualify for special education services. The graph shown below represents the percentage of special education students benched against state-wide averages and surrounding districts; RPS = 17.5%, state average = 13.0%.

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This graph is a step up from the one on p.11 that stopped at 2014: This one goes to 2018, albeit the database continues to 2019. 

As well, this page again calls Norfolk a “surrounding district.” 

More to the point, here is my graph for Richmond and the peer districts.

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You may have noticed that the Board’s Richmond numbers and mine agree only for 2016.  Either the database has been heavily amended since the Board pulled its data or the Board has miscalculated.

Still more to the point, this appears to be another official embrace of a “Blame the Students” excuse for the School Board’s own failure. 

It is clear, of course, that disabled students underperform their more abled peers.  On the SOL pass rate, the state average difference ranges from just over thirty to over forty points, depending on the subject.

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But Richmond magnifies that effect: Because of the awful schools, Richmond’s students, economically disadvantaged and not, grossly underperform their peers.  For example, on the reading tests Richmond’s disabled students underperformed eight of the ten divisions with larger disabled populations and Richmond’s non-disabled students underperformed all ten of those divisions (Richmond is the enlarged, gold points):

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On the math tests, it was nine of ten and, again, all ten.

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For the School Board to blame those disabled students for its own costly failures is a shameless lie.