Effects of “Help” for Petersburg

The Board of “Education” has been “supervising” Petersburg since at least 2004.


If anything, all that “supervision” has let Petersburg’s performance continue to decay. In summary:

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Notes: Statewide, economically disadvantaged (“ED”) students underperform their more affluent peers (“Not ED”) by about 20% in terms of the SOL pass rates. Yet, “the socio-economic composition of schools explains far more of the differences in student performance between schools than do other school factors .” This makes the SOL average an unfair measure for divisions, such as Petersburg, with large ED populations. Accordingly, the graphs here and below show the performance of both the ED and Not ED students. The new math tests in 2012 and the new English tests in 2013 dropped pass rates statewide; the new math tests in 2019 raised pass rates statewide by 3.4% for Not ED students, 6.6% for ED. The red lines are the nominal levels for accreditation. VDOE “adjusts” the pass rates in order to accredit some schools that come nowhere near those thresholds.

Turning to the individual Petersburg schools: The 2017 data for AP Hill, now Cool Spring, are missing because the school (the staff, not the kids) was caught cheating. The splendid numbers before and dismal performance since 2017 show much the same pattern as Richmond’s GW Carver.

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To the point here, with the false aura of the cheating removed, the data show that the school is unable to prepare half its students to pass the SOLs.

Note in passing: Last year, the Board of Education accredited Cool Spring in English based on the three year average. Lacking 2017 data because of the cheating, the Board ignored 2017 and reached back to the (cheating enhanced) 2016 pass rate to compute an average that met the “Level 2” threshold.

Pleasants Lane, formerly JEB Stuart, showed some improvement in the math scores this year (as did the state average with the help of the new, failure-averse scoring system), but the Reading rates slid.

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Lakemont, formerly RE Lee, painted a less rosy picture.

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Walnut Hill, in contrast, stayed in the running for accreditation this year.

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There are four middle schools in the database: Peabody, Vernon Johns Jr., Old Vernon Johns, and Vernon Johns. The relationship between these is not clear. However, only Vernon Johns has data after 2017 so we’ll go with that:

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The high school’s students suffer from declining performance.

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It’s hard to see any benefit here from sixteen years of Board of Education “supervision.” To the contrary, the ongoing, dismal failure of the Petersburg schools testifies to the abiding fecklessness of that Board.

Your tax dollars at “work” (this year, $1,939,750 for “school improvement).”