Amidst the abiding failures of the Board of “Education” to repair the (mostly urban) schools that are damaging our children (the glaring example is the Board’s sixteen-plus year misfeasance as to the disaster in Petersburg), some systems have improved despite the Board’s incompetence.
Beginning in 2016, the school divisions in Southwest Virginia organized a consortium that applied four basic notions:
- Identify the most successful teachers;
- Share their instructional materials and best practices;
- Set high expectations; and
- Measure what works.
Please notice that “Spend more money” is not on the list.
They call their effort the “Comprehensive Instructional Program, aka the CIP. The Director of the CIP, Matt Hurt, recently authored six blog posts (I, II, III, IV, V, and VI) that explain the CIP and, in the process, illuminate some of the counterproductive actions of the State Board.
See this post for a nice summary of the CIP.
Most remarkably, the CIP has succeeded in its effort to reach those students who most need good teaching and who are hardest to teach, the less affluent.
The SOL data show that economically disadvantaged (“ED”) students (basically those eligible for free/reduced-price lunches), as a group, underperform their more affluent peers (“Not ED”) by about 20 points, depending on the subject. Those same data show the effect of the CIP in the founding divisions, those in Region 7 (far southwest Virginia).
Let’s start with the reading pass rate average of the Region 7 divisions and the state average pass rate, by year, for both ED and Not ED students.
Notice the consistent improvement of the ED rate versus the state, culminating in a 12.1 point difference in 2021.
The math data show an even more dramatic ED improvement resulting in a 15.2 point difference in 2021.
Compare those results to the Petersburg debacle:
I think our new Governor should, on his first day, fire the members of the Board of “Education,” replace them with people recommended by Matt Hurt, and appoint Hurt as Secretary of Education.