Submitted by John Arbeeny, Lakewood CARES.
Each week as a public service Lakewood CARES will be providing the real academic situation in response schools highlighted in the Suburban Times by Clover Park School District (CPSD). You will not find this data elsewhere in CPSD propaganda pieces, Board meeting agendas or “Inside Schools”. All this talk about pride without addressing the reality of academic performance is “false pride” designed by the District’s “spin doctors” to dazzle the public while keeping them in the dark. Schools exist to educate children and until they do so there is little to take pride in. Without acknowledging the real academic situation, academic performance will continue to decline.
No doubt there are dedicated teachers and staff in every school who put out a great amount of effort to educate students. However don’t confuse effort with results. Despite their best efforts the Clover Park School District continues to fail overall with many schools losing academic ground or remaining mired in perennial academic failure. The reason for this failure is not through lack of trying but rather systemic issues the District refuses to address.
Take for instance this week’s CPSD “beaming with pride” coverage of Dower Elementary School. The academic reality is something entirely different.
In the spring of 2023 students meeting State standards were for English Language Arts (ELA) 34.9%, math 32.2% and science 36.2%. That’s an average of only 34.4% of students who met State standards in these three critical basic education subject areas. To put it another way: 65%+ of Dower Elementary students did not meet State standards in these three critical basic education subject areas. This data comes directly from the Office of Superintendent for Public Instruction (OSPI).
Schooldigger is a source of academic trends going back to 2015 which are not provided by the annual OSPI “snapshot” year to year. Indeed OSPI deletes previous year academic performance from its website “report card” with no easy way to retrieve such data! I have to wonder why! Thus Schooldigger is invaluable in determining educational trends for CPSD and its schools. Schooldigger trends are based upon OSPI data.
So where does Dower Elementary stack up against all elementary schools in the State? It is ranked 942nd out of a total of 1169 elementary schools: 19% which is to say 81% of the State’s elementary schools outperform Dower Elementary academically. Is CPSD proud of that “accomplishment”?
There is nothing in these statistics to take pride in. Indeed they are regrettable. Is there any wonder that when elementary students are this far behind in basic education that their future in middle and high school becomes even more bleak? All kinds of excuses can be made by CPSD apologists: blame race, ethnicity, family situation, economics, students, parents, etc. But in the end CPSD’s academic failure lies directly in the lap of Superintendent, Board and staff for an educational system that is designed to fail and fail it does. Until that changes, academic performance will not improve.
I invite an official CPSD response: let the discussion begin.