Letter to the Editor: Regional Superintendent on School Report Cards

Regional Superintendent Darlene Ruscitti addresses school report card data.

The following letter was sent Nov. 2 by Darlene Ruscitti, Superintendent of the DuPage Regional Office of Education:

School report card information was released this week. Data showed that many districts failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standards set under the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act. In 2002, the NCLB act set a threshold of 47 percent of students meeting or exceeding standards to reach AYP targets. Each year, that threshold has increased, reaching 85 percent this year. The AYP standard will continue to climb until it reaches 100 percent in 2014.

The ultimate goal of public education is to create an educated citizenry and prepare students for the world they will face. In any attempt to gauge performance, a level playing field may prove elusive. Each student brings with them his/her own strengths, weaknesses, and background. It is our obligation to ensure that they move forward whether they have a disability, are in special education, are Limited English Proficient (LEP), are gifted or are an average student. Schools also move beyond the academic preparation to ensure that graduates are well-rounded. Their education includes music, the arts, physical education, civic involvement and the development of social and emotional skills.

The schools of DuPage County do a great job educating our students. Many of Illinois’ top achieving schools are right here in DuPage. Further, the schools of our county have shown significant success in individual student growth -- something that NCLB measures fail to take into account.

We believe strongly in the need for accountability applaud efforts that move toward an even greater level of accountability Educators are given our nation’s most precious resource. This is a responsibility not taken lightly by the DuPage educational community. We need to demonstrate to our parents and communities the progress made toward academic success for each student. The educators of DuPage strive to meet this challenge each day and will continue in their commitment to provide the best all-round education to each and every student.

Dick November 08, 2011 at 05:11 AM
Perhaps it's time to get back to teaching the basics - reading, writing, math, science, history and lose the focus (and cost) on sports. Our tax dollars are best used for academic instruction. If parents/children want sports, they can pay for it with their own money and not public tax dollars. We taxpayers can no longer afford to short cut basic education while funding school sports (this includes cost of coaches salaries, facilites such as lighted football fields, swimming pools, fitness centers, as well as 'new' sports teams).
dave November 08, 2011 at 11:47 AM
I note the "spin." The lack of real numbers of schools reaching the levels and those that did not. I agree, it is difficult when we have students less proficient in English. I recall a few years back, the teachers strike then the the pay raise issue almost as contentious as the light Memorial Park. I wonder why Glenbard needs as many Deans as they have, why some teachers, -a very few perhaps- remain when they no longer have the fire or the willingness to teach. One has to be curious of the logic that pay equates to number of degrees held when the ciriculum is set regardless of degrees. Do degrees equate to a better teacher? The goals may be difficult, but there reasons beyond language when these are not met. There has always been "average" students. The Bell Curve has existed for decades, there is no level playing field of equal talent or abilty, only opportunities provided and the motivated teachers who can get each student to reach their own potential. There will always be rationals and excuses.
Ramona November 08, 2011 at 01:19 PM
Why would you want to hire somene who was so uncultured and uncouth? It is the well rounded individual, who can make the sale, seal the deal, look outside of the box. Regurgitating facts, without understanding the how and why is useless. Team work is what is expected in every business setting, people become leaders by being on a team. It is often the art, music or the sport that keeps a stundent in school. What will you suggest for the higher drop-out rate? Oh, and what will happen when no colleges want any of our students because they are not well rounded? Let the music go and let there be light!
dave November 08, 2011 at 02:58 PM
I can agree to a point with Dick, the focus should remain on education, but sampling from electives can spark the imagination, even find the talent. I however fail to grasp Ramona's comments, the extension that without team sportts leads to uncouth and uncultured individuals. Perhaps what was meant was less the arts, and then it reamins a stretch from that to uncouthed. And well-rounded doesn't equate to selling or even to a qualitifed employee. The college degree might, experience certainly, but few employers are interested in what art classes one took, in fact never look. Far too many recent liberal arts graduates can testify to that. If team work matters and it is then equated to sports, sad for all those who do not participate if Ramona's understanding of the business world is correct. I fail to see the facts Dick regurgitated as I fail to connect that being in sports or taking art or music classes is often what keeps students in school. To then conclude eliminating these activites will produce a higher drop out rate, or college entry requirements is too a stretch. Few colleges -save for the specific- demand art and music as electives.


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