Saint Paul Public Schools Superintendent Valeria Silva is giving her state of the district address later this morning, down at the SPPS’ Stalinesque fortress headquarters at 360 Colborne Street.
As the PiPress notes, most of Silva’s goals remain unmet. It looks pretty bad, but for one little bit of silver lining – or so the PiPress (or perhaps the SPPS’ press release) would have you believe:
By 2014, she said, her overhaul of the school district would lift student proficiency on math and reading tests to 75 percent; four-year graduation rates would climb to 75 percent; and by signing up a greater share of the city’s students, enrollment would jump by 3,500 to 5,000 students.
Four years later, only the graduation goal has come close to fruition — up 8 points to 73.3 percent in 2013. Meanwhile, enrollment is up just 64 students, and math and reading scores have fallen further behind Minneapolis and the rest of Minnesota.
And that’s not all:
- 42% of St. Paul 3-8 graders hit the state’s math targets in last year’s standardized tests – down a point in the past year. The figure statewide jumped from 58 to 63 percent; even benighted Minneapolis’ scores, somehow, leapt from 37 percent to 45 percent.
- Reading proficiency for same sample was 38% in Saint Paul last year – versus 42 percent in Minneapolis and 59 percent in the parts of the state that vote GOP.
But notwithstanding the fact that Saint Paul’s students are performing worse and worse on every other test, at least the graduation rate – up from 65 to 73%. So that’s good news, and a vindication for Silva – right?
Well, no. As we discussed last year, graduation rates throughout Minnesota jumped last year. They did it immediately after the DFL-dominated legislature removed graduation testing requirements. If a student puts in 12-ish years without formally dropping out, trying to stab a teacher or saying anything Republican, they’re pretty much going to get a diploma and a handshake. And while I can not prove that the correlation leads to a causation, the complete lack of evidence that anything else is improving in the SPPS seems to be evidence in the affirmative.
But notwithstanding the fact that she did nothing that couldn’t be attributed to “political pennies from heaven”, she’s in line to get a raise, to over $200K, plus the kind of perks that’d make a corporate CEO blush.
So I’ll tell you what, SPPS; if you want, I’ll take a run at it. Pay me the relative bargain rate of $160K. I’ll make a bunch of promises that I (likely) can’t possibly keep. At the end of the contract, you’ll have gotten precisely the same results – for a 20% discount!