The Cranky Taxpayer
We hear that the Richmond student population is particularly
difficult because the kids are [pick your excuse]. The only excuse that I
might credit is
socioeconomic: Poorer kids don’t perform as well in school as their
The data give a decent least squares fit (R2 =
0.57), suggesting a pretty good correlation between ED percentage and the
scores (recalling, always, that
correlation is not causation). On this graph, Richmond is the gold
square (recall that Richmond had the
second lowest reading score in the Commonwealth this year). Richmond is
1.8 standard deviations below the fitted line. The red diamonds are, from
the left, Hampton, Newport News, and Norfolk. Charles City is the green
Turning to the individual schools, let's look at Richmond's elementary schools. First the reading tests:
The slope is in the direction we would expect and the correlation is fair. More interesting is the very large spread among the schools with large populations of economically disadvantaged students. The really exceptional schools are Carver (97% ED, 84% pass rate) and Woodville (96%, 27% (!!)). Let's hope our new Superintendent is looking carefully at those two schools.
On the math tests, we get the same general pattern but about half the correlation:
The outliers are Carver, again (97%, 81%), Fairfield Court (98%, 79%), and Woodville, again (96%, 40%). Slightly below poor Woodville, is Reid (86%, 37%), where they just demoted the principal (mirabile dictu!). Looking at the data,
we all can wonder why the same fate did not befall the Woodville principal.
What might explain the large spread among the schools with large populations of economically disadvantaged students. I suggest it's leadership. We'll see whether our new Superintendent can do something about that.