Stewart: District rankings don't tell us anything new
Our story this morning on the DOE ranking of school districts included a snippet from Pinellas Superintendent John Stewart. Here is his full statement:
We appreciate the emphasis the governor is placing on the health of our public schools because quality of education is vital to all Florida residents. However, one measurement does not provide a comprehensive grading picture for a school system, much less an individual student.
I would compare the dynamic of this particular ranking to what happens when 5,000 people run a marathon. There can only be one ‘winner’ in the sense that only one person literally comes in first. Does that mean that the other 4,999 people who run the race are losers? Certainly not.
When I ran races, it was for my personal best. I am convinced that each of the state’s 67 districts is doing its personal best for all students, not because we want to come in first place and beat out the other districts, but simply because it’s the right thing to do for children.
That said, we’ve long known in Pinellas that we have to redouble our efforts to ensure that every child is performing at grade level in reading and at grade level in math. This most recent ranking, which really doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t know before, simply means we need to continue working to achieve these two important goals.