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TPS improves on State Academic Report Card

By La Prensa Staff

Sept. 16, 2019: Toledo Public Schools moved up a letter grade on its most recent academic report card issued last week by the state department of education. TPS earned a “D” this time, after receiving an “F” last year. The improvement effectively staves off a state takeover of the school district.

The district is committed to the goal of having every student be college or career-ready,” wrote TPS Superintendent Dr. Romules Durant in a recent op-ed. “The investment the district is making in preparing students for the future is paying off and the success shows in this year’s report card.”

The improvement on this year’s report card moves TPS out of academic distress at a time when state lawmakers are heavily discussing another round of education reforms, including significant revisions to the state’s funding formula for local school districts. Top TPS administrators emphasize improved educational opportunities offered to students are directly responsible for moving targeted academic areas in the right direction.

TPS officials emphasize the district’s improvement in specific areas is all the more remarkable considering the high number of students living in poverty or with a disadvantaged status.

The Ohio Department of Education report cards issue letter grades for each of the state’s school districts while measuring six factors: achievement, progress, gap closing, graduation rate, K-3 literacy, and preparing students for success. The report cards, though, are designed to go beyond a district’s performance, but to indicate areas for improvement.

In a joint public statement issued by the TPS  superintendent and board of education, district officials stated they welcome “transparency about its performance, but believes the state report card gives a woefully incomplete picture of public education in this and other urban districts.”

“Even with these results, the State Report Card remains overly broad and continues to fail to accurately capture our progress,” the statement reads.

In the op-ed piece, Dr. Durant emphasized TPS “saw growth in many areas,” particularly graduation rates and early childhood education. The reference points used in a TPS report on the district’s website coincide with when Dr. Durant was named TPS superintendent.

The district’s latest overall graduation rate tops 79 percent, an eight percent increase over 2018 and 15 points higher than 2014. The graduation rate for African-American students, according to Dr. Durant topped 80 percent, a 21 percent improvement in the past five years.

But Latino graduation rates have proven to be uneven over the past five years, despite TPS figures showing an overall 14 percent increase since 2014 to 71.4 percent. The yearly rates fluctuated from 56.7 percent in the 2013-14 academic year to 70.6 percent and 72 percent the following two years. The 2016-17 graduation rate dipped to 61.9 percent before a dramatic increase back to prior year levels. Latino students continue to have the lowest graduation rate among TPS students.

The district also bills itself as “preparing students to be college and career ready.”

To that end, TPS officials point out more than 91 percent of students who followed a career-tech pathway in high school entered employment, enrolled in higher education, or enlisted in the military after graduation. The number of students enrolled in career technology programs has increased by more than 2,200 students.

The percentage of students passing the kindergarten to third-grade literacy test nearly doubled. Over 87 percent of students passed the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, a jump of just under 14 percent from three years earlier. According to district statistics, students who attended TPS early childhood education programs scored higher on kindergarten readiness tests than non-TPS kids.

One other metric that fails to show up on the state report card is student enrollment figures. TPS saw a net gain of just over 1,800 students over the past five years, with a current enrollment of 23,160 students. However, that is still just over two-thirds of the students who reside in the Toledo Public Schools district.

According to state statistics, more than 12,000 students who live in TPS territory are seeking education options other than their home school system. That includes over 7,000 students enrolled in a charter or community school, more than 1,300 who sought an out-of-district transfer and more than 2,600 students who are enrolled in one of the state’s EdChoice scholarship programs, which allow them to attend participating private or parochial schools, or an option that focus on autism or special needs.

TPS enrollment has boasted more than 30,000 students in prior years—before other educational choices became increasingly available. District officials still must convince those students and families of its improving performance metrics before even more of them will be convinced enough to return to TPS.

More results from the state report card and district data can be found at www.tps.org.

 

 
Copyright © 1989 to 2019 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09/17/19 20:54:47 -0700.

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