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The School Performance Profile: The state's failure

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By The Tribune-Review

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

For botching the debut of a new accountability system replacing No Child Left Behind's Adequate Yearly Progress, Pennsylvania's Department of Education deserves both an “F” and an “incomplete.”

The new School Performance Profile website offers only partial results — and a disclaimer indicating erroneous information will be updated as soon as possible. More than 20 percent of Pennsylvania's 3,000 schools complained about incorrect or incomplete data — and the Department of Education allowed those schools to request suppression of their data until corrected.

Depending on grade level, results of Keystone Exams account for up to 90 percent of the zero-to-100 school scores that the site is to provide. Acting Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq says the state shares blame for unclear instructions about filling out Keystone Exam forms. But Plum Superintendent Timothy Glasspool says Education officials “screwed up numbers as simple as how many kids we have in the building,” labeled schools' reports of data errors “unjustified” and “just didn't want to deal with us.”

The state has posted data for 53 of 624 schools whose figures had been suppressed and made online school comparisons possible, but until all schools' data are complete, correct and available, the website's worth will be diminished. And the site's botched launch raises serious questions about the basic acumen and critical thinking skills of Pennsylvania's top educrats. That they are in charge of educating Pennsylvania's children is worrisome indeed.



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