Wednesday, February 14, 2007

District Tries to Hide Magnet School Scores

When the Hot Springs scores were sent by email to most of the staff at Jonesboro (who is using them as a model for their magnet schools) by a citizen in the community, that person was blocked by the district so the teachers could not receive more emails. I find it shocking that school officials would do this in order to keep the teachers and community from the truth.

Our Concerns with the Implementation of the Magnet Schools and IB program at Jonesboro/Debbie Pelley's Presentation Before the Jonesboro School Board, February 13, 07

(See Transcript of TV coverage and link to video online below by channel that reaches 370 thousand households and covers Northeast AR & Southeast MO.)

I am going to talk fast because my time is short [I was allowed five minutes to speak], but I do have my remarks and the documentation to give to anyone that wants it. My name is Debbie Pelley. I have lived in Jonesboro for 35 years, my only daughter graduated from Jonesboro, and I come tonight representing myself as a retired teacher and as a representative of the Arkansas Family Coalition state organization.

I hope you won't mistake my concerns for criticism of Jonesboro schools which has numerous good, dedicated teachers, and a good school system; I would just like to see it stay that way.

I know many people in the community and teachers are very concerned that Jonesboro is implementing magnet schools. I talked to school officials at Pine Bluff who implemented magnet schools back in the 80's. The Deputy Superintendent told me they received a federal grant (mega bucks – our taxes) and thought they had everything they wanted, but it just didn't work for them. They are going back to neighborhood schools this year. He said the busing problem had been a nightmare, and that students wanting to change from one school to another had been a nightmare. (Nightmare was his word) Another problem was that when the grants ran out they could not get the funds to continue their programs.

Both Pine Bluff and Hot Springs school officials told me they started their magnet schools in order to draw students from other districts because of declining enrollment. One Jonesboro school official told me pretty much the same thing. That doesn't seem like a noble reason to scramble an entire school system to me.

Hot Springs is one of the models Jonesboro is using for the magnet schools. Many Jonesboro teachers, board members, and administrators have visited that school. The paper also reported they were looking at Hot Springs as a model.

Based on the latest performance records on the Arkansas Department of Education website in 2005, Jonesboro's performance scores are better than Hot Springs in about 35 categories out of 40, ,and by many points, as much as 28 points higher in 11th grade literacy. The 2006 scores won't be out until March according to three ADE personnel with whom I spoke.

Hot Springs' graduation rate was only 56%. That is right, 56% graduation rate, 30% lower than Jonesboro's graduation rate which was 86%.

Sixty-seven percent of Hot Springs students had to have college remediation in 2005, 22% more of their students needed remediation than Jonesboro's students. Jonesboro had 45.8% remediation rate, better than the state average. Hot Spring's ACT score in English was 17.8 and Jonesboro's a 22.

However, a Jonesboro school official told me a few weeks ago that Hot Springs had great scores. I finally found one Hot Springs school with very good scores. It was the magnet school that had the IB program. That led to research that shows the magnet schools there have been set up pretty much like a social caste system.

The school with the highest scores has only 12% of the Hot Springs elementary students and has 75% white and 25% minority students. The magnet school with the lowest scores has 71% minority and 29% white. I don't think we want an elitist education system like that in Jonesboro.

At Batesville one magnet school has 35% minority and another magnet school has 4% minority. Research shows that although integration was supposed to be a goal for starting magnet schools, in practicality it has led to more segregation.

When the Hot Springs scores were sent by email to most of the staff at Jonesboro by a citizen in the community, that person was blocked by the district so the teachers could not receive more emails. I find it shocking that school officials would do this in order to keep the teachers and community from the truth.

Hot Springs per pupil spending is almost $1400 more than Jonesboro (Hot Springs $8,688 per student and Jonesboro $7,348.) Instead of improving after implementing magnet schools, Hot Springs' scores have fallen in numerous areas. For example, in 2005 the graduation rate at Hot Springs was 56%, but in 2004 it was 69.8% and in 2003 74.1%.

The International Baccalaureate) program (also called IB) is another concern of mine. IB is a United Nations program that has been thrown out of some school districts because of its far left and anti Christian agenda. Hot Springs is the only school in Arkansas that has implemented IB district wide.

In November it was posted on the web that Jonesboro would apply for this IB program "as soon as possible" - just as Hot Springs had done. One significant Jonesboro administrator pointed out to me that the IB had been deleted from the website; but when I asked if he could point blank tell me that they would not be doing the IB program , he said no he could not tell me that. I spoke personally with another school official just after that who had no idea they were backing away from this program. Shortly after that another school official in central office sent out an email to teachers saying they would not be doing an IB program. Shortly after that another influential school official said in a message to me that he certainly hoped they were not backing away from the IB program.

For rest of this presenation, see this link:

For link to the video clip on , go to this link:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Debbie, thank you for providing this info on these magnet schools. I was unable to attend the meeting over in Jonesboro, but hope it went well for you.

Keep up the good work!

Deborah D.
Buffalo Island

10:54 AM, February 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm grateful someone out there cares enough about the truth to get it out - well done! Parents and teachers need to know exactly what the IB program is all about and how it really has performed.

8:28 PM, February 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone told me it was illegal to block emails of government employees like the Jonesboro district did when they blocked emails from a citizen in the community. Teachers are government employees. Does anyone know anything about the laws on that?

9:46 PM, February 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the Jonesboro School Board meeting they said they had only 4 applications for the Supt job. The present supt. resigned and is leaving in June after being here only a couple of years. Wonder why there are not more applications?

I also heard that one of the applications is the Assistant Supt.(Kim Willbanks) who has spearheaded the move for the magnet schools and basically pushed it down their throats. It seems that Hendrix is the board member pushing magnet schools from his reactions at the Board meeting and from what I have been told. He looked rather foolish when he asked the retired teacher of 27 years if she had ever visited the magnet schools (as if he could tell more by looking at a school than the teacher would know after teaching in schools for 27 years.) Anyone can put on a show for a short period of time. For a school to look at another school as a model which is much lower in 35 out of 40 categories indicates there is some agenda or politics going on rather than the welfare of the students. Jonesboro resident

9:54 PM, February 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

would the citizen in the community happen to be one of the administrators of this site?

7:56 AM, February 15, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole magnet (maggot) school fad is more "progressive" education that brought us math without numbers and English without grammar. We're so convinced that the kids need to have fun in school that we no longer worry about them learning anything. I have a teacher friend who told me her ninth grade students can't even figure their averages. They have no clue about real math, but we're "teaching" them all about advanced math, geometry, calculus, trig. etc. I'd rather have a one room schoolhouse that taught real subjects than the most advanced magnet school in the country.

8:53 PM, February 15, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure that Ms Pelley's research has already shown her that in Batesville the elementary school that has the highest number of minority students also has the highest test scores, and that the campus with only 4% minority enrollment has the lowest test scores. It is also worth noting that in Batesville approximately 90% of the students chose to attend the same campus that they would have attended in their old attendance zones. And on a final note, magnet schools are more fun, but not necessarily just for the students, the teachers get a chance to teach in a different manner, frequently providing more focus on the areas that are more interesting to them, while also ensuring that every child gets a good foundation in the core subject areas.

6:55 AM, February 19, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Above post said, "It is also worth noting that in Batesville approximately 90% of the students chose to attend the same campus that they would have attended in their old attendance zones."
If only 10% of students chose another school other than their area school, wouldn't that indicate that only 10% of the students and parents were interested in magnet schools. That would be about what I would have estimated.

3:06 PM, February 19, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For a school to be anti-Christian they would have to teach "against Christ." I find it hard to believe that administrators at JPS want to see that happen. I think the opposition is grasping at straws and really trying to scare people. I think it is such a shame that people are so set in their ways they can't accept change and try and support our school system.

2:28 PM, February 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I choice in to the JPS from Valley View district because I feel it is the best school in the area. I am excited about magnet schools because of my own research about them and because I was able to visit the Batesville schools. What I liked best was the technology being taught, the hands on approach to learning and the opportunity children had to participate in educational activities they never had before. I also saw more community involvement than we currently have here in Jonesboro. I certainly can't imagine that we will suddenly see an anti Christian theme in our schools.

2:46 PM, February 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are not Hot Springs! We are not Batesville! We are not Pine Bluff! We are Jonesboro and we will continue to offer the best education you can find in this area while keeping our graduation rate at it's highest! Just because of the themed school plan it does not mean that the school district is going to quit teaching the children! The district is progressing with modern day society and it sounds like a few retired teachers from the past are trying to bring back the past! I have complete faith in the administrators of the Jonesboro School District in trying to protect the largest school district in the county from becoming the least desirable because all the new housing growth is outside of the district! They are doing what's best for the residents of this city AND the children of the district! This community needs to get onboard and support it's school in every way!

3:10 PM, February 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, I would like to say that I am a Christian and put my relationship with the Lord first in my life. I also know that there are many teachers and administrators in the Jonesboro school system who are strong believers. I have complete confidence that they will do their best to protect our children from being taught anti-Christian views. Secondly, I have spoken with the administration about the IB program and it is not even something for which they can apply for several years. Their focus right now is getting the magnet schools up and running, which is what should be their focus. If they seriously look at the IB program in the future, I trust that they will consider the moral views of the program and that of the parents in the district. Lastly, I would like to give my full support to the magnet program. This has been extensively researched for several years. Hot Springs is in close proximity to Jonesboro, so of course it was visited, but I heard more positive comments about several of the other schools visited. Jonesboro will not mirror the Hot Springs schools, and is only using 2 similar themes. After speaking with various people who visited magnet schools in the area, I agree with them that it is the best way to educate our kids. I know my child is more excited about next year that he has ever been excited about school. I don't know how that can be anything but good!

3:46 PM, February 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off, I don't know who started this blog site. It must have been Debbie Pelley or someone who is against the magnet school idea in Jonesboro. Second, I don't understand blogs enough to know who will read this comment in the first place. But, I will say that, as a JPS parent, a choice parent from Valley View, I am excited about the magnet school development. This school district must take action to protect its integrity. Action that is long overdue. Housing construction outside the district is one reason. Another reason is perception. Perception that this district is "becoming an urban district" or that "it's becoming all black." That's simply not true. The facts are the district is about 30% minority. But, perception is reality. And this perception is causing the district to lose quality families and students based on this fear of the minority. I hate that this is the case, I hate that is has a racial tone, but it's true. And if the district had not taken action such as beginning the magnet school effort, more white families would have either left or not come when given the opportunity, causing the minority percentage to rise. Real estate agents in town cringe at the thought of showing a home located in the JPS district because of the perception I noted above. For this reason, and for other strong education-based reasons, the magnet school opportunity is giving the district a strong, attractive, upbeat, progressive, positive opportunity to begin a process to change this untrue negative perception. Hooray for whoever is "ramming it down their throat", and for all of the teachers, administrators, parents and other district supporters who took the time to research this idea and decide that this could be THE idea that puts JPS on a road to a positive image, an image it richly deserves to have. JPS does NOT deserve the image it has now. Let's support this effort to do something about it!

5:58 PM, February 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Jonesboro School District is not jumping into the decision to do magnet schools blindly or quickly. They have researched this option for several years. I am SO, SO excited about the magnet schools. I have researched magnet schools extensively and was able to visit schools in a district that already have magnet schools. I came away very, very impressed and know that the Jonesboro District can only do it better than what we have seen. We have incredible administration, teachers and staff. When will the people of Jonesboro and the surrounding area realize that by "tearing down" the Jonesboro School District that they are hurting the entire town and community?

6:45 PM, February 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so excited about the magnet school concept and possibilities for Jonesboro. This will add more creative, "hands on", and applicable learning to "real life" situations and problem solving rather than the traditional "text book" way of learning. Learning math, science, and reading based around a subject you are interested in naturally will improve a child's ability to retain and excel. I know my child always puts more effort into subjects that interest him and he ALWAYS performs better on them. As a parent, I am so excited about the choice that me, my husband, and my son will have as to the location and theme of school we can attend. To me, this will only enhance whatever system we have in place. The core curriculum is the same, the same bench-marks will be applied and our staff and administration is already "top-notch". Any tools that make learning more fun and interesting for children is a "no-brainer" to me. Because the majority of citizens in Jonesboro do not financially support our educational system and we are #228 out of 250 Arkansas Schools in millage rates, the added support of community businesses and leaders will add much needed resources to our schools. Jonesboro already has excellent graduation rates, academic test scores and overall student and teaching success. With all of the magnet benefits, Jonesboro Public Schools can only improve and become even stronger. For those of you who say magnet schools lead some schools into lower graduation and test scores... whose to say those were based solely on the magnet curriculum. I'm sure a lot of other factors played into this and whose to say they wouldn't have gone down anyway. There is NO proof of any of this. Any change or progress is going to provoke controversy for some people. It should also be noted that Jonesboro has been researching magnet schools for about 10 years. The current assistant superintendent is new to this position so nothing has been "rammed down anyone's throat". Give the parents, teachers and administration a little bit more credit than that. I don't think a major system overhall would happen hastily. And the anti-Christian comments related to the IB school are not even offensive... they are quite HILARIOUS. Comments like these only negate justification for any true concerns these people might have. In closing... just what if... JPS happens to become stronger, bigger, better and all the parents, staff, businesses, and community rally around JPS and it becomes such an attraction to transplants and businesses AND the graduation, ACT, college remediation rates continue to sore...keep thinking about it...IT WILL HAPPEN!! Oh, and Christ will still be a part of most of our lives!!

7:49 PM, February 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am tired of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude towards education in Arkansas. Why don't the people of this state and Jonesboro see that even if you are doing a good job, you can always do better? Why don't the people of this town support our school and help it to be the best in the nation?

7:55 AM, February 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

old, bored, retired, crotchety with too much time on hands + computer with internet access = this LAME article.


5:14 PM, February 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IN RESPONSE to Mrs. Pelley's article / research / commentary:

1.) Do you REALLY think that the work of this ONE WOMAN (via the internet and a few phone calls) REALLY outweighs the countless hours and years of research by NUMEROUS people who are also professional educators with years of experience?

2.) Do ypu REALLY think it is influential or smart to continually point to the Hot Springs example? THIS IS ONE MAGNET EXAMPLE. Quit using this one example just because it proves your point. It's called the fallacy of small sample. It's a poor argument.

3.) Do you REALLY think that Dr. Wilbanks is not a good candidate to lead JPS? You obviously do not know her at all. Do you REALLY think she is "shoving" ANYTHING down ANYONE's throat? Again, you obviously do not know her.

4.) Do you REALLY think this community would EVER let any kind of blatantly anti-Christian teaching go on in their schools? Do you live in the same Jonesboro I do? Let's be real here.

5.) Let us all REMEMBER and ACKNOWLEDGE: as far as faith development.....that is FIRST and FOREMOST the primary responsibility of the PARENT/FAMILY...second would be the local church. If these two are doing what they should, we need not worry about ANYTHING taught in school. Maybe you should read your Bible on that one. MAYBE you should spend your hours teaching kids in your church and own family instead of tearing down our public schools.

6.) WHICH BRINGS ME TO THIS: the HOURS and HOURS Mrs. Pelley has obviously spent on this....WHAT IF....WHAT IF those hours had been spent volunteering in our local elementary schools in an effort to REALLY help some kids? WHAT IF that time had even been spent with some MINORITY kids tutoring or otherwise helping in their school? Ever thought about that?

NOT ONLY has this poor argument wasted poor Mrs. Pelley's time....but now COUNTLESS hours are being wasted ALL OVER TOWN by moms discussing this issue ad people feeling the need to write emails opposing Mrs. Pelley's work.....even by me typing this right now.

I think I will quit wasting my time on this. Instead I'll go review my notes for Sunday School tomorrow.


6:06 PM, February 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last time I checked, church and state are separate. Religion is not a part of the public schools' curriculum currently... how can we begin to teach anti-Christian studies? Please attempt to at least make some sort of valid arguments when knocking down our school system and undermining our AWESOME staff, administrators, students, volunteers, parents, and supporters. Researching your facts first would be helpful also. The superintendent applicants were screened first to narrow down the final applicants. I would imagine it is a struggle to manage a large entity with inadequent funds (the people of this city will not support our schools by passing an antiquated millage rate for one of the largest districts in the state) I don't know many people who would be dying to hold this position (unless maybe they have magical talents) Why don't we make better use of our time by BUILDING up JPS... it IS the backbone of our community and future....what about that do you people not UNDERSTAND??? Education IS a major attraction for newcomers and businesses which stimulates our city's economy. Of course.. there are those of you who want no growth, no change, and no progress. Maybe it's time you move, or jump on the bandwagon and embrace the progress for the good of our schools and community.

7:00 PM, February 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me start by saying thank you to Mrs. Pelley for her obvious devotion to educating children, as noted by her lengthy teaching career. My mom is a retired teacher and I know that it is NOT an easy job.

I am a parent with two young children in the JPS district, and I fully support the administration's move to the magnet school concept.

How many businesses are doing things the same as they were 30 years ago? 20 years ago? Even 10 years ago? My guess is that there are very few successful businesses that have not adapted with times. Education is no different. Today's kids don't necessarily think like kids in previous generations, and shouldn't be forced to learn the same way. Since the core education requirements are going to be taught at each school, I don't see the big deal about trying to make it more interesting by incorporating a theme into the lessons.

On the issue of Hot Springs graduation rates...if my math is correct, Hot Springs has not had a graduating class come through yet, that has ever attended a magnet school. They implemented six years ago and only do it for grades 1-5. This year's graduating class may be the first one that had ANY exposure to magnets. (and they only had one year) This doesn't make for a good argument to me.

There are many of you that not only think the magnet concept will not work, but also, obviously, don't WANT it to work. Otherwise you would not be trying to put doubts in the minds of the many teachers in the district that have decided to support JPS.

I am also shocked that one of the major contributors to this opposition (and this blog) is a teacher in the Jonesboro School system. You are not doing your peers or your district any favors by continuing to stir up debate on this subject. The decision has been made, they are going with magnet schools. If you can't accept it, maybe you would be better off in a different district. I sure would not want you teaching my kids with this type of negativity toward the district.

There are five public school districts in or within five minutes of Jonesboro City limits. All are quality schools and ALL should be supported by the communities they serve.

People of Jonesboro, please wake up and realize this. This negativity is only hurting the kids.

10:16 PM, February 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of you teachers have been so brainwashed by all this staff developomentthat you can't reason with common sense any more, but the public can. Even the media could look at the research and in a few minutes see the truth. Just what does that say for you brilliant teachers and administrators?

And there is more truth coming! Note the letter to the editor today of someone who still has his common sense in hand (or in his head.)

Questioning magnets

I read with great interest the letter by Ms. Evans in The Jonesboro Sun concerning the magnet schools.[Mrs. Evans had written the letter to the editor giving the 57% graduation rate at Hot Springs and other bad scores] I did, however, feel that she had her facts and statistics wrong. I felt that for her to be right, the Jonesboro School Board would have either have to be filled with misguided individuals or extremely incompetent ones.

So I did a little research on my own and found her statistics to be entirely correct. Hot Springs schools are failing and have been since the magnet school policies were implemented.

That left two questions to be answered. The first was: Are the school board members misguided or incompetent? The interview given on KAIT news tonight by one of the members answered that question for me. He stated that we should look at benchmark scores and not graduation rates. That shocked me quite a bit. Does it matter how well Hot Springs students are doing on test scores (and the fact is they aren't doing that well) if only 56 out of every 100 kids graduate? Consider that 3.9 percent of 11th grade Jonesboro students (in end of course tests) tested advanced in literacy. In Hot Springs it was 0.62 percent. That is less than one percent.

The second question (and one still unanswered) is: Why Jonesboro residents are letting the school board get away with a costly mistake? Maybe the school board would do well to copy a school district a little closer to home, maybe one right across the bypass.

Douglas Henard (Not posted by Douglas but it is his letter to the editor in Jonesboro Sun today)

9:30 PM, February 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Teachers, rave on and keep your fingers crossed that you will ever get another raise. When the community finishes learning about magnet schools and what they really are, you will never get another millage increase. Not only that but you will be working longer hours when they have to add time to the day for the extra busing to get the kids on to the other magnet schools. Have FUN! SOME OF YOU ASKED FOR IT!! I just feel sorry for those who didn't and are trying to get it stopped.

9:35 PM, February 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have 2 children in the JPS system. I am so excited about the Magnets that will be implemented next year. I wish the JPS Administration all the luck in this adventure. It
is sad that people in our community can't focus on the positives. MAYBE......they should check into moving somewhere else!!!

11:59 AM, February 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess the new buzzword for Jonesboro is "excited." As a Jonesboro parent I am appalled that some of you teachers don't recognize the failed curriculum of outcome based education. You know what it is: projects, group based learning, no textbooks, and fun, fun, fun. Unfortunately in the last century (that's just seven years ago for the mathematically challenged), that system failed so badly that the federal governement stepped in and imposed NCLB on the country to try to stop the decline in test scores that had dropped drastically over twenty years. Thanks, but I'm not interested in magnets for my kids. I'd rather have a traditional, you know, "old fashioned," curriculum for them. So, this is one of a number of parents who's making the choice not to magnet with Jonesboro.

7:01 PM, February 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I'm a Jonesboro teacher who isn't for magnets. At least not the way we've done them. I might agree with doing one or two at first to see how they work and get all the kinks out. But the idea of jumbling every elementary school in the district is ridiculous. I'm not the only teacher who feels this way either. I know many other teachers who think the same way but won't say anything for fear of upsetting someone (or being criticized for not going along with the group). I am surprised by the attitude of some of the people who have written some of these comments. Either the facts about Hot Springs are true, or they're not. If they are, then I can't believe people are so upset about someone letting them out. You'd think our administration would have researched all that to begin with and not been blindsided by Ms. Pelley. I was shocked that Hot Springs' scores were so low. I had only heard wonderful things about them.

7:16 PM, February 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those of you who are concerned that Ms. Pelley is wasting her time, you don't know her either. She has done national and state educational research for years now and presented at a national conference with attendees from every state in the union and has done several radio shows on education. She is known by numerous legislators for her research, one legislator commenting that she did more research than anyone he had ever known. Her commitment to our children will match anyone's in the state. Her concern for the children and our nation is why she started doing her research 15 years ago. And she has taught Sunday School for 40 years. And if she had not brought International Baccalaureate program to light in Jonesboro, Jonesboro would be making application "as soon a possible" as their website reported they were going to do in November.

And by the way, just whose idea was it to implement the International Baccalaureate program in Jonesboro? Wasn't it Kim Willbanks? And just why are they not implementing it now. Was it because Ms. Pelley did the research for Willbanks and she found out what the program is all about, or did Willbanks know all along and was pushing it until the community discovered what it really was. Either answer is not flattering for her.

8:47 PM, February 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of Kim Willbanks, I just finished watching the program on chunk testing on KAIT-TV. I noted something Willbanks said that was totally wrong concerning Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). She said "At the federal level they look at subgroups, so one of the reasons the Jonesboro School district has sub groups that are not scoring at the level that is expected is because as a larger district we have more students that fall into those sub groups". Willbanks surely knows that these subgroups fail to make AYP based on PERCENTAGE of students not making the grade not the NUMBER so a big school would have no relevance to AYP; the percentage of students in subgroups would but not the actual number of students in subgroups. Who is she trying to snow?

8:57 PM, February 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoever you people are, you are negative, tacky, whiners and complainers and tacky, did I already say tacky? I hope and pray you are not my childs teacher or role model ever. Please tell me you are retiring soon. As for the school board, they don't need to look across the bypass, they just need to clean house here and we'll be fine.

9:11 PM, February 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To those who say Pelley is being critical of the Jonesboro District, she made it clear in the beginning of her statement that she wasn't criticizing the school and that it had always been a good school with many good teachers. In her statement to the Board, she pointed out Jonesboro's good scores in several ways. She said she just wanted it to stay that way.

And Hot Springs is not the only school used as a model for Jonesboro that has low scores. Texarkana's scores are even worse that Hot Springs, and all of the Jackson, Tennessee magnet schools (Texarkana and Jackson, Tenn were both used as models for Jonesboro) score lower than state average in every area. In contrast, Jonesboro scores above state average in about 41 out of 45 areas, so why would Jonesboro want to study any of those schools?

And just why would Jonesboro want to implement the chunk tests when they originated with Hot Springs. One of the Jonesboro teachers said on TV that he did not know if the chunk tests would be beneficial or not until after the tests scores are back for this year. All one has to do is look at Hot Springs scores and one can see they still are much lower than Jonesboro. So why would one think they are beneficial? So why would Jonesboro want to to try it. Evidently some of those students at Hot Springs didn't like chunk tests that much with a 56% graduation rate. And with a 67% remediation rate, it didn't help those that did graduate very much.

Anyone who has not been blinded already or have some other agenda could see the folly of observing such schools and using their techniques as models.

I shared Hot Springs' scores with a legislator, and he was shocked and said what in the world are they doing there? And he couldn't understand why Jonesboro would even look at Hot Springs.

9:12 PM, February 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In today's Sun, Emergence of Area Magnet Schools Results in Contrasting Opinions... Dr. Hendrix presented his case in such an outstanding, educated, valid manner. It only made me more thankful for the transition to magnet schools. In contrast, Ms. Johansen only stated areas of the state that already had existing education struggles and issues, thus the magnet plan wouldn't work for them. The main idea I got from her comments is that certain teachers just don't want to put the effort into advances in educating the children of this community. Could their resistence to change be plain laziness?

7:28 AM, February 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I have properly been informed... Hot Springs implemented magnet schools 6 years ago for grades 1-5 ONLY. They have NOT YET had a graduating class that was under the magnet program. WHAT about that do you not understand? Please come up with other arguments. The Hot Springs debate is old, tired and TOTALLY IRRELEVENT! Sounds like they were using desperate measures to make their ALREADY failing school system better. You'll have to wait a few years to get actual results on the impact of magnets for grades 1-5! Jonesboro's scores are already awesome... just think how they can improve with all this new innovation!!

9:13 AM, February 28, 2007  

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