Am I the only one confused by the school rating system?

It may be time to cancel the parade celebrating RISD being named a "recognized" district. This week’s Lake Highlands People says the RISD "failed to meet federal academic standards in 2007," based on the benchmarks of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act. This after we were roundly congratulated as the largest and most diverse school district in the state to receive the "recognized" designation by the Texas Education Agency.

So which is right?

The newspaper quotes district spokesman Tim Clark saying we "fell short of the standard by 1 percentage point in the special education category."  I don’t want us to ever fall short in any category, even just a bit. Our kids deserve the best. But, in an age when ratings equal home values, its especially disappointing to think we barely missed the mark. One more teacher on staff, one additional volunteer, one more dollar spent could have made the difference.

But it’s also frustrating to be left wondering the truth. There’s a big difference between being recognized for achievement and falling short of the standard. And, until someone in the know explains it to me, I’m going to do what I’ve always done – walk into my neighborhood school, check it out for myself, and help where I can. I hope you’ll join me.