Letters to the Editor

Man with the Plan DISD's New Math

"ACP Tests are District-Developed, End of Semester Exams. Results for ACP test by Magnet High Schools and other District High Schools are grouped by subject area in Table 62-67. For each area (Language, Reading, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, Foreign Language), the number of students tested, the mean scale score, (actual test scores awarded)."

How outrageous! The desegregation court auditor, Sandra Malone, should point out these inconsistencies to the court. The auditor's report is due to the judge in 60 days. Regardless of whether the tests are "criterion reference tests" or "normed tests," the actual test results should be recorded as earned. Dr. Mendro, a statistician, should report the true grades when reporting these figures to the federal court. Dr. Mendro sends a wrong message to the children of Dallas. He is rewarding failure. Worse than that, he is ruining the careers of these young children by allowing them to fail in the end-of-semester exams, knowing full well that these children will be taking other standardized tests in their lifetime. Furthermore, Dr. Mendro sends these distorted facts not only to the federal court but also to the Texas Education Agency (TEA). What honest statistician would do that?

Obviously, these distorted facts cost money. But, if the Dallas Independent School District is going to achieve its mission--delivering an education to these children--then these scores should be reported accurately. Not reporting scores properly has hurt the children who have actually failed and think they passed. When children know that they have done poorly in their exams, then they and their teachers can focus on those areas that they failed to learn and failed to teach. Exacting standards identify specific needs. Instead of compiling distorted scores, why doesn't Dr. Mendro examine classroom performance and analyze what improvements need to be made in each classroom? Excuses don't hold water.

Worse yet, how does this renowned statistician project future improvements in student performance with distorted facts? Teachers should be allowed to look at their individual student end-of-semester score exams and assess strengths and weaknesses without fear of reprisal from their superiors. However, how can a teacher do this if he/she must curve the test results?

As the League of United Latin American Citizens, we are not saying that we agree with standardized tests as the only means of evaluating our schoolchildren. But when the federal government, TEA, and local school districts set benchmarks, then we believe that the test scores should be reported accurately to the public, parents, students, and the federal and state governments.

Dr. Mendro has failed the children of Dallas. He has not been an exemplar of a public servant. Perhaps it would be wise for Dr. Mendro to follow the path taken recently by that arrogant misfit who left about as fast as he arrived. Dr. Payton should acknowledge that he has also failed the district by perpetuating and reporting these statistics to the federal courts in the district's report on desegregation that he sent to the courts in August.

Harry O. Trujillo
Education chair
Dallas County LULAC Council 4642

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