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Where is Edina Schools’ 2017-18 Annual Report, and why can’t we see it?

On April 26, I described the striking decline in accountability and transparency in the Edina Public Schools (EPS) over the last 15 years. I highlighted differences between EPS Annual Reports for 2003-04 and 2016-17.

The contrast evident there throws light on a troubling fact: In EPS’s recent survey of parents who have pulled their children and enrolled them in other public schools, the “most important factor” cited was EPS’s failure to “meet” their students’ “learning needs.” The second most important factor was lack of “personal attention by teachers.”

[See pp. 3-5 of the “outbound” survey results, which also include data from parents who transferred their children to private schools. See here for a Memo on the EPS 2018-19 Enrollment and Class Size Information Report, which was presented to the school board on October 23, 2018. Pages 3-6 of this memo are of particular interest and include details concerning where “outbound” students transferred. See here for the enrollment report itself.]

Source: Edina Public Schools website

The EPS 2003-04 Annual Report was 97 pages long and packed with facts, figures and tables detailing all aspects of students’ academic performance. The 2016-17 document, by contrast, was four pages long and read more like a promotional brochure. It barely touched on student performance, though it did acknowledge (if readers looked closely) that only about 65 percent of EPS students in grades 1 to 7 were meeting annual, nationally normed growth targets in reading, and about 63 percent were doing so in math.

Strangely, EPS’s Annual Report for 2017-18 is not available on the EPS website, though all other reports since 2003-04 are, at the time of this writing. However, I have located what appears to be a print copy of the report, which was mailed to Edina households. This most recent report is only a page-and-a-half long.

Unlike the report from a year before, the 2017-18 document includes no specific information at all about EPS students’ performance on the state MCA (Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment) tests in reading and math. It mentions only that “overall MCA data in EPS have remained consistent, with fluctuations up and down depending on grade level and student group.”

In fact, last year, EPS third-grade reading proficiency as measured by the MCA fell 8.5 percentage points, according to EPS’s “2017-18 World’s Best Workforce Results” report, dated October 29, 2018. (See the more detailed MDE report on these results here.) This is the largest drop in the years for which data are publicly available. But readers of the 2017-18 EPS Annual Report would have no idea of this worrisome decline.

I have requested of Mary Woitte, EPS communications coordinator, that the 2017-18 Annual Report be added to the district’s website so that readers can view it for themselves. This is the link to the web page where reports are made available.

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