To look at the grades produced by the Kansas Policy Institute (KPI), using state assessment data generated by the Kansas Assessment Program (KAP), one would think that a General Sherman-like figure marched through the western suburbs of Kansas City from De Soto to Atchison and burned not cities but math books.

Not one of the seven schools under review has more than 26 percent of its students “college and career ready” in math. In none of the seven schools do low income students get better than an overall “D” in math. In four of the seven schools–Leavenworth High, Atchison High, Tonganoxie High, and Bonner Springs High–low-income students get an “F.”

Although all seven of these schools have a high concentration of middle-class students, five of the seven receive an overall grade of D. Let us retrace Sherman’s steps and assess the damage.

De Soto High School has 857 students, 20 percent of whom qualify as low income.  42 percent are college and career ready in ELA, 24 percent in math.

Low-income Grade 10 students received a D in ELA and a D in math. Other students received a C in ELA and a D in math. The overall 2017 Grade for Basehor-Linwood High was C. The overall 2016 Grade was C. 

Bonner students may be physically fit, but they are impressively unfit in math.

Bonner Springs High has 787 students, 47 percent qualify as low income. 18 percent are college and career ready in ELA, 13 percent in math.

Low-income Grade 10 students received a F in ELA and a F in math. Other students received a D in ELA and a D in math. The overall 2017 Grade for Bonner Springs was D. The overall 2016 Grade was D. 

Tonganoxie High has 612 students, 30 percent qualify as low income. 38 percent are college and career ready in ELA, 26 percent in math.

Low-income Grade 10 students received a D in ELA and a F in math. Other students received a C in ELA and a D in math. The overall 2017 Grade for Tonganoxie was D. The overall 2016 Grade was D. 

Basehor-Linwood High has 839 students, 16 percent of whom qualify as low income.  35 percent are college and career ready in ELA, 19 percent in math.

Low-income Grade 10 students received a C in ELA and a D in math. Other students received a C in ELA and a D in math. The overall 2017 Grade for Basehor-Linwood High was C. The overall 2016 Grade was C. 

Lansing High has 912 students, 23 percent qualify as low income. 32 percent are college and career ready in ELA, 24 percent in math.

Low-income Grade 10 students received a D in ELA and a D in math. Other students received a C in ELA and a D in math. The overall 2017 Grade for Lansing was D. The overall 2016 Grade was C.

Leavenworth Sr. High has 1384 students, 42 percent qualify as low income. 30 percent are college and career ready in ELA, 24 percent in math.

Low-income Grade 10 students received a D in ELA and a F in math. Other students received a C in ELA and a C in math. The overall 2017 Grade for Leavenworth was D . The overall 2016 Grade was D. 

Atchison High bowlers must be pleased that machines now do the scoring.

Atchison High has 453 students, 53 percent qualify as low income. 29 percent are college and career ready in ELA, 13 percent in math.

Low-income Grade 10 students received a D in ELA and a F in math. Other students received a C in ELA and a D in math. The overall 2017 Grade for Atchison was D. The overall 2016 Grade was C. 

Conclusion: Suburban and small town schools have so come to accept mediocrity as a matter of course they do not even notice when their schools slip below mediocrity. Given the largely middle class backgrounds of their students, educators cannot blame the school’s poor performance on social factors beyond their control.

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