Anyone still believe in retention time theory?

Dec. 28, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

To the Editor:

Why did it take The Herald from Dec. 11 to Dec. 23 [Calendar prompts furor from many parents] to report this news that is important to so many?

As for the statistics quoted, is there any evidence that support “retention time” over the ever-popular “cherry-picking defense?” This is the argument that is trotted out by public schools if you try to compare their results with private schools or charter schools. This argument claims that the other schools do better than public schools because they pick the cherries from the general student population. Even adjusting for race and family income, the family that is willing to make the effort to get their child into a special school is more involved or concerned than the mass of parents. The parents of the Tramway School students would seem to fit this profile, especially those that must make their own transportation arrangements for their students.

The statics aside, Tramway was rated “No Recognition” on its N.C. schools report card, while Greenwood was rated “School of Progress, High Growth.” The population figures for the two schools might throw some light on why Tramway scored so high in percentages. Whites greatly outnumbered minorities at Tramway, while Greenwood was nearly balanced. Tramway was pretty well balanced based on economic factors — 161 disadvantaged, 182 not — but Greenwood had 250 disadvantaged, 84 not. If I remember correctly, Greenwood, not Tramway, was given the Head of Class award.

Anybody still believe the retention time theory?

Robert Townsend

Lee County