Pennsylvania School Auditor Finds Lack of Response to School Performance Assessments

As reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in a recent performance audit of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, auditor Eugene DePasquale found that schools falling below the State’s performance profile for a successful school are not required to create improvement plans and get no financial assistance from the state to do so.

As described in the article,

Mr. DePasquale said his staff looked at 3,000 schools and found that 814 had School Performance Profile scores that fell below 70 based on results from 2013-14. A score of 70 out of a possible 107 was identified as a passing grade by Carolyn Dumaresq, former acting state secretary of education.

Of the 814 schools, 561 received no help from the education department because, under its waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law, Pennsylvania is required to assist and demand corrective action only from poor-performing Title I schools, which receive federal money because of low-income children. Allegheny County has 56 Title 1 schools.

In the debate, contrasts with Maryland (and Delaware) also drove the conversation:

Jim Buckheit, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators, said the real weak link in the system is the lack of adequate funding to schools and the state Department of Education itself.

“The problem in Pennsylvania is exacerbated by the lack of funding at the Department of Education. We are twice as large as Maryland and four times bigger than Delaware, and yet their departments of education are twice as large.”

For more information, see the full story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.