Parkesburg Today reports “Octorara’s Academic Performance Numbers Come Up Short”

Ken KnickerbockerHave you ever read some of the back and forth that has gone on between Parkesburg Today‘s Ken Knickerbocker and myself? All during my campaign for School Director, Mr Knickerbocker has tried to characterize me as an uniformed rookie. I, in turn, have described Knickerbocker as an apologist for his defense of the District. Knickerbocker has attempted to justify our high school property taxes, and had been championing Octorara’s academic performance. I said “had been.”

The world changed with Pennsylvania’s new School Performance Profile system. One of the several purposes of the SPP is to provide the public with comprehensive information about the academic performance of public schools. As a result, Mr Knickerbocker seems to be slowly coming around.

In a recent article, he wrote:

As the press release promises Octorara’s administrators will take “closer look at its School Performance profile data during the School Board meeting next Monday evening saying the presentation will “begin the public conversation on school improvement as it relates to School Performance Profile data.”

Seeing Octorara’s high school and elementary school scores fall beneath every neighboring school district’s results except Coatesville (Thank goodness for Coatesville!), its more than a bit polyannaish to suggest these results will “begin” the conversation.

Seems like the conversation about academic performance across Octorara’s four schools, or the lack of it, has been going on and on and on since the districts inception over 5o years ago. (Read more…)

That is right, he wrote the Distinct was being pollyannaish… as in, absurdly or illogically optimistic.

When Ken Knickerbocker is agreeing with Timothy Alexander, you know there is some harsh truth facing the District. Moreover, the false narrative provided by the Administration and Board leadership about providing a high level of academic excellence is at an end.

Overall, Dr Newcome is Knickerbocker’s guy, and he also looks favorably on the long-time Board members. He won’t completely abandon them. He has, however, thrown some red meat to those of us calling for change.


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