Turning on the lights in the mushroom beds

“District Highlights” fact sheet has astounding facts.

Is Federal Way inhabited by “educational mushrooms?” I think most of us are familiar with the term “corporate mushroom,” but for those who may have forgotten the usual definition of one is: “Kept in the dark and fed horse droppings.”

Why do I think that we may have a significant number of “educational mushrooms?” I recently stopped by the informational booth at the Federal Way Farmer’s Market and picked up a copy of their “District Highlights” fact sheet and saw some astounding facts.

The sheet says that “99% of parents participated in student led conferences.” That’s astounding for a district that, according to USNews, has only 11.2% of its graduates college ready. Evidently, some parental mushrooms think that this isn’t that important.

If 99% of parents were at these student led conferences, I wonder how many of these discussions started out, and I think they should begin for a seventh-grader, with “I want you to know that according to the state’s assessments I, along with 67.5% of my grade, did not meet the seventh grade standards for mathematics and I will need some additional help to meet the standards by next year?”

Did that turn any lights on in the mushroom beds? Well, the numbers don’t get any better as our kids “advance” to later grades. By 10th grade, the number not meeting the standard is 76.9%. But wait! According to the “District’s Highlights” the graduation rate is 86.2%. Seventy-seven percent can’t meet the math standard and 86% are graduating? It has to be pretty dark in the mushroom beds to believe this. In fact, according to the state (OSPI) the attendance rate is 77.1% and the graduation rate is 86.2%. The mushrooms must be flourishing.

The fact sheet also tells us that “88 students got the seal of literacy” for being proficient in two languages. Wait a minute. Only 88 in one of the most diverse districts in the nation are truly bilingual? I used to have a friend who taught Spanish and she would tell me that most of her Hispanic students couldn’t pass the Spanish class. This kind of logic simply can’t pass the test. It is allowing a lot of kids to graduate without any academic or employable skills, and yet it is costing us over $ 13,300 per year per student. We need some lights on in the mushroom beds.

Dala Evans

Federal Way