- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—The 2015 Equity Scorecard shows large and persistent achievement gaps that separate poor, disabled and minority students from others in Fayette County Public Schools.

The latest data on the Scorecard, presented to the school board at Monday’s meeting by Equity Council member Ron Langley, was from 2013-14.

“Many of the gaps you see from last year and the year before still exist,” council chairman Roy Woods told the Herald-Leader in an interview earlier Monday.

For example, the report showed the gap in reading between students who receive free or reduced-price lunch and others is 37.5 percent. In last year’s report, the gap was 38.7 percent.

In math, the gap between white and black students is 34.3 percent in the 2015 report, down slightly from 35.5 percent in 2014.

Most of the gaps decreased by a small amount, but the gaps between males and females and between students with identified disabilities and others have increased for math and reading, the report said.

Additionally, the percentage of distinguished and proficient declined in math and reading among students who were Asian or had a disability, and for male students in reading, the report said.

The message in the equity scorecard, acting Superintendent Marlene Helm said is “The reality is that we have and we have had an unacceptable achievement gap in the Fayette County Public Schools. We did not get here overnight and unfortunately we are not going to be able to fix things overnight.”

Higher percentages of students from all groups except those with disabilities are more college- and career-ready than in 2013.

“However, of all the data we present in this report card,” the gaps in college and career data are “perhaps the most disheartening and even more pronounced than the gaps in test scores,” the report said.

Generally, there has been slow progress closing most of the gaps, the report said.

Langley said a bright spot was the continued decline in the percentage of students suspended during the past year.

Following a warning from Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday in May that the state would take action if progress was not made in closing the achievement gap and providing support to low-performing schools, district officials have been working to reduce the number of students who perform at the novice level in the state’s accountability system.

For that effort, the school board on Monday set aside $660,394 from the flexible focus funds it receives from the state.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: (859) 231-3409. Twitter: @vhspears

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(c)2015 the Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Ky.)

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