District 203 Officials Consider Cuts as Students Achieve World Class Status
Byline: Denise Raleigh
Third International Mathematics and Science Study - that is what TIMSS stands for.
It was in 1999 that Naperville Unit District 203 eighth-graders took tests in this voluntary benchmarking international study.
In science, District 203 eighth-graders achieved "best in the world" status, outperforming every other entity taking part in the study.
They placed sixth in mathematics.
The students' success in the international arena is quite an accomplishment and many kudos are richly deserved. It once again affirms the quality of the educational environment in District 203.
The TIMSS report states that students' educational opportunities are affected by curriculum, teacher quality, availability and appropriateness of resources, student motivation, instructional effectiveness, parental support and school safety.
These test results certainly indicate what happens when experienced, able, educated and motivated teachers instruct able and motivated students who come from able and motivated families.
The TIMSS study also provided evidence the availability of home resources is important for educational success. The students of District 203 also scored highest in the world in this area.
Ironies abound as district administrators brought their thoughts regarding what possible cuts could do to this world class district before the school board Monday night.
Even though their possible cut list ranks services and programs by whether there would be a "moderate" or "significant" impact on the quality of education, the timing could not have been more out of synch.
While achievement is reaching performance pinnacles, some of the elements that led to success are being evaluated for possible chopping.
Having just received the overview of the educational/financial analysis list, my first reaction is to commend the administration's effort. District financial head Allen Albus characterized the process as thorough and sincere.
Even though I have not had a lot of time to study their work, the first thing that jumps out from the list is that item rankings were geared in an order so as to not immediately impact students.
While cutting almost all of the items will eventually have an impact, the rankings demonstrate that the process is no dog-and- pony show, but the thoughtful results of employees in buildings and at the central office who help to make District 203 a worldwide TIMSS standout. …