2011 Test Scores: No Time to Celebrate
The citywide test scores for New York’s public school students were released today, and Zakiyah Ansari from the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice had the following statement in response: “While it is of course good to see scores going up rather than down, a 1.5 point increase in ELA and a 3.3 point increase in math is no reason to celebrate as we struggle to get out of this educational crisis. Any statistician will tell you that when you grade an entire school system on a single test, scores are bound to go up slightly over time. Yet the Bloomberg Administration seems intent to celebrate this nominal change while our racial achievement gap remains as wide as ever and far too many of our students are left unprepared for college.
We now know that – of the 4th graders who took their first state test when Bloomberg took over the system in 2002 – only 13% of Black and Latino students graduated high school ready for college. Today, Black and Latino students also have only about a 50/50 chance of graduating high school in our city.
After almost a decade of Mayor Bloomberg being in “charge”, it is disappointing and frustrating for us as parents that our Black and Latino children only have a coin toss of a chance to graduate from high school—and when they do, 87% of them are not ready for college or work. To us, those students are not numbers on a press release; they are our children, our grandchildren, and our nephews and nieces—and they all have names.
With this in mind, and despite what the mayor has said before about the parents in these schools not understanding the value of education, we are going to take a deeper look at the test results to determine how the most vulnerable students fared at our most challenged schools. Those are the students the administration should be paying the most attention to.
Without a real commitment to providing the supports parents, students and educators need to get us out of this crisis, a small improvement measured by questionable scores that are already so low is nearly irrelevant. Ask the Black and Latino parents in our school system – those of us whose children are being educated with test prep instead of college prep and who’s art and after school programs have been cut – how excited they are about today’s test scores announcement; and how confident they are in our city’s commitment to provide their children with a quality education that gets them a degree and prepares them for college or the workforce. They won’t be cheering any press releases today.”