In Florida, poor schools are kicking butt
Since it's the start of the heart of FCAT season, let's revisit a key point that may have been lost in Sunday's St. Petersburg Times story about Blanton Elementary, the high-poverty school that could.
Blanton isn't alone.
According to FCAT math and reading numbers crunched by Times cruncher extraordinaire Connie Humburg, over the past five years:
- 250 of 602 high-poverty elementary schools statewide (by high poverty we mean schools where 70 percent or more of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches) have seen combined gains of 30 or more in the percentage of kids scoring at grade level or higher in those two subjects.
- Meanwhile, 146 of them have seen combined percentage gains of 40 or more, which means they're progressing as fast, if not faster, than Blanton.
Many of those schools, like Blanton, still don't have much in the way of parental involvement. And yet, they're on the rise.
For those of you who think this is not real progress, and instead the result of "teaching to the test," here's the response from Blanton principal Debi Turner:
"The FCAT test measures the standards that we're taught. You are teaching to the standards. When people tell me you're teaching to the test, I say, 'No, to the standards.' It's a good thing. It's not a bad thing. People who say you're teaching to the test don't really understand."
Ron Matus, State Education Reporter