St. Petersburg schools are improving, FCAT scores show
Many St. Petersburg residents think the city’s schools have gotten worse over the past five years, as a St. Petersburg Times poll revealed this week. But a quickie Gradebook rundown of FCAT scores shows, on the whole, that St. Petersburg schools have actually gotten better over that time period.
There are 38 traditional public schools, including magnet schools and fundamental schools (but not counting charters and alternative schools), that are either within the city limits or count a majority of St. Petersburg kids as residents.
In reading, 27 of them have raised the percentage of students scoring at grade level or above since 2005, while nine have posted declines and two have stayed flat. Believe it or not, that includes five of six St. Petersburg middle schools, with only Bay Point Middle failing to make gains.
In math, 30 schools are rising, seven are falling and one is flat. And again, believe it or not – given recent headlines – that includes four of five St. Petersburg high schools. Only Gibbs dropped over that period.
Granted, the FCAT is but one measure of school quality. And this one little exercise can’t really answer whether St. Petersburg schools are improving enough, or how its improvement rates compare to other parts of the district (or anywhere else that’s worth comparing.) But when Pinellas Superintendent Julie Janssen, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker and others suggest the poll results are more about perception than reality - well, maybe they have a point?