Urban school check-up
Inner city schools are making progress with some of the nation's most challenging students and appear to be chipping away at the achievement gap, according to a report released this morning by the Council of the Great City Schools. The council, which represents 67 of the nation’s biggest school districts, including Hillsborough (but not Pinellas), compared data on state tests between 2002 and 2006 and found more progress in math than reading, more progress in elementary than middle schools, more progress in some districts than others … but progress nonetheless.
Among fourth graders, for example, the council found 55 percent of inner-city fourth graders were proficient in reading in 2006, up from 43 percent in 2002, and that 77 percent of Great City districts narrowed the gap between black and white students over that period.
The reason? "The standards movement," the report says. "Urban schools know that it is not enough to assure people that we are working harder to meet high standards or to say that the public's money is worth the investment, although both are surely true. We must back up those assurances with results - concrete, verifiable documentation that our efforts to improve education in the cities are paying off and that the public's money is being well spent."
- Ron Matus, state education reporter