Saturday, August 8, 2009

NYC Public Schools on

Earlier this week, the New York Times wrote about New York City's public schools improved performance on statewide math and reading tests.

"While statewide passing rates have risen in every grade on English and math tests, New York City’s have gone up even more. This year, 82 percent of city students passed in math and 69 percent in English, up sharply from 42 and 38 percent, respectively, in 2002.

Progress has been made across the city’s diverse neighborhoods: All five boroughs once ranked at the very bottom of counties statewide on virtually every test, but Queens and Staten Island are now among the top counties in elementary school math scores. The Bronx remains on the bottom, though in some cases its gains outstrip those of its peers, because it started so far behind." Gains on Tests in New York Schools Don’t Silence Critics

Also read: Room for Debate: What do School Tests Measure?

The articles raised some legitimate questions on the value of these testing standards and if test-driven curricula short-change students of more meaningful educations. It's hard for me to make a call on that, but I did find it interesting that neither articles explored the issue of discrepant funding and resources across boroughs and neighborhoods in New York City.

I'm not a teacher, but a number of friends teach or have grown up within NYC public schools. It's no secret that our schools are overcrowded and underfunded, with teachers often paying out of the own pocket for necessary school supplies. Or skimping on them, to the detriment of the students.

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