The number of city schools failing to meet guidelines laid out in the No Child Left Behind law dropped this year to 401 from 432 last year, buoyed by improvements at 58 schools that came off the last. Another 10 schools that had been failing were shut down, while 37 saw their test scores, graduation rates, and other factors that go into the NCLB calculations decline and were added onto the list.
The pattern of improvement matched trends statewide, where the number of failing schools dropped to 665 from 719. The changes follow test scores last year that shot up at a rate so dramatic some researchers challenged their validity. To get off the NCLB failing list, a school must meet performance benchmarks — a combination of test scores, attendance rates, and graduation rates — for at least two years in a row.
Mayor Bloomberg greeted the news as evidence that his efforts to improve the public school system are working. “This is yet another sign that our school reforms are producing real results for New York City students,” he said in a statement. “In a year when many districts across the country saw increases in the number of schools needing improvement under NCLB, the number in New York City fell significantly.”
Teachers union president Randi Weingarten congratulated teachers at the improved schools and declared that the 37 schools added to the list should “redouble their efforts” to educate students. “Our goal should be to learn from these successful schools and reproduce similar results,” she said in a statement.
Weingarten’s statement also said she welcomes a change expected for next year in the way consequences are doled out to schools put on the failing list . NCLB now judges schools by the performance of sub-sets of students who are grouped by race, disability status, and whether they are native English speakers. Schools are slapped with the same consequences whether all sub-sets of students fail to meet standards or just one sub-set does. Under the new policy, schools where just one set of students failed to meet standards would face a different consequence from schools where many groups failed.
I’m waiting to find the list of the exact schools that were added and subtracted from the list.