Jan. 9, 2012
Class Size Matters has released a detailed analysis of the trend in student achievement in NYC since 2003, when Mayor Bloomberg’s educational policies were first implemented, as measured by the NAEPs – the national assessment carried out every two years by the federal government in 4th and 8th grade English and math.
Despite the DOE’s claims of great progress when the latest NAEP scores were released in December, our analysis shows that NYC came out next to last among the ten large cities tested over this period, plus the large city category (all cities above 250,000 inhabitants) when the gains of our racial, ethnic and economic subgroups are averaged and compared to their peers elsewhere. The only city to make less progress was Cleveland.
The gains in NYC have been particularly minimal among White, Hispanic, and non-free lunch students, all of whom dropped in their relative position compared to these same subgroups in other cities – falling especially sharply at the 8th grade level. White students made the smallest gains compared to their peers in other cities in both 8th grade reading and math; Hispanics in 8th grade math. In fact, Asians were the only NYC subgroup to increase their relative ranking at any level, compared to their peers in other cities.
The performance of non-poor students has been particularly disastrous. NYC is only city in which our non-poor students scored lower in 2011 than in 2003 in any category. The proficiency levels of NYC non-poor students also dropped sharply in both 8th grade reading and math. (This is the one point extracted from our analysis in today’s Daily News, though the article fails to attribute its source. The article also featured the DOE’s claim to have improved results for non-poor students; though this group also made fewer gains than their peers in many other cities over this period.)
What else do our findings suggest? Clearly, mayoral control is no panacea, as the two cities that have made the least progress since 2003 on the NAEPs, NYC and Cleveland, both feature this governance system. Moreover, the administration’s free-market strategies of high-stakes accountability, school report cards, “fair student funding”, principal empowerment, and the closing of more than one hundred schools & the opening of more than 400 new schools and charters, while allowing class sizes to increase, have not worked to increase student achievement compared to cities elsewhere.
Our power point, with lots of user-friendly graphs to illustrate our findings, is posted here and below Our presentation also contains rebuttals of specific claims made by DOE about the city’s NAEP results.