Startling number of city public school students don’t understand basic math, English

(New York)

More than half of city public school students still don’t have a basic grasp of math and English, according to the latest round of state test results released Wednesday.

Overall, 46.7 percent of kids in grades 3 to 8 were proficient in English and just 42.7 percent in math, according to the data.

State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia stressed Wednesday that year-to-year comparisons were pointless because of constant changes to testing formats and evaluation methods.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza also said there was limited comparative meaning to the latest scores — but said they will provide a new “baseline” moving forward.

“We do not have an apples-to-apples comparison to last year,” de Blasio said. “Even though there are some promising signs in this test, I think it’s really important to say that upfront.”

De Blasio and Carranza noted that the city saw gains compared with the rest of the state.

They said standardized tests should not be relied upon to gauge the success of the city’s school system — and noted hikes in graduation rates and other measures.

Overall, Asian students hit the highest proficiency rates among city students in both math and English — and racial-achievement gaps have shown no signs of narrowing.

City charter schools again outperformed traditional public schools on the exams.

Some 57.3 percent of charter kids passed English compared with 46.7 percent of their public school counterparts, and 59.6 percent hit the mark in math compared with 42.7 in traditional public schools.

Charter-network leader Success Academy was able to trumpet sky-high scores again.

In total, 91 percent of 6,800 mostly black and Hispanic kids who took the test were proficient in English and 98 percent of them passed math, the network said.

“Children from all backgrounds can achieve exceptional results when given access to great schools,” said CEO and founder Eva Moskowitz.

While parents continue to swell Success Academy waiting lists, detractors argue that Success nudges out challenging or disruptive kids in order to preserve its eye-popping results. The network has denied those claims.

Without mentioning Success by name, de Blasio questioned its practices and flatly said he was opposed to charter-school expansion.

“I think the answer is to improve the schools we have,” he said.


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