More MCAS fun
Like I said (in this blog and a cartoon), Massachusetts education officials are optimistic to the point of absurdity. Check out this article in the Boston Globe today--in some bizarre twist of something, Boston is receiving an award for improving its schools and decreasing the performance gap between white and minority students. This is patently ridiculous, as the article notes:
On the spring 2001 Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System exam, 81 percent of white 10th-graders passed math, while 41 percent of black 10th-graders passed. The 40-point gap is down only slightly from three years ago, when the difference was 42 points. The story was similar for Latino students, while Asian students did as well as or better than whites. Starting with the class of 2003, students must pass the English and math portions of the controversial exam in order to graduate.
How a 2 percent improvement (from completely and totally horrible to slightly less completely and totally horrible) merits an award is beyond me. Mayor Menino's reaction, of course, was: why are you all looking on the down side?:
Yesterday, city and school officials said critics were focusing on the negative. ''We're making progress,'' said Mayor Thomas M. Menino. ''We are not going backwards. More and more kids are passing every year.''
Not exactly. The MCAS passing rates have increased slightly--but so have high school dropout rates:
According to figures presented to the Boston School Committee two weeks ago, 1,594 students in grades 9-12, or 8.4 percent, dropped out of the city's public schools in the 2000-2001 school year, compared with 8.3 percent in 1999-2000 and 7 percent in 1995-1996, when Superintendent Thomas W. Payzant took over the district. As of October 2000, the national drop-out rate was 4.8 percent for students in grades 10-12.
So hip hip hooray, and please pass the champagne.