Tuesday, June 14, 2005

What lifted NYC's public school test scores?

When NYC's Mayor Bloomberg was elected three years ago, his first mission was to take direct control over the city's public schools, dismantle the existing management structure and re-organize them from top to bottom.

Over the heated opposition of the unions and all the system's other incumbents, of course.

This year, test scores zoomed! But what was the cause?

Citywide, the gains on this year's standardized reading and math tests were so outsized - particularly among fifth graders, who improved 19.5 percentage points in reading and 15.2 percentage points in math - that they left some education experts, not to mention Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's political opponents, skeptical.

That skepticism was only reinforced by opinion polls and teacher surveys in recent months that found relatively little optimism among parents and educators for Mr. Bloomberg's effort to fix the schools, which they said had mostly caused upheaval.

But in interviews at P.S. 45 and other schools across the city with large increases in test scores, principals, parents, superintendents, teachers and students offered this most basic explanation: They worked hard. [NY Times]

Great! Now all they have to do is explain why they didn't work hard before.