Monday, August 29, 2011

New Orleans public school achievement gap is narrowing

Some INCREDIBLE trends in New Orleans – here's the local paper's editorial and below is the article with more details and this chart:

School reform milestone in New Orleans

Published: Thursday, August 11, 2011, 8:45 AM

By Editorial page staff, The Times-Picayune The Times-Picayune

New Orleans public schools are improving test scores more rapidly than the state as a whole among three critical groups: African-American students, low-income students and special education students.

Those are groups whose performance has historically lagged behind the state average. The gains are significant and are powerful endorsement for the sweeping reforms put in place since Hurricane Katrina.

For the first time since Louisiana began keeping track, a higher percentage of African-American students in New Orleans schools scored at or above grade level on the state's high-stakes test than those statewide: 53 percent in New Orleans compared to 51 percent in the state as a whole. That's a milestone, especially considering that four years ago only 32 percent of African-American public school students in New Orleans could make that claim, compared to 43 percent statewide.

An achievement gap still exists: 95 percent of white students in New Orleans public schools scored at or above grade level. But the gap is shrinking more rapidly in New Orleans than it is statewide, a trend that began after the state takeover of most New Orleans public schools and the seismic shift to mostly independent charter schools. That shift is happening in schools controlled by the Orleans Parish School Board, too, and they are also seeing performance gains.

The reduction in the achievement gap has been most dramatic for African-American students. From 2001 to 2005, the percentage of those students at grade level had gone up by 9 percentage points. That compares to a 21 percentage point gain from 2007 to 2011. The state as a whole saw an 8 percentage point gain for the same period. New Orleans has also seen a faster pace of improvement for low-income and special education students, as well.

Schools still have a lot of ground to make up. While slightly over half of African-American students and low-income students are at or above grade level, slightly less than half remain behind. But these statistics are proof of real progress and a sign that public education is on the right track.


New Orleans public school achievement gap is narrowing

Published: Sunday, August 07, 2011, 7:10 AM     Updated: Sunday, August 07, 2011, 11:35 AM

By Andrew Vanacore, The Times-Picayune

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