School Testing Results Fall Short Of Academic Targets

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Baltimore City schools take another hit as state assessments come in. Nearly 90 percent of the city’s elementary and middle schools fell short of performance goals set by No Child Left Behind.

Pat Warren has reaction from the schools.

Schools superintendent and CEO Andres Alonso cautions parents and students against reading too much into these academic targets.

The federal No Child Left Behind law sets the bar for student proficiency each year. And this year, 89 percent of city schools failed to reach the target.

The Brody family considers reading and math the ABCs of the AYP, which stands for Adequate Yearly Progress, subjects that shouldn’t be measured strictly by tests.

“I think there’s a big problem in the fact that they’re focusing on test scores,” said Mark Brody.

In a written statement, schools superintendent and CEO Andres Alonso calls the AYP arbitrary, something not to be confused with performance or progress.

“I have said for four years, I don’t care about AYP,” Alonso said. “So anyone experiencing angst just isn’t listening. The challenge is to ensure progress. My concern is that this year progress didn’t happen in too many schools. AYP is a distraction from that real conversation.”

“It talks about failure rather than progress,” said Baltimore Teachers Union president Marietta English.

English looks at it from the teachers’ point of view. She says teachers feel bad when they see these test results.

“Of course we do,” English said. “You work hard all year and you hope to see that your children have made progress and your test scores will reflect that. When I saw it today I was feeling bad because I know how hard teachers work, and we didn’t expect to see that we had slipped so far.”

The analysis is no doubt just beginning.

Adequate Yearly Progress is the federal requirement that 100 percent of America’s students be proficient in math and reading by 2014.

Last year, 60 percent of city schools failed to meet the federal standard. This year, it was almost 90 percent.

More from Pat Warren

    I am not suprised at all. When students do not have textbooks to take home and study from, and the schools are delapidated, what should anybody expect? The city schools make a great case for home schooling, vouchers, and bussing to far away “new schools”. If any of us received such a poor job performance review, we would be fired. Not sure how this guy is keeping his job!

    • Wheres common sense when you need it

      The reason he keeps his job is because of the statements you mentioned in the beginning of your paragraph. Students will never preform in the enviroment that government has provided for them. Add the fact that most students go home to disfunctional families and you get these kinds of results. Schools are for teaching, not for raising kids. Untill people realize that the foundation on which students learn starts at home, we will continue to get poor preformance. Untill government gets out of education, we will continue to see poor performance from teachers and staff. We have created a “cookie cutter” education system and because most kids don’t fit the mold, they fail. Teachers hands are tied because they too must teach to the mold or else their evaluations fall short. Everyone in the education system plays the game of politics. Government sets the guidelines, superintendents distribute the guidelines to the principles at the schools, and teachers teach the to these gudelines. The teachers are evaluated base on them teaching the guide lines, not whether the kids are learning. The principles are evaluated on how good the teachers are teaching the guidelines, not by how the school is preforming. The superintendent is evaluated on how the schools are meeting these gudelines, not whether the school system is functioning correctly. This keeps the government happy at both the state and federal levels and the money comes pouring in. When things don’t go well on the tests, everyone blames the teachers. Easy out, right?

  • Sheri K.

    Let’s start making a big deal about parents who don’t encourage their kids to do their base minimum best on these tests. Some kids don’t even have enough enthusiasm to write their name. Some kids are smart enough to do better but are not encouraged by their parents to do their best. You CAN”T put this all on the schools or on the teachers. WAKE UP EDUCATION SYSTEM: Parents are enjoying a free ride as you blame this on YOU.

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