by Kyle Swenson
Cleveland Public Schools — ever gripped in the struggle for improvement — were dealt a blow this week when a national analysis of test data showed the district holding down a low spot on a list of 17 urban schools systems.
The U.S. Department of Education released the “Nation’s Report Card” this week, detailing the results of science test scores for fourth- and eighth-graders in 2009, according to the Plain Dealer. The results were not good: Cleveland’s fourth-graders were ranked 16th, kept out of the basement by Detroit; the eighth-graders did better, landing above Detroit, Baltimore and Philadelphia.
The report not only compares the 17 districts' scores, it puts them up against those of students in all cities with populations of at least 250,000, as well as the nation as a whole.
Most of the 17 districts did not fare well against the rest of the country on the science tests. In Cleveland, 70 percent of the fourth-graders and 74 percent of the eighth-graders failed to achieve basic proficiency.
To their credit, the schools realize they have work to do. The district opted to have the data made public, and the paper quotes the district’s Chief Academic Officer Eric Gordon having this to say: "It's a matter of accountability; we're not going to hide . . . This data is not good news. We have a lot of work to do."