Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The good, the bad, and then there's Memphis.

A review of the headlines about the public school scores finds lots of positive headlines and opening paragraphs:

Both the Maryville and Alcoa school system met the federal benchmark of adequate yearly progress (AYP). From the Maryville Daily Times.

Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) received perfect marks for district-wide performance for grades K-8 in 2005 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) results released today, but continues to need improvement in the high schools. From the Nashville City Paper.

All Clarksville-Montgomery County schools have met target levels for the federally-mandated No Child Left Behind law, according to 2005 results released today. From the Clarksvile Leaf-Chronicle.

Lonsdale and Maynard elementary schools, which were once the lowest-performing schools in Knox County, can remove their scarlet letter. From the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

And then, as expected, it begins to turn with this Memphis Commercial Appeal opening paragraph:

As principals at five Memphis city schools today celebrate getting off the state's dreaded "high priority" school list -- five others struggling with three years of persistently low scores hope to avert a state takeover. From Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Here's the detailed list of Memphis schools from the Commerical Appeal which shows 52 schools on the High Priority list and 5 facing state intervention. According the the Knoxville News-Sentinel there are 253 schools that didn't meet the bar. Memphis had 82 of those schools, just about 1/3rd of the entire total for the state.

To compare Nashville had 33 High Priority and only one school facing intervention. That's about 13% of the total.

The best overviews of the whole process seem to be at the Knoxville News-Sentinel and The Tennessean.

My favorite quote may be this one from Bedford County Director of Schools Ed Gray in the Tennessean article: "If they can't read, they don't need to be going to art and music," he said. "That's not a slam on the fine arts, but being able to read, write and do math is more important." He's exactly correct. Majoring in the fundamentals is paramount. It's what taxpayers and parents expect to be the minimum return on their investment.

You can check your own schools at http://www2.state.tn.us/k-12/ayp05.asp.

**Update: The Memphis Commercial Appeal says there were only 242 schools tested. That makes the numbers worse for them and bumps them up another percentage point to 34%.

Looks like 242 is the correct number per this DOE .pdf document.

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