Beating the Odds: A City-by-City Analysis of Student Performance and Achievement Gaps on State Assessments
When we flagged this report some weeks back, we had seen only the executive summary. Now we have the full 240-page tome and are impressed enough to mention it again. Carefully prepared by the Council of the Great City Schools, this is a painstaking analysis of how the Council's 55 member districts (including most of the country's major cities) have done in recent years as gauged primarily by their states' tests. We've never seen anything so detailed and candid-including welcome honesty about the limits of these data and the difficulties of using them for comparisons. The good news is that many of the nation's urban districts are posting significant gains in math and reading and are reducing achievement gaps between white and minority students. Twenty-three urban districts have been making faster gains in math than the state average in at least half the grades tested, while seventeen posted reading gains that exceeded the state average. (Many, of course, still lag well behind their states' averages, and some are weakening vis-?-vis their states.) There is a raft of data here that you probably cannot get anywhere else, as well as a helpful statistical spotlight on the actual condition of urban education in America today. Kudos to the Council for making it available. It can be ordered from the Council for $20 plus $5 shipping by calling 202-393-2427, writing 1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 702, Washington, DC 20004 or surfing to www.cgcs.org.