Tuesday, January 09, 2007

DC Catholic school see long-term turnaround

An now for something not Fenty/Barr/DCPS related:

The Washington Post takes a look at the remarkable turnaround the District's catholic schools have performed over the last decade.
It was one of the most radical realignments of Catholic education ever attempted in a U.S. city. Ten years later, principals and teachers at the 14 schools in the archdiocese's Center City Consortium are celebrating a sharp turnaround in student achievement and faculty support. The consortium serves about 2,400 students through eighth grade, nearly a third of whom receive federally funded tuition vouchers.

Scores on the TerraNova standardized test at these schools jumped sharply over a five-year period, according to new figures from the consortium. Average reading scores rose more than 60 percent from 2000 to 2005, the data show, and math scores rose 78 percent. Meantime, the teacher turnover rate in the consortium schools dropped from 50 percent in 2000 to 10 percent in 2005.

1 comment:

ms. sweetland said...

I find it amazing that the Post story made no connection at all to its story 2 weeks back about the Consortium closing two of its schools, yet quote the CCC mission of 'saving' schools in the city.

I've taught for the CCC, and there are severe inequities from one building to the next. They may have found one teacher to say she has "all the resources" she needs, but they must have looked pretty hard, and past dozens of teachers who don't. Enrollment is down, and the system is running a 6 million dollar deficit, according to statement made by executive director Juana Brown in a teachers' meeting.

Finally, the "remarkable improvement' in test scores is not all it's cracked up to be. They do a lot of sleight of hand with the numbers--reporting "percent growth" as if they were "point increases"--and in general the rise in test scores is due to a relentless focus on teaching to the test.

There are a lot of great things about being a teacher in the Catholic system, but a "remarkable turn-around" is not one of them.