Given the political stakes in D.C. with the upcoming election I figured the release of the latest round of test scores would occasion a free-for-all. But so far pretty measured.
Just as last year’s scores shouldn’t have been a cause for loads of celebration, this year’s shouldn’t cause people to freak out – especially because elementary scores seem to be slightly down across the city, in charter and non-charter public schools. And regardless the overall trends are in the right direction (as Michael Casserly points out in the paper released by DCPS today) and some ebbs and flows are par for the course.
Update: Longer WaPo look at this. Here’s the paradox of all the data that is now available. On the one hand it’s giving a lot more analytic bite to understanding school performance. But on the other it’s creating a short-term perspective on ups and downs, like following a sports team in the playoffs. Here the overall trends are going in the right direction — in a city where for too long students faced catastrophically long odds of success — and so a one-year dip should be examined but it’s not cause for alarm.
In terms of the politics here, obviously the stronger message for Fenty and Rhee in an election year would be uninterrupted upward movement. But they can credibly point to the overall trends and cite a lot of progress under Rhee and have a credible and powerful message on education and these scores don’t really change that. To counter that narrative, City Council Chairman Gray, who is challenging Fenty, released a set of education proposals the other day. WaPo ed board unpacks here.