|NYC average proficiency rates in 3rd-8th grade 2013-2017|
In NYC the increases were a little larger: a gain of more than two points in ELA proficiency to 40.6% and 1.4 points to 37.8% proficiency in math.
Commissioner Elia, Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Farina claimed that the increase in proficiency since 2013 was strong evidence that our students and schools are making progress.
|NYC average proficiency rates in 3rd-8th grade 2002-2008|
In New York City, the rapid growth in proficiency rates – in 2009 with 82 percent of city students proficient in math and 69 percent in English, up sharply from 42 and 38 percent, respectively, in 2002 -- helped Michael Bloomberg renew control over the schools and cruise to an unprecedented third term as mayor. (Here are the charts showing gains up to 2008- I can no longer find the ones from 2009.)
|Mayor de Blasio press conference Aug. 22, 2017|
He evinced amnesia when he claimed that for the first time, most kids in NYC are near proficiency, saying that at the end of the previous administration only 30% of kids were reading at grade level and that low achievement was "tolerated" by earlier mayors.
Yet despite the Mayor’s words, early childhood education doesn't end at preK, but according to most experts lasts at least to 2nd grade. De Blasio deserves credit for vastly expanding preK, but when Rudy Crew was Chancellor, he put focus on expanding preK and reducing class size in grades K-3– both reforms critical for improving learning opportunities and narrowing the achievement gap. Crew also invested special funding into reducing class size to even smaller levels in low-performing schools, called the Chancellor’s district.
|Number of NYC 1st-3rd grade students in classes of 30 or more 2007-2016|
The number of students in very large classes in the early grades has soared. More than 20,000 Kindergarten students were in classes of 25 or more last fall, and more than 43,000 1st-3rd graders in classes of 30 or larger – the latter an increase of 4000% since 2007. The failure of de Blasio to reduce class size as he promised and as the state law requires prompted Class Size Matters, the Public Advocate and nine NYC parents to file a legal complaint against the DOE to the State Education Department last month.
As Karl Marx wrote, history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.