State Test Scores Out, Central Falls 300 Places in Rankings

Also, a new study says there is a racial bias in school funding: When controlling for poverty, districts with high minority populations get fewer funds.

Just in time for it to not be a factor in the gubernatorial election, the state has released its annual school performance scores. The school results had been delayed until after the election, though the state says it was for accuracy reasons.

The results are sobering. Central High School, which last year was named the second highest-scoring school in the state, fell three hundred places to 302nd. That seems quite weird — were last year’s seniors the smartest class in Central history? The top school in the state was Downingtown STEM. Central Bucks High School East and Lower Merion’s Merion Elementary in Montgomery County were the No. 2 and No. 3 highest-scoring schools in Pennsylvania.

But it’s the system-wide change that’s notable. Schools activist Helen Gym tweeted out the following image from this analysis in The Notebook.

Across the board, test scores have fallen for grades three to eight over the past two years. The scores also dropped for almost all subgroups of students – most dramatically for at-risk populations, including economically disadvantaged students and African American students,” The Notebook wrote. It was not a good trend coming into this year.

To make things worse, a new analysis says that, when controlling for poverty, school districts with more minority students get less funding.

“If you take basic funding as a simple measure and control for one factor such as poverty, you expect the points to be scattered,” data analysis David Mosenkis told The Notebook. “You would expect that race or color of the students shouldn’t make more of a difference than, say, height or weight. But to see such a clear delineation based on race tells me that the current funding is biased based on this factor.”

[The Notebook | Inquirer]