Stats that Stick: September 7, 2011
New Yorkers who are dissatisfied with the quality of the city’s public schools: About 6 in 10
The New York Times conducted a recently released poll that shows New Yorkers are broadly unhappy with their public schools. In addition, most do not believe Mayor Michael Bloomberg has helped improved the situation. Bloomberg has made improving schools a key issue during his tenure as mayor, yet only 34 percent of those surveyed said they approve of how Bloomberg is handling education. City officials told the Times the numbers do not tell whole story, noting the gains they have made such as getting graduation rates to an all-time high.
Extra length in the proposed extended Chicago school day: 90 minutes
Negotiations over Chicago extending the length of its school day is continuing among school leaders, the teachers union, and city officials. City officials want the school day in Chicago – one of the shortest in the country – to be extended by an hour and a half to improve achievement among students. The Chicago Tribune reports the city’s public schools officials have now expanded their offer of financial incentives to schools and teachers in exchange for working longer hours. Three schools have voted to move to a longer day, despite union opposition.
Average GPA of Chicago public school graduate during their freshman year in college: Less than 3.0
The Chicago Tribune analyzed data and found graduates of Illinois’ public high schools are struggling in college. The data show these students struggle to get a B average as freshmen at the state’s universities and community colleges, even after leaving top-performing high schools with good grades. In fact, public school graduates at 10 of the state’s 11 four-year universities averaged less than a 3.0 GPA their freshman year.
Teachers who say helping underachieving students overshadows needs of gifted students: 80 percent
Nearly 4 out of 5 teachers surveyed in 2008 by the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute in Washington agreed that "getting underachieving students to reach proficiency has become so important that the needs of advanced students take a back seat." The Christian-Science Monitor reported on the tendency for public schools to leave gifted students behind as they struggle to help the neediest students.