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Long Island Schools Rate Well On Math Test
Long Island schools are showing marked improvements on statewide math tests for students in grades three through eight. Albany education authorities announced dramatic improvements this month. Long Island schools tend to reflect statewide improvements in all areas. According to Newsday, Education Commissioner Richard Mills said: “The fact that children are reaching higher levels in the middle grades is particularly significant. Schools on Long Island, and many others across the country, have faced the challenge of plummeting test scores during the college years.
In its second year of reporting steady improvements, Long Island schools are rising at every level and showing impressive results. 85.2% of ninth graders passed, compared to 80.5% last year. And seventh graders increased their scores from 55.6% to 66.4%. While not all residents of the Long Island Schools District support mandatory testing, these results are still welcome. New York State has the second highest spending per student of the 50 states and often shows results in impressive test scores. Even so, New York City districts, like schools on Long Island, have felt pressure to achieve the No Child Left Behind mandate to bring all children to a competent grade by 2014.
Congressman Steve Israel is pushing for funding for the Keeping Our Promise to America’s Children Act to help fund the efforts. Supporting NCLB is costly for Long Island schools due to declining teacher-to-student ratios that require more teachers and classrooms, time-consuming but federally mandated paperwork, and the requirement for teachers highly skilled in math and science. While most educators in Long Island schools support these actions, it has been difficult to find the methods to make them happen. Fortunately, with funding of over $11,000 per student through New York State, schools on Long Island are more successful than most schools in the country.
Of course, this is not always felt by board members and educators in Long Island schools. Some Long Island school districts had heated budget debates in January over budget cuts and fund allocations. Early intervention and remediation programs are a top concern for Long Island schools. Because of the third-grade after-school homework program’s successes in reducing the need for special education classes, educators at Long Island schools are hoping for funding for similar projects. Early childhood programs are also in high demand, but did not receive the desired funding earlier this year. Early childhood classes are credited with helping low-income students better prepare for the transition to kindergarten and elementary school. Yet with the massive increase in math scores over the past two years, schools on Long Island are showing results that the rest of the country is still chasing.
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