Baltimore NAEP scores better than expected
Baltimore's scores on a NAEP math test were better than many educators might have expected. For the first time, Baltimore volunteered to be one of 18 cities where the NAEP is given to a large sample of students so that results can be compared to other districts. It was a risky proposition because if the scores had been horrible, the city's multiple year attempt at reform might have been called in to question. In addition, it would have given fuel to those who would like to cut spending on education.
A decade ago, I can remember people asking me whether Baltimore had the worst schools in the nation, a question that couldn't be answered because there was no data that allowed such a comparison. However, we have that data today, and the results show that Baltimore's fourth graders are in the middle of the pack of the 18 large urban areas. They scored above their peers in many tough cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and others. Eighth graders did not do as well, but the school system points out that the city's African American poor population scored about the same as their peer group across the nation.
The scores are still low and CEO Andres Alonso points out that these results now gives him some good reason to tear up the math curriculum and figure out what might work better, but at least the city can say that its schools probably aren't doing much worse than other cities in America.