Tuesday, May 22, 2018
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Toledo's poorer schools did worse on tests

Toledo Public Schools with the highest percentages of low-income students generally performed worse than those living in more affluent neighborhoods, a review of state test results and data show.

Twenty-eight TPS buildings received failing grades for their performance last school year 10 were given F s and 18 got D s in the 2006-07 State Local Report Cards released Tuesday.

The vast majorities of students at those schools were labeled as economically disadvantaged in the report, while Toledo schools rated effective and excellent by the state had lower percentages of poor students.

The Toledo district and many other urban school systems have reported the same trend for years.

Toledo Public School officials have in previous years pointed to test scores showing that the greatest progress has been made in the low-income schools.

Toledo Superintendent John Foley said curricular and support-program changes this year should help address the poorly performing schools problems.

I think there is pretty consistent research that shows socio-economic status impacts education in a number of ways, Mr. Foley said. The challenge is for schools to provide programs to beat those odds.

Sherman Elementary in central Toledo had the lowest performance-index score a 58.6 on a 120-point scale of all TPS schools.

The school s score has fallen steadily since 2004: 72.1 in 2004-05 and 66.2 in 2005-06.

Additionally, Sherman is among 21 TPS schools that did not meet a single state performance standard, and among 54 that did not meet a federal adequate yearly progress goal that shows progress for all students and across subgroups such as minorities and income classes.

Sherman s proportion of poverty was among the district s highest nearly 90 percent of its student body was identified as economically disadvantaged during 2006-07.

Pickett and Chase elementary schools rounded out the bottom three of the district s worst-performing schools, with 60.3 and 61.6 performance-index scores, respectively.

Nadyah Abdul-Malik, whose seven children and three grandchildren have attended Pickett over the years, said she has had mixed experiences with the school.

When my children got in there and started, they were performing well, Ms. Abdul-Malik said. But it doesn t surprise me to know now that they have been in academic emergency for so long.

More than 68 percent of the third graders at Pickett failed their reading achievement test, marking the worst results on that exam for the district.

Chase s 95.9 percent was the highest percentage of low-income students for the elementary schools. Chase s score was just barely ahead of Pickett on the third-grade test, with 66.7 percent failing.

In contrast, the district s best-performing elementary schools, Harvard and Beverly, have comparably low percentages of poor students.

Harvard Elementary, the first Toledo Public elementary ever awarded an excellent rating, is in a middle to upper-middle income South Toledo neighborhood with a view of the Maumee River.

Last year, slightly more than 42 percent of its about 365 students were listed as low-income, and 92.5 percent of its third graders passed the reading achievement test.

Beverly Elementary, on Rugby Drive in South Toledo near the Toledo Country Club, had just 23 percent of it 308 students labeled as economically disadvantaged. Its passing rate for the third-grade reading test was 76.5.

High school results showed the same pattern. Bowsher and Start high schools performed better than Woodward, Waite, and the small schools within Scott and Libbey high schools.

As a district, Toledo Public Schools slipped to academic watch, the state s second-lowest rating.

It missed continuous improvement by nine-tenths of a point on its performance index, a measure that recognizes the achievement of every tested student, not just those who score at proficient or higher levels.

Like the other eight large urban districts in Ohio, Toledo is surrounded by wealthier suburbs with better performing schools.

Socio-economic factors, including high transience rates, also are associated with low income.

The urban districts have much higher turnover among their students than the rest of the state, said Mitchell Chester, senior associate superintendent of policy and accountability for the Ohio Department of Education.

Mr. Chester said the mobility rate statewide is about 6 percent, however, it is about 14 percent for the state s urban school districts.

Our intent as we go forward, is to talk with the districts with the highest mobility rates and see if the state can help prevent that mobility, he said. Those students score substantially lower than the students who are stable over the course of the year.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:imessina@theblade.comor 419-724-6171.

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