“Atlanta should be confident that its school system, while continuing to need improvement, has made real and sizable gains for its children of which the citizenry can be justifiably proud,” writes Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, in an op-ed piece published in the June 7 edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Casserly, a noted expert on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test, pointed out that Atlanta Public Schools’ fourth- and eighth-graders showed the most gains on the reading portion of the NAEP test, also known as the “Nation’s Report Card.” A 14-point increase between 2002 to 2009 compares favorably with Georgia’s students as well as the national average.
Casserly recalled that a team of national reading, math and science experts visited APS to examine district’s gains:
The results of the examination — based on extensive interviews, data analysis and document review — attributed the improvements to a number of organizational and instructional factors: strong community support; an increasingly cohesive school board; a visionary and skilled superintendent; a clearly articulated strategy for reform that was sustained over a prolonged period; a strong mechanism for holding adults accountable for student results; good data with which to monitor progress and inform classroom practice; and other factors.
In conclusion, Casserly wrote, “while everyone is entitled to their own opinions, no one is entitled to their own facts.”
Read the entire column here.