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53% of boro schools fail state standards

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Fewer than 50 percent of Queens schools met state standards on the 1999-2000 English and Math tests and the vast majority of middle schools in the borough failed to reach the state’s goals on the math exam, the state Education Department announced last week.

The report cards released by the state show that Queens elementary schools fared better on the 1999-2000 math exam — with a 63 percent passage rate — than on the English test. But math scores in the borough’s middle schools reveal a disturbing picture, with only 13 percent meeting the state standard in Queens.

Of the 404 elementary and middle schools in Queens, 47.3 percent met state standards while 52.7 percent of schools did not, the Department of Education said.

Within the borough, School District 26 in northeastern Queens maintained its dominance as all of its 20 elementary schools met state standards on the tests. Only one District 26 middle school — JHS 216 in Flushing — failed to meet state standards in math out of the five. District 26 includes schools in Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Glen Oaks and parts of Auburndale and Fresh Meadows.

Elsewhere in northeast Queens, School District 25 covering Whitestone, Flushing, College Point and part of Fresh Meadows, six elementary schools out of 22 fell short of the state standard on the English test but only two were below the target on the math exam.

Among the seven middle schools in District 25, three passed the reading exam and only one the math exam.

Overcrowded School District 29, which covers Queens Village, Laurelton, Springfield Gardens and parts of Fresh Meadows, had the fewest elementary schools meeting state standards for both exams, with only seven reaching the bar in English and six hitting the mark in math. None of the five middle schools in the district passed the English or math tests.

School District 27, based in Ozone Park and the Rockaways, had the fewest elementary schools meeting the state standard for English with just five passing. One of the nine middle schools made the grade on the English exam, but none reached the state standard for math.

District 28, which stretches from Jamaica in southeast Queens to Forest Hills and Richmond Hill, had 10 elementary schools achieve the state standard in English and 13 in math. On the middle school front, one met the bar on the English exam and one on the math test.

In western Queens, severely crowded School District 24 had seven elementary schools out of 21 reach the state standards on English and nine in math. Out of seven middle schools in the district covering Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village, one passed the eighth-grade English exam and none made the grade in math.

Nearby District 30, which includes Astoria, Long Island City, Woodside and Sunnyside, had eight elementary schools reach the state standard in English and 16 in math out of 21 schools. Among among the eight middle schools in the district two reached the state standards in English and only one in math.

Results in Queens mirrored those throughout the city, where the majority of schools did not meet the state standards on the 1999-2000 tests.

Schools Chancellor Harold Levy had little to say about the state numbers.

“Without longer instructional programs and more certified teachers, no one should be surprised by these results,” Levy said in a statement.

Randi Weingarten, president of the teachers union, the United Federation of Teachers, also was tight-lipped on the state’s report cards.

“Creating new standards and disclosing results represent the easiest part,” said Weingarten, whose union is engaged in a bitter contract dispute with the city. “The hard part is providing the resources — and doing the work — to make sure that kids meet the new standards.”

A spokesman for the state Department of Education said it used new information to evaluate schools’ progress in preparing students in fourth grade and eighth grade to meet higher standards.

“We’re continuing to collect data from schools,” spokesman Bill Hirschen said.

School Board 26 President Sharon Maurer said the new context for the 1999-2000 test scores provided by the state was an ideal way to look at exam results.

“The state adds to the information other growth factors like the number of certified teachers in a school and the number of English Language Learners,” she said. “That’s important to know.”

Maurer said that a predominance of English Language Learners, students who are learning English as a second language, could result in lower results when those students start to take the tests.

Such information is critical, Maurer said “to get a clear picture of what a school or district is like.”

State Assemblyman Mark Weprin (D-Bayside) praised the report cards as a way to continue to strive to meet the state’s higher academic standards.

“I think its great,” he said. “Anything that keeps an education administra­tor’s feet to the fire is good.”

Maurer said “the more information about a school that’s out there the better.”

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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