Bad Grades For Menino?

The latest MCAS results, released by the state this morning, have a lot of data in them so it is a little unfair to draw conclusions on a quick scan. That said, it looks on quick scan that the numbers may not be helpful to Mayor Tom Menino.

Here's a useful compilation of year-to-year data for the Boston Public School District, with the new numbers (from tests administered in the Spring of 2009) with the previous three years.

As you'll see, at the higher grades there has been some scattered progress. But not so much at the lower grade levels.

In particular, the numbers for 3rd and 4th graders are essentially unchanged over the four years -- with roughly a quarter of students "failing" in English Language Arts, and another roughly 45% "Needs Improvement"; and only some 30 percent "Proficient" or above. The Mathematics results for those grade levels also show little change.

I would imagine that the mayor's political challengers could use this as evidence for their campaign theme that the city is stuck in neutral when it needs to be making significant strides.

To be fair, I'm not exactly seeing huge leaps at those levels in the state-wide numbers either. But I'm not sure that "Boston's no more stuck in a rut than the rest of the state" is a winning political response for Menino.

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