Parents have long felt that city schools are set up to serve the highest achievers -- via gifted and talented programs and the specialized high schools, for example -- and, particularly in the current Mayoral administration, to analyze and attempt to meet the needs of the city's neediest, lowest-performing students. Thus, an era of high-stakes testing, data-driven accountability, and the basic equation of "progress" with rising scores.
But a large swath of students have been overlooked in the alphabet soup of AYP (annual yearly progress), SURR (schools under Regents review), SINI (schools in need of improvement), and NCLB (No Child Left Behind). As Sam Dillon reported in today's Times, and Eduwonkette put into thoughtful context, we risk losing sight of the kids who are doing well, or well enough. They're not making as much progress as their less-able peers, mainly because the educational target has aimed at proficiency, with less emphasis on pushing the already-proficient to new levels of rigor and achievement.
Clearly, resources are finite, and a large segment of the city's kids need and deserve real attention to the academic basics. But can we afford, as parents and as citizens, to slight the students who are already doing well?