Progress Report on Cleveland Schools
The organization created to assess Cleveland’s unique public school system has issued its third report and found mixed results. The public/private group called the Transformation Alliance finds progress in the Cleveland Plan that allows the mayor to oversee the city schools in cooperation with 17 charter schools. State Impact Ohio’s Mark Urycki reports.
The report finds there are more high quality preschools, and at the other end, more students are graduating high school. A dismal 56% graduation rate in 2012 has gone up each year to 69%. Alliance director Piet van Lier says the high school graduation rate has gone up for the fifth year in a row, ACT college entrance exam scores improved, and fewer of those students needed any remediation help in college.
“Those are pretty significant changes. And again if you look at what’s happening with the ACT, and the graduation rate, I think it starts to paint a picture that students are leaving high school and they’re better prepared.
Cleveland student scores dropped in standardized tests last year but students statewide also did worse with the new state tests. Clevelanders scored below state average on the ACT college entrance exam, but they did show improvement as even more kids took the test.
Van Lier says Cleveland school enrollment jumped for the second year in a row after declining for decades.
“To some degree we see that as a vote of confidence right? Along with the vote for the levy renewal in the fall, another vote of confidence to say things are working, there’s some public confidence, people are returning to the schools.”
While some education experts say high poverty districts like Cleveland can’t be expected to perform at the state average, Van Lier says the Alliance will still use that as its goal.
The Alliance is still pushing for better teachers and administrators and more high quality preschools to help improve student performance in Cleveland.