This site aims to inform and mobilize Beverly parents to take an active role in all issues related to the funding and operation of the city's schools. It was launched in the spring of 2008, when the city saw its first-ever override attempt fail, followed by the closure of a nearly-new elementary school. Subsequent years have seen further cuts that have led to larger class sizes across the district. While the opening of an impressive new high school and plans to replace the city's aging middle school give us reason to be optimistic, the school community must be ever vigilant in demanding appropriate school funding by city and state governments, and better community communications from the district and School Committee.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hayes Also Hits Back at Gail and Elliott

Joining Assistant Superintendent Marie Galinski, whose letter to the Citizen we highlighted last week, Superintendent Hayes has even stronger words for the Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility duo of Elliott Margolis and Gail Burke, who have both built their reputations as critics of the school system on questionable interpretations of the numbers.

In explaining the meaning of the "needs improvement" rating that the district received this year, Hayes writes:

When Gail Burke and Elliott Margolis went to grade school, most likely the passing score for their tests, quizzes, and papers was a minimum score of 60 out of 100. And it probably stayed that way throughout their years in grades 1-12.

Unlike the grading scale for Gail and Elliott, as Massachusetts schools have progressed through the MCAS years from 2001 to the present, the minimum acceptable score, also on a scale of 100 points, has not stayed the same — it increased.

Take math, for instance. In 2001 schools that had a score of 53 or better were judged to be “making AYP,” Adequate Yearly Progress. In 2009 and 2010, schools and school districts must score 84.3 or better to make AYP. In 2011 and 2012, they must score 92.2 or better, and beginning in 2013, they must score a perfect 100. Schools and districts are scored using MCAS results, and the scores are used to determine whether they have met the AYP target. When a school or district doesn’t make AYP for two years in a row, they are labeled “needs improvement”.

Burke (no relation to Mayoral candidate John Burke) is running for School Commitee, and Margolis for City Councilor in the November election.

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