“If you are a newish resident (anytime in the last 20 years) you would probably only notice a small decline in comparison with the forward motion of schools who used to be behind us and are now in front–often by many points. If you’ve lived here longer you will have noticed a fairly large increase of staff in the education supervisors. A department that either did not exist or only had at most one or two employees now has increased to an assistant to every assistant who works for a supervisor.
However, the main reason we have declined is completely out of our control. The “No child left behind” law means that instead of being placed in groups according to your ability (like the real world) children are all mixed up. I.Q’s thus range from brilliant to being just a wee bit higher than special ed in the same classroom. The top children are totally bored with having to wait for the slowest to understand a concept, which usually takes days. (Remember–no child can be left behind).
We used to have a pull out program that took the so called “gifted” children to an enrichment class to stimulate them and give them projects above what the other children do. This was in addition to having them taught in their own peer groups. It made the job harder for the teachers as they had to provide material for 3 or more different ability groups going at the same time. Now they only have to provide for one average or lower depending on the abilities in his/her particular class.
As an obvious result, the whole grade school did not learn as fast and “dumbed down ” the students in the middle school as many harder classes are no longer offered until a later year of school. And certain schools were even offered a new test system to learn math. Those “lucky” schools then mostly dropped behind the others in math!
Our schools used to offer a “John Hopkins” exam to the brightest 10% of our 7th graders. This consisted in those students taking the SAT at the same time as high school students. The highest scores were then invited to take some special summer courses as a resident student at the John Hopkins college campus.
Our current students thus are being denied by law from having the many valuable additions which would, of course, have kept our schools out of the highest rankings of years before. However, this still does not explain how others schools with, presumably, the same restrictions are now scoring constantly higher than we are. Maybe they are more resistant to the slavish following of the law then our school Superintendent and staff apparently are. There is absolutely no reason that our school with its many many talented students should rank below other schools.
‘Gifted (a term never used anymore”