All the Bad News That’s Fit to Print

Say you’re the Boston Globe and you’ve spent the better part of the last decade railing against the city’s overpaid teachers and their 9,000 25,000 page union contract. Backed by a mini-squadron of corporate shills, your warnings against the state of the city’s public schools have grown increasingly shrill. Now say some really good news arrives in the form of national test scores showing that Boston students have made jaw-dropping gains in math and reading since 2003. What do you do? You give this great news story the real estate it deserves bury it.

Here’s a little context. Boston is one of 21 public school districts across the country that volunteer to take something called the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP test (If you’re a Diane Ravitch fanatic you’re starting to feel tingly about now.) So how well did Boston students do? Between 2003 and 2011, 4th and 8th graders in the Boston Public Schools posted gains that were three times larger than improvements nationwide and about two times greater than gains in the average city. Same again in reading. But here’s the truly jaw dropping part: the math gains in Boston were among the largest seen by any jurisdiction, state or local, in NAEP’s 30-year history. Continue reading →