This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks
A new analysis from the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia finds that 49 percent of Pennsylvania public schools fail to meet the state’s overall proficiency expectations.
PILCOP’s report centers on 2012-13 state standardized test scores in reading and math – measuring student performance at all public schools, district, charter or otherwise.
Schools not meeting the state’s proficiency target are situated in 72 percent of Pennsylvania’s school districts, or 357 out of 499, the report said.
"This is a widespread problem," said Michael Churchill, PILCOP executive director. "I think there’s a popular image that a few distressed school districts are having these problems, and that, generally, the state is doing well, but that is not what this data shows."
Beginning in 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Education established target goals for the percentage of students who should score at proficient or advanced levels in reading/literature at 70 percent and in math/algebra at 73 percent.
Churchill says that there is a limit to what standardized tests can tell you, but they do give an accurate portrait, he said, of which schools "are failing to meet minimum standards."