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UFT, de Blasio & Fariña talk test results

Stephon Johnson | 8/21/2014, 3:06 p.m.

The results are in for both the New York statewide and New York citywide exams in math and English, and despite some uptick, there’s still much improvement to be made.

On the statewide exams, New York City students made some headway with a 2-percent increase in those passing the reading exam (from 27 percent to 29 percent) and a 4-percent increase in those who passed the math exam (from 30 percent to 34 percent).

When it came to the citywide exams, proficiency in math rose from 30 percent to 35 percent and proficiency in English saw a slight uptick from 27 percent to 29 percent.

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew was pleased with the slight increases, but noted other big issues that aren’t resolving themselves. While Black and Latino students did improve slightly, it didn’t close any of the significant gaps in achievement the two groups have with white and Asian students.

“Thanks to hard work by students and teachers, city scores on the latest state tests showed modest improvements,” said Mulgrew in a statement. “But the racial achievement gap, which the Bloomberg administration kept claiming it was closing, remains a major problem that the schools and the new administration must focus on. Real improvement happens in well-resourced classrooms with well-supported teachers. We look forward to moving in that direction in the new school year.”

During a news conference at the Brooklyn Brownstone School on the citywide results, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “This is a good day for the whole New York City school system,” but also gave some credit to former mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“We want to give credit that’s due to the previous administration for their part of the equation, that’s only fair and right,” de Blasio said. “It’s well known that I disagreed with the previous administration on a number of issues related to education, but it’s also important to note some of the things they did right.”

Schools chancellor Carmen Fariña, before the statewide results were revealed, said during last week’s news conference with de Blasio that she “won’t be happy until at the end of this year I can stand before you and say we’ve doubled or tripled the amount of proficiency. It could be a lot better and will be, and I promise you that.”