EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

December 13, 2012

Column: State education strategy aims at success for all

If you look at the achievement markers for Massachusetts public school students, the results are astounding. Massachusetts students and teachers are not only performing at a high level, but continuously improving. Our accomplishments are a direct result of Gov. Deval Patrick’s leadership and the administration’s deep investment in K-12 education.

Newly released international test scores place Massachusetts among the world leaders in eighth-grade mathematics and science achievement. On the heralded TIMSS assessment, Massachusetts eighth-graders trail only their peers in Singapore in science achievement. In math achievement, Massachusetts eighth-graders trail only their peers in four leading Asian countries.

Under Lt. Gov. Tim Murray’s leadership as chairman of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Advisory Council, the state is a recognized national leader in STEM education. The administration has invested heavily in programs to develop a highly skilled workforce, foster economic development, and position the commonwealth as a leader in the 21st century innovation-based economy.

Our students today are reading better and doing math better than a decade ago. Ten years ago, the typical African American or Hispanic/Latino 10th grade student was scoring at or just below the “Needs Improvement” category on MCAS. Today, the typical African American or Hispanic/Latino 10th grade student is scoring in the “Proficient” range.

Despite these accomplishments, not all students are enjoying the same level of success. The story for English language learners and students with disabilities is not as good as for other student groups. And the proficiency gaps that exist in every student group demonstrate the work that still needs to be done to bring all students to high levels.

The administration’s K-12 education agenda is aimed at closing proficiency gaps, particularly in the gateway cities, and ensuring that all students are ready for the opportunities that await them after high school. To meet these ambitious goals, we are implementing four primary strategies in classrooms, schools, and school districts across the state.

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