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[Susan notes: It's always interesting to see official comments from department of ed people.]

Published in New York Post

To the editor

Diane Ravitch has been an outspoken critic of our new curriculum, so it must have been especially hard for her when she saw our test scores during the first year of its implementation ("Spinning Scores; Schools Try To Cushion Bad News," Opinion, June 9).

Grudgingly calling the results a "mixed bag," Ravitch gleefully highlights the few negatives.

Here are the facts that she omitted: On 10 separate English and math exams, we improved on six, went down on three and stayed even on one.

The six gains added up to 30 percentage points, while the three declines added up to eight almost a four-to-one improvement ratio.

On the four math tests, we gained an average of 5.1 percentage points this year, almost equaling the 5.5 percentage points we gained over the past four years combined (since testing began in 1999).

Most significantly, on the five middle-grade tests, we gained more than 20 points, or 160 percent more than the 121/2 points we had gained over the past four years combined.

Even on the state tests which Ravitch apparently prefers to the city tests she features the fourth grade without mentioning the eighth grade, where we led the entire state.

We have a long way to go in improving our educational system, and one year's results should not be over-interpreted.

Nevertheless, after decades of failure for so many kids, we are on the right road.

Ravitch can continue to focus on the dark clouds, but I suspect that she's going to be very disappointed as she finds fewer and fewer over time.

Stephen J. Morello, Spokesman, NY City Ed. Dept.

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