Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein released the 2008 progress reports for elementary, middle and K-8 schools (1,043 in total). Bloomberg happily noted that 58% of schools moved up a letter grade (or received an A for a second year in a row), "I am thrilled that the majority of schools earned a higher grade by improving performance over the past year. Now we've got to keep that progress going."

Some stats from the Department of Education:

  • Last year, there were 123 As for elementary schools; this year, there are 265. Last year, there were 30 As for K-8 schools; this year, there are 34. Last year, there were 73 As for middle schools; this year, there are 95.
  • More than half of the schools that earned As last year earned As again this year (57 percent). Of the 226 schools that got As last year, 128 were As this year and 75 were Bs.
  • Seventy-one percent of schools that received Cs and Ds last year rose to become As and Bs this year.

  • No school that received an F last year received an F this year. Of the 34 elementary and middle schools that received an F last year and are not phasing out, only one received a D and six received Cs. Eighteen of last year's F schools were Bs this year and nine were As. Half the schools that earned Ds and Fs last year improved to Bs this year.
  • Seventy-eight percent of schools earned extra credit for closing the achievement gap in at least one subject for at least one population.
Of course, some critics are unhappy with the grading system, calling it complex and arbitrary. As the NY TImes reports, "Nine of the schools that got F’s for the 2006-7 school year got A’s in this year’s grading; just one of last year’s A’s plummeted to an F this time around...wild fluctuations [seen] as proof that the system was flawed because of its emphasis on year-to-year progress by individual students rather than multiyear gains." And two schools on the state's list of failing schools got A's.

A big chunk--85%-- of the report card is made up of test scores and students are graded on their year-to-year progress, versus proficiency, leading an education professor at Boston College to tell the Times, "I would say that what they are doing is clearly misguided. These are showing dramatic changes that can have nothing to do with what is actually happening.”

In fact, the Sun reports that I.S. 289 in Battery Park City got a D last year, but the principal made no changes, instead focusing on "a battery of internal assessments that look not just at test scores but also science reports, writing samples, and math projects." This year, the school received an A.

You can search the elementary and middle school report cards here. Next month, high school report cards will be released.