For a while, it seemed like things were improving in the city's public school system. Test scores were up and the disparity in performance between white kids and minorities was small. But the 2010 test scores smashed that dream, showing a 25% drop in passing rates from last year, and a gaping divide in performance between the city's white and Asian students and black and Hispanic students. Michael J. Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, told the Times, "On achievement, the story in New York City is of some modest progress, but not the miracle that the mayor and the chancellor would like to claim."
According to the third through eighth grade tests, 75% of white students and 82% of Asian students met the state standard in math, as compared to 46% of Hispanic students and 40% of black students. In English, 64% of white and Asian students met standards, compared to 33% of black students and 34% of Hispanic students. Those levels are about the same as when Mayor Bloomberg was first elected, though just last year he said, "We are closing the shameful achievement gap faster than ever." The DOE recently admitted the tests used to determine which students are eligible for gifted programs were flawed, though didn't say whether it was for racial reasons.
Experts say the city's trends are a microcosm of scores around the country, though it's been hard to pinpoint a reason behind the gap's resurgence. Some blame the economy while others say there has been an "increase in fatherless black households." However, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein still feels "awfully good" about the scores, saying, "I think there are sustained steady gains here, and I think that's important."