School is starting back up this week in Colorado Springs, starting the 2014-15 school year like it is all over the country. But just before school opened this year, the state published the test results (TCAP) from last school year (2013-14). The general consensus seemed to be disappointment they weren’t better, but I guess being the positive person that I am, I couldn’t help but see a silver lining for some of the schools in the Colorado Springs area.
- While the state average for 3rd grade reading was 72% proficient or advanced, many of the schools in the Colorado Springs area exceed that by a wide margin, including Academy D20 (83%), Lewis-Palmer D38 (82%), Cheyenne Mtn D12 (89%), Manitou Springs D14 (79%), and Widefield D3 (77%)
- While scores appeared to drop statewide (from 73% to 72%), Widefield schools actually improved from 74% to 77%
There are of course some major concerns. Colorado Springs School District 11, the largest in the area, dropped from 72% to 68%. While several of their elementary schools were still above the 90% mark, many of the schools within the district dropped significantly. Some of the perennial high scoring schools even dropped. Cheyenne Mountain Charter Academy went from 97% to 91%. The Classical Academy dropped from 90% to 86%.
Why the drop in scores? There is no real consensus. One thing is for sure, school test scores still drive a lot of families decisions on where to live, and districts that are not concerned about them pay a price in terms of home values and ultimately their tax base. Like a lot of things, in public education, you get what you pay for, and you lose what you don’t pay for.