Written by Patricia Hawke for www.schoolsk-12.com

Long Island Schools show marked improvements on statewide math tests for grades three through eight. Albany educational authorities announced the dramatic improvements this month. Long Island Schools tend to mirror statewide improvements across the board. According to Newsday, Education Commissioner Richard Mills said, “The fact that children are achieving higher standards in the middle grades is especially significant.” Long Island Schools, and many across the nation, have faced the challenge of test scores dropping in the middle school years.Amit
In its second year of reporting steady improvements, Long Island Schools are up in every grade and show impressive results. 85.2% of third graders passed, as opposed to 80.5% last year. And seventh graders increased scores from 55.6% to 66.4%. While not all residents in the Long Island Schools district support mandatory testing, these results are still welcome. New York State has the second largest per pupil spending of the 50 states, and often shows the results in impressive test scores. Even so, New York City districts, like the Long Island Schools, have felt pressure to attain the No Child Left Behind mandate to get all children to a proficient ranking by 2014.
Congressman Steve Israel is pushing for funding for the Keeping Our Promise to America’s Children Act to help fund the efforts. Supporting NCLB is costly for Long Island Schools due to lower teacher to student ratios that require more teachers and classrooms, time-consuming but federally mandated paperwork, and the requirement for highly qualified teachers in math and science. While most Long Island Schools’ educators support those actions, finding the methods to make them happen has been challenging. Fortunately, with the over $11,000 per pupil funding through New York State, Long Island Schools are more successful than most schools around the nation.
Of courses this isn’t always felt by board members and educators of Long Island Schools. Some districts in Long Island Schools had heated budget debates in January over trimming the budget and allocating funds. One major area of concern in Long Island Schools is early intervention and remediation programs. Due to the successes of the third grade after school homework program at lessening the need for Special Education classes, Long Island Schools’ educators are hoping for funding for similar projects. Early childhood programs are also in high demand, but didn’t receive the desired funding earlier this year. Early childhood classes are credited with helping low income students better prepare for transition to kindergarten and grade school. Still, with the massive increase in math scores for the past two years, Long Island Schools are showing results the rest of the country is still chasing.