Schools Get Graded

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The state's overall graduation rate for 2008 is up to 82.2 percent, but in Memphis City Schools, the graduation rate is still hovering in the mid-60s.

The Tennessee Department of Education released its 2008 state report card data this morning.

"Under Governor Bredesen's leadership, Tennessee's focus is on raising standards for student learning so all students have the opportunity to graduate well-prepared to pursue higher education or enter the workforce," Education Commissioner Timothy Webb said in a press release. "Our aggressive path of improvement means a better chance for students and a stronger workforce for Tennessee."

The 2008 graduation for MCS is 66.9, down from 69.6 last year. The state goal is 90 percent.

The 2008 graduation rate for the Shelby County Schools 96.1 percent, up 2.1 percentage points from last year.

In addition to graduation rates, the data identifies whether districts and schools met federal benchmarks set by the No Child Left Behind act, average scores on TCAP math, language arts, and writing assessments, and ACT scores.

A press release from MCS notes areas of progress for the district in K-8 math and reading scores, the number of highly qualified teachers in core courses, and 5th, 8th, and 11th grade writing. It also said graduation rates, ACT scores, and K-8 science and social studies were areas where the district could improve.

"While the district is moving ahead, in some areas, we have got to pick up the pace," Memphis City Schools superintendent Kriner Cash said in a written statement. "Our current reform initiatives are designed to achieve breakthrough results on these numbers and to get ahead of the curve on the new tougher state standards coming to Tennessee school districts in the next several years."

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