The Achievement Alliance is a project of Just for the Kids / National Center for Educational Accountability, National Council of La Raza, Business Roundtable, Citizens Commission on Civil Rights, and The Education Trust. The following are excerpts from the "Its Being Done" section of the May 9th edition of The Alliance Alert, a newsletter of The Achievement Alliance:
"Five years ago, Daytons Bluff was known as the worst school in St. Paul and one of the worst in Minnesota. Located on the eastern side of the city, surrounded by a neighborhood of wood-frame houses where the occasional crack house is easily spotted and two murders were reported in two recent weeks, nine out of ten children could not read on grade level.
"The school was in chaos, is the way one teacher puts it.
"Another teacher remembers that, for the most part, teachers thought they couldnt teach much. Most teachers would excuse students low performance by saying that they came from families with little education or money. They would often say about the students, They just need love, she remembers.
"Contrast that with 2004, when more than eight out of ten students at Daytons Bluff met or exceeded the state reading standards with the school poised to post even higher gains for 2005. Classrooms are calm, students work hard, and last year no teacher left to teach at another St. Paul school.
"Perhaps most striking is that in math, Daytons Bluffs third graders – who are mostly poor African-American and Hmong children – slightly outperformed White Minnesotan third graders."
"It is so important to dispel the myth that these children cant learn to high standards, says the principal, Von Sheppard, about African-American and Hmong children. Theres a belief system out there that theyre not as smart as White kids, he says. Were on a mission to conquer every myth and every test."
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