October 15 2009, 9:41 AM
According to the "Nation's Report Card," 84 percent of Colorado fourth-graders and 76 percent of eighth-graders edged out their peers in math, performing at or above the National Assessment of Educational Progress standard. Nationally, 81 percent of fourth-grade students and 71 percent of eighth-grade students performed at the NAEP Basic Level, notes The Denver Post. While Colorado Commissioner of Education Dwight Jones is pleased with the results, he adds "at the same time, the focus on improving math instruction, especially at the elementary level, must continue." Jones cites two partnerships that help kids improve as part of that focus. Nationally, the "trend is flat," Chester E. Finn Jr., president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a research organization in Washington, tells The New York Times: "That means that eight years after enactment of No Child Left Behind, the problems it set out to solve are not being solved, and now we're five years from the deadline and we're still far, far from the goal." Meanwhile, Poudre School District in Fort Collins, consistently one of the highest-scoring in the state and highly desirable for teachers, is studying proposed closures and consolidations, writes the Fort Collins Coloradoan.