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For each of the last 13 years, community activist Tom Goodkind has spent about eight hours calculating the reading score rankings of Lower Manhattan schools, so you’d probably be surprised to learn he’s not a big fan of the tests.
“I would personally like to do away with these tests and just have good schools,” Goodkind said. “But tests matter. We get a good indication of how we are doing in this horrendous rat race for better education.”
Goodkind, a longtime Battery Park City resident and Community Board 1 member, said the competition for space in Manhattan’s better public middle schools is so fierce that it is important for parents to know how the local schools are doing on a key factor — the fourth grade English Language Arts or reading tests. On what he now calls the Annual Goodkind Ranking of NYC Public Elementary Schools, he ranks the percentage of fourth graders who score passing grades, 3 or 4.
Although scores are lower citywide and in Lower Manhattan as students and schools continue to adjust to new tests tied to the Common Core Curriculum, Goodkind was pleased to see that overall the Downtown schools once again did relatively well and that Spruce Street School was ranked 26 out of 732 schools citywide in just its first year of taking the fourth grade tests. Spruce was the highest ranked school in the C.B. 1 neighborhoods (Tribeca, B.P.C. and FiDi) but all of those schools finished high. In the broader Downtown area, NEST (New Explorations into Science Technology and Math) continued to shine once again, ranking third overall in the city.
Goodkind’s children, 17 and 25, are far away from worrying about middle school admissions, but for him the ranking remains a labor of love.
“As a C.P.A., I love screwing around with numbers all day,” he said. “No one else likes it but we do.”
— Josh Rogers