After two years of gains under D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, in the latest round of standardized tests, elementary scores have fallen.
Math and reading scores for elementary school students dropped 4.5 points from last year, according to preliminary D.C. CAS test results. At the same time, scores for high school students in math and reading jumped 3 and 4 points respectively.
Today outside Ballou High School in southeast D.C., Rhee stressed the overall progress city schools have made in the past three years under mayoral control, but admitted there are going to be what she called "setbacks" at times.
"If it was as easy as if you work hard every single year you are going to see huge gains, then everyone would've solved the problem of urban education a really long time ago," says Rhee.
Today's test results are more than a barometer of student progress: the reform effort under Rhee has become a flashpoint in the D.C mayor's race.
Mayor Fenty has staked a major part of his re-election campaign on improving test scores and his main opponent, City Council Chair Vincent Gray, has refused to say whether he'll keep Rhee on if he's elected.