Education: NWI schools doing well in pockets; disparities growing

2012-10-09T11:00:00Z Education: NWI schools doing well in pockets; disparities growingBy Carmen McCollum, (219) 662-5337

School corporations across Northwest Indiana are making strides in education but challenges still remain, particularly in the urban districts.

High school test scores have slipped and graduation rates have hardly budged, according to the most recent Quality of Life Indicators Report. And achievement is far from evenly distributed.

In Lake County, for instance, more than 90 percent of students graduate from high school in several districts, but seven of eight districts there also have the lowest-performing schools in the region, with graduation rates below the state average.

In Porter County, by contrast, students in all six school corporations scored above the statewide average on the ISTEP-Plus exam and the SAT standardized tests.

Educators say outcomes are improving but disparities remain, particularly among schools with a high level of students on free and reduced-cost lunches.

The number of Hispanic students in NWI has grown. Schools are addressing the needs of those students and ways to meet the challenges of students who are less proficient in English. There still remain gaps in education between white students, black students and Hispanic students.

Schools in Northwest Indiana also have begun to work with the business community to prepare students so they are ready for college or a career, but there is still much work to be done.

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