Improved test scores are more important than they look

That Burbank and Glendale teachers were able to wring improvements in math and English-language test scores from their students under the weight of budget cuts is a testament to their drive and spirit.

Despite millions in state education funding cuts and the ongoing, protracted battles between their union leadership and district officials, teachers were still able to extract overall improvements in the two categories of between 2% and 3% in the annual Standardized Testing and Reporting program.

Those figures may appear paltry, but when put against the backdrop of budget wars with Sacramento and the constant threat of teacher lay-offs, the gains loom much larger.

Certainly, the outlook for teachers will remain grim as California continues to grapple with figuring out how to patch together a multi-billion budget deficit. The tug-of-war between unions and the school districts, then, will also almost surely carry on.

But if the latest round of test score data is any indication, parents and their students can at least take heart in the fact that the political melee has so far been kept away from classrooms.

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