Opinion: Hamilton County Schools testing data reveals no surprises: Struggling schools still struggling

Staff photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press - May 3, 2012 Dalewood Middle School is located on Shallowford Rd.

It's hard to find a way to sugarcoat the news about Hamilton County's public schools.

The schools that have consistently performed poorly on standardized tests in years past are not improving, according to accountability data released Monday by the Tennessee Department of Education.

Hamilton County slipped from the second highest district rating of "achieving" or "advancing" in 2017 and 2019, respectively, to "satisfactory," the third of five ratings, for 2022.

The district also went from having 32 "reward" schools -- meaning schools that demonstrate high levels of performance and/or improvement in performance from the previous year -- in 2019 to 13 in 2022. Worse, it went from having seven "priority" schools in 2021, meaning those schools in the bottom 5% of schools across the state, to eight in 2022.

Most incredibly, Brainerd High School moved off the state's priority schools list despite its 2022 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program test scores declining or remaining the same from 2021 in every academic category in which a comparison could be made.