Last year, 84% got A's. This year, 25% got A's - Even the kids in "F" schools know that 25% is lower than 84%. A lot lower. NYC's Department of Education just released this year's progress report which grades each school (how smart their kids are, how is the learning environment, etc) and compares them to other similar schools elsewhere in the City (like is the average 4th-grader in Queens smarter than a 4th-grader in Staten Island? The answer is yes, even though I could have told you that without knowing the results). They claim that the schools are not performing worse than last year, just that the grading criteria used by the Department of Education changed this year and that is why they received lower grades. Apparently, last year they asked each school what grade they felt they deserved, and they all said A. This year, the schools were actually graded. And just to prove to each school how dumb they actually are, they put the progress report results on a completely unintelligible Excel sheet, with the instructions, "If you can't read this, just assume you failed."
ps: If your school failed, don't worry. I failed too. I couldn't make sense of the progress report either. I got my info from the Wall Street Journal. They're smart enough to understand it. :)