FWCS' percentage for kids passing both the Math and LA portions of the ISTEP this year improved by about 3% versus the state overall. Over the last 3 years they've improved 2%/yr on average, about what should be expected. So after nearly a decade of claims to the contrary, it seems that they can do better despite the demographics.
The improvements began when the state legislature and the IDE finally lowered the boom. The district couldn't inflict the necessary pain on itself, forcing the state to step in and dictate a plan for schools that were heading toward a takeover. That allows the administration, FWEA and Democratic politicians to paint Mitch and Tony Bennett as the bad guys, and vilify them from now on for "destroying the public schools", which in the case of urban schools were already destroying themselves.
By avoiding the tough decisions for decades the district opened the window for charter schools, vouchers and the other reforms passed by the legislature. School choice has arrived and the response from the district is to trash charter schools. The best way for FWCS to discourage losses to charters and vouchers is to get their own house in order.
It looks like the state has finally accomplished what couldn't be done under "local control".