The Education Reformers have many leaders. However, there are no more important people in education reform then Mayor Michael Bloomberg and ex NYC Chancellor Joel Klein. According to the Education Reformers these two individuals have changed NYC Public Schools for the better by improving graduation rates, reducing the racial/income achievement gap, rising test scores, and most of all giving parents a real choice by adding charter schools and small themed schools to the mix of public schools. The mass media have trumpeted their achievements without really looking into the numbers. It is only lately, that both have been gently criticized as Mayor Bloomberg's popularity has been dropping like a rock for his attack on teachers by falsely claiming 4,100 teacher layoffs. Let's look at how fraudulent their claims of improved graduation rates and student academic achievement are.
Yes, the graduation rates have risen significantly during their tenure, from 47% to 61%. However, there has been manipulation of these graduation rates.
First, the dropout rates were massaged by the DOE so that many students who dropped out of high schools were listed as leaving the school system and this incorrectly improved the percentage of those graduating.
Second, Principals were under increasing pressure to graduate students since it reflected on the school's overall grade and their bonus. In one outrageous case that blogger "Pissed Off" wrote about, a Principal took it on himself to change the grade of hundreds of students, without the required teacher approvals to improve his graduation rate and receive a $25,000 bonus. In another, the Principal of Lehman High School was accused of grade-changing to improve the school's graduation rate. Moreover, the bone-headed Principal of Jamaica High School tried this action to increase his school's graduation rate.
Finally, The increasing use of the bogus "credit recovery" program that has seen some closing schools see a jump of 10% or greater in their graduation rates. While for other schools it was a significant part of their improved graduation statistics. Can we ever forget this shinning example of credit recovery gone amok?
The real question is what have these graduating high school students really achieved during the Bloomberg/Klein Administration? According to the latest New York State Report, not much. Here are some very disturbing statistics.
- Only 12% of Black & Hispanic graduates are college or career ready.
- 78% of high school graduates need remedial courses in college.
- The racial/income academic achievement gap has not significantly changed.
- The rising graduation rate is suspect when you account for dropouts and credit recovery programs.
Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein kept claiming their education reforms were closing the academic achievement gap between the races and income levels. However, the truth was different, much different. In 2010 New York State published their revised test scores and NYC was shown to have regressed back to the levels in 2002, when the terrible twosome took over the NYC Schools. Worse, was the racial/income academic achievement gap statistics showed that the City failed to close the gap and in some cases it actually widened!
Charter & Small Schools:
The Bloomberg/Klein Administration allowed them to be more selective than the public schools in selecting their students. Many of these schools had little or no ELL or Special Education students or pleaded lack of resources when parents wanted their special-needs child into the school. Furthermore, these schools encouraged many problem students out of the school and dumped them into the neighborhood schools. Finally. the charter schools were not subject to the "fair student funding formula" that the Public Schools were. This increased the money they get from Tweed by 20% when compared to the Public Schools. Yet after all these advantages, the charter schools fared no better than the public schools.
How do I sum up Mayor Michael Bloomberg's and ex-Chancellor Joel Klein's education legacy? A failed education reform using fraudulent assumptions and fuzzy Math to come up with statistics that have proven to be wrong.