teachers strike back in 1968. Now the equally misguided District 23 officials believe that allowing the district's students to go to the school of their choice will solve the academic achievement problems. Fat chance of that happening.
While the idea may seem to be reasonable at the surface, the problems associated with intra district choice are many. First, it may cause some schools to be overcrowded while others will be underutilized and in danger of either closing or be replaced by a Charter school. Second, it will increase transportation costs as children will no longer be able to walk to or from their neighborhood school and require transportation services.. Finally, the student choice option does not address the real cause of poor student academic achievement and that is poverty,
all the schools had an under 50% pass rate on the English and Math tests! Even the lone "A" rated school had a terrible English passing rate of 35.2% and an equally dismal Math passing rate of 40.9%. This shows that it is not the school, Principal, or teachers that are the problem but the community. In particular, the main cause is poverty. It's poverty and unless the City declares war on poverty by providing the necessary resources, nothing will significantly change the student academic failure rate of District 23.
That brings me to Marc Epstein's article on how the City has tried and failed when it comes to student choice for the high schools and how they ignored the root cause for the poor "college and career readiness rates" and that is poverty and its effects on a student's academic achievement, especially in neighborhoods like Ocean Hill-Brownsville. While he focuses on the high schools, it is the same problem no matter what grade the student is in.
To do it right, the City must declare war on poverty by keeping families together, encourage major economic job growth, and provide social wraparound services and once that is accomplished then and only then will District 23 see significant academic improvement in student outcomes. Otherwise, it is simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
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