Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Why Bill De Blasio's Cellphone Policy And Other Issues Are Resulting In Lower Academic Achievement.
One of the most damaging policy directive by the Bill de Blasio Administration is allowing students to bring cellphones to school. Unfortunately, for many classroom teachers that adds to their classroom management problems and results in less instructional time and more time in getting students to put their cellphone away. Defenders of the Mayor's misguided policy will claim that allowing students to have a cellphone at school does not mean they condone their use in the classroom. However, unless the school administration does what Lehman High School in the Bronx did once the student brings the cellphone to school it will end up being used in the classroom. The bringing of a cellphone to school results in student distractions and a lowering of student academic achievement.
Once the Mayor's ill-advised cellphone policy took effect in April of 2015, classroom teachers immediately saw an increase in classroom management problems. Students who listened to the instruction and took notes started to see their focus wander as friends and family, including parents, started to text message the student during class time, who of course, must text back. Instead of focusing on the lesson, the students became more focused on their cellphone. The school administration is of little help since they refuse to discipline students for cellphone use and demand instead that teachers take action. Without administrative backing and the required "scholarship" requirements, few teachers could reasonably take any real action except to constantly call parents who couldn't or wouldn't discipline their children.
Add the disruptive nature of the cellphone with the school accepted (certainly tolerated) student lateness and this combination results in lower student academic achievement as precious instructional time is lost day in and day out. This is especially true for the first period of the day but is also common throughout the school day.
In Regents Science, you can add the shortened instructional time to factors that lower student academic achievement. Only in New York City does the DOE allow for four rather than five instructional days plus a lab period. The policy causes over a month of instructional time being lost when the Science Regents requires a five day instructional week to reasonably cover the full curriculum. The result is that their is little or no time to review for the Regents and lower Regents test grades are the final product for New York City schools that adopted the four day instructional program. This is an example of the DOE's "education on the cheap" policy that shortchanges schools of their fail student funding (averaging 89% in 2015-16 school year) and reduced the amount of Science teachers needed to staff.the school.
When you combine the distracting cellphone policy, tolerating excessive student lateness, a permissive student discipline policy, large class sizes, reduced science instruction time, and scholarship requirements, is it any wonder that student academic achievement is a major issue?