Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The Bloomberg & Klein Love Affair With The Small Schools Have Resulted In The Destruction Of The Large Neighborhood Schools - What Else Is New?
All of a sudden the news media is bringing up the fact that the large neighborhood high schools are suffering as the influx of themed small schools and favored charter schools have dumped the unwanted and hardest to educate, special education and English language learners into the large traditional high schools. The result is large class sizes, lower graduation rates, and discipline problems. The New York Times, The Daily News, and Gotham Schools have published articles about this student dumping issue. In fact, I and other bloggers have brought up this issue for the last couple of years. For example back in June of 2006 I wrote a post complaining about this very issue. In addition, not only are these "at risk" students being dumped into the large neighborhood high schools but the small and charter schools are doing their best to exclude the "not ready for promotion eighth graders" but are promoted anyway. This process has resulted in massive overcrowding in the large traditional high schools as I reported previously Here. Now we have a report called the New Marketplace, which the New School for Management and Urban Policy published showing the damage that Mayor Mike and Chancellor Klein has done to the large neighborhood high schools. Marc Epstein, in his Daily News opinion piece also identified the tricks Tweed uses to massage the graduation statistics in these increasingly attacked schools that hide the escalating problems done to them by the Bloomberg/Klein policy initiatives that favor the small schools.
Again the DOE statistics on graduation rates are suspect as the small schools show a significant drop in their graduation rates when these schools are required to take their fair share of "at risk" students. Furthermore, these small schools suffer from high teacher turnover, increasingly larger class sizes, and an unstable administration which eventually reduces the effectiveness of the small schools. Finally, these schools will end up no better than the large schools they replaced and without the wide range of activities that a large traditional high school offers.
In other words, "Children Last" continues.