Saturday, January 30, 2010

Student "X" And The Closing Of The Large High Schools.











The Bloomberg/Klein strategy of closing down the large public high schools have accelerated lately as the PEP approved closing down a record 19 schools earlier this week, despite thousands of parents, students, and teachers who protested and spoke against their closings.Previously, I have commented on how the destructive policies of the DOE has led to the downfall of the once world renowned Jamaica High School. However, what about the "at risk" students that are the reason for the downfall in the first place? This story is about one such student know as student "X".

Student "X" was an English Language Learner (ELL) student who came from the Caribbean with only his mother and three other siblings. His mother worked hard but had little time to monitor her children's academic progress. Student "X", besides being an ELL student was struggling academically and occasionally lashed out and was labeled as having a behaviour problem. An aunt tried to enroll him in a charter school only to be told that his mother did not put him into the lottery. Next, the aunt tried a new small school in her neighborhood but once the Principal saw the child's record that he needed academic as well as behavioral intervention she told the Aunt that her school cannot provide the services that a large school can. The Aunt reluctantly enrolls the child in the large neighborhood school with large class sizes and finds that her nephew is just one of many "at risk" students at the school. The elementary school did its best to provide the services to student "X" but as he entered the middle school he was an "at risk"student and even as his Aunt managed to have student "X"s mother enter a lottery for a new charter school, the charter school interviewed the mother and student "X" and convinced the mother her son cannot get the proper academic services that her son required.

Student "X" struggled through his middle school years but thanks to the teachers and the increasingly dumbed down New York State tests, student "X" was tested as a low grade "2" and was promoted into the high school, despite not being able to do high school work. The Aunt realized that her nephew, student "X", really needed to be in a small school setting and was able by force of will to enroll him ion one of those small collegiate schools. However, once the school staff realized that student "X" did not meet their unofficial criteria of being college bound, they convinced the mother that it was better for her child to go to the large neighborhood school to get the behavioral and academic services student "X" required. The Aunt was upset but the clueless mother was fooled into accepting the transfer.

Student "X", once again found himself with many other students like him. Most of his peers had struggled throughout their school years and many of them could not pass even the introductory Regents such as Living Environment, Algebra, and Global History. Like student "X" most of his high school friends were ELL students and had problems academically and/or behaviorally. In fact, student "X"s high school seemed populated with "at risk" students and despite the efforts of the school staff, many of these students will not be able to graduate because of their accumulated deficiencies. Now student "X"s high school will be closing down but for him it is far too late. His attendance was poor and he was failing his classes, even the phony "credit recovery program" the Principal put into effect to try to artificially raise the school's graduation rate was not enough. Now student "X", while still officially enrolled in the closing high school, does not attend anymore and is trying to look for a job. However, he has trouble filling out job applications and he has trouble counting despite his level 2 testing status.

Student "X" is the reason that Chancellor Joel Klein and Mayor Michael Bloomberg cite on why our schools are failing. However, it is their deliberate policy of excluding students like student "X" from the small and charter schools that have resulted in too many students like student "X" to be enrolled in the remaining high schools that cause their destabilization and a low graduation rate that eventually puts them on the Chancellor's list for termination.

Bloomberg & Klein caused the problem and they are blaming the schools and closing them instead of fixing the problem they caused. Why don't the newspapers write about that?

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

There are so many students in those situations.

We need to have those parents to speak to the media and to detail their plight.

If BloomKlein can shamefully bash the ATRs, the RR situation, and say that the large schools are subpar, then we need those parents to explain how they were rejected by the charter schools and the new small schools.

This is the crusade we must have. Get all the student Xs together and in a mass go to the charter schools to enroll them. When the charter schools reject them, get it in writing and have all those letters published in the media.

It is time to fight the sham and the shame.

Pissed Off said...

well said

Invictus said...

YMMV, I heard a story being told of students from an unnamed large ided as a "phasing out HS" in Manhattan, to be sent to a different school in. The key characteristic of these students is that mostly they are ELL, overwhelming they are undercredited and most likely in danger of dropping out.

The biggest shocker, when I did hear of the school they are to be transferred to, Brandeis HS.

This would be like sending some large natural disaster refugees who somehow survived not to a better camp with food, water and a roof, but to a cemetery.

If this story told is true, it shows the true colors of a regime that taunts student achievement and their record of educating these at risk students, but in reality will have no qualm at sweeping them to a corner, like broken glass, like garbage, like nothing, like dust.

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Anonymous said...

"Don't find the trend" or "the trend is your friend" is an advice for smart investors.

Here are the trends in public education, they are declining school age population as the baby-boomers's children are moving away from secondary education and shrinking tax revenues from local, state and federal levels. What are consequences of the trends, less money and less need for public school teachers and everyone else in the schools.
No matter who is in the city hall or the white house, teachers get screwed. No better example than Obama. Does he ever try to help teachers who voted him into the office? The battle is lost 5 years ago.

Trend can be your friend, you can either ride it out or find a better field for next 10 or 20 years. You can alos be grumpy and whiny for long long time.

Chaz said...

`Not me. I have only 4 years left in the system and I will be enjoying my well deserved retirement and no more stress. I hope.

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Librarian said...

I'd be willing to kick in monthly "dues" to an excellent law firm exploring a class action suit against the city. Doesn't Kleinberg's current practice of whacking and stacking schools and their students violate some major civil rights, education, or personal laws? When students from a whacked school stack into existing nearby schools, the existing students' education and lives are damaged irrevocably.

Can't mouthpieces, both legal and otherwise be purchased to fight this in courts of law, and broadcast in the media? What does a 30 second TV ad cost?

Also, doesn't Kleinberg slander and debase publicly the reputations of honest,earnest, and hardworking professionals on a weekly basis in the press? This amounts to a "rubberizing" of thousands of workers. Can't he be held legally accountable in some way? Can't he and Klein be at least pestered in the courts for the professional damage the sum total of their practices have on our careers?

Can't this be fought in the courts, or am I being naive? Has the UFT fully explored these possibilities? I would think a lot of legal talent can be bought if we raised some serious cash to fight this.

The money could also be used to wage a media/PR campaign to the parents, as mentioned above. The African American, and ELL communities especially are being hit hard by this racist, thug-like method Kleinberg employs. I've seen special services given to students in new mini-schools which were not given to the African Americans forced to leave buildings and stacked somewhere else, where they get even LESS! Why isn't this being publicized more?

The only place to fight this is in the media and the courts. Possibly the Kleinberg Whack&Stacker can be unplugged for awhile.

Anonymous said...

As a someone who has a keen interest in history, more I read, more confused I was. Gradually I realized that there were only two words on every page of every history book I read. These two words get larger and larger on every page, these two words are "SCREW YOU" on every page.

Yes, you can try to organize a class action against BloomKlein, there was one two years ago, and there is one pending in federal court now. We will see, I am not holding my breath for it.

Anonymous said...

Chaz,

I, too, have only 4 years left before retirement. However, I am still concerned about the influx of special needs students, ELLs, truant students, released JDs, and the prevalent growth of gangmembers in the schools who will receive these students from the neighboring, phasing out schools.

It's unfathomable the number of ATRs that will increase; it is going to balloon! Here's another concern I truly dread to think about. We are heading to anarchy if the functional chapters vote in favor of a 2% increase and the termination of those ATRs.

Functional chapters are not in the classroom and this could come down to survival of those who stay employed.

Although I have a few years to go, I will not, cannot give in to the mayor's threat of these lay-offs if the UFT doesn't accept a 2% increase.

The union leadership MUST pursue a law suit that is based on a loophole that has been overlooked. To me this nothing more than violating the Taylor Law. Negotiations have always been done at the bargaining table and the mayor should not have made those threats publicly. The UFT will need to get their legal eagles to pounce and pummel the BloomKlein where it legal hurts.

Anonymous said...

Just throw a piece of data to establish the context as to where we are as teachers. I saw a recent Quinnipiac poll regarding test score in tenure decision and streamlining of teacher's firing in the state of NJ. Roughly 2/3 of people polled are in favor of tying test score in tenure decision, and about 2/3 support the streamlining disciplinary procedures for firing teachers.

You may want to fight to the bitter end, but the trend will overwhelm sooner or later.

Teaching will be a bad field for some time, every party ends, some ends even before it gets started.

Our pension is still pretty good, we should really focus as to how to protect our pension than anything else at this stage. The battle was lost for some time.

Chaz said...

Anon 735:

Like you just because I only have 4 years left I will continue to post articles for what is good for the schools and expose the unfair and even corrupt practices of the DOE.

I also believe that our union will not sell out the ATRs or the "rubber room" teachers. As for the 2% raise? No way Jose.


Anon:10:32

The general public only knows what it reads and that is teachers are overpaid, have the summers off, and are protected by State laws. However, the truth is very different.

moriah said...

I suggest we stop waiting for the newspapers to report the truth. Let's start our own.

http://untamedteacher.blogspot.com/2010/01/build-it-and-they-will-come-our-own.html

What do you think?

Anonymous said...

Chaz,

More than ever the members must stick together and not be easily influenced by the BloomKlein media.

Thank you.

Librarian said...

At least the UFT IS fighting on a legal front. They announced a suit today against the closing of the schools.

Chaz said...

Librarian:

I agree. Under Mulgrew we have seen the UFT file two lawsuits on class size and school closings. That is two more than Randi did in her last four years.

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