Tuesday, November 08, 2011
The "Restart/Transformation" Schools Are Shortchanging The Students By Not Giving Them A Proper Science Education.
I have been to three "Restart" Schools this school year and one of my ATR friends have been to a "Transformation" school and we both found that the four schools are shortchanging the students by not providing a proper science education and jeopardizing their ability to obtain a "Regents Diploma".
All four schools only give four, not five classes of science weekly. These schools shortchange the students who take Science by one class weekly. This means that more pressure is put on the teachers to keep the students on task since the Science curriculum is based upon five classes weekly, plus a laboratory period. This requires that enrichment lessons to make science more interesting has to be abandoned as the teachers strain to fit five days of work into four, not an educationally sound plan. Especially for struggling students. Worse yet, many of the teachers teaching Earth Science, the second Science needed to get a High School diploma, are not certified in the subject. Many of the Science teachers teaching Earth Science are Living Environment teachers and are required to teach the Earth Science classes which is not educationally fair to the students. Especially, the ones who want the more valuable Regents diploma. Furthermore, all these schools appear to have vacancies, either hidden or announced and have failed to fill them. The question is why?
You might ask why would the "Restart/Transformation" schools shortchange the Science students and not fill their other vacancies? Don't they need to show academic improvement to survive? Wouldn't extra teachers help student academic achievement? You would think so. wouldn't you? However, it is really about the budget for these principals. First, by shortchanging the students one class weekly, the school does not have to hire two Science teachers and by having uncertified Science teachers teaching Earth Science, they don't have to hire hard to find Earth Science teachers who tend to be highly paid. The schools know that they only need to achieve a 60% graduation rate and reduce the dropout rate by 5% to meet the federal funding requirements so if the students are failing their courses, just give them "credit recovery programs" for the last month to get them to pass and not dropout. Knowledge, what knowledge? Who cares if these students are not "career or college ready"? That's society's problem. For the school it is meeting the 60% graduation rate and reducing the dropout rate by 5% by any means possible.
As for the long-term future of these students? It is not the school's problem once they award the academically challenged students their bogus diplomas. "Children last. Always".