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Thursday, March 19, 2015
The Scholarship Requirement Artificially Raises The Graduation Rate And Cheapens The Diploma Of NYC High School Graduates.
Over the Bloomberg/Klein years the high school graduation rate jumped significantly and of course the Mayor and Chancellor claimed their education policy was a success. In fact, the Chancellor proudly stated that "a zip code was no excuse for failure" as the dumbed down State tests narrowed the racial achievement gap. However, it all collapsed in 2010 when it became obvious that many students were getting free credits through a bogus "credit recovery system"and Principal pressure to obtain a high letter grade for their school and receive a bonus as well. Moreover, the State re-cut the State test to more realistic levels and the racial achievement gap actually widened!
Under State pressure the "credit recovery system" was strengthened to include more meaningful work and a stringent requirement for eligibility, the easy credits became harder to justify and principals needed to find another way to maintain their graduation rate. The answer was a scholarship requirement. In many schools administrators tell their teachers they want a minimum of 80% of a teacher/s students to pass their class. Otherwise, the administrator will threaten to give the teacher a low grade on the observations and if not tenured, result in a discontinuance of employment, This scholarship requirement usually included student "no-shows", meaning that if a student shows up most of the time, the teacher is pressured to pass the student to meet the scholarship demand. I experienced this first hand during the 2011-12 school year at Flushing High School where your effectiveness was based upon your student passing rate. In my travels to the various high schools many teachers told me about the pressure their under to meet the scholarship requirements. Its a rare teacher that refuses to abide by the administrator demands to pass undeserving students just to meet the scholarship requirements of the school. In one school at Campus Magnet, the Principal allegedly demands a 90% scholarship and this school is known for giving one third of the teachers an unsatisfactory or ineffective rating. The result is that the students run the school with little fear of failing.
I feel sorry for the students who work hard and achieve good grades who must be frustrated that their poor performing classmates are allowed to pass their classes without bothering to open a book or do any work, except to show up, Is it any wonder that a New York City High School diploma is greeted with great skepticism by colleges?