Friday, July 24, 2015

Science Education Is Lagging In The New York City Public High Schools.

Yesterday Chalkbeat summarized a report by The New School's Center For New York City's Affairs  and not surprisingly found that most New York City high schools had an inferior and inadequate Science curriculum.  Over the years I have been informing my readers how the New York City public high schools are short changing students in Science education.  My complaints have fallen on deaf ears at the uncaring DOE as they actually encourage school principals to eliminate many Science courses and to reduce others by a period a week in an effort to save on teacher salaries in their "education on the cheap" policy.  For example New York State Regents Science requires that there be five classes of instruction per week and one class of laboratory skills .  However, almost every New York City high school has reduced classroom instruction by 20%, or one class a week to meet their tight budget requirements.  Worse, is the lack of certified Earth Science teachers teaching the subject,  In most schools the Living Environment teacher is required to teach Earth Science and, as one could guess, the Regents results predictably are terrible.  The reason being that Living Environment teachers are life Science teachers not a physical Science teacher and have little understanding of the subject, be it Chemistry, Physics, or Earth Science.  Is it any wonder that 100 of the 600 high schools in the City had no students graduate with an advanced Regents diploma last school year?

Many of the Bloomberg small schools do not offer the courses necessary for students to obtain an advanced Regents diploma, be it Regents Earth Science, Chemistry, or Physics and in Math Algebra II.  In fact, these schools are simply diploma mills, graduating students who are not "college or career ready" academically.  Just 25 of the 600 high schools had 50% of all students who obtained an advanced Regents diploma while few poor and minority schools had no more than a handful, if any, students who earned an advanced Regents diploma.

While Asian and White students make up only 23% of the student population they accounted for 70% of all students who obtained an advanced Regents diploma.  By contrast, in the 100 schools that award no advanced Regents diploma, 92% of them were Black or Hispanic. For a complete list of all New York City High Schools that offers STEM related advanced Math and Science instruction and the ones that do not,  it can be found Here.

Maybe the DOE and the disappointing Chancellor will wake up and stop short-changing the New York City High School students on their Science education but I highly doubt it.   In the DOE Its still "children last"...Always!

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