Friday, February 24, 2017
The Renewal High Schools Continue To Lose Students.
Despite additional resources, a longer school day, and more money, the Renewal high schools continue to shed students. Moreover, veteran teachers refuse to apply to these schools due to the added stress and accountability associated with teaching at the Renewal schools. The result is an inexperienced and unstable teaching staff, who have a steep learning curve in the art of teaching and learning the curriculum. Finally, parents refuse to send their academically proficient student to these struggling schools and since the DOE no longer allows these schools to get "over-the-counter" students, the schools continue to shed students.
For example, August Martin High School has shed 33% of the original 679 students since 2014. In all the 31 Renewal high schools, only 3,371 students graduated, compared to 4,121 students back in 2013, the last year before the Renewal School program was established. Worse yet, the 2016 graduation numbers is 10% less than the 2015 for all the Renewal Schools.
The dropout rate for the Renewal High Schools remain stubbornly high with 50% of the 31 Renewal High Schools having dropouts rates higher than before the Renewal program started. At the end of 2015 the 94 Renewal Schools shed 6,300 students since the start of the Renewal School program.
Since middle school students can choose to go to any high school they apply to, assuming they have the academic qualifications. How does the DOE expect parents to subject their child as a guinea pig to an academically struggling school with an inexperienced teaching staff, and longer hours? The answer is they don't. Better yet how many of the DOE policymakers send their children to Renewal Schools? How about "zero"! The DOE may claim they are turning the corner but the reality is the Renewal high schools are a failure and the DOE is simply pouring money in a bottomless black hole.
Its time to bring back the community high schools and zoning, while converting the Renewal School program back to a community high school. That's the only way to attract academically achieving students.