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Thursday, May 04, 2017
Eric Nadelstern's Delusional Proposal To integrate And Help Struggling Schools.
Once again, out pops reformy Eric Nadelstern and how, if only he was Chancellor (Mayor?) of the New York City schools, he would solve the problem of struggling schools and integration. Yes, the very same Eric Nadelstern who told educators that two thirds of the teachers are ineffective. His proposal is to eliminate neighborhood schools and give students free choice to apply to any school in the District. He calls it unzoining. Yes, the very same Eric Nadelstern who was Deputy Chancellor under Joel Klein who gave us the useless and money sucking Children First Networks and Principal Autonomy that resulted in far too many terrible principals running their schools into the ground. It was a memo from Mr. Nadelstern that pressured superintendents to hire newly minted Leadership Academy principals, many of them with limited classroom experience. You can read it Here. Now Chalkbeat has reached out to Mr. Nadelstern and asked him how to best integrate and improve struggling schools His response can be found Here.
According to the article, Mr. Nadelstern's proposal by unzoing schools would help integrate schools and even struggling schools (he thinks they should be closed) would benefit with a more diverse student body. However, his proposal does not reflect reality. First, some Districts, like District 7 in the Bronx has a student population that is almost 100% minority and poor There are few middle class and/or White/Asian students to make the student body more diverse. Moreover, parents would not be happy to have their elementary school children being bused across the District to achieve Mr. Nadelstern's dubious goal. Finally, how much more will it cost the City to supply the buses and personnel necessary to transport the children?
Mr. Nadelstern's proposal was tried, for the most part, in Atlanta Georgia and it resulted in "white flight" as the middle class, both Black and White, fled to the suburbs and left the Atlanta school system with a minority and poor student body. Further, in New York City, the high schools are unzoned and did it result in a more diverse student body? The answer is no! Many of the unscreened high schools are of one race or another. For example the unscreened high schools in Southeast Queens are 80% or more Black with the rest Hispanic.
Interestingly, in the Chalkbeat article Mr. Nadelstern finally admitted that when a Bloomberg small school was opened, they were given the extra support for the school to succeed. The new school was allowed to exclude "high need students", like English Language Learners and Special Education students for the first two years and were given extra resources to run smaller class sizes, The result, not surprisingly, was the first two graduating classes showed a vast academic improvement, when compared to the closed large comprehensive school it replaced. Of course now many of these Bloomberg small schools have been in existence a decade and the latest statistics show that without the extra resources, small class sizes, and the elimination of the student exclusion policy, the schools showed little improvement over the large comprehensive schools they replaced, except for their bogus graduation rate.
If all of Mr. Nadelstern's proposals in the Charkbeat article became policy, the New York City Public School system would see a mass exodus of middle class and academically proficient students to the suburbs and private or parochial schools. Thank goodness Mr. Nadelstern is no longer part of the DOE and cannot implement his dangerous reformy ideas on the school system.