There is no secret that the ever rising high school graduation rate does not result in increasing the college and career readiness rates that see 78% of high school graduates forced to take remedial courses in college. The graduation rate increases every year and is now 72%. However, the career and college readiness rates are stuck at 36% and if you excluded the screened and specialized high schools, its in the 20% range. Here are some extreme examples.
The reason that the typical New York City High School graduate has such abysmal career and college readiness rates are due to many factors. In order of importance they are:
80% of a student's academic growth can be attributed to the social-economic factors. They are the child's family, community, and income. Poor urban school districts and New York City are no exception, suffer from academic differences and struggle in college and a career as an adult.
New York City has the largest class sizes in the State and the DOE uses class size reduction funds to fund their own pet projects. Class sizes have increased since 2008 and the DOE only funds the schools at 90% of their fair funding. By contrast the DOE budget increases every year from 23.2 billion in 2014 to 29.2 billion dollars this school year. A 22% increase!
Teacher Recruitment and Retention:
The DOE has installed policies that incentivizes principals to hire "the cheapest and not the best" teachers for their school. The result is the schools hire "newbie" teachers who have a steep learning curve and 80% leave their first school by year three. Not good for a stable educational environment. This DOE policy is known as "fair student funding" that's school-based and not fair whatsoever.. The use of Danielson as an evaluation toll and is used as a weapon against teachers pushes far too many teachers out of the City school system to pursue better opportunities in the suburbs and more respect in office work.
The DOE allows high schools to manipulate the system by reducing Science from six days to five and physical education to three days from five. Moreover, "credit recovery", grade changing, and scholarship requirements on teachers is really academic fraud.
Outside New York City most principals were long-term educators. However, in the New York City schools over 20% of the Principals are from the Leadership Academy and many have little or no classroom experience as a teacher. Finally, the Chancellor has discontinued the program but the damage has been done as many schools suffer from poor leadership, vindictive actions, especially against outspoken veteran teachers, and questionable academic policies.
The bottom line is until all the above issues are resolved, real student academic achievement is simply an illusion.