Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Bring Back Academic Tracking To Help Diversify The Specialized High Schools.

Back in the 60's and 70's every child was tracked academically starting in upper elementary school and when they entered junior high school (grades 7 to 9), they were placed, based on their academic achievement.  The smartest students were assigned to Special Placement classes (SP or SPE).  The next group were placed in classes 7-1 to 7-4.  Academically struggling students were dumped into the lower numbers . like 7-10 to 7-14.   By the time the junior high students were eligible to take the SHST, every high achieving student from every junior high school in the City had a fighting chance to be selected to the three specialized high schools, Brooklyn Tech, Bronx high school of Science, and Stuyvesant.

During this time period, all three schools were more diverse.  In fact, Brooklyn Tech had a majority minority student population.  What changed?  Simple, the city eliminated academic tracking when child advocates and minority pressure groups claimed that Black and Latino students were dumped into the lower tracks.  Eventually, the City caved and eliminated tracking.  The result was that many middle class parents of high achieving students moved to better neighborhoods with better schools, leaving behind lower class parents and less desirable schools.

To make matters worse.  The lack of a father in many households, especially in the Black community, resulted in financial insecurity, a lack of discipline, and disrespect which adversely affected academic achievement.   With no "gifted and talented" programs and tracking, the schools in lower class neighborhoods were at an academic disadvantage, when compared to the middle class neighborhoods.

Adding to the problem was the influx of East Asian  (Chinese, Koren, Japanese) of recent immigrants  who emphasized academics to their children.  Is it any wonder that the three specialized high schools have an over representation of this cohort?

The bottom line is that to diversify the specialized high schools the City must form a "gifted and talented" program, for every elementary school and tracking for the middle schools.


TJL said...

Chaz, I must've been at 20 PD's this past year where I heard all about so-called "white privilege". So I must point out a mistake you made where you said "In fact, Brooklyn Tech had a majority minority student population.". Tech has a majority minority population NOW!! 79% to be exact. And, to boot, Stuy is at 80%. "Economically Disadvantaged" is over half (62%) at Tech and almost half (43%) at Stuy. (All the above at NYSED, from '15-'16).

Chaz said...

This was in the 80's not now.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, we had Regents and Locals diplomas and tracking

Shady said...

In education every year or two we have to have a buzz word. For 2018 & 2019 the buzz word will be diversity. Remember when it was Danielson or data or differentiated instruction etc...

For the next two years we will keep hearing about diversity. Specialized high schools and specialized high school entrance exam and more diversity and less segregation.

Well, I was at a coffee shop in midtown earlier today and by coincidence sat next to a guy named Charles. Charles appeared homeless & mentally ill at first sight but after speaking to him I realized he is totally sane. As a matter of fact he told me something that I promised him I won't repeat. Turned out Charles is one who creates the themes or the flavor of the month topics for the DOE.

He told me after diversity the next topic will be "genetics". He would not elaborate but kept saying "genetics, genetics" . He continued "genetics bitch - I said genetics bitch."

Anonymous said...

I have been told to my face by social justice warrior type admins that "tracking is racist."

This was after I suggested we track our students in grade ten because the way all ability levels were mixed together served no one.

Mind you my school at the time was 99.9% non-white of all ability levels. (There was one hapless Italian boy in the school with the rest either black or hispanic.)

How would serving our kids more logically and in a more intentional way be racist?

TJL said...

From 2015-16. Minorities are 79% at Tech:

Brooklyn Tech demographics

HISPANIC OR LATINO        406   7%
WHITE             1,162   21%
MULTIRACIAL           178   3%

Anonymous said...

Betsy DeVos wants to really strengthen career and technical education. A federal law was passed this week and will be enacted July 2019. So the new buzz word/acronym will be CTE. Now, you know.

Anonymous said...

So sorry for this side question but hopefully you can assist Chaz (or anyone else). Thank you. I did not buy into the 55/25 program b/c as the age of 53 I will have 30 years. I have a 2 part question related to my situation.

1. Obviously I know I can retire at 55 with a 63% pension. But what is my option if I leave at 53 with 30 years? Do I collect full pension of 60% at 55 or I have to wait to 62?

2. Can I leave the job at 25 years of service at the age of 48 and collect 50% pension at 55 or do I have to wait until 62?

Thank you. I have some opportunities but am seeking help with these 2 questions.

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Anonymous said...

To 4:17, you are correct!

At my school near the midle of last year the buzzwords suddenly dropped by the Admins with increasing frequency were "CTE" and "college and career readiness."

I guess now that is the metric the school will be also judged by, among a thousand other things.

Anonymous said...

Call the UFT - that’s what you’re paying for.

Chaz said...


The latest demographics at Brooklyn Tech shows only 8% Black and 7% Hispanic. The-other 61% is Asian.

TJL said...

Exactly, Chaz. Those 3 groups plus the 3% multiracial makes 79% minority.

Don't fall into the DeBlasio/Carranza trap of "Asians don't count".

The fact that Asian minorities, many of whom are immigrants or first-generation American, do so well, is the checkmate against all their BS about "white privilege" and the system being out to get minorities. Minorities are doing very well, and everyone - including whites - ought to check out what Asians are doing right instead of being jealous of their success.

Shady said...

@7:52 T.J. L

Asians do kick ass and I emailed and asked DeBlasio. I asked him, "Had you married an Asian would you still be upset that they dominate the tests?"

I personally think the city needs to have an exam for specialized high schools and I also think it is a fair exam. Plus, I have talked to Asian leaders and begged them not to leave the DOE system. If the Asian students decided to go private or charter - our graduation rate goes back to 44 percent in year, 15 percent of 3 to 8 will remain on grade level and over 30 percent of NY CIty teachers will become alcoholics overnight.

In another words - do not PISS off the Asian community. This is all we have that is keeping us afloat. Even DeShawn says "fuck yo those bitches can read, do math and always study - I ain't doing that shyt."

Anonymous said...

This will never happen because unfortunately the majority of students placed in the lower classes will be minority students. And then it becomes a race issue..