It's teacher hunting season!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Shame of the City II: City cheats with claims of small school performance; Times mum

Liar! Liar!
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Department of Education claim that small schools are more effective.
Yet, a Columbia University study has exposed a deception on the mayor's part. The study reports that while small schools have shown better performance, the comparison is deceptive. Why? The city keeps certain weaker students from the small schools; and so, not too surprisingly, the overall performance of the remaining cluster of students is "better." This parallels the similar scam going on rampantly in the charter schools. The fact is getting out that the weaker students, the special education students are withheld from the charter schools, and again, the students in the charter schools "perform better."
From Meredith Kolodner, "Mayor Bloomberg's boast on graduation rates is misleading, according to study", "New York Daily News", September 23, 2009
One principal proudly boasts in the ad that the graduation rate has increased to 80% from 30%.

A closer look shows that in 2005, only 11% of ninth-graders entering [Evander Childs High School in the Bronx] were reading at grade level, the study claims.

At the same time, 30% of students entering the small replacement schools were proficient in reading, significantly higher than the boroughwide average.

"We cannot make sense of large differences in the graduation rates at Evander and the small schools which replaced it without taking these differences in who entered the schools into account," said study co-author Aaron Pallas, a Teachers College professor.

The same is true, on average, of all of the students who attend the new small schools that have replaced the roughly 20 large high schools that have been closed since 2002.

Students entering the new schools were between 10 and 15 percentage points more likely to be reading and doing math at grade level, as measured by state tests.

They also were less likely to be special education students, more likely to be female and more likely to qualify for free lunch.

The study also suggests that the lower-performing students who would have gone to the large schools that were closed end up in other nearby large high schools.

Now, google this at home:
"small schools"

Then on "news."

You only get two stories on small schools' performance in New York City. And neither of the sources is the New York Times.

Other disturbing news: the breakup of schools into small schools has meant fewer English Language Learner (the new phrase for English as a Second Language) classes. Thus, students new to English lose out in the transformation of schools. See this article by Mary Ann Zehr in "Education Week."

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