It's teacher hunting season!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

School closing argument undercut: Shuttered NYC HS schools met their graduation targets

One the same page, Yoav Gonen in the New York Post reported Wednesday February 9 in "Shuttered Schools Met Grad-Rate Predictions" that several high schools shuttered in the last few years actually met or came one or two points short of graduation percentage targets.

Here are the crucial excerpts from the article:
Internal Department of Education predictions of graduation rates at more than 200 public high schools show that a number of schools have been closed even though they met or came close to meeting their expected results, data obtained by The Post shows.

Among them were Franklin K. Lane HS in Brooklyn and Far Rockaway HS in Queens — which both began phasing out in 2008 — and Columbus HS in The Bronx, which last week was approved for closure.

Critics liken those closures — under which most teachers and administrators are bounced and forced to find positions at other schools — to shuttering a police precinct for its crime stats even though it’s known to be in a high-crime neighborhood.

The predictions are based on a number of factors — particularly the performance of incoming 9th graders on annual math and reading tests — so that schools with greater challenges are expected to produce fewer graduates.

A number of schools approved for closure in recent years had predicted graduation rates below 45 percent — far below the current citywide graduation rate of 60 percent.

But several of them came within 1 or 2 percentage points of meeting their expectations in 2007, the most recent year for which the predictions were calculated.

In fact, Far Rockaway HS beat its prediction by 0.6 percentage points just months before officials decided it should close.

"This data shows that the administration’s stated rationale for school closings, that teachers were underperforming, is false," said Patrick Sullivan, a Manhattan rep to the Panel for Educational Policy. "They must stop closing schools until a new policy based on transparency and community engagement can be put into place."

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It is such a paradox. The paper bashes teachers, is distributed in schools, occasionally gives news exposing systemic ills.

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