michael mulgrew

New York

Report: City's small schools push damaged large high schools

The city's drive to open new small high schools has taken a serious toll on older, larger schools, and there are signs that the new schools' success could be short-lived, according to a report being released today. The report, an analysis of the small schools bonanza by the Center for New York City Affairs, concludes that the city must do more to support large high schools, which continue to enroll the vast majority of city high school students despite the proliferation of small schools, and which are straining under the burden of enrolling the system's neediest students.  At the core of the report is the finding that as small schools opened, large schools nearby suffered huge jumps in enrollment, especially among low-performing students and students with special needs. Those schools have seen attendance decline, disorder increase, and graduation rates drop, according to the report. In some places, these shifts have caused the city to restructure the newly troubled large schools, displacing at-risk students once again, the report concludes. Schools Chancellor Joel Klein told researchers that he understands that his strategy of closing low-performing schools and replacing them with new options could inflict some collateral damage on large high schools. "This is about improving the system, not necessarily about improving every single school," he said about the strategy at the center of his reforms since he took office in 2003. The report backs up the city's claim that the small schools graduate their students in higher numbers, but it raises questions about how long the schools can sustain their success.
New York

Klein bats away critics' calls for checks and balances

Chancellor Joel Klein responds to a question from moderator Doug Muzzio. (Left to right: Ana Maria Archilla, Doug Muzzio, Joel Klein and Monica Major) (<em>GothamSchools</em> / Kyla Calvert) With the state legislature’s deadline for making a final decision on mayoral control less than two months away, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein himself made an appearance at one of the panels debating the issue across the city. Sandwiched between assorted people who have called for curtailing the mayor’s power over the schools, Klein, who supports preserving the law intact, fielded criticism calmly. When other panelists raised arguments about whether test scores and graduation rates were increasing at the dramatic rate touted by the Department of Education, the chancellor shot back with more data. “In 2002 CUNY enrolled 16,000 students, in 2008 CUNY had 24,000 students enrolled,” Klein said. “I don’t care what you say about the graduation numbers — those are 8,000 real kids whose lives have changed because of the opportunities that are a product of mayoral control.” Klein reiterated previous statements that he is open to having an independent agency review Department of Education data, like graduation rates and test scores. But he kept the door closed to other concessions. When the teachers union chief operating officer, Michael Mulgrew, asked Klein if he would be willing to consider removing MS 399 in the Bronx from the list of schools slated to close, Klein balked. (Mulgrew had replaced union president Randi Weingarten at the last minute; he is considered her likely successor as president when she transitions to running the national American Federation of Teachers union full-time.)