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July 17, 2012
Bloomberg credits boosts in test results to new school initiatives
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, and Deputy Chancellor Shael Polakow-Suransky walked reporters through a powerpoint presentation on the city's latest test score results. This afternoon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg enjoyed what could be his last opportunity to point to clear gains on city test data. The state is overhauling its testing program next year, and year-to-year comparisons favored by Bloomberg's test analysts will soon become futile. Until then, city officials are championing the small gains almost every group of students made on this year's state tests, calling the scores a sign that some fledgling school initiatives are already working. Breaking the test results down by race, grade level and students with disabilities, each group saw gains of one to four percentage points for the numbers of students scoring proficient on the literacy and math exams. But students of color are still performing well below their white peers, and the number of English Language Learners scoring proficient in literacy actually dropped by 1.8 percentage points. "There is still a gap, and it is unacceptable, inexcusable and it is our responsibility to rectify it," Bloomberg told reporters this afternoon. He speculated that the ELL scores dropped because the city has begun declassifying greater numbers of ELL students who have become proficient in English.
May 4, 2012
Principals: Single-gender spaces can boost college readiness
When Principal Jonathan Foy wanted to improve college readiness for Eagle Academy's 500 male students, he added more advanced classes and staffed a college counseling office. Atleast two Brooklyn schools have done the same, and more, in a similar quest to boost achievement: At the Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice, boys can take field trips and converse with their male teachers after school through the "Young Men's Association." And one of the educational capstones of Bedford Academy's curriclum is Perspectives in Leadership, an elective taught by the principal to help male students to think about their roles in the world. The motivation behind each of these programs is similar, the high schools' principals say. It's the knowledge that only a small fraction of the city's black and Latino youth, particularly young men, are graduating from high school on time and ready for college. The Brooklyn high schools are among the 80-some schools that city officials and prominent education researchers say are already making strides towards solving the decades-old problem which has received new attention with the advent of the new college readiness progress metric and the mayor's Young Men's Initiative. Last week all three of them were awarded $10,000 by the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color, a national nonprofit, for their progress addressing the educational needs of young men of color. And two of them are among the 81 schools eligible to apply for the city's Expanded Success Initiative. The principals told GothamSchools they think one key to tackling this problem is creating single-gender spaces where young men are asked to think critically about their actions and plan for their futures.
April 17, 2012
In report, advocates paint grim picture of city school inequities
Critics of school closures were not the only ones taking aim at the Bloomberg administration's education policies today. A Massachusetts-based education foundation declared that the city's schools systematically shortchange poor students and students of color. Those students, who make up the vast majority of city enrollment, are less likely to attend top-performing schools as a result of educational "redlining," according to a report released today by the Schott Foundation. The foundation gives grants to education advocacy groups across the country, including New York's Alliance for Quality Education, a lobbying group formed to help win extra funds for city schools through the successful Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit. The term "redlining," coined in the 1960s, refers to the practice of discriminating against people in certain neighborhoods or of certain races when deciding who should receive loans or other services. Writes New York University professor Pedro Noguera in a foreword, While the term “redlining” might seem strong given that it implies a deliberate attempt to deny certain communities access to educational opportunities, this report will show that evidence of blatant disparities amount to Apartheid-like separations that have been accepted in New York for far too long. Rather than being angered by the language used, my hope is that readers of this report will be outraged by the fact that education in New York City is more likely to reproduce and reinforce existing patterns of inequality than to serve as a pathway to opportunity. Using a methodology it has applied to other cities and research questions, the foundation assigned each of the city's 32 school districts an "Opportunity to Learn Index" based on how likely it is that middle school students in the district attend schools in the top quarter citywide. It found that students in districts with many black and Hispanic students had a lower chance of attending top-performing schools.
March 10, 2010
Finally Doing Something about Specialized High School Admissions
The woefully small percentages of black and Hispanic students at the city's specialized high schools is not a new development, but that doesn't mean we can't do something to change it. Here's my suggestion: The Department of Education should adopt a proportional admissions plan for the exam schools that would offer admission to the highest-scoring students from each of the neighborhoods of the city. An idea whose time has come In 1995, then-Chancellor Ramon Cortines lamented the declining percentages of black and Hispanic students at the city's specialized high schools. At the time, the numbers were actually better than they are now: Bronx Science's enrollment was 10.7% black and 9.2% Hispanic; Stuyvesant's was 4.8% black and 4.3% Hispanic. In 1996, ACORN (well before its recent collapse) published a report, entitled "Secret Apartheid II: Race, Regents and Resources," that analyzed enrollment numbers at Stuyvesant and Bronx Science, the two most selective schools.
November 11, 2008
Graph illustrates demographic shift at specialized high schools
Graph by ##http://eduwonkette.org##Eduwonkette##. Sociologist Jennifer Jennings (who blogs as Eduwonkette) graphed a change in demographics at the city’s eight specialized high schools, providing…
October 22, 2008
When the new girl in school is the only one like her
Growing up, teacher-blogger A Daughter’s Geography was the only black student in her school. So she sympathizes with the new girl at the predominately…
July 30, 2008
Stark figures on black male graduation rates
America's schools systematically fail to educate black males as well as they educate other students, according to a new report by the Schott Foundation for Public Education, Given Half a Chance: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males. If Black students did poorly in all schools, we would plausibly seek solutions to the problem of their achievement among those students themselves. The same would be the case if, in schools with majority Black enrollments, Black students did poorly and the other students did well. But in reality, Black students in good schools do well. At the same time, White, non-Hispanic students who attend schools where most of the students are Black and their graduation rates are low, also do poorly. The crisis of the education of Black males sits squarely in the middle of the crisis America faces as we work to create a world-class public education system that will support and maintain the values of a fair and equitable democratic society. According to the report, in New York State, 39 percent of black male students graduated from high school in 2005-06, compared to 75 percent of white male students, and far more black male students performed at the Below Basic level on all sections of the NAEP tests compared to white male students. Also, as the report points out, on the eighth grade NAEP reading assessment, "virtually none reach the Advanced level." Furthermore, black males in New York State are about 5 times less likely to be placed in Gifted and Talented programs, and nearly 3 times more likely to be classified as mentally retarded.
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