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C for Controversy
November 4th, 2007

Its report card week for the more than 1,000 New York City public school as letter grades for each of the citys schools will go up on the departent Web site in the next few days.

Writing in the Daily News, Errol Louis, a supporter of Chancellor Joel Kleins data-driven system predicts some entrenched interests will try to shoot down the new report-card system. There’s too much money, power and prestige at stake to avoid a nasty fight. But, he continued, instead of focusing on that single letter grade, parents should examine the actual report cards, which contain a vast amount of information about a school’s progress.

(Funny, that sounds remarkably similar to what kids say when they dont do well.)

While in the usual style of the Department of Education the grades have been wrapped in secrecy, the scores have already attracted criticism.

Writing on NYC Public School Parents, Diane Ravitch said, The whole scheme is simplistic and misleading. It humiliates people who are doing a good, even a great job, of educating children. It attempts to replace nuanced human judgment with a computer’s calculations. The effort to remove human judgment is yet another sign of the degradation of education–a supremely human and judgmental activity–under the current DOE.

And in a scene that is sure to be played out across the city this week, the principal at IS 289 is protesting her schools grade of D. The apparently well-regarded school got the low mark because of a drop in reading scores at the school, even though those scores exceed the city average, according to a report in Sundays Times. The Department of Education thinks something is clearly amiss when scores at any school go down while overall scores in the city are rising (or so they say). But principal Ellen Foote told the Times, It is just so demoralizing to have a number or grade assigned that is just sort of trivializing things. It doesnt reflect, I think, the valuable work and the very complicated work that we do here.

Stay tuned for more of this as the week goes on.

By on November 4, 2007, 11:02 pm
In category: Education | 6 Comments »

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6 Responses to “C for Controversy”

  1. james kelleher Says:
    November 5th, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    I AGREE WITH MY SONS SCHOOL REPORT CARD GRADE. HE ATTEND MUSCOTA NEW SCHOOL IN UPPER MANHATTEN. THE SCHOOL IS RUN BY PRINCIPAL JUDI MENKEN. WHEN MY SONS SCHOOL RECIEVED A GRADE OF ‘F’ IT DID NOT SCHOCK ME AT ALL. THE CHILDREN SPEND NO TIME PREPING FOR TESTS, THE CHILDREN GO ON WAY TO MANY TRIPS DURING THE YEAR. THE SCHOOL ITSELF IS IN TOTAL DISARRY, AND THIS STARTS AT THE TOP.

  2. Noelle Bridge Says:
    March 26th, 2008 at 12:12 am

    The Muscota New School is a progressive school whose curriculum places a strong emphasis on experiential learning. The school is very open about this. Although students’ learning may not be reflected by the outcomes of traditional “tests”, studies (and children themselves) can attest to the fact that one can learn more through experience than from a textbook. If you would rather your son learn from textbooks than learn through practical experience, please send him to a more traditional school.

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