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(Almost) Straight A Schools
September 2nd, 2009

Correction: The Department of Education tells us they did distribute a press release at the event announcing the school grades Wednesday morning and emailed it that afternoon. Unfortunately, we were not on the list. Since this item was posted, the release has also been placed on the Department of Education web site and is available here.

This item was updated at 4:20 p.m. to provide additional information.)

Lake Wobegon — where all the children are above average — has come to New York City schools. The Department of Education city today released its report cards (or progress reports) for elementary and middle schools, including charters, and Gotham Schools is reporting that 84 percent of them got an A. A staggering 97 percent snagged an A or a B, up from a still sizable 79 percent last year, according to the Times. Only two schools got F’s, and both of them opened under Klein’s watch. One, Harlem Link, is a charter. (The other is Washington Heights Academy.)

Interestingly, according to Philissa Cramer’s analysis of the results, the school with the biggest drop in its score was Harlem Children’s Zone’s Promise Academy charter school, which tumbled from 90.6 points to 56.5. Despite that, the school still got a B — down from A last year, but still respectable.

Harlem Children’s Zone has received personal contributions from Mayor Michael Bloomberg and millions of dollars in city funds. Its leader, Geoffrey Canada, was an outspoken and high profile champion of mayoral control of schools as board chair of Learn NY. He also publicly supported the mayor’s successful bid to extend term limits.

The high overall marks, according to Cramer, spring largely from rising scores on the state standardized language and math test, which accounts for much of a school’s grade. “But several students have suggested that the state tests have grown easier to pass,” Cramer writes while other experts questions the overall methodology of the school progress reports.

The results may have even embarrassed Mayor Michael Bloomberg. While the Times reports he “announced the grades with much fanfare for the last two years,” he did not attend this year’s session. As of 4:20 this afternoon, the results did not appear on the city government’s homepage or the Department of Education’s. and, as far as we could determine, there was no press release.

And while the reports seem like good news for the Department of Education, they could make it harder for Klein to press some of his pet causes, such as closing schools (how can you close an A school) and removing poor teachers (what bad teachers?).

By on September 2, 2009, 12:57 pm
In category: Education,Gotham City,Measuring UP | Comments Off

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