Pass or Fail? the NYC School System Janine Reports 9/10/07
The Bloomberg Administration in New York City has cooked up a brand new scheme to measure performance in the notoriously flawed New York City school system.
In a nutshell, schools in New York City will now be given report card grades ranging from A to F that will be posted on the World Wide Web for parents and the general populace to view. As a teacher at an A rated school which happens to be a rare goldmine as far as New York City schools go, I have to give my two cents on the new plan. It will likely wreak havoc on an already horrendous school system.
I think that taking dire measures to improve the quality of education for New York City children is wise, but giving grades out to adults (administrators and teachers) is patronizing and might have a backlash. From what I have seen with my own two eyes since beginning work on the high school level in New York City, there are far more substandard schools than good ones. Once that C, D or F grade gets assigned, the necessary improvements may not happen. It may brand poorly rated schools and have the following aftershocks:
1) A rush among students for the "A" rated schools which makes those schools even more competitive and reduces morale for students when they can not get in to them due to lack of availability.
2) A rush among faculty to work at the better schools. Their morale will go down if they are stuck in bad schools. There will just not be enough jobs in the A rated schools. Who wants to feel like they work at a "D" rated school? Aren't teachers lives difficult enough?
3) An overall system created which has even lower standards set for underserved minorities. One of the aspects a school is "graded" on is the school's "passing rate."
In other words, if students take longer to graduate because they have failed classes, the school's grade could go down. Essentially this puts tremendous pressure on administrators to pressure teachers to pass kids through the system who are not really prepared for further education. Passing more kids doesn't correlate with actual enhancement of skills and/or knowledge. I hope I am wrong here and that I am seeing the glass half empty instead of half fulll. I do hope that this new report card system yields positive results. However, I think that a less patronizing rating system that is not supplied to parents of children and the general public could be much more effective for administrators, teachers and students alike.