Leonie Haimson hyped this debate at nycednews:
Great critiques of NYC school grading system by parent Tory Frye, teacher Brian Jones, former principal of El Ro Susan Elliot & Manhattan Institute's Sol Stern in NYT #RoomforDebate
Here is Brian's piece:
Labeling a School 'Hopeless' Isn't the Answer
Brian Jones has taught in New York City public schools for nine years and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in urban education at the CUNY Graduate Center. He co-narrated the film "The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman <http://vimeo.com/41994760> " and contributed to the book "Education and Capitalism: Struggles for Learning and Liberation <http://www.haymarketbooks.org/pb/Education-and-Capitalism> ." He is a member of the Movement of Rank and File Educators <http://morecaucusnyc.org/mission-statement/> and writes a blog <http://brianpjones.tumblr.com/> .
OCTOBER 9, 2012
School progress reports cannot be fairly called a measurement of "progress" since schools are graded on a curve <http://shankerblog.org/?p=6812> : 25 percent of them will get a "C" each year, 7 percent will get a "D," and 3 percent will get an "F." You don't have to be a statistician to understand that it is possible, here, for schools to make actual progress but remain in the same spot on the curve.
Anyone who works in a school knows that receiving a scarlet letter "C" or worse means punishment, not help, is on the way. Schools with poor ratings face staff firings and closure. At times, public school closures have coincided with the expansion of charter schools <http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010-02-26/local/27057482_1_charter-schools-public-schools-chancellor-joel-klein> , defying basic notions of fairness, the public trust and even the rating system itself.
These and other problems are a reflection of a deeper issue at the department of education: the lack of serious ideas about pedagogy and an unshakable faith in free market solutions. The grading system encourages parents to view themselves as customers with "options" not citizens with rights. But there's one option that isn't on the menu: transforming the conditions in all of the schools.
In the age of austerity, the department of education has found millions to spend on developing more standardized tests for more grades and more subjects -- including pre-K <http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2012/04/doe-to-spend-millions-of-dollars-on-new.html> .
Meanwhile, when an investigation <http://comptroller.nyc.gov/press/2011_releases/pr11-10-076.shtm> found that only 6 percent of the audited schools were meeting students' physical education needs, no such millions were ever mobilized to hire physical education instructors or upgrade facilities. Here, the grading system serves to justify the rationing of education. Why spend on a "hopeless" school?
We are wary of teachers who label even one student as "hopeless." We should be equally wary of education leaders who know -- in advance -- the precise percentage of schools that will be deemed hopeless.
Grassroots Education Movement
Education columnist, The Wave
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