This comment has been passed around from the http://jd2718.wordpress.com/ blog:
New comment on your post "Do Not Apply"
Author : Bronx Teacher
I find it interesting that TAPCo was discussed on this forum. Somehow, the Theatre Arts Production Co. School was rated the number 1 school in the NYC-DOE report cards this past month. When the principal announced it, students fell over laughing. The reality is that Principal Passarella knows how to cook the books and play the system. I'm sure she's not the only one doing it, she's just the best at it. The report card grades various stages of academic progress ... such as the number of credits each grade student has obtained.
This is interesting because TAPCo has an almost 100% graduation rate ... funny, cause students who dropped out even graduated. Let's see how this works:
- teachers are not allowed to fail students. No F's or 55's on report cards. Any 55 is changed to an NC (No Credit). Teachers are to give students EVERY opportunity to remove the NC ... such as copying work from friends, cheating, lying, etc.
- teachers who do not comply and continue to fail students are terminated and removed from the school ... even if it's mid semester. Administration will just change the failing grades to passing ones.
- therefore, TAPCO does not have any failing students and thus, every student is on track for graduation.
- students are also given bogus credits for classes they never took ... such as Phys Ed and Foreign Language.
- most TAPCo students "earn" up to 14-16 credits a year, far above the 11 required for graduation. They are given full credit for taking an Arts class once a week, a Theatre class once a week, Phys Ed classes which don't exist, Foreign Language class once a week with a "phantom" teacher who is out on disability.
- Regents passing grades are a joke as well ... especially in ELA and US/World History. The rubrics are vague, and the grading teachers give out 4's and 5's like candy. A cursory review of the essays indicate that most of these students can barely string together a legitimate sentence. Meanwhile, teachers are giving them 5's.
- the latest insult to teachers is the development of the Inquiry Team ... or more-so, the Inquisition Team. This is a group of the principal's favorites who use their position on the team to intimidate other teachers. They are led by an angry, bitter little woman named Mrs. Acosta. Acosta does not teach any classes, but goes around criticizing people's classrooms. Her fake smile is very transparent. She has used her "power" against teachers who have spoken up against her or disagree with her. Her role is to report back to the principal any dissension among the teachers.
- it's interesting how the number 1 school in the City has a teacher turnover rate of about 45%. Don't be surprised if that number is exceeded next year. But it's ok ... Principal Passarella knows there are plenty of teachers out there who will do anything and everything for a job.
Steve Koss on the NYCEdNews listserve commented:
I just this evening picked up this story while browsing Norm Scott's Education Notes blog site (www.ednotesonline.blogspot.
com); seems he picked it up from another blog called JD2718 (http://jd2718.wordpress.com ). It's not surprising, but it’s still truly a must read story for its explicit and detailed confirmation of what we all know is happening.
My challenge to Cathie Black: THIS above is, by the "management system" you are inheriting from Joel Klein, the number-one-scoring (by inference, the best-achieving) high school in NYC. Although no one at Tweed will ever admit it, we all know that this sort of "playing the system" is rampant across the entire city system, and the report card system is worse than a joke, since some parents may actually believe it is legitimate. Given your extensive management skills and experience and your superstar reputation, not to mention your newly acquired, in-depth knowledge of schools and public education, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS SCHOOL AND HOW ARE YOU GOING TO FIX THE UNDERLYING PROBLEMS CREATED BY YOUR PREDECESSOR'S FATALLY FLAWED "MANAGEMENT SYSTEM"?