Friday, May 29, 2009

Somewhere Here Is A Disgrace: Can We Guess Who?

above and below from the gothamist except I combined the videos into one
Mayor Bloomberg Avoids Question, Calls Reporter A "Disgrace"
Is the unofficial first rule of Mayor Bloomberg-Press Fight Club "Don't ask Mayor Bloomberg about term limits"? That's what it seems like when you watch this video from PolitickerNY's Azi Paybarah. Bloomberg, at a press conference touting how the city received $32 million in federal stimulus money for job training, said of the economy, "I’m reasonably optimistic that we’ve turned the corner" on the recession. So Paybarah asked if, since the economy was turning around, that meant Bloomberg oversold his pitch for overturning term limits—which the mayor didn't think was a "serious" question.
and here's the transcript from CityRoom:
Mr. Paybarah: If the economy is turning around, as you said, does that mean the rationale for changing term limits—-
Mr. Bloomberg: I don’t know why … if we have a serious question…[At this point, Mr. Paybarah tried to finish his question, but he was cut off by the mayor.]
Mr. Bloomberg: The rationale for extending term limits is that the City Council passed it and the voters will have a chance on Nov. 3 to say what they want. I don’t think we have to keep coming back to it. … If you have a serious question about the economy I will be happy to answer it.
And then Bloomberg looks at Paybarah and says, "You're a disgrace." Previously, Bloomberg avoided questions from reporters at an event by noticing Paybarah's haircut.

below a picture of the disgrace Bloomberg is referring to combined with a picture from
Paybarah's site

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Designer Pizza For The Jet Set

above: a fantasy of famed good buddies as they scour the city for the best pizza. below the comments of marty markowitz to a nytimes piece
While I appreciate the article as a Joel Klein personality piece, perhaps We the People – and the New York Times – should evaluate the Chancellor on his POLICIES and the FACTS, rather than as the article points out: his suddenly resurgent political acumen in the shadow of Mayoral Control being up for review.
(Note that we wouldn’t even be having this conversation if Mayoral term limits had not been “log rolled.”)
In an effort to depersonalize the below facts, which I invite the Times to verify, I will refer to “Tweed” below – not Chancellor Klein personally:
1) Tweed recently backed off of a short-lived attempt to ban School Leadership Team (SLT) parent members from running for their local Community District Education Council (CDEC). The ban on PTA officers still stands. The combined total is roughly 5,000 of our most involved and knowledgeable parent leaders!
2) In the last seven years, Tweed has instituted multiple reorganizations on the system (when all else fails, reorganize).
3) Tweed routinely opens, closes, creates, and reprograms schools and school buildings, and on occasion from non-charter to charter, without “consulting” with the local CDEC’s – in clear violation of both the letter and spirit of one of the few parent-involvement sections in the same state law which established “Mayoral Control.”
4) Tweed is in violation of multiple decisions of the New York State Court of Appeals regarding “systemic failure” and our children’s right to a “sound basic education.” (See my Letter to the Editor re class sizes, 03/01/09)
5) Related, Tweed has been chided by the State Education Department for taking class size reduction monies, and in 70 instances of schools receiving over $100k, the two metrics of class size AND student-teacher ratio both went UP.
6) Tweed’s “School Progress Reports” (i.e. the school letter grades) from the ironically named Office of Accountability have been easily proven to be a “random letter generator.”
7) The bottom line: the “achievement gap”, as measured by the differential graduation rate of NYC high school students at large (roughly 50%, as if that’s anything to brag about) and black high school students (roughly 30%, an ongoing tragedy) remains a gaping chasm, self-congratulatory subway ad campaign notwithstanding.
As John Adams said in 1770, “Facts are stubborn things.” But in politics, especially NYC politics in 2009, so is well-funded spin.
Indeed, “accountability” is overdue, long overdue. If in principals’ offices per Tweed, why not Tweed itself? If the Mayoral Control law is renewed without significant changes (as may happen before the Mayor himself is renewed), I would suggest but one minor adjustment – changing the job title from “Chancellor” to “Emperor.”
P.S. As I am a huge fan of both of them, I hereby offer to buy famous Klein fans Alan Alda or Julia Stiles ( a slice of pizza and a beverage of their choice after the next CECD2 meeting (jointly with CB8), Thursday March 12, re the UES's long-missing PS151(

The King Of New York Has Spoken 2

You can forget about any real change in mayoral control of the schools in nyc. from the nydaily news
Silver In No Rush On Mayoral Control, May 27, 2009
Just because the Assembly Democrats held a four-hour confab on mayoral control last night and reviewed Speaker Sheldon Silver's plan to extend the 2002 law another six years - with some tweaks - does not mean there will be action on the topic any time soon.
"There is no bill, just general concepts, our proposals to address parental involvement, to address transparency and keep mayoral control of the Board of Education (sic) itself," Silver told reporters today.
"This is an evolving process. It will not be resolved, either conference-wise or legislatively, for a few weeks."......
Asked if he thinks mayoral control will be reauthorized before the end of the legislative session, despite the fact that a number of his Democratic members aren't thrilled with the idea, Silver said:
"Yes, yes, absolutely. But I believe it needs the parental involvement piece, very much so, and transparency. My conference is on board with a lot of the issues. How on board is the issue that evolves.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

There's No Business Like No Bid Business

there should be a contest for a no-bid parody
There's no business like show business like no business I know
Everything about it is appealing, everything that traffic will allow
Nowhere could you get that happy feeling when you are stealing that extra bow
There's no people like show people, they smile when they are low
Even with a turkey that you know will fold, you may be stranded out in the cold
Still you wouldn't change it for a sack of gold, let's go on with the show
The butcher, the baker, the grocer, the clerk
Are secretly unhappy men because
The butcher, the baker, the grocer, the clerk
Get paid for what they do but no applause.
They'd gladly bid their dreary jobs goodbye for anything theatrical and why?
There's no business like show business and I tell you it's so
Traveling through the country is so thrilling, standing out in front on opening nights
Smiling as you watch the theater filling, and there's your billing out there in lights
There's no people like show people, they smile when they are low
Angels come from everywhere with lots of jack, and when you lose it, there's no attack
Where could you get money that you don't give back? Let's go on with the show
(There's no business like show business like no business I know)
You get word before the show has started that your favorite uncle died at dawn
Top of that, your pa and ma have parted, you're broken-hearted, but you go on
(There's no people like show people, they smile when they are low)
Yesterday they told you you would not go far, that night you open and there you are
Next day on your dressing room they've hung a star, let's go on with the show!!

There's No Business Like No Bid Business

There's no business like no-bid business like no business I know
Everything about it is appealing, everything that loopholes will allow
Nowhere could you get that happy feeling when you are milking that cash cow
There's no people like DOE people, they lie so you won't know
Even though that turkey Joel does as he is told he acts like he is courageous and bold
Still consultants walk away with a sacks of gold, let's go on with the show

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

There's No Business Like No Bid Business

an excerpt from Wayne Barrett at the Village Voice
....when State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli issued a 26-page audit this week slamming Mike Bloomberg's Department of Education for $342 million in no-bid contracts, the only reporters to cover it were Rachel Monahan of the Daily News and the Voice's Elizabeth Dwoskin.
No one has a real number for no-bids before mayoral control, but the Times once put it at $12 million, and many observers believe that this explosion in end-runs around competitive procurement rules is a lesson plan in bad business.
The under-covered audit shows just how wildly unregulated DOE's no-bid contracting is -- with nearly 200 contractors beginning work before DOE's contract committee approved their deals and others advertised after they were already approved. Though DOE's contracting rules require documentation about why the deals were done without bidding, the agency's Committee on Contracts routinely fails to comply with their rules, which are substantially more lenient than the rules that apply to every other mayoral agency. The agency cites "other special circumstances," which are never explained, as the reason it dodges bids in the vast majority of cases.

Excellent as only Barrett can and is willing to do, but in my mind he still has "splaining" to do for not seeing the extent of the failures of mayoral control and the insidious nature of charter schools Among the many pieces Barrett should have read on that topic was this on how Harlem Charter Schools Serve Fewer High Needs Kids: or Debbie Meier and Diane Ravicth on the bogus nature of "charter like" miracles

Monday, May 25, 2009

In These We Trust?

from ednostesonline, Mike's Comedy Routine?
Bloomberg Does Stint at Comedy Club: NYC Teachers were rolling in the aisles with laughter after hearing this Bloomyism: Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday that parents should butt out of trying to dictate educational policy as the debate over mayoral control of the schools intensifies. "You do not want parents setting educational policy. You do not want parents telling teachers how to teach. Teachers would not be happy about that," Bloomberg said on his WOR radio program.
"That's what you have professionals for," he added. Professional educators like Joel Klein and his merry band of Tweeders, of course.I didn't think Bloomberg was capable of jokes beyond telling pregnant employees to "get rid of it."

from nycpublicschoolparents
The level of contempt this Mayor has for public school parents -- and the citizenry in general -- would be astonishing in any public figure, but in a man who is ostensibly running in an upcoming election, it's simply extraordinary. Every time he opens his mouth, words come out that reflect a billionaire's arrogance, aloofness, and lack of empathy for and understanding of ordinary New Yorkers' lives.The Mayor tells everyone not to worry about flu, that just because there are a few people sick, "That it doesn't mean you stop living." Until a beloved Queens teacher and assistant principal dies and the Mayor dismissively rationalizes continued school operation with 40-60% of the kids absent as a day care issue. Norman Seabrook, union head for corrections officers at Rikers Island complains about the spread of flu among inmates there, and the Mayor's typically sarcastic response is, "If he is an epidemiologist, it's the first time I've heard of it." Nor, the last time I heard of it, was Mr. Bloomberg. Parents want a meaningful voice in the policies affecting their children's education, and the Mayor tells them by radio interview to butt out, that they're neither needed nor wanted. And while he's at it, he reverts back to his usual scare tactics that any parental input is tantamount to destroying what he's built (such a bad idea??) and that it will automatically return NYC public education to "the bad old days." It would be pleasant if just once, this Mayor at least acted like cares, even if inside he could care less. Of course, Mr. Bloomberg doesn't have to worry about offending parents or anyone else, since he has already haughtily subverted their will on term limits and bought and paid for both the City Council and the election itself. If you think about it, it's simply astonishing to realize that later this year, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers will be voting for this bitter, intolerant, humorless, and affectless individual (I can't bring myself to use the words human being) as their Mayor for another four years. Or more, if Mike decides he wants to stick around. After all, what Mikey wants, Mikey gets, no more how much it costs him or how much pain it inflicts on the average New Yorker about whom he cares so little.
-- Steve Koss

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Let's Hear It For This Boy.....For Telling It Like It Is

from the nydailynews
Teacher Against Mayoral Control: All that power hasn't made things better
By Arthur Goldstein, SPECIAL TO THE NEWS, Sunday, May 24th 2009, 4:00 AM
As a teacher in an A-rated school, I believe mayoral control has been an absolute disaster.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Our federal and state governments have checks and balances so no one person has total control, which is a synonym for dictatorship.
City kids need reasonable class sizes and decent facilities. Under Mayor Bloomberg, class sizes just took their biggest leap in 10 years.
Some people say class size doesn't matter, but even the best teachers can give more attention to 20 kids than 34. The fewer kids I have, the more individual attention each one gets.
Under this mayor, charter schools get the best of everything, including small classes and new technology.
My high school was built to hold 1,800 but enrolls 4,450 students. My kids sit in a crumbling trailer, with no technology and often no heat in the winter. So much for efficiency.
The mayor says it's his way or "the bad old days." That's a false choice. We need a system that works better than what we have.
We need a chancellor who works for the kids, not the mayor. The chancellor needs to fight for what's best for kids whether or not the mayor agrees. He can't do that if the mayor can fire him for not following his orders.
A few years ago, the mayor fired two members of the Panel for Educational Policy who had the nerve to disagree with him.
Consequently, the PEP is a mayoral rubber stamp. No mayoral appointee dares to stand up for kids.
This mayor boasts about accountability. Teachers are accountable. Principals are accountable, but the only time the mayor is accountable is once every four years.
That's not enough, particularly for a man who is prepared to spend $100 million to buy reelection and who scoffed at the voters by changing the term limits law they twice affirmed.
Four more years of this system guarantees the privatization and destruction of public education in New York City. That's a prospect we should all oppose.
Arthur Goldstein teaches English as a Second Language at Francis Lewis High School in Queens

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Come Fly With Me, Frank

Come fly with me, let's fly let's fly away
If you can use, some exotic booze
There's a bar in far Bombay
Come fly with me, we'll fly we'll fly away
Come fly with me, we'll float down to Peru
In llama land, there's a one man band
And he'll toot his flute for you
Come fly with me, we'll float down in the blue
Once I get you up there, where the air is rarefied
We'll just glide, starry eyed
Once I get you up there, I'll be holding you so near
You may hear, angels cheer - because we're together
Weather wise its such a lovely day
You just say the words, and we'll beat the birds
Down to Acapulco Bay
Its perfect, for a flying honeymoon - they say
Come fly with me, we'll fly well fly away

Come Fly With Me, Buble

Like Frank he should just stick to singing and lose the schtick
Come fly with me, lets fly let's fly away
If you can use, some exotic booze
There's a bar in far LA
Come fly with me, let's fly let's fly away
Come fly with me, let's float down to Peru
In Buble land, there's a big boy band
And he'll toot his flute for you
Come fly with me, we'll float down in the blue
Once I get you up there, where the air is rarefied
We'll just glide, starry eyed
Once I get you up there, I'll be holding you so near
You may hear, angels cheer - because were together
Weather wise it's such a lovely day
You just say the words, and we'll beat the birds
Down to Acapulco Bay
It's perfect, for a flying honeymoon - they say
Come fly with me, let's fly let's fly away

Swines Flew

Over at ednotes online there's talk that The DOE has announced that Joel Klein will be flying down to Washington to the next EEP conference with Al Sharpton.

A New Torture Technique

Friday, May 15, 2009

STOP NYC Public School Closings! May 14 Citywide Protest at the DOE

from the grassroots educational movement
Many public schools across the city have been targeted for closing this year. From Red Hook, Brooklyn to the Rockaways to Harlem to the Fordham neighborhood of the Bronx, all doomed by School Report Card grades of D or F, which are based on a single year's achievement scores. The decision was made unilaterally without hearings or community input. This new round of closings affects hundreds of teachers and more than three thousand students. It follows six years of school reorganizations under Klein and Bloomberg that have directly affected tens of thousands of students and left close to 1700 teachers still without positions. Teachers in the targeted schools lose their school communities and the relationships they forged over years. Practical knowledge that school veterans have developed is discarded as new schools are established all over again.
The drama of school condemnation only obscures the deteriorating conditions of learning. Class sizes have increased. Buildings are overcrowded. The Daily News recently reported that 17,000 lack access to a school library. Dozens of overcrowded schools are using their libraries as classrooms. Others have librarians working as teachers. Such dismal lack of the basics is not accounted for on school report cards. It must be obvious by now that the DOE's obsession with accountability is more about controlling people than the improvement of anything.
Grading schools with yearly achievement scores stifles creative and relevant pedagogy. It leaves no room for setting long-term educational goals. The growing ranks of teachers in excess are part of the need to keep educators on the defensive, uncertain and in fear. It's time that we joined in an effort not only to resist more closings but to take back our schools for our students and the community.
The Independent Community of Educators & the New York Collective of Radical Educators are forming a coalition with other school activists to address the plight of our teachers, students and parents in the communities of targeted schools for closings. We will explore school closings in relationship to:
* the City's failure to provide viable alternatives for poorly functioning schools and schools with high need students
· our loss and further threats to teacher seniority, due-process and tenure rights
· the scapegoating and discrediting of competent educators
· navigating the morass of the open market hiring system and the new counter-incentives for hiring ATRs
· valid evaluation of teacher quality and performance (e.g. teacher data reports)
· threatened termination of competent ATR educators and their impact on quality services
· high stakes testing
· the accelerated push for charter schools and other forms of privatization
· the need for democratic governance; not mayoral dictatorial control.

Mike Bloomberg, Plutocrat, At Grassroots Education Movement Rally, May 14th

an excerpt from the huffington post by Sherman Yellen
Michael Bloomberg: Republican, Democrat, or Plutocrat?
Last October, Michael Bloomberg, New York City's Mayor, announced that he would seek to extend the city's term limits law and run for a third term in 2009, since he needed more than that silly old law limiting the Mayor to two terms, especially during the Wall Street financial crises

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mike Bloomberg, Plutocrat

an excerpt from the huffington post by Sherman Yellen
Michael Bloomberg: Republican, Democrat, or Plutocrat?
Last October, Michael Bloomberg, New York City's Mayor, announced that he would seek to extend the city's term limits law and run for a third term in 2009, since he needed more than that silly old law limiting the Mayor to two terms, especially during the Wall Street financial crises. "Handling this financial crisis while strengthening essential a challenge I want to take on." Although Bloomberg rejected former Mayor Giuliani's grab for a third term after 9/11, saying that no one is indispensible, he suddenly discovered that someone is -- himself. The public did not unanimously rejoice in his announcement, but according to Wikipedia, "many elite New Yorkers such as David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, and prominent businessmen including Jamie Dimon and press mogul Mortimer Zuckerman voiced support for such a proposal and published an open letter urging the City Council to extend the term limits." It is a safe bet that anything Henry Kissinger supports warrants very close inspection by a forensic team wearing latex gloves.
The City Council voted 29-22 in favor of extending the term limit to three consecutive four-year terms, thus allowing Bloomberg to run for office again. And he may run again in four more years if it suits his fancy, thus turning a great city into a banana republic controlled by the richest man in the city. One critic declared that "Bloomberg's tactics in seeking a third term, along with his failure to foresee the Wall Street crisis at the same time his policies were making the City more dependent on finance, real estate and tourism, are proof that Bloomberg is unfit for the job." I won't argue with that. The wreckage I see all around me is national in scope but here in New York City it has the special Bloomberg logo on it.

about the drop out rates from gotham schools

Monday, May 11, 2009

Grassroots Education Movement

from ednotesonline
A Grassroots Education Movement, GEM spokesperson, Angel Gonzalez, talks about our May 14 Rally and our campaign to stop school closings (phase out) and imposition of charter school privatization on WBAI Evening News Friday, May 8, 2009 6:00 pm

Mike's Successful Economic Plan

In The Next 100 Days...

Obama at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner last night
In the next hundred days, I will meet with a leader who rules over millions with an iron fist, who owns the airwaves and uses his power to crush all who would challenge his authority at the ballot box. It's good to see you, Mayor Bloomberg. (Laughter.)

Saturday, May 09, 2009

An Uncanny Resemblance

The King Of New York Has Spoken

This was probably decided on during passover. An excerpt from the nypost
Mayor Bloomberg's quest to keep City Hall in charge of the city's public schools got a significant boost this morning when Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver praised mayoral control as a good system.
"Nobody wants to go back to the old system of community schools," he said.
Silver's support comes just a week after his district's community board voted overwhelmingly to eliminate mayoral control.
His backing could be a crucial in convincing the Democratic-controlled Assembly to sign off on the plan, which expires in June.
Silver, who spoke to reporters after the Downtown Lower Manhattan Association breakfast, said he would like changes in the current system to accommodate more parental involvement.
"This is a good system in place. It could ultimately be made better without losing the principals for which it was originally contemplated," he said.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Truth Of It Is He Doesn't Give A Damn

from reported by Rebecca Spitz
Parents Protest Kindergarten Overcrowding
Parents upset their children have been wait-listed for a kindergarten program at their neighborhood school staged a rally outside City Hall in Manhattan Wednesday.
They say their children have been denied access for next year, even though their kids already attend pre-kindergarten programs at the facility.
Parents say overcrowding is to blame, and that they've previously warned the Department of Education that this was bound to happen due to the baby boom and lack of school construction.

New Heights Of Chutzpah

Above a small clip from the video of the previous post
This guy just oozes nastiness and arrogance, yet so many are blind to it. It makes me wistful for the more straight ahead version of Giuliani.

Angry Parents With A Bone To Pick

from wcbs tv news
Parents Rally Against NYC Kindergarten Class Cuts, Reporting Marcia Kramer
Hundreds of angry parents and children march down Broadway outside City Hall in Manhattan, rallying against cuts in kindergarten classes.
Angry parents have a bone to pick with City Hall.
Rallies were held Wednesday against huge cuts in kindergarten classes. Those cuts, they say, will jeopardize the future of hundreds of city children.
It's not the kind of thing a mayor seeking re-election wants to see -- two demonstrations in the same day by parents whose kids can't get into kindergarten and day care.
They were at City Hall on Wednesday afternoon and evening, telling Mayor Michael Bloomberg they are furious that hundreds of their children are on long waiting lists to get into kindergarten.
"You say no to Mayor Bloomberg and his budget cuts. Can you say no cuts? No cuts, no cuts, no cuts," came the chat from the demonstrators.
And they were at City Hall Wednesday morning, thousands of outraged parents and their kids questioning Bloomberg's plans to cut day care slots and to deal with a shortage of kindergarten spots by moving pre-k classes out of public schools.
"Mayor Bloomberg, he better get it right because this don't make no sense how they cutting child care of all things," parent Precious Wiggins said. "Our kids are our future."
"We bust our butts for our money and you know we have children we need to keep them in day care," added Jayne Solano of Williamsburg. "He doesn't have small children like we do. He has nothing to worry about."
The mayor's political opponents tried to make hay on the issue.
"This is a situation where the mayor is putting money before children," Comptroller William Thompson said.
"In a Tony Avella administration you'll never have this problem," Tony Avella said.
After a speech in Atlanta the mayor said parents clamoring for public school spots is a sign that he had improved city education.
"There was a story in the paper today that was about as far away from the mark as anything I've read recently," Bloomberg said. "They complained about a couple a hundred kids not being able to get in to the schools they wanted to get into. I can tell you how to fix that. Just lower the quality of the schools. That's where we came from. Isn't it wonderful that kids want to get into schools?"
But Mercedes Graham of Washington Heights didn't want to hear that rationale.
"Where are the funds? Where are they being spent?" Graham wondered.
Added Leyla Baretto of Hells Kitchen: "Please save our babies. If we don't have child care we cannot work. The economy is bad enough. We're not responsible for the economy and our children are not responsible and our children deserve to be taken care of."
There were a lot of mayoral allies who spoke against the city proposal Wednesday, including borough presidents Scott Stringer and Helen Marshall and lots of council

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Parents Protest School Overcrowding

Parents upset their children have been wait-listed for a kindergarten program at their neighborhood school staged a rally outside P.S. 63 in Manhattan today.
They say their children have been denied access for next year, even though their kids already attend pre-kindergarten programs at the facility.
Parents say overcrowding is to blame, and that they've previously warned the Department of Education that this was bound to happen due to the baby boom and lack of school construction.
"We've been in this school for the past year and we've loved it," said parent protester Amy Steinhauser. "My daughter has made a lot of friends there and we're going through a really hard time right now because she's not going back next year at this point and we're going fight to get her back in. But it's pretty devastating."
"How do you look a four-year-old in the eye and tell him that he can't see his best friend any more?" said Dunia Sinnreich, another parent protester. "I mean, it's disgusting."
"This is an outrage throughout the entire city. It's not just happening at this school. It's not just happening in this district. It's happening everywhere," said City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez. "In my other school district, parents are being told, 'we don't know what school your child is going to go to, but show up to the first day of school to your zone school and then we'll figure it out if there's a slot for you somewhere.'"
The Department of Education says it expects more slots to open up for wait-listed students, as others are shifted into gifted and talented programs. Officials say they're working with principals and elected officials to develop a plan to accommodate the students.

Monday, May 04, 2009

That Wascal Wavitch

From nyceducator
Mayor-for-life Michael Bloomberg is clearly facing budget problems. Therefore, like any manager, he has to establish priorities. How can he raise money and cut spending? It's simplicity itself.......
But the mayor has not cut important programs like the cloak and dagger Diane Ravitch watch, which compiles dossiers on the dangerous Ms. Ravitch, who dares to not only read the info put forth by the Tweedies, but to examine it as well. This has resulted in countless embarrassments for Mayor Mike and the gang, as they're accustomed to simply saying whatever the hell they feel like and having it reported as gospel by the NY Post and US Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
But alas, Ms. Ravitch not only continues to read and report on this stuff, but she does so in highly inconvenient venues like The New York Times. When things like this happens, the Chancellor himself has to take valuable time from gala luncheons and post a response. Naturally, the city pays someone to write something up. But then that goshdarn Ravitch actually reads what they wrote, and responds to it.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

A Blistering Indictment

from abc local
By Art McFarland
NEW YORK (WABC) -- A new report says that one in five New York City students leaves without graduating. That is up nearly 15 percent this decade. The charge: Are these students being forced out to skew graduation numbers?
After a series of academic failures, Roberto Sacaza tried to enroll at a Manhattan High School where, he says, the principal asked him to leave.
Roberto is now in a GED program called "The Door," a not-for-profit aimed at struggling students.
Program exectuive director Diane Morales says her students need the most help.
Discharged students not counted in the graduation rate, while dropout rates, which lower the graduation rate, are counted. Public advocate Betsy Gotbaum's office released a report, which examined discharge rates between the years 2000 and 2007.
It found that while the class of 200 saw 17.5 percent of students discharged, that number grew to more than 21 percent by 2007, for a total of more than 142,000 students. After giving birth to her daughter, who is now 2, 18-year-old Yeisa Hurtado was referred to The Door by her former school.
She said if her school had pushed her, she could have made it.
The study says that while the four-year graduation rate of the class of 2007 was reported at 62 percent, if discharges counted as drop outs, the graduation rate would be 45.5 percent.
Leonie Haimson, of "Class Size Matters," says if the city is only talking about the graduation rate and not the discharge rate, the problems only get worse.
The Department of Education strongly disputes the findings, saying that the discharge trends have nothing to do with the graduation rates, and that students discharged for academic reasons are only a small percentage of the discharge rate. But observers say the trend is alarming.
Gotbaum's office is calling for an independent audit of the graduation and discharge figures.