Friday, November 05, 2010

S Is for Simpleton

The school grades are out again.  Naturally, they cover only one year rather than multiple years, so there's no allowance for ebb and flow.  Elite schools get Bs, and less desirable schools get Bs too.  And schools that get low grades are simply closed, because schools cannot possibly be improved and must be destroyed with extreme prejudice.  Then they're broken up into four or five academies, with all new kids, and if one should do well, it's absolute proof that Chancellor Klein is a genius.

But it's not all the work of Chancellor Klein, as all closures need the approval of the important Panel for Educational Policy.  This vital group was created to replace the often dysfunctional Board of Education.  To improve the unreliable Board, the mayor gets 8 of 13 appointees, and any one that doesn't vote the way he wants is fired before the vote takes place.  In Mayor Bloomberg's eyes, apparently, that represents democracy.

To make sure everything is on the up and up, 85% of a schools letter grade is based on scores.  That way, no one will be favorably prejudiced by your champion football team, or the fact that you take on a disproportionate number of special ed. or ESL students.  And to be fair, you get compared directly against academies and charter schools that have few or no such students, let alone those with truly extraordinary needs.  Kids like those are dumped into the remaining large schools so that they can be closed with all due haste.  We need to charterize, privatize, and small size-ize ASAP.

And then when the new schools stink, we'll just close them too and ship the kids somewhere else.

And no matter what happens, no matter how many test gains fade into nothingness, neither Michael Bloomberg nor Joel Klein will be accountable for a single solitary shred of their utter failure to improve New York City schools.
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