Tuesday, March 27, 2012

DOE: Maybe We Should Hold Ourselves to High Math Standards, Too

Among the DOE's next targets is Bushwick Community High School, a transfer school that most people agree is an exceptionally effective transfer school. But the plan to "transform"* BCHS makes me wonder if the DOE knows what a transfer school even is, or if they know basic math. One of the arguments against BCHS is that most students who attend it and graduate from it fail to graduate in six years. Well, one might concede, yes, that is generally why they're at a transfer school: They accumulated so few credits at a traditional school, or decided to drop out and come back, or had to leave for other reasons and are looking for a second chance.

A few years ago, I met a student who graduated from BCHS and now works as a community organizer. He was incredibly frank about his problems with school: He let everything but school take priority in his life, messed up, and dropped out. It was only after almost two years of personal and professional wandering that he realized he truly needed an education. He went to BCHS and became passionately engaged with the school and the wider community. He always spoke highly of how BCHS was the school that gave him another shot.

Transfer schools are valuable resources for very challenged students and their families. Why on Earth do you need to "transform"* one of the most successful ones? The DOE needs to reread its own policies, reacquaint itself with its own schools, and, yes, maybe relearn some math.

*Correction, 5:30 p.m., 3/27/12: BCHS is slated for "transformation," not closure. The thrust of the post remains the same. The post has been corrected to reflect the initial inaccuracy. Miss Eyre regrets the error.
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