Thursday, December 31, 2015

Chalkbeat Doubles Down on Reforminess, Asks for Money

I just received an email message from Elizabeth Green, who runs Chalkbeat, about her favorite stories of 2015. Topping the list was one vilifying Mayor de Blasio for not being reformy enough. According to Chalkbeat, the mayor was shooting for one year of "improvement" over a three year period.

The officials insisted that the Renewal schools, which serve a disproportionate share of needy students and have struggled for many years, require the extra time to reach their final targets. Several people who work in the schools — which could face closure or other consequences if they fail to achieve the goals — said they agreed, calling the targets “reasonable” and “reachable.”
“I don’t know where those numbers came from,” said an administrator at one school, “but we were pleased that they were as low as they were.”

Chalkbeat concluded by asking for money, and then sent me a separate email, asking for more. Ever on the cutting edge of reforminess, Chalbeat condemned City Hall for (gasp!) setting goals it could reach. Better, evidently, would be an aim for goals that were impossible so as to enable more school closings and more broken communities. Personally, I'm amazed that after three terms of Mayor Bloomberg's uber-reforminess that things are not Perfect in Every Way. But you won't be reading about that any time soon in Chalkbeat. For them, it's an outrage that the mayor is setting realistic goals. And Chalkbeat has unearthed even worse consequences:

Other schools started this school year having already hit their 2017 targets.

For instance, Brooklyn Generation School’s final four-year graduation target is 67 percent, yet it posted a 68 percent graduation rate this June. And the middle-school students at the Bronx School of Young Leaders earned an average English score of 2.2 this spring, even as the school’s 2017 goal is a 2.19 average.

That's simply horrifying. How can we, the taxpayers, put up with targeted schools that actually meet their goals early? What does that imply? Does it mean we'll have fewer schools targeted for takeover by Eva Moskowitz and her reformy pals? Thank goodness Chalkbeat is on the case to alert us to this dire emergency.

You can count on Chalkbeat NY to ring the alarms whenever the city does anything so outrageous as to set reachable goals for city schools. It's always vital that we ignore the fact that every single "failing" school is full of impoverished, learning disabled, non-English speaking high-needs kids. That's because not only Chalkbeat, but also its supporters, like Gates and Walton, have determined to ignore that. Rather, they focus on privatizing public schools, decimating union, and firing unionized public school teachers. That's the prime directive.

That's one reason why my contribution this week, once again, went to Class Size Matters rather than Chalkbeat. I urge you to join me, and you can do so right here.  Support a real grassroots organization, one that actually works for city schools and supports things that are not insane. 
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