Monday, January 30, 2012

Reform worth fighting for

Re. my last email on the MDRC study on NYC's successful new, small schools, here are three comments.  First, an op ed in the NY Post by DFER's Joe Williams:

Are these small schools perfect? Of course not. In fact, the MDRC report adds to the growing evidence that, while New York City is graduating students at a higher rate than a decade ago, most of these kids are still not ready for college.

This is sobering stuff, and city leaders must clearly keep their eyes on the issue. But the fact that we're even worried today about how tens of thousands of city youngsters are doing in college classes is a reminder of just how far the needle has moved in Gotham.

Getting to where most of our students are not only graduating from high school but excelling in college will require the same sort of boldness as we saw during the small-schools push. Bloomberg and his would-be successors should read the MRDC report from the vantage point of those whose job it is to drive change.

Many large high schools that made room for these smaller-school programs closed amid a loud uproar from "community" leaders who urged more time to fix the same schools that had wildly failed students for decades. If finding consensus had been the goal (as opposed to moving boldly to help students), thousands more young men and women would be trying to survive in the world without a high-school diploma right now.

Too much, too soon?

Change can be bumpy in a city like New York, especially when it comes to public schools. It's often easier to block anything from happening than it is for us to allow our leaders to stake out strong and compelling positions.

This report is yet another reminder that sometimes the fights are worth it.


Reform worth fighting for

Lessons of NYC school closings


Last Updated: 12:39 AM, January 26, 2012

As the Department of Education closed nearly two dozen of the city's worst large high schools at the height of the "small-schools boom," one of the critics' most common complaints was that the educrats were doing too much, too soon.

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