Education Reform

Cuomo’s List of “Failing Schools”

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A reader called NY Educator has analyzed the list of “failing schools,” assembled in response to Governor Cuomo’s budget mandates.

He or she writes as a comment:

“I’ve worked up a lot of data on the 178 schools on Cuomo’s “hit list” of “failing schools.” They are, on average 93% minority, in contrast to 54% statewide minority.

“They enroll on average 86% economically disadvantaged students, in comparison to 53% statewide.

“On average 16% of their students are English language learners. State average is 8% (charter average is 5%).

“On average, 23% of their students have disabilities, compared to an average of 16% statewide and only 14% in the state’s charter schools.

“These schools are intensely segregated and, in dozens of cases reflect “apartheid segregation” (99%-100% minority). [I am uncertain of the origin of the term apartheid segregation–I know Jonathan Kozol uses it, but it may have been initiated by Gary Orfield.]

“The schools serve tens of thousands of very high need students, including high school students who just can’t finish 22 credits and five exams in four years because they are enrolled in non-credit bearing classes like beginning English and Resource Room. When they graduate in 5 or 6 years it doesn’t matter . . . because only the four year graduation rate counts.

The state assessments in 3-8 ELA and math discriminate against these students. The number and percent of minority, economically disadvantaged, ELL and SWD students scoring at level 1 and 2 are disproportionate and the most recent changes in tests and scoring (beginning in 2013) profoundly exacerbated these gaps.

“I would argue that the explosion of achievement gaps is in fact discriminatory and unconstitutional. Are there any good lawyers out that who can help me put together an argument that it is unconstitutional to 1) perpetuate intense and apartheid segregation in NY schools 2) assess children and hold schools accountable according to measures that can be demonstrated to have discriminatory impact 3) having isolated and targeted these schools and communities in a discriminatory fashion, now subject the schools to harsh measures including (if they are converted to charters) removing them from the democratic control of their communities? And making the institution of “school” itself nothing but a grand money laundering scheme to convert public, taxpayer dollars into private profit???

“It is unconscionable that children, families, educators and communities must now suffer the “beating” that will come with the “carrot and stick” part of state intervention.”

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