Sunday, July 29, 2012

How NYC Department of Education Kills a School « Diane Ravitch's blog

How NYC Department of Education Kills a School « Diane Ravitch's blog:


How NYC Department of Education Kills a School

The New York City Department of Education decided a few years ago that Jamaica High School, with its grand building and long history, deserved to die. Its test scores were too low. There was no point in trying to figure out why or to offer help. And so the DOE announced that Jamaica was a failing school. Parents began to withdraw their children or to select other high schools. Enrollment fell. Many faculty, remembering better times, held on. The city was determined to close the school and replace it with small high schools and charters. It is very desirable space in the borough of Queens.
A state report was recently released that documents how a school is swiftly put to death. First, declare it to be a


How Markets Fail in Public Schooling

We have had animated discussions on this blog about whether the market model works for public education, whether parents should be smart shoppers, when business practices make sense (and don’t).
I just read an interesting piece on salon.com that covers some of the same grounds but offers some useful insights about why the market model does not work for public education.



Crazy Days in Oregon

An educator in Oregon sent the following message:
To get a waiver from NCLB the state of Oregon promised that 100% of students
will graduate from high school and 80% will complete college.  I’m not sure
if this is madness or deliberate deception because the date set for reaching
these goals is 2025.  By then,the governor and legislators will be long




This Teacher Gave Her Life to Save Her Students

Whenever I hear a corporate reformer complaining about teachers, I will think of Laura Recco of Cleveland. And it won’t be because of her students’ test scores. It will be because she was a brave and selfless woman who gave her life to save her children.
See here.




Why the School Marketplace Fails

A reader responded to a post about Michigan with the following comment.
I perked up because I was reminded of something I heard on CNN recently. Fareed Zakaria was interviewing Steven Rattner about hedge funds, equity investors, and outsourcing. Zakaria asked why so many capital investors end up sending jobs overseas, and Rattner answered very concisely. He said, and I paraphrase, “in a global economy, capital always seeks to lower costs. In a competitive marketplace, if you can’t cut costs, you go out of business. The name of the game is who can cut costs the most.”
What does this mean in an education marketplace? The school that can lower its costs the most wins. How do you lower costs? You increase class size and/or hire the least experienced, low-cost teachers.
So, the “winner” is the school with the largest class sizes and the least experienced teachers.
But these are not the factors associated with quality education. This would not describe the education at our 






Why Budget Cuts Matter

A reader explains precisely how four straight years of budget cuts have hurt his school and limited the education of its students.
As regular readers of this blog know, I do not usually print the names of commenters because teachers typically worry about reprisals, and in most cases, I don’t know the name of the person who posted the comment. But this writer signed his comment, so I’m posting his name.


There has been 4 straight years of budget cuts (called austerity on the world stage) at my school in Brooklyn, New York. Larger classes has been just one of the major effects of these cuts to our funding. Our seniors, who came to our school because of the 

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