Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Dumbing Down Education in New York

In the New York diversity wars, a commission has just delivered its verdict. In the interest of dumbing down the education of all New York City public school children it proposed that the city eliminate all admissions tests for all elementary and middle schools.

That is the bad news. Surely it will produce yet another exodus of children from New York public schools. The system currently under attack was adopted in order to prevent parents from moving out of the city or sending their children to private or charter schools. 

In the meantime, one group of New York City charter schools, Success Academies, continues to produce excellent test results… even though the classes are invariably filled with poor minority students.

The New York Post editorialized on the results:

At some New York public schools, most of the kids failed state tests, data released last week showed. Yet at the Success Academy charter in Flatbush, no one did.

That’s right. Not a single student at SA Flatbush flunked either the math or the reading test. Kudos — that’s impressive.

Since 2013, notes Success Academy, only two other city schools notched a 100 percent pass rate. And unlike SA Flatbush, where 98 percent of the kids are minorities and 82 percent qualify for a free or reduced-cost lunch, those other two had vastly different demographics.

And it wasn’t just the SA network’s Flatbush school that saw a remarkable “success” rate: Of the 7,405 kids who took the tests at all the Success Academy schools, 99 percent passed math and 90 percent made the grade in reading. That’s stunning.

Though not surprising: Year after year, SA charters, which serve 17,000 students, wind up among the best-performing schools not just in the city but in the state.

Other charters, of course, do well, too: In the city, the pass rate for all charters beat the rate for regular public schools by 15 points in math and 10 points in reading.

So, we know how to produce excellent academic results. And yet, the morons running New York City do not want it. They think that diversity will solve the problem.

Guess what. A school in Great Britain has applied the Success Academy pedagogical techniques. It is called Michaela School. Its pupils have garnered sterling academic results. The tests in question, the GCSE, is given to high school students to measure academic qualification. 

The London Telegraph reports:

Britain's strictest school has received its first ever GCSE results after opening five years ago - and they are four times better than the national average.

At Michaela school in Brent, North London, 18 per cent of exams were graded a 9, compared to 4.5 per cent nationwide. 54 per cent of all exams were graded a 7-9, which is an A or A* under the old system.

Headteacher Katharine Birbalsingh has come under criticism in the past for her "strict" methods at the free school, which aim to instill private school-esque order in state school children.

Those strict methods are similar to those that are used at private schools. Apparently, they work just as well in both places.

The Telegraph describes them:

The school has a number of unusual rules, including silence in the corridor and it has a strict "no excuses" policy where pupils are given detention for coming to school one minute late.

They are also penalised for not completing homework or if the work is scruffy, for not having the correct stationery , or for tutting, rolling eyes, or "persistently turning around in class".

Its policy is based on "tough love", and the school rules state: "We expect every pupil to move swiftly and in single file lines between lessons, so that children are hardly ever late to lessons. We expect every pupil to greet teachers and guests with eye contact and a polite, cheerful, ‘morning, sir!’ ‘afternoon, miss!’

"If a school is too permissive, allowing too many exceptions, it risks creating helplessness, selfishness or dependence in its pupils rather than responsibility, consideration and agency. If a school reduces its standards for poorer pupils because of their poverty or difficult home life, it does them a disservice; frankly, it doesn’t believe in them enough. "

Strict rules and good discipline instill good character. Children do not get away with behaving badly. Whereas American schools, under the aegis of the Obama Education Department, are required to keep disruptive children in class, these private schools do not have a problem with misbehaving students. They teach good order and discipline and create conditions where children can learn. 

Since we know what works, there is no excuse for those people, like New York’s mayor and his Schools Chancellor to keep doubling down on failure… and punishing New York children. 

1 comment:

Sam L. said...

I wonder what the NYT has to say about these results; that is, if they covered this story at all. I suspect the NYT won't diss the mayor or the public schools' superintendent/chancellor.