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Friday, June 15, 2018

Lowering Education

For John, BLUFParents, leading their children are what can make our schools better.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is not Professor Althouse's headline, but the headline of the article she linked to in her Blog Post of 13 June 2018.

She doesn't comment on the article, but does balance it with a second item from The Old Gray Lady, "De Blasio’s Plan for NYC Schools Isn’t Anti-Asian.  It’s Anti-Racist.  It gives a diverse group of working class kids a fairer shot, which shouldn’t be controversial," by Minh-Ha T. Pham.

Here is the quote that Professor Althouse led with:

"Admission to Stuyvesant was and remains determined by a single test available to all middle school students in the city.  There are no soft criteria for admission no interviews, no favoritism for legacies, no strings to be pulled.  It’s all about whether you do well on the test, which best determines whether or not you can do the academic work.  You would think that Mayor Bill de Blasio would celebrate Stuyvesant as the crown jewel of the city’s school system.  Instead, he has announced a plan that will destroy it in all but name.  This month, the mayor said he would seek legislation that would eliminate the test completely.  Instead, he’d guarantee automatic admission to Stuyvesant — and the seven other specialized high schools in the city — for the top students at every middle school, regardless of their abilities.  The mayor says he is trying to address what is undoubtedly a heartbreaking problem:  the gross underrepresentation of black and Latino students at Stuyvesant and schools like it....  But the mayor’s solution is no solution at all.  For one thing, his plan seems purposely oblivious to his administration’s utter failure to prepare students across the city for the admissions test — and for a school as challenging as Stuyvesant.  In nearly one quarter of the city’s public middle schools, zero seventh graders scored at the advanced level on the annual New York State Mathematics Exam in 2017.  Mr. de Blasio would send the top 7 percent of students at every middle school to the specialized high schools, but at 80 middle schools — or one out of every six — not even 7 percent of seventh graders passed the state math exam."
Deep down inside that paragraph is the idea that New York City Mayor Will de Blasio is trying to cover for the fact that he can't get the City Schools to perform by wiping out the high quality examine high schools, like Stuyvesant.  He won't change the names, but he will change the quality of education in those high schools.

Here is an excerpt from the second article, supporting Mayor de Blasio:

[F]or school admissions to be truly unbiased, all students would need to have equal access to elementary schools and middle schools that receive equal shares of property taxes and state and federal aid and have the same cultural, educational and social resources.
I think the second author makes the point about cultural, educational and social resources.  Within Lowell all students have access to the property taxes and State and Federal aid.  But, students coming from families, and neighborhoods, where education is valued and parents facilitate education, will do better.

The real tragedy here is that Mayor de Blasio, and those like him, are hurting the students by not recognizing the critical importance of parents (even if a single parent) in motivating students to learn.  Here in Lowell we missed an opportunity when we didn't follow up on then City Councilor Franky Descoteaux's idea for adopting the "Promise Neighborhoods" approach.

Oh, and, yes, this will hasten the growth of alternative systems of education, like charter schools, parochial schools and home schooling.

Hat tip to the Althouse Blog.

Regards  —  Cliff

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