New York City has the answers they need to improve outcomes in public schools right in their backyard.
What is it about Progressive ideology that continually attempts to solve problems by lowering standards? Increasing regulation and control is surely a feature as well, but lowering expectations and is also a feature, not a bug.
You see this throughout deep blue areas where people are defecating in public, politicians want drive-through injection sites and killing the unborn free on-demand and throughout pregnancy is permissible. Now, two of our deepest blue areas are taking this philosophy into their schools.
To fix a broken public school system, Mayor DeBlasio of New York created the School Diversity Advisory Group. Because clearly lack of diversity is the problem. It surely can’t be a lack of discipline, restorative justice programs that leave disruptive children in the classroom or failure of administrators to support teachers because schools must demonstrate reductions in disciplinary actions. But I digress.
The charter of this group established in early 2018, was to flesh out a school integration plan. The original plan included a set of goals to increase the number of “racially representative” schools. These are defined as schools where black and Hispanic students make up at least 50% but no more than 90% of the student population. The Advisory Group was charged with defining the tactics that would achieve these goals.
Their recommendations for years 0-3 of the plan? Eliminate gifted and talented programs at all levels and stop academic tracking in elementary school. In explicitly states, any academic screening for selective programs must include “inclusionary” criteria that ensure the goals for racial representation are met. This includes the district’s flagship high schools.
To understand how ridiculous the entire report is, here is how the report defines exclusionary admissions practices:
Eliminate the use of exclusionary admissions practices that create segregation by race, class, disability, home language, and academic ability. This includes the exclusionary use of school screens such as grades, test scores, auditions, performance in interviews, behavior, lateness, and attendance.
So basically, no traditional measure of behavior that is demonstrated to lead to academic success or demonstrated academic success can be used to screen students for an academic program. In essence, this means New York City public schools will have no selective programs in any traditional sense of the word if this plan is adopted.
The truly ridiculous part of this entire exercise is it never needed to be done. The committee never needed to be formed. New York City has the answer inside its charter school system.
For the third year in a row, Success Academy charter schools have been the top-scoring school system in the state. Of course, these schools are not subject to the nimwit Mayor and the whims of his administration, so that could be part of it. These schools accept children by lottery and according to their website educate 1 in 60 students in New York City. Look at how they stack up statewide:
These schools are serving a very diverse, lower-income population with outstanding results. When you look at their website, you see clean well-lighted classrooms with children in clean uniforms engaged in classroom activities. They even have an academy to spread their methods and curriculum.
The biggest problem for the virtue-signaling Mayor and his band of SJW advisors is Success runs their schools using common sense. Their student handbooks lay out clear expectations for students and parents along with a clear articulation of consequences. They eliminate the visual indications of socioeconomic differences by requiring uniforms. They even have something called an Honor Code both in and out of school.
By employing the basic principles of setting expectations, incorporating accountability and setting high expectations children from some of the most challenging neighborhoods in the city thrive. Nothing in the report from the Mayor’s cronies on the Advisory Group incorporates any of these concepts.
If the goal was really to provide better educational experiences for minority and disadvantaged children, their report should have been one sentence long, “Let Success Academy take over.”