Statistics Condemn NY Education Policies

It’s devastating news but no surprise. New York City students are graduating from high school without being prepared for college or careers.

The news from state education officials confirms that despite rosy forecasts and statements by city and state education officials over the years, something is definitely wrong.

Have the statistics been bogus right along? Or does the continued bad news about how well we’re educating out children the result of something far worse, an inability of our educators to do the job with which they have been entrusted?

The facts, as laid out by the New York Times are these: less than half the students in the state are leaving high school prepared for college and well paying careers. Only 23 percent of students in New York City graduate ready for college or careers in 2009. 

It’s small consolation that the city is doing better than Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester and Yonkers. In those cities less than 17 percent left high school ready for college and career.

The figures are outrageous. Education is what city and state governments spend most of their money on---and we’re not doing too well.  Our efforts---despite contrary propaganda put out by some politicians and bureaucrats---have not been successful.

Merryl Tisch, the chancellor of the Board of Regents, has pleaded for honesty in acknowledging the gap between high school performance and college readiness. The issue has become so politicized that few government officials seem courageous enough to admit that we’re failing to meet the needs of our children. Ms. Tisch deserves an A for honesty.

Dick Dadey of Citizens Union told me: “Politics has crept into this issue in a way that had distorted the situation. The old way of measuring educational achievement was broken. In trying to repair it, we’ve failed so far. We need to confront the situation honestly, making the concerns of parents paramount.”

The education of our high school students is obviously inadequate. We’ve made a mess of it. And the remedies advanced so far have failed. We need more than bravado by politicians to confront the problem.

Indeed we should find out what’s wrong without protecting the interests of politicians or others. The searing statistics from Albany demand action -- and only the citizens of New York can force it.

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