NYC Schoolchildren Deserve Justice

Once again, the school children of New York City and their parents are being neglected or abused as politicians and bureaucrats seek to improve their reputations.

The latest news on test scores for our children confirms the fact that we are being flim-flammed -- again.

According to the latest results, just 18 percent of the city’s fourth graders and 13 percent of eighth graders demonstrated proficiency in science exams, far below state and national levels.

In view of the promises made to the people of New York City when the schools were centralized under City Hall, this is outrageous. For nine years we have been told of the great progress our kids are making under the new centralized system. As far as science studies are concerned, that assertion is bogus.

Indeed, the claims of great success in reading and math exams need a thorough investigation. Many teachers -- I’ve talked to some -- have admitted they teach to the test, for that is the only path to advancement under this test-based system.

In other words, if the children entrusted to your care score well in exams, then your chances for promotion or being retained if there are layoffs are enhanced. And your principal improves his or her status with the bosses too. What a way to run a school system!

Parents are not considered equal partners in the reorganized New York school system. They have little or no input into the process. Indeed, they are treated as second-class citizens by the educrats who run this system.

But, as Sol Stern, an educational scholar, pointed out in the National Review: “Since men are not angels, it was inevitable that state and local education authorities would lower the proficiency bar to make themselves look good politically and avoid federal sanctions.”
Stern hit it on the nose. He told me: “The latest figures show that the numbers that were released have been highly inflated. The mayor and Chancellor Klein boasted of achievements that didn’t exist. You can’t get 20 or 30 percent increases in test scores overnight. And the boast that the gap between white and black students has been cut by 50 percent is quite inaccurate.  It’s been a huge fraud.”

Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein testified before Congress in Congress in 2008 that the city had made impressive progress in closing the gap between minority and white children. Said the Mayor: “Over the past six years  we’ve done everything possible to narrow the achievement gap -- and we have.”

Stern thinks it’s been a tragic deception.

If the numbers have been manipulated, if the test scores have been faked, it’s horrible. They have preyed on the hopes and dreams of parents and children. This is not the hoped for turnaround in education that was promised.
How sad for the children and the parents.

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