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I was out of the city (and country) for the past two weeks. On my first night back at work, it appears not much has changed. Mayor Bloomberg is once again touting statistics that New Yorkers simply don't believe. Next time, maybe I'll take three weeks off?
Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced today the four-year graduation rate at public high schools has reached an all-time high. The Department of Education reports a record 65.5% of students graduated in four years last August, an increase of 19 points since 2005.
But data released today from the State Education Department paints a slightly differently picture. It calculates the graduation rate in June, without the aid of summer school. The State reports the City's graduation rate is 60.9%, a slight drop from last year and well below the State average of 74%.
Mayor Bloomberg said today, "More students are succeeding in our schools than ever before." Do you agree? What's your reaction to the 65.5% and 60.9% high school graduation rates announced today? Should summer school be taken into account when calculating progress?
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Welcome back John, it must have been nice to get away from all of this. I for one wish I could escape from New York permanently at this point, the carnival act with Bloomberg got old about five years ago. Yet again the Mayor breaks his arm patting himself on the back for skewed numbers that aren't accurate or even that great to be honest. So more than half of the students graduate from High School, but most of them can't do college level work. It's like saying someone passed a lifeguard test, but can barely swim and sort of knows CPR. It's also very telling that the Mayor has his own set of numbers that goes against the State, like any good businessman Bloomberg knows how to cook the books. I wouldn't be surprised if he adds the people who get GED's in city jails too, and they never mention what the drop-out and age-out rate is. I bet they are pretty high at this point.
So like the higher than State and Federal average unemployment rate in this city that Bloomberg chooses to ignore these graduation stats even when cooked by the Mayor are sub-standard when compared to the rest of the state. How is he doing such a good job in people's eyes when the city is under-performing and failing in so many areas? Add to that the fact it has just become a miserable place to live and I really have to question where all of his business and managerial skills are, since to me he just seems out of touch and arrogant. Maybe if he got some tangible results it would be more tolerable, but at this point he just looks like an ego-maniac who got where he is by lying and screwing other people over.
It amazes me how when it suits Bloomy, data and statistics can be fudged if it shows him in a better light. Graduation rates should be based on data formed in June, not August. Considering the dummied down tests taken in August so these kids can get out, their data should not be used to show improvement in the graduation rate. That doesn't show progress. Summer school is for kids who didn't show half the school year or didn't do an ounce of work during the school year to be able to pass, to sit in classes during the summer and then graduate. No summer school should not be taken into account when calculating progress.
Arden Heights, SI
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER FUDGES AND PLAYS AROUND WITH STATISTICS TO MAKE HIMSELF LOOK CLEVER AND SUCCESSFUL IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR? YOU CALL THE AUTHORITIES. I GUESS IT IS DIFFERENT WHEN YOU ARE THE MAYOR OF N.Y.C.
JOE, BAY TERRACE
First, welcome back. Although I enjoyed your substitutes, I missed your unique hosting talents.
Re school statistics, I don’t believe any government statistics. They are all concocted out of thin air to further a goal other than the truth.
Port Richmond, SI
My reaction is that I cannot wait for this mayor to leave office, he has failed badly in the area of education, with his answers being school closures, privatization and outside consultants which has resulted in worse not better graduation rates.
I am skeptical of the mayor's word that more kids are succeeding. As with all else related to education, his claims often spin a flawed reality to his own benefit. I rue the day that unilateral mayoral control of schools was passed.
Oh please. Bloomberg wants to look good and doesn`t care how he distorts figures.
Rosalie from Canarsie.
Where have we heard this story before. They just keep making up their own polls = reports whatever they choose to name them. What is the history of all of these children that have graduated from public schools? Where are they now? John I will give you a break tonight and cut it short.
I see the calls coming in. Nobody believes the Mayor anymore. Let's face it: graduation rates don't measure anything but the Mayor's determination to graduate at a certain rate. He has failed, and, if he had any shame, he would resign.
Lies, lies, lies. king bloomberg's administration is notorious for manipulating education statistics, and a lot of other numbers as well. anyone with eyes and ears can tell that the public schools are failing, and that's a tragedy of mammoth proportions.
Meryl from manhattan
In the war between city hall and the teachers union, the children of NYC are just collateral damage.
The mayor should be ashamed of such low graduation statistics. How can this be acceptable? Parents are not held accountable for making sure that children attend school daily and do whatever homework and research projects are given. Teachers are not allowed to 'hold over' children that may need additional time to grow and learn or that simply have not learned the grade content. Students can skip school for a large part of the year and still graduate if they complete a packet of simple work. How can they possible be ready for college or even work? What has Bloomberg taught our kids? You don't have to do the work, you don't even have to show up for work. You can get over.
Angry in Howard Beach
My name is Stuart from Bay Ridge.
The Mayor should take this as a message that his plan is not working. The mayors answer to failing schools is to shut them down but, the ones who are suffering the most are the students in these schools.The college-readiness rate has fallen from an already low 21.4% to 20.7. Grad rates for special education and English Language learners have both declined, does the Mayor have an answer for this, or is it to just shut down another school! Throughout the past four years massive budget cuts have left small high school classes overcrowded and underfunded. NYC is in trouble, we need a new mayor who has a real plan to reshape these schools and support these kids!
I work with children and adolescents as a counselor in a clinic. The more time I spend there the more it appears that we are FAILING them miserably! It is all about state tests and the easy fallback of summer school. They have no idea that school really matters and that they can actually feel good about it! It is a nonissue because they just don't care! Not sure whose fault it is but something has to fix it!
Most people in NYC don't know what a great school system they have. They should send their kids to school in Chicago or Detroit, so they can really see how blessed they are.
What gets me is that in ten years the mayor never asks, "Why?" Why isn't Johnny or Joannie learning? What social issues impact upon his/her success rate? In my school, the lowest grade that we can give for a student who shows up as little as once is a 45, and get this! If I failed to reach out to this student, I have to give him a 50!
Finally, where are the consequences for poor student behavior? You can't even give detention in some schools anymore! Parents have to set the bar. So do administrators. Teachers cannot shoulder the whole burden.
Shelley, Park Slope
Bloomberg's motto seems to be, "When all else fails, manipulate the data." When is the mayor going to realize that the way to increase the graduation rate and readiness of our kids for college is to increase services to our neediest children and let the teachers actually teach real skills and the foundations needed to make our kids lifelong learners?
A Concerned Mom
As someone who had to repeat the 9th grade, but then ended up graduating The Cooper Union (also in 5 years), I don't think stretching four years to include a summer semester is a big deal. My three younger brothers also took a little longer than the standard four years to graduate and all have gone on to great colleges.
This is not to say that 65.5% isn't a grim number. We should be using any uptick we can to bolster this number. I don't believe that this it is manipulating the numbers.
Gabrielle in The West Village
I have been an Intermediate School English teacher in NYC for 21 years. The Mayor says he puts children first. In truth he puts himself and his ego before everything. Summer school is designed to pass children through the system. How can a year's worth of learning be compressed into 6 weeks? It can't, and every teacher knows it. The students who graduate from summer school can not compete with those who went through ten months of classes. The graduation rate numbers should definitely NOT include students who have graduated due to their attendance in summer school.
Carolyn in Arden Heights
First off for Bloomberg to say that the schools must be doing good because if not we wouldn't be sending our kids their is crazy. The reason they are in those school is because lots of these parents can't afford to send their kids to better school. I'm really starting to think that Bloomberg just likes to hear himself talk. These schools need lots of help and more better teachers stop spending money on avenues in all the boroughs with these pedestrian islands in the middle of each that's a waste of money and loss of a lane. Hire more teachers that's where the money should be going.
How can you count the progress including summer school i mean they would not be in summer school if the teachers where doing what they are supposed to from september to june thats what counts. That when school really is in session.
Jackeline from the bronx
Good Evening Jon (Welcome back!)
I am an elementary teacher in a city public school. I teach my children that anything below 70% does not constitute a passing grade. Why should we look at graduation rates any differently? If only 65% of my students passed the state exam, I would be considered a failing teacher. There is so much more work to be done to improve graduation rates. Teachers are now encouraged to prepare students for exams (the NYS exams at the elementary and middle school levels and the Regents at the high school level). We no longer have the freedom and creativity to teach more lessons that involve critical thinking. How can students be college ready if they only know how to manipulate a multiple choice test? Further, English language learners and special education students are falling through the cracks as more "reforms" are being implemented that focus more on saving money than supporting these needy students.
WHY DON'T PARENTS LISTEN TO PEOPLE THAT REALLY KNOW WHATS GOING ON. ALMOST EVERY TEACHER THAT CALL SAID THAT BLOOMBERG IS FAILING YOUR CHILDREN.
Private/Parochial schools have consistently outperformed public schools. One must consider this especially when you take into consideration the resources allocated for privatized education minimal, yet these children are able to outperform students that are in public school classrooms. In my house public school would be an absolute last resort they are not preparing these children for what lays ahead. NYC as a whole has lowered their expectations in all areas. If NYC had a voucher program I wonder how many kids would be enrolled in public school. Parents can't afford alternatives. It's kind of like public housing, if you had your choice over living in the projects or in a home which would you pick? The teachers in these schools are forced to stop teaching for 3 months and focus on teaching these kids how to pass the exam - we all know cramming doesn't work. Our mayor doesn't give a hoot about these children, but that's alright when China takes over we'll finally see some real change in education.
College and career readiness is not being met for students graduating in August. You cannot cram a years worth of learning in 5-6 weeks. Summer school is a farce. Teachers are not given the tools necessary to help students become prepared for college and beyond.
Marie from Bensonhurst
Things are the same. Now schools are letting students make up missing credits (credit recovery) by completing simple answer the question programs on a computers screen. Credit recovery has become a joke in order to up graduation numbers; a Bloomberg scheme to manipulate numbers.
Bay Ridge Brooklyn
The big, dirty secret is that teachers are basically being told to pass all students. There are so many ways for students to make up credits, many of which are ludicrous. All of this is a way to spin numbers so HRH Bloomberg's policies appear to succeed. There are some students who need more than 4 years and there is nothing wrong with that.
I prefer to remain anonymous since I am a teacher and speaking out is not appreciated.
Be clear on one thing regarding results of the Mayor's policies over 8 years - NOTHING HAS CHANGED! 8TH Grade math proficiency was at 22% in 2003. Today it is at 24%. Statistically, that's ZERO. So what has he done? Dismantled the Board of Ed and created the Dept. of Ed. Disbanded the school boards and created 10 districts overseen by 10 superintendents. Decimated all Music and Art programs in NY City Schools. Did away with Foreign Language programs in middle, intermediate & junior high schools. Increased Math and English Language Arts(ELA) programs from 5 periods per week to 8 periods per week. Put all the onus on the teacher for not getting the students to learn.(He called this 'Accountability') Increased the teacher's work year by 3 weeks. Did all he could to discredit the union for protecting "bad teachers". Created a rating system for "Good' & "Bad" schools.
All of the above was done with ZERO results. I wonder how long Mr. Bloomberg - The Businessman - would allow a CEO of any of his many companies to remain in power if he or she had a failing record for over 8 years? Sadly, he is trying to patch together some type of positive legacy regarding his education policies by declaring that the schools have improved - a little. At his rate of 1% every 4 years, the proficiency rate for 8th graders in math will reach 75% in 200 years!! Should we all stand and applaud?