Marc Epstein, Huffington Post - An NYU study tracked a student cohort numbering 86,000 that entered the first grade in 1995. It found that less than 40 percent remained in the system after eight years! How will the progress of these students be measured? Who will be rewarded for the unmeasurable progress? Who will be blamed?
Combine these numbers with the outflow New York is experiencing and
you realize that the exodus can't simply be blamed on poor public
schools when people are leaving the state altogether, not just switching
to private and parochial education.
We know this to be true because the Archdiocese of New York announced that it would be closing 27 schools in June.
As it stands now, 50 percent of the teachers who are hired in any given
year leave the system voluntarily by their fifth year of teaching. So
why are the generals in the Gates Reform Army so energized about holding
on to the youngest teachers when half of them will be gone before you
know it? Just what will a fabulously expensive tracking system track if
neither teachers nor students remain in the system after a few years?
Then there's the testing conundrum. Now that the unions, seniority and
tenure have been dispensed with, what are we going to do about the
testing system that will tell us which teachers are worth retaining?
In New York, the Regents have admitted the tests they've been
administering aren't a valid measurement of student progress, and
because of costs, they want to eliminate high school Regents exams in
some subject areas instead of expanding them. So what are we going to do
about high school teachers who don't teach a Regents course?
How will we judge art, music and physical education teachers? For that
matter, how will we measure teachers of languages like German, Hebrew
and Latin? If a child enters a gym class overweight and doesn't lose a
designated amount will the teacher be held responsible? What skills do
we expect art and music teachers to impart so that we can determine if
they should be terminated?
Now imagine that the number of students enrolled in charter schools grows to about one half of the NYC school
system. Who is going to be inspecting these schools to ensure that
monies are properly spent, crimes and abuses are reported to the
appropriate authorities, and that an excellent teacher isn't fired
because a capricious principal doesn't find the teacher appealing?
In short, how do you finance and maintain a bureaucracy that actually
has to deal with the nuts and bolts of educating hundreds of thousands
of kids when everyone is on their own?