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Does Klein Support Small Schools?

If you follow DOE press releases you would think that Bloomberg/Klein “invented” small high schools. Last spring Klein attacked a group of small high schools that are among the most innovative and effective schools in the city. More than a decade ago a group of small high schools applied to the State Commissioner of Education asking for a waiver from Regents examinations. They established a process, referred to as “portfolios and roundtables,” whereby students were evaluated by teachers based upon the quality of student work. The schools formed the Performance-Based Assessment Consortium and invited the education community to assess their efforts. Educators from around the country lauded the work of the Consortium.

Last year Commissioner Mills refused to renew the Consortum’s application for a waiver. The schools had friendly legislators introduce a bill to continue the waiver (in English and social studies) and allow additional schools to apply. Joel Klein vigorously opposed the legislation! The UFT supported the bills and set their lobbyists to work. When it appeared that the bills might pass Mills caved and renewed the waiver. Rather than lauding innovative and effective school Klein has tried to destroy them … In a system struggling to identify effective practices I guess “effective” is defined as “must be created by Klein.”

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4 Comments:

  • 1 NYC Educator
    · Sep 1, 2005 at 4:33 pm

    What are you guys thinking? Of course Chancellor Klein supports small schools.
    He loves to take decrepit, overcrowded high school buildings and create such schools. Here’s his recipe:

    Take one school building created for 1800 kids, currently housing 4200. Add five layers of administration. Give each a worthy sounding name, like NY Academy of Art, for example. Devote several classrooms to the additional administration, and dump the diplaced kids in some trailers out back.

    Then, add a few hundred more kids and voila! You have a decrepit,overcrowded high school building containing five impressively named academies!

  • 2 a-realist
    · Sep 1, 2005 at 6:14 pm

    Very interesting, my friends!
    Interesting indeed.
    ****************************************
    Knowledge gained and not shared is wasted!

  • 3 msfrizzle
    · Sep 1, 2005 at 10:45 pm

    I know a teacher at a small new high school. They are in the process of becoming an IB school. IB is an internationally-respected, rigorous curriculum. They have to squeeze all their Regents classes into grades 9-10 in order to get them out of the way before the grades 11-12 IB program, because passing the (hard!) IB exams will not be allowed to replace passing the Regents. Their students will have to do both.

  • 4 achien
    · Sep 3, 2005 at 12:06 pm

    While my training was in larger, more traditional schools, I have been teaching at a small school for the past 7 years.

    I am not against testing – its just using testing as the only source of student academic accountability that I have a problem with. High-stakes testing has the tendency make people forget that student evaluation is NOT only about assessing what they know, but also how we teach, how we should change, and addressing learning needs. By putting all our “eggs” in one basket is the worst teaching practice anyone can make.

    I invite the Mayor and Joel Klein to visit School of the Future and see the impact of small schools on NYC kids. I am very proud of the growth and rigor that my students make for themselves, and the diversity and commitment of our staff.