Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fewer crimes at Impact schools? The real reason they don't want you to know....


See this NY Times piece, on the Mayor’s press conference where Bloomberg reported a sharp drop in crime in schools citywide and especially at the “Impact schools.” These are schools that have been flooded with police and scanners. Excerpt:

Last fall, City Comptroller William C. Thompson, a likely mayoral candidate, issued an audit showing that in a sampling of schools, several crimes that were recorded in school records were never reported to the state or the police.

Several crimes?

Actually, the audit from the Comptroller's office found that out of the ten sampled schools, 414 – or 21 percent– of 1,996 incidents went unreported – including a rape.

The Mayor’s press conference was held at the HS of Graphic Communication Arts, where the sharpest drop in reported crime this year occurred.

The Daily News had a far more skeptical account:

Last year, Controller William Thompson released an audit of 10 schools that found 21% of serious incidents weren't reported to the Education Department. The school where Tuesday's press conference was held - High School of Graphic Communication Arts - failed to report 13 out of 171 incidents in the 2004 to 2005 school year.

Several teachers Tuesday said administrators discouraged reporting incidents that might cause penalties for their school. "Everyone figured out that they only want good news," said a teacher at one impact school. "The principals are afraid for their heads."

This is Campbell’s law at work. No principal or teacher will report a crime knowing that this may land the school on the list, because most Impact schools start to lose students fast. And once a school loses students, it tends to be phased out or phased down, and people lose their jobs.

Once on the list, studies show, student attendance falls and most likely, achievement and grad rates as well.

Accordingly, of the 19 high schools on the Impact list in 2005, 15 of them have now been closed or are being phased out or "phased down" -- that is, with vastly smaller enrollments. This is as good way as any to guarantee that these schools will have fewer reported crimes -- especially if they no longer exist.

For more on the chronic underreporting of school crime, see this report from the Public Advocate’s office. And here is a story from NY1, detailing last fall’s audit and the fact that the HS of Graphic Communication Arts was cited as a chronic offender.

3 comments:

Nina said...

Can you point me in the direction of data demonstrating the "phasing down/out" of previous Impact schools? Are there in fact schools that no longer exist that were once classified as Impact? Do you know which ones?

Thanks,
Nina

Nina said...

Can you point me in the direction of data demonstrating the "phasing down/out" of previous Impact schools? Are there in fact schools that no longer exist that were once classified as Impact? Do you know which ones?

Thanks,
Nina

Anonymous said...

All the schools in the Stevenson educational campus are Impact schools due to the shared campus setting. SCRL is one school in the campus that is being phased out due to poor attendance and low graduation rates.