I entered the auditorium at about 10:20 AM, as someone from the DOE whose name I didn’t catch was wrapping up a brief presentation about Receivership schools, saying that the administration was still considering whether “receivership schools will get Renewal [school] type supports and funding.”
The four-year June graduation rate last year rose to 60.7% compared to 53% in 2012-13; the August four-year rate is 62.5% compared to 60.2% two years before. If only those students eligible for a regular diploma were counted, its four year rate was up to 63.9%. Apparently 2.2% of the students are severely disabled, and according to the principal, only “eligible” for the alternate credentials of the SACC (Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential) or the CDOS (Career Development and Occupational Studies Commencement Credential.) The six year graduation rate increased to 69.5%, and attendance at 82.5% last year, compared to 78% in 2012-13.
“Rigorous instruction” is nearly impossible to attain when there are thirty or more students in a class, many of them English Language Learners, unable to get enough feedback or practice speaking to be “actively engaged in in ambitious intellectual activity” or “develop critical thinking skills,” as the Framework demands.
How can there be a truly “Supportive Environment” for students with classes this large, with too little individualized attention to feel “safe, supported, and challenged by their teachers and peers”? As for “Collaborative Teachers,” do teachers really have “a culture of respect and continuous improvement” when burdened with excessive class sizes and a teaching load of a 150 or more students?
It would also be far easier to create “Strong Family and Community Ties” if each teacher had fewer students, with the time to reach out to parents when their children are succeeding as well as when they are falling behind. Finally, it is difficult to see how real “Trust” can be attained, when the administration is ignoring what is the top priority of parents citywide for school improvement – class size reduction.
The list of schools faced with receivership along with hearing dates is here; comments
also can be submitted here, no later than 5:00 p.m. on the second business day after each school's hearing date. Translated versions of the School Receivership Public Feedback form can be found here for submission as well.