Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Why is the DOE stigmatizing CSI schools and encouraging families to transfer out?

See this item from last week’s March 12 NYC Principals Weekly:

The Public School Choice (PSC) program offers students enrolled in schools identified by NYSED as Comprehensive Support & Improvement (CSI) schools, the opportunity to apply for a transfer to a higher performing public school. This transfer program is required under the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015. [emphasis mine] Principals of sending schools (i.e., CSI-designated schools), received an email about their status in January from Principals of receiving schools (i.e., schools with non-CSI status that may be eligible to accept PSC transfer students), should have received an email from on March 5, with the number of seats identified for PSC transferring students in September, for the 2019–20 school year. If you are the principal of a receiving school, you can also use the link that will be provided in the email, to review and give feedback on identified seats at your school by March 29

For more information, please visit the PSC website. For questions about the PSC program, email Arnab Banerjee

Yet the sentence in bold is completely untrue.  Neither the federal government nor the state require DOE to offer transfers to kids in CSI schools, which in many cases can be begin a death spiral for these schools as they lose students and funding.

In fact, unlike NCLB, ESSA left the decision up to states as to whether to require districts to offer “Public school choice” i.e. encourage parents to transfer their students out of CSI schools. See this memo:

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA… allows states to exercise flexibility in granting NCLB transfers for students enrolled in schools in PI [program improvement] status. Two guidance letters sent out by the U.S. Department of Education, in January and February 2016, respectively, explain states’ new flexibility under ESSA, under which states can determine not to require local educational agencies (LEAs) to offer public school choice transfers.

Most states including California did not include transfer options at all in their ESSA plans though New York did – but only by the fourth year of a school’s CSI status. NY’s ESSA plan said that if a school’s CSI index declined for two years in a row, a district would have to offer parents “choice” after that point.  Before the fourth year, the state leaves it up to the district to decide whether to offer “choice."

… New York State will make Public School Choice an option, but not a requirement, for any district with a CSI school, when the district believes that Public School Choice will support stronger outcomes for students and for CSI schools. In districts offering Public School Choice, a parent of a student attending a CSI school may request a transfer to a school classified as In Good Standing. …, in any instances in which the Achievement Index of a CSI school declines for two consecutive years, public school choice will no longer be an option, but, instead, will be a requirement, and the district must offer Public School Choice for parents of students attending that specific CSI school.

This is the first year of CSI designations so no transfer option is required by the state, and certainly not the feds.   Yet here is the letter sent to parents this week in at least two schools – wrongly calling them “among the lowest performing statewide” based on an unreliable formula that counts opt out students as having failed the state exams.

Chancellor Carranza at  the City Council budget hearings today spoke at length about how parents shouldn't judge the quality of schools on test scores alone.  Neither should they be told that schools are "low-performing" based on an unreliable formula that relies on  test scores plus opt outs - and worse, be encouraged to transfer out.

CM Treyger described how the stigma of being identified as a Renewal school hurt these schools chance of improvement.  Let's hope that the Chancellor reverses this unwise decision to label these schools as "low-performing" and stops encouraging parents to take their kids out of them  before its too late.


  1. Dear Leonie, your question has been answered. If one looks at the BEHAVIOR, the larger ploy is evident. The ploy in the plot to end democracy is to end public education, and to dumb the people down -- feed them disinformation, and keep them stressed and busy. Shared knowledge is REQUIRED for democracies to thrive!

    Caranza???? This WONDERFUL link to the Grassroots film, shows that NYC was going DOWN, years ago; this is a wonderful look at the destruction — the demise of NYC which is the largest district in the 15,880, in 50 states.!

    I was there 20 years ago, when the assault by Crew and Klein, on the experienced teacher-practitioners emptied NYC of its authentic educators... who knew WLLL and cannot be fooled by high tech and promises.
    This is what happened to me: and tens of thousands of NYC 's experienced teachers; If the doctors were removed from the hospitals and replaced my 'trained medics' the institution would FAIL! IT IS THAT SIMPLE.
    THE MEDIA that THEY OWNED -->SOLD 'the bad teacher fake news!'

    Billionaire Charles Koch and his allies are pouring money into a massive campaign to transform education in the United States from a fundamental right to a commodity. See this Bill Moyers piece on dark money:

    Because the PLOY WORKED IN NYC AND LAUSD — the power elite’s ("billionaire's club" or the "cabal") went on to use it across the nation, so the LEGISLATURES could take over the ‘schools’ or as we know it — THE institution of PUBLIC EDUCATION…. not just in NYC; this ain’t just about Carranza… he is a SYMPTOM of the disease.

    Dr. Ravtich shows this on her blog; which offers the best links to how the legislatures have taken over the school systems, with nary a genuine educator that knows WHAT LEARNING LOOKS LIKE, (WLLL). Those who run too many school systems across the nation— like the fraud Carranza, just talk about ‘teaching’ ; they sell ‘curricula crap’, but do nothing to reduce class size and support LEARNING and the teaching professionals who are in the room with those kids for 180 days a year.

  2. As a parent at one of the newly designated CSI schools, the whole thing is beyond confusing and disheartening. Are these schools being targeted for behind-the-scenes political reasons? How could the DOE have sent a letter like this out by "mistake" just a few months after a school was designated as such? Our school may not have the best test scores, but it's been wonderful by a lot of other measures that are obviously not being taken into account. Now I'm anxious our school is going to be shut down for no real reason (and where will the students go? There are very few middle school options in our district.)