Tuesday, September 21, 2021

US Dept. of Education "Blue Ribbon" schools; as usual, difficult to understand their choices

The US Ed Dept just announced seven NYC schools selected as Blue Ribbon exemplary high performing schools.

Three out of the seven – all in Manhattan D2 -- have low numbers of Black and Hispanic students and low levels of poverty.   

According to DOE School Performance Dashboard , these are the schools’ demographics, roughly speaking.  You can compare their Economic Need Index (ENI) to the citywide average of 71%; and their percentage of Black and Hispanic students to the citywide average of 63%.  

Only one school of the above, PS 249 in D 17, has an ENI or percentage of Black and Hispanic students nearly as high as the citywide average.  The Icahn Charter School comes second, which caps all class sizes at 18 in grades K-8.

As usual, it is difficult to understand the rhyme or reason for these particular selections.  Interestingly, not a single school in the city or the entire state of New York is on the list of schools was honored as  exemplary for closing the Achievement gap.

1 comment:

Unitymustgo! said...

I'll give you an answer. I am a teacher in a Blue Ribbon Award winning school. Why did we win? We applied. We wrote a decent application, and had ok enough numbers to back up the story those who give out the award want to sell. Cynical? Oh yes, I helped write our application. We worked very hard on it. So much made up nice sounding this or that. Did our school have good standardized test scores and a majority population of ethnic students? Yes. Were we a Title 1 school, which I think helps to sell the story of overcoming adversity to achieve? Yes. Do I think we were truly special or so different from the other highly ethnic schools all around us? Nope. So why did we get the award? Simple, you have to apply. I joke around all the time that the Blue Ribbon Award is the best award an application can buy. Maybe you will disagree, but I stand by my words. Winners are chosen only from a pool of applicants. Applicants that apply because they think they have a good enough set of circumstances to try. My own school had a true cinderella set of circumstances leading up to our Blue Ribbon Award. We had marginally higher test scores than the schools around us. Helped us to stand out as the best in our area. We had low 90's, everyone else mid high 80's. Why? Again a true cinderella set of circumstances that created the allusion, and a principal who chased high scores at any cost. Within a short few years, the schools around us tested as high and higher. We currently are just middle of the road average for our area. Sorry, but I truly don't consider the Blue Ribbon Award meaningful. On a different note, I do highly respect you and thank you for what you do.