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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director
Monday, November 25, 2019
De Blasio’s EMPTY Schools ‘Success’
Post Editorial Board
Mayor Bill de Blasio and schools Chancellor Richard Carranza crowed last week that their Equity and Excellence For All agenda is driving big gains in high-school graduation rates, with record numbers of grads headed off to college. Sadly, that “progress” is mainly the result of lower standards.
Blas has done some truly good things, such as covering fees to SAT exams and making it far more convenient to take the SAT and Advanced Placement tests. The waiver of CUNY application fees has also boosted opportunity.
But the state Board of Regents has been easing graduation requirements — dumbing down Regents Exams and loosening the number and types of tests required to earn a diploma. This approach has more kids passing state tests — even as city students’ results on National Assessment of Education Progress exams show no real improvement.
Even with easier tests, more than half of city students still don’t show proficiency on state math and reading exams. And scandals at “good” schools such as Forest Hills HS and Maspeth HS show how excellence is often a facade, with diplomas for teens who rarely even went to class.
Meanwhile, CUNY has softened its “college readiness” standards, particularly the benchmarks that mandate remedial education for first-year students. Chalkbeat reports that those changes explain most of city high schools’ gains in producing “college ready” grads.
Every “worthless diploma” awarded is an act of robbery — a crime against the student who graduates without having been educated. Sending that teen off to college unready to succeed only compounds the wrong: The worst part of the student debt crisis involves young people who only borrow a few grand — but find they can’t cut it, and drop out without gaining the skills to let them readily repay their loans.
When the city fakes school success, it’s the students who are left to pay the piper.