Friday, September 4, 2009

The Third Time's the Harm

Now that 97% of city schools have 'earned' As or Bs on their report cards, there's really no place to go but down. The State Ed. department vows to make the tests harder next year, and even the Post, with its masthead firmly up the mayor's ass, called for Klein to fix the broken report card system so that there is a more even distribution of grades.

So what does all the mean on a practical level? Schools that went from F to A this year will most likely fall down the elevator shaft grade-wise, but students will receive basically the same education next year as this. Schools, being living breathing institutions, don't change much from year to year. The only thing that really changes is where the city sets the bar.

Which is why, to no one's surprise, the bar was practically buried underground this year. It's an election year, if you couldn't tell by the pictures of Bloomberg plastered all over the city in an Orwellian fashion. It doesn't matter that the grades are so inflated that some of the city's persistently dangerous schools got As, as I mentioned yesterday and the Post reported today. Mayor for Life Bloomberg has an election to win, dammit, and it they have to use these inflated scores to boost up the 'education mayor', well, that's the cross they have to bear.

What this may mean for teachers is quite another story. If the mayor gets his third term and test scores drop along with report card grades, it creates a golden opportunity for BloomKlein to go on an unprecedented purge of teachers that could make the current ATR situation pale in comparison.

If the tests really do get harder, the scores of the vast majority of students will plummet. And that may be spun as a reflection on YOU, dear teacher. So what could the outcome be? With the election safely over, Mayor for Life could decide to start closing even more schools and sending more teachers to ATR hell. In a non-election year, more ATRs aren't a political liability; they're a blessing, because they would give the mayor the ability to push for the firing of ATRs without any political fallout.

Likewise, if your admin doesn't care for you, he or she could use those lowered scores to charge you with educational incompetence, filling up the rubber rooms. The mayor could use those swollen ranks to press for expedited firings of 'incompetent' teachers.

You may be thinking that Bloomberg wouldn't do that, because it would jeopardize his run for a fourth term. Silly you. All he would have to do to get his fourth term is drop those standards again in 2012 and 2013 so that the test scores rise once again. He could attribute the rise in scores to his purge of bad teachers, and Bingo!--term number four.

Yippee ki yay.


NYC Educator said...

Sad but true. The idiotic notion of "adequate yearly progress," as though there's no such thing as ebb and flow in a school, hangs over our heads even more this year than last.

David Patterson said...

I totally agree, NYC Educator! How great it must be for the kids who get to go to attend their school during one of its "ebbing" periods...