November 7, 2007

B- C- D-List NYC Schools Cause Grief For Realtors, Parents

With stories of overcrowded preschool open houses that rival anything I've ever heard on the Upper East Side, I've always figured the schools issue in up-and-coming Brooklyn was a ticking time bomb.

And with the release of the school report cards--ABCDF grades based on year-on-year standardized testing improvements as well as race and income and other student demographic data--people are supposedly freaking out.

Of course, by 'people' the NY Times seems to mean 'realtors,' like the ones who outlined the boundaried of Park Slope's PS 321 "in gold" [it got a B.] or who are now touting the tres East-of-Lexington PS 290 [A] over the previous Upper East Side mainstay PS 6 [B].

Frankly, I've always been a bit baffled that someone would pay $4 million for an apartment west of Lexington Avenue, but then they wouldn't shell out the thirty thousand dollars a year for the kid's private school tuition. But then again, that sentence has so many kinds of crazy in it, I don't know where to start.

The best summary of the whole public education mess I've seen is from a parent [hey, they actually interviewed parents, too!] who wrote a letter to NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein:

The way you treat our educators is part and parcel of the way you treat our students — constantly barraging them with narrow, deadening tests and demoralizing them with meaningless scores.
Her kid's hard-to-get-into school got a C, by the way.

The Day After School Grades Come in, Parents Are Buzzing [nyt]
50 NYC Schools Fail Under Rating System [nyt]


We just moved from P.S. 321 to that other Park Slope elementary school, which happened to get an A, to 321's B.

Of course, our eldest won't start there for 2 years (is it K-6 or 1-6?), so there's plenty of time for the new grading system to get further screwed up....

Hang on. Are they grading on improvement? That's of interest if you're already in the area, but it's not a metric that useful for comparisons between schools.

I agree. The grades are somewhat, but not entirely, based on imporvement. That's why I joked about our little school being better than 321.

I had heard (but not verified) that there were excellent schools that got D's or F's, because of the lack of improvement.

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