Saturday, December 15, 2007

More Proof New York City is Going To Hell in a Handbasket

You often hear people deriding President Bush's No Child Left Behind program, and standardized testing. No, I'm not a teacher, and I understand their complaints that they are now only teaching for the test. However, when some schools are pumping out illiterate, futureless kids year after year, something needs to be done. Yes, being left back hurts a kid's self esteem, but how does it help his self esteem when he's in the eighth grade and unable to read at the fourth grade level? No Child Left Behind might have its major faults, (for example- the idiotic way that schools who don't need money receive more than schools who do,) but I don't see anyone else coming with an alternative.

Well, there's one school right here in New York City that is quite happy to put their kids on the fast track to working at McDonalds. Wanting his teachers to dumb down their standards, Central Park East High School's principal Bennett Lieberman passed this memo out last month:

"If you are not passing more than 65 percent of your students in a class, then you are not designing your expectations to meet their abilities, and you are setting your students up for failure, which, in turn, limits your success as a professional."

Another quote:

"Most of our students come from the lowest third percentile in academic achievement, have difficult home lives, and struggle with life in general. They DO NOT have a similar upbringing nor a similar school experience to our experiences growing up."

How do assholes like this even get to be a principal? Don't they have some sort of psychological screening to weed out the nutjobs?

I would love to see some teachers' thoughts on this. (If you're not a teacher, feel free to chime in as well.)



Knitting Painter Woman said...

I share your frustration. As a therapist, I see lots of adults who are still burdened by their caregivers' low expectations. I find mostly that kid accept "fairness," including being held back when they knew the standards and understand how they weren't met.
For more of an upper, read anything by Parker Palmer, as well as Rafe Esquith's No Short Cuts. In my world, THAT guy would be in charge of public education.

Anonymous said...

I am a NYC teacher. It isn't the principals who are the nutjobs; its the Board of Education and the POLITICIANS who give us these assinine rules and expectations, and then pat themselves on the back for a "job well done", and then blame us when their ideas don't work. Welcome to the Jungle....