"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Bloomberg/Klein Plan to Segregate the "Laggards"

During the early 20th Century heyday of the American eugenics and social efficiency movement, primitive intelligence tests were used to "scientifically" label children so that the "defective" ones could be segregated into industrial education schools. Now it appears that the Bloomberg braintrust is about to use the failures generated by their non-stop achievement testing policy to launch an updated kind of reform school, this one intended to academically cleanse the crumbling high schools ahead of the grand plan to charterize the entire system.

Bloomberg and his corporate pals have plans to funnel millions of tax-deductible dollars through non-profit corporations to spread these secondary-level academic chain-gangs they are calling "transfer schools," where the curriculum will consist of non-stop, intensive remediation. You have to wonder how many cops will be required.

From the New York Times:

Faced with 70,000 students or more who are years behind in obtaining the credits needed to graduate from high school, New York City is at the forefront of a movement to recognize that for a significant number, high school might stretch into five, six, even seven years.

In an effort that has expanded across Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s second term, the city has spent nearly $37 million to identify and cater to students who are at the biggest risk of dropping out and has already contracted for $31 million more in programs.

The staggering numbers of those who are far behind cover almost a quarter of the city’s public high school population — students like Sunil Ragoonath, who at 18 had passed barely enough courses at John Adams High School in Queens to be considered a sophomore. He routinely skipped school. “All I had to do was walk out the door,” Mr. Ragoonath said recently.

To get younger students who have failed many classes back on track, Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein has created more than two dozen “transfer schools,” and plans to open as many as 30 more over the next five years. The city also offers them intensive remedial courses. . . .

1 comment:

  1. Jim,

    There's no question that this could go very, very poorly, but in NYC, some of the most progressive and interesting schools are the transfer schools. Places like City As School, Urban Academy have been leaders in the portfolio-based movement for years, and the kids who have gone there have thrived... if it's done right, this could be a good thing.

    I know... big if.