Monday, July 13, 2009

Credit Recovery

Comments on NY Times piece on credit recovery:

Subject: [nyceducationnews] NYtime article on credit recovery.

The only issues i have about this article - is it doesn't question the improvement showing that less city college students need remediation courses. The reason for that is the high prices of state colleges. Many higher level students who would have previously attened state colleges are now attending the cheaper city colleges. This is not due to mayoral control.

The other problem is that it should have mentioned that the state edcation department were recently looking to make recovery courses even more lax. They proposed to get rid of seat time requirements for students, to allow the school to determine what is and is not credit recovery, and to hide the source of credits on students transcripts so no outside observer could discern a regular credit from recovery.

Plus, they did not mention that regents standards are so low, that it is not a measure of anything anymore. Only 33% and 46% respectively on the Algebra and Biology regents is needed for a scaled score of 65.

Otherwise, I think this article is very good at exposing all the loopholes klein and bloomberg are allowing to happen for their own stats. I'm not hopeful that they will reign this practice however, because improvement in statistics is the bedrock of their argument to voters to keep in control of DOE.
Seung Ok

Another point to make – just as credit recovery should be authenticated by officials independent from the school involved – since principals and teachers have so much riding on the graduation rates of the students at their own schools, with the legitimate fear of the school being shut down and losing their jobs if the rates don’t increase, and the promise of getting huge bonuses if the rates go up, so should their Regents exams be marked by outsiders.

That staff at schools continue to mark the Regents exams of their own students is really ridiculous, given the high stakes involved. It is an open invitation to corruption.
Leonie Haimson

Yes, and if anyone knows, can they relate to us the symbiotic relationships that go on between the New York State Education Department and whoever is pressuring them to lower standards on everything from regents test scoring and recovery credits?

Is it a self selecting pressure to maintain their jobs, that are beholden to appointed higher ups that lead to the governor? Call me naive, but can anyone connect the dots for me?
Seung Ok

More from Seung to the NYCEducation News Listserve:

Hi all,

Thanks to everyone who has been a part of exposing the inequalities and injustices happening now in public education.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of the public are unaware of this, and believes the mayor has been a positive force in this matter.

The key reason for this misconception seems to be the fraudulent rise in stats that the public is always told about. We can rally and shout till our faces turn blue, but we will never be able to convince the average citizen unless those statistics are exposed for the fraud they are.

Here are recent examples of how bad it's gotten in terms of the watering down of education:

- The june Algebra regents exam = Only 30 questions out of 87 are needed in raw score to get a "scaled" score of 65.

- Living Environment (biology) regents = only 39 out of 85 questions are needed...

- Summer school, after school, and "holiday" school courses, no longer substitute for 1 course credit to make up, but the equivalent of 3, 10 , up to 16 classes of failed courses. And the students sit and do pages of handouts that no one actually goes over or corrects.

- The NYSED is also complicit, and they are attempting to pass a resolution, where seat time is not even a requirement for students to get credit, and any project or paper can be subsituted for class time and credit. They want to change the transcripts as well, so no one can tell whether the credits were obtained in this manner.

I don't know if i ever told you, but the reason I became recently active after 11 years of teaching is because of a certain student in my Living Environment class. He is a senior, and can not read or write a line of text. I found out he received a majority of his credits from these recovery courses the mayor and kline turn a blind eye to. The fact that this student has reached the 12th grade without receiving attention sadly points to these practices ocurring at every grade level. Javier Hernandez of the NYtimes will mention this student in an upcoming article on credit recovery.

Maybe what is needed, along the lines of Brown vs the Board of Education, is a class action suit by parents that argues that these practives have a disparate impact on black and brown kids in the inner city. The lowering of standards does not impact affluent and middle class students (hence the lack of uproar in the general public) because those schools will continute to teach above and beyond the minimal standards. But these practices will essentially produce generations of black and brown students in the inner city , who will be inadequately prepared to survive in college and beyond.

I'm not sure how much the NYCLU, or parents, or community groups may perceive this as a legitimate strategy, but I'm concerned that if the landslide of fraudulent practices continues, - whatever gains that have been made in education in the inner city will be brought back decades.

Seung Ok

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