Friday, October 26, 2012

Demography is Still Destiny in NYC

In a recent report published by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, where a student lives still determines where a student ends up, despite a decade's worth of "education reforms" in NYC.
"The portfolio district model adopted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City is often held up as a national model for high school 'choice,' touted as the best way to reduce pernicious race- and income-based achievement gaps. According to this model, student demographics are 'no excuse' for poor performance: teacher quality is the single most important determinant of student success. But this AISR study on college readiness shows that in spite of a decade of efforts in New York City to expand choice and ensure that the most disadvantaged students do not invariably attend the most disadvantaged schools, student demographics still stubbornly dictate destiny."
Gotham Schools posted this link yesterday that brilliantly maps this study's results - be sure to check it out. If you are a New Yorker, you might be interested in playing around with the map's drop down menu to highlight your own neighborhood and neighborhoods around you. Here's what I got when I selected my own neighborhood:

According to the data, 46% of students around where I live in NYC are graduating high school ready for college. That's scary, but believe it or not, there are places that scored significantly worse (e.g. click anywhere in South Bronx). My thoughts are this: a neighborhood is a dynamic, living and breathing place, populated with people who are self-interested. The pro-school choice movement is taking advantage of the "self-interested" part of that by pitting families against their own neighborhoods. Let's face it, if I was a parent living where I am now, and I saw that only 46% of students were graduating college-ready, I'd do my best to ensure my kids get enrolled somewhere else, even if I had to submit my kid's name in a lottery. I really wouldn't care about trying to "support" my own neighborhood's growth and diversity by enrolling my kids at the local school. At the end of the day, my kid's education comes first. It's the government's job to dictate policies that ensure equity exists within our public schools. A pro-choice education model does not build equity, it destroys it.


Anonymous said...

Mista, you are absolutely right!This truth of the matter is that change takes a VERY long time, and no one wants their child to be a sacrificial lamb in that process. That is why, after allowing my child to be in the public school system for 8 years, I pulled him out because I no longer trusted it to provide him with the "academic rigor" it claims to provide when I saw how it is regularly undermined in real practice.

Yo Mista said...

@ Anonymous:
So true. And if all parents with the proper resources do the best for their child, then the public school system is doomed to fail. Chalk up the school-choice movement to another bad idea started with good intentions.