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In NY city, wonder no more why Johnny can't read!!


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This is just amazing to me.



June 17, 2004 -- The Big Apple could be called Dropout City — a staggering 350,000 public high-school students have quit or flunked out of school since 1986, Department of Education data show.

That means the number of New York City dropouts over this period exceeds the entire population of such cities as St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Tampa, Buffalo, St. Paul, Minn., and Newark.

The number of dropouts was disclosed during testimony at a City Council hearing on the Bloomberg administration's plan to open 70 new small schools next fall with startup funds provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

"New York City's dropout rate remained constant at 30 percent for a decade. Indeed, since the Board of Education first kept track in 1986, over 250,000 students had dropped out of school by 2000," said Robert Hughes, president of New Visions for Public Schools, a nonprofit group that helps the city develop small schools.

In fact, it's about 300,000 dropouts over that period. The city measures the dropout rate by tracking students until they turn 21, when they're legally required to leave secondary school.

The final data is not in for the years 2001-2003, but the city already knows that 39,181 students in these three graduation classes had dropped out by the age of 18. If trends continue, another 20,000 to 25,000 students aged 19-21 still in the system will quit.

"That's pretty remarkable," said council Education Committee Chairwoman Eva Moskowitz (D-Manhattan).

A top adviser to Schools Chancellor Joel Klein also cited the high dropout rate and low graduation rate — only one of every two high school students obtains a diploma on time — as reason to overhaul the city high schools.

"Dropout rates have been increasing since 1998," said Michele Cahill, the chancellor's senior counselor on educational policy. "Even starker challenges characterize many of our traditionally large, comprehensive zoned high schools with graduation rates below 40 percent."

Mayor Bloomberg plans to open a total of 200 schools with 500 students or less over the next few years in an attempt to help struggling kids achieve.

Cahill pointed to some of the existing smaller high schools in low-income neighborhoods, which have higher graduation rates (58 percent to 37 percent) of similar students in high schools with thousands of students.

But Moskowitz said smaller is not necessarily better without a strong principal and dedicated staff. She pointed to the dreadful performance of several small high schools, including those located at the Erasmus HS campus in Brooklyn.

Most of the 70 new schools will be assigned to existing facilities with other schools.

Teachers union president Randi Weingarten, while backing the small-schools movement, complained that the Bloomberg administration's decision last year to cram new schools into buildings with existing schools worsened overcrowding and safety conditions. She said functioning large schools should not be sacrificed to make way for these smaller schools.

"The school buildings became divided into 'haves' and 'have nots,' " Weingarten said. "I plead you to stop throwing the baby out with the bath water."

Cahill said the Department of Education is much better prepared to manage the new round of school openings.


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Teachers unions are the pestilence of American public education. They make a stink if a school system tries to fire an imcompetent teacher if that teacher is in the union, so thus, you have way too many teachers who can not teach.

I remember about a year or so ago watching a "60 Minutes" story about the educational system in the US miliitary and how they do things very differently from the US systems, and they talked to this one teacher who remembered back in college how they were taught that as a teacher that you were to be afraid of parents because of their ability to cause trouble in the schools.

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Honestly, you can't blame just the school system. As Tommy said, it starts at home. I can't tell you how many Kindergartener's didn't even know the letters of the alphabet when they first got to school. That is something they should learn at home before they even start school.

And a big part of the problem is, parents not caring or too busy to. If children had at least one parent helping or on them as we did when some of us were kids, I'm sure that dropout rate would fall.

I'm not blaming the parents enitrely but you can't blame the schools enitrely either.

Also, the teachers teach the curriculum they are given. While I'm sure there are bad teachers out there, even the good one's have a hard time teaching students who do not want to learn.

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