In a letter to New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, one-half of the 120-member faculty at Clara Barton High School said they were tired of trying to educate unprepared and illiterate students, and called for an end to social promotion. Faced with what the letter called an “impossible mission,” teachers are left largely on the sidelines as teens struggle to pass the state Regents exams required to earn a diploma. Ultimately, many of these students drop out.
“Come into our classrooms and we can show you the results of social promotion: 16-year-old students who write incoherently, misspelling the most basic words, who don’t know multiplication tables, and who struggle to comprehend a passage in a basic textbook,” the letter read.
Klein released the letter from Clara Barton teachers in defense of New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg‘s decision to hold back third graders who flunk standardized English and math exams.
At Clara Barton-where the focus is on health careers-about 72 percent of its students graduate in four years. “We don’t want to do a disservice to students,” Clara Barton nursing teacher Marcy Licardi told the New York Post. “They can’t survive high school if they can’t read and write. It is a political ploy to call students fourth graders if they haven’t met the requirements.”
Read the complete article at http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/19728.htm.
|On the Bookshelf: Letters to the Next President
A collection of letters addressed to the next president of the United States charges that current federal efforts to improve public education suffer from restrictive notions of accountability, misguided tests, inadequate funding, and inflexibility in helping students demonstrate achievement and reach their potential. The collection, published as Letters to the Next President: What We Can Do About the Real Crisis in Public Education, was issued by the Teachers College Press and includes submissions from Bill Cosby, Senators John Glenn and Jim Jeffords, the late Paul Wellstone, and parents, students, and educators from across the country.
“This is a book about how we can sweep up all of this mess and get back to what education comes down to: caring, intelligent, trustworthy, and knowledgeable adults who will ensure that every student can learn,” writes Bill Cosby in the prologue. According to the press release, the book presents “what 46 citizens spanning all age groups believe the President should do and citizens should know when it comes to school improvement.” The authors call on the next president to gather the energy of local citizens and educators to reenter the public schools.
“We ask the next president . . . to expand the definition of achievement . . . and make an explicit commitment to the civic purpose of education,” writes Senator Glenn, in his letter on “The Civic Mission of Schools.”
All royalties from the book are being donated to organizations serving children and youth.
More information on the book is available at http://www.letterstoprez.com.