In A Number?
One constant remains as New York City parents and educators debate the sweeping, ongoing reforms of the city’s school system — standardized testing.
the Department of Education (DOE) publishes four years of statewide and
citywide reading and math results with which people can draw their own
conclusions about how “good” a school district is.
After the new curricula, new schools and new staff will be in place, those statistics will be scrutinized more than ever.
of the most measured aspects of schools — and one of the toughest bones of
contention among parents and educators — is academic performance,
especially through the high-stakes annual standardized tests.
and City test scores have been used, for example, to evaluate which schools
are being allowed to keep their curricula and which will have to adopt a
single new citywide one this fall.
scores have also been used to determine which schools are considered most
“under-performing” by the State, allowing all of their students the
legal right to not only receive federally funded tutoring, but transfer to
better performing ones, too.
parents and real estate brokers are looking at test scores, which often
drive requests for zoning variances and affect property values in
The DOE gives schools some freedom to create their own unique programs to supplement required elements of their curricula, but a spokesman said the Department has no fairer way of comparing the quality of instruction between different schools and districts than standardized test scores.
The DOE releases other information about schools and districts, too. Much of it, like crime statistics, demographics and population sizes, don’t say much about academic performance. The information does, however, give clues about a school or district’s potential, and maybe even what it’s like being a student or teacher there.
City’s 32 Community School Districts (CSD), as well as its five high
school districts and a few special citywide districts, have all been
consolidated administratively into 10 “Instructional Divisions.”
each CSD is currently being led by a superintendent, the new system will
have, starting July 1, 10 “Regional Superintendents” looking over
between 96 and 138 schools each with the help of about 10 “Instructional
people think the size of the new “super districts” will make them hard
to manage. Others
argue that each district’s 10 Instructional Supervisors—making for one
administrator for every 10 or so schools instead of one for 25 or 30, as the
system is now—will make the school system more manageable.
Parents are placing some significance on the locations of each Divison’s headquarters, too. Parents who live or work near one of the administrative centers, called “Learning Support Centers,” feel they’re in a good position to get services, while those farther away have expressed concern about a system that’s distant not only in agenda but in miles, too. The DOE has maintained that parents can expect to get the same service at each of the City’s 13 Learning Support Centers.
statistical information about individual Community School Districts—the
lines of which the Department of Education has maintained will remain even
after the City’s 32 Community School Boards are dissolved and replaced on
June 30—is available.
At left is a sample of some of that information.
get profiles and test score information for individual schools, visit www.nycenet.edu
and click on “School Report Cards.”