DMI Blog

Andrew Friedman

Stuck In The Middle

Last week, hundreds of parents from all five boroughs crowded the steps of the Department of Education's headquarters at the old Tweed Courthouse to decry the findings of a new report that blasted the inequity and failure that characterize middle school education in New York City public schools. The report, entitled New York City's Middle-Grade Schools: Platforms for Success or Pathways to Failure, was published by a coalition of grassroots organizations called the Coalition for Educational Justice.

Parents were right to be upset. Despite Mayor Bloomberg's focus on improving public schools, there is simply no way to overlook the fact that, at least in the city's middle schools, he has failed. And tens of thousands of young people will pay the price.

During the 2005-2006 school year, according to the report's analysis of the DOE's own numbers:

- A majority of eighth graders at 75% of all city school cannot read at grade level.

- Nearly 40,000 of the 53,000 African-American and Latino eighth graders in New York City cannot meet the state reading standards.

- Only 22% of eighth grade students can read at the level of state standards in high poverty schools, while close to 60% can at low poverty schools.

So, we've got failing schools that particularly fail students of color and low-income folks.

To combat this crisis, the Coalition for Education Justice called on Mayor Bloomberg to enact some pretty common-sense reforms, like instituting a well-rounded curriculum at all middle schools, providing more academic and social supports for students, ensuring better trained teachers and principals, and promoting smaller class-sizes.

The Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit will soon be bringing some big state money to New York City's public school system. Mayor Bloomberg would be wise to spend some of that money to fix the crisis in the middle schools.

Andrew Friedman: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 8:47 AM, Jan 22, 2007 in Education
Permalink | Email to Friend