Monday, February 9, 2009

NYC high schoolers not prepared for real tests

From the Daily News:

Tough new requirements for high school diplomas could send city graduation rates plummeting, especially among poor and minority students, advocates said Wednesday.

Starting with this year's ninth graders, general education students will have to earn a Regents diploma to graduate, not the current less rigorous local degree.

Those requirements would have left nearly 10,000 of last year's graduates without a diploma, severely limiting their college and career options, according to a study by the Coalition for Educational Justice.

While graduation rates have risen in the past decade, only 37% of students earn a Regents degree, which requires passing five subject-specific exams with a score of 65 or higher.


My God! They want kids to pass 5 subjects with a grade of 65 or more? What is this world coming to?

This is what happens when you dumb down the curriculum in order to increase graduation rates to make Joel Klein and the Mayor look good.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Those '5 subjects with a grade of 65 or higher' are probably much harder tests than they seem... THEY"RE REGENTS EXAMS! The DOE can't possibly expect to change the number of students earning diplomas from 37% to 100%. This is what happens when a comissar like Bloomberg controls city schools. As of late, kids have been constantly bombarded by excessive testing. This whole Regents exam scheme is going to be one big mess. Just watch the graduation rate fall in the next four years!

Anonymous said...

So why did the teachers union back mayoral control? No one to blame but themselves.

If you can't get 65% on a test at your grade level, then you don't deserve to graduate.

Taxpayer said...

"Tough new requirements for high school diplomas could send city graduation rates plummeting, especially among poor and minority students, advocates said Wednesday."

"Advocates" of what?

Is it true that no poor or minority student is capable of learning sufficiently enough to pass a test? If true, and if it's always true - and is predictable, then why bother to even enroll the poor and minorities?

Is it also true that poor and minority students never perform well in parochial schools? If poor and minority students actually can and do perform well - excellently - in parochial schools, then we ask: what goes on (or never goes on) in a parochial school as opposed to a public school?

What is the passing rate for poor Asians? Are Asians considered to be minorities? If poor Asians not only pass, but pass with the highest scores, how is that explained? Poor Asians are poor, and they are minorities.

Is it just possible that the difference between high scores and low scores is related to family values and a family understanding of the relationship between devotion to studying and success in adult life. Something the old-fashioned types know as self-discipline or self-control.

Is it just possible that persistent low scores is related to the strong belief in the entitlement culture? We are all entitled to whatever we desire, without effort, without thought?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for another inane comment Crapper. When have NYC high schools ever required the regents to graduate? Given the choice between the mayor running the schools or the teachers union, the mayor should win every time. The union only cares about the union, not the students.

Queens Crapper said...

Don't understand your point here. If the Regents is the standard across the state, then why shouldn't NYC students be subject to it? I don't understand why a Regents diploma is considered this difficult thing to accomplish. Is 65 no longer a passing grade in NYC schools? Has the definition of an F been changed?

Anonymous said...

New requirements for high school diplomas could send city graduation rates plummeting, especially among poor and minority students.

Are we to dumb down tests, to make it palatable to those who don't study or speak English? These children like or not must meet minimum standards of passing Regents to graduate like anyone else. Or are the teachers to blame because they are inept and put no effort into their classes?

Why are private schools that pay teachers a 1/3 of what a city public school offers - more successful? The students are sent to school by the parent prepared to learn. The parent & teacher & the school partner together to insure success. The parent is key to making this happen. If the parent sends the child to be taught in school "it the teacher's job - I don't know anything attitude" then most student everywhere have a high probability of failing to meet expectations of the Regents. CUNY Community Colleges are full of student whom should have never graduated highschool and can not meet college enterance requirements outside CUNY, elsewhere.

italian girl said...

What you don't seem to realize is that the student population in a private school is completely different than a public school. For one, if you're going to send your kid to a private school and spend thousands of dollars in tuition, don't you expect your kid to do well? Private schools do well because the kids come from good families who actually care about their children's success. You cannot say this about many kids in the public schools. Many kids are from single-parent homes and I tell you from experience they couldn't give a rat's ass what their kids do in school. They're just happy someone's babysitting them for 7 hours.
As far as the teachers in private schools, most aren't qualified to be teachers, have no educational degree and no certification. In fact, most private schools have little if any resources. For instance, they have no school nurse, no guidance counselor, no librarian, no special ed. teachers etc.
The teacher and parent are supposed to work together to ensure success. But in the public schools, that often is not the case. Parents DO NOT CARE and as a result their kids do not care. Until you change this attitude, they can keep blaming the schools, the union all they want. It won't change a thing.

Jack Flynn said...

"Don't understand your point here. If the Regents is the standard across the state, then why shouldn't NYC students be subject to it? I don't understand why a Regents diploma is considered this difficult thing to accomplish. Is 65 no longer a passing grade in NYC schools? Has the definition of an F been changed?"

Actually, high school students in New York have traditionally had the option of earning either a high school diploma (which most opted for) or the more prestigious Regents diploma. I believe that this is the first year that students have had to pass five Regents exams in addition to passing their classes to graduate.

A high school diploma simply meant that you passed all of the minimum required classes by the state curriculum. The requirements for a Regents diploma meant passing an additional test at the end of the year, generally considered more challenging than the typical high school curriculum. At my high school, not everyone took Regents tests at the end of the year – but everyone who passed their classes received a diploma.

Now, a single standardized test in five different subject areas - one that is not prepared by the person who has been teaching the class all year - becomes the ultimate determinant of whether or not a student receives a high school diploma. Failure to pass all five tests means that you do not graduate, even if you passed your classes.

It's a short-sighted system, advocated by the type of people who do not understand the concept of a bell curve and still think that everyone can be a high-achiever in school. It was foolish for the author of the article to play the "poor/minority" card, because that has nothing to do with it. There are schools with high educational standards and low educational standards - to serve the student populations that fall into those categories. Race and socio-economic status may be correlated, but that's a far more complex issue than how the author presents it.

Anonymous said...

Italiangirl said: "As far as the teachers in private schools, most aren't qualified to be teachers, have no educational degree and no certification. In fact, most private schools have little if any resources. For instance, they have no school nurse, no guidance counselor, no librarian, no special ed. teachers etc."

If by "qualified" you mean the joke of a "certification" given out by NYS, then yes.

I went to 12 years of Catholic school and most of my teachers either had masters' degrees or were working to attain one. Most had undergraduate degrees in the SUBJECT they were teaching, i.e., English teachers had English degrees, not a degree in "secondary education" or "language arts education". They KNEW the subject they were teaching intimately.

Also, the diploma requirements for my Catholic high school exceeded those of a Regents diploma (translation: it was harder to graduate from my high school then to get a Regents diploma). Believe me, it was an excellent school, but not everyone was a Rhodes scholar.

italian girl said...

Why don't you ask the teachers in your grammar school what their qualifications were? That's who I was referring to.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jack for posting useful, accurate information.
Once again Crapper has no clue what he is talking about. The regents diploma was never the standard, so instituting it now does not mean that schools were previously "dumbed down" by Bloomberg. I hope he gets the point now.

Queens Crapper said...

I know damn well that the Regents diploma has always been optional. When I went to school we were urged to take it although it was unnecessary for graduation. I had no problem obtaining one and I expect that students adequately trained for the real world would be able to get one. Ask any public school teacher if they feel they are teaching to students at their grade level and the answer will be no. Social promotion didn't work, so the curriculum and tests were made easier. Not for the kids' own good, but for the good of the schools chancellor and the mayor.

Anonymous said...

I know their qualifications. I was referring to grammar school AND high school when I wrote: "I went to 12 years of Catholic school and most of my teachers either had masters' degrees or were working to attain one. Most had undergraduate degrees in the SUBJECT they were teaching, i.e., English teachers had English degrees, not a degree in "secondary education" or "language arts education". They KNEW the subject they were teaching intimately."

Maybe reading it again will help your comprehension, italiangirl. One doesn’t go to high school for 12 years! (Well, maybe some do…)

There may have been a few nuns who did not have had masters' and were not pursuing one (probably because of their age).

I don’t think my school was any sort of exception. My parish school (not the school I attended) just had an article in the monthly bulletin about three new teachers and all had masters' degrees.

Despite all of this, I don't think you need a masters' degree to be a good teacher, particularly on the grammar school level. Either you can do it or you can't.

All cleared up now, italiangirl?

italian girl said...

"Most had undergraduate degrees in the SUBJECT they were teaching, i.e., English teachers had English degrees, not a degree in "secondary education" or "language arts education". They KNEW the subject they were teaching intimately.""

That is a direct reference to high school. I'll agree that in the Catholic high schools, they at least have a bachelor's in the subject they're teaching. Again, ask your grammar school teachers what qualifications they had. Better still, ask current catholic grammar school teachers what qualifications they have and I can GUARANTEE many don't even have a degree in education.

Wow! Three new teachers had master's degrees in your old school? In fact you prove my point. It's such a big deal that they need to publicize it. EVERY teacher in NYC must have a master's. Period.

And before you start blasting away about something you know little about, do some research.

Anonymous said...

Oh please crapper. What percentage of Christ the King grads do you think could pass all the regents exams?

Queens Crapper said...

There is no question that Catholic high school students are much better prepared for tests and for college than public school kids.

Anonymous said...

Former teacher here. Crappy is right for the most part. And he is quite correct on the larger issue of the importance of kids being evaluated through tests prepared by other than their own teachers in their school. (Low expectations creep up in many schools.) In addition, the schools have been given YEARS of warning about all of this and were expected to begin preparing the students YEARS prior to the test so when it came time, they would be able to do their best. This is no surprise, it is not really NEW. Lastly, Mr. Smarty-Pants Klein runs a shell game by starting these small schools that have no record to compare against in order to gauge progress. They can SAY anything. They have a many years long grace period. That is the reason for all the disruption of mayoral control. Shame.

Charles Darwin said...

Remember me? I'm that guy who wrote the book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, published on November 24, 1859.

If I were alive today, my 200th birthday would be this coming Thursday, February 12.

Have you all forgotten my principles in this debate on academic achievement?

Mr. Flynn, you appear to be at the head of this class. At first glance, I thought your name was "James Flynn" instead of "Jack Flynn". Of course, James R. Flynn is the man credited with noting the rise in average IQ scores over the generations. Unfortunately, if you've been paying attention to the British press, it was recently noted that IQ scores in Britain have actually declined.

Anyways, Jack Flynn is on the correct path in his reference to the "standard bell curve". This is best exemplified in the "Lake Wobegon effect" - "and all the children are above average", from Garrison Keillor's A Prarie Home Companion radio series.

People seem to forget that if the test scores of all school children conformed to a standard bell curve, 50% of these children will be BELOW AVERAGE. We all can't have above average IQ scores.

Another point. Since affirmative action laws ban employers from giving potential employees an IQ test, a college degree has become a proxy for an IQ test. Extend that logic a bit further. Since we all know that public schools "socially promote" students irregardless of whether they know anything or not, a Regents Diploma thus becomes the new standard. If you have a choice between someone with a mere "high school degree" or someone with a Regents Diploma, which one do you think predicts is the more intelligent student?

PS HS Teacher said...

Until September 2008, there were three kinds of diplomas a public high school student caould receive: Regents, Local and IEP. The Local and IEP diplomas were/are basically worthless in terms of applying to college -- unless one is continuing studies at a community college.

Anonymous said...

To italiangirl:

"That is a direct reference to high school."

Did you go to school in this country? I'm serious. "Language arts" is taught in grammar school. Secondary education includes junior high school. I pray you are not a teacher.

"...I can GUARANTEE many don't even have a degree in education."

And your point? What's a degree in "education"?

"Wow! Three new teachers had master's degrees in your old school? In fact you prove my point. It's such a big deal that they need to publicize it."

First of all, it wasn't my old school, which I explained (again, reading comprehension, italiangirl)! It was in my current parish. They didn't "publicize" it --they were welcoming new teachers and included a biography on each of them, which logically included where they went to school, what degree they held and where they taught previously. They all taught for at least 10 years in other schools.

The qualifications of my grammar school teachers: bachelor degrees (all); pursuing masters’ (most); some taught at other schools; some started their careers at the school; two were in their first year of teaching. One was a clunker (she came in to fill in for a sick teacher; she didn't return); the other was wonderful.

"EVERY teacher in NYC must have a master's. Period."

It doesn't make them automatically better teachers as exposed by the NY Post a while back:

https://listserv.heanet.ie/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9905&L=typo-l&P=13731

italian girl said...

Anonymous:

Keep telling yourself all of those things.

Anonymous said...

That's your best comeback, eh?

italian girl said...

No, but I"m way too tired to argue with you.

Good night.

Sarah said...

More than 90% of Catholic Educated students graduate High School. More than 90% of those students graduate college. What more do you want to hear when you compare the schools that also teach the Gospels to the ones that do not. And this is accomplished with less money and resources.

Anonymous said...

For one, if you're going to send your kid to a private school and spend thousands of dollars in tuition, don't you expect your kid to do well?

No to the above, a private school such as Catholic High Schools have expectations a pact if you will that students and parents abide by with the school to insure the best possible scenerio - a successful student which meets the school's expectation of meeting and exceeding State requirements. Of course a student must meet a behavior standard,respectful of everyone and of other faiths who are also attending the school, be on time and have excellent attendance. (Be model citizen).

What happens if the student does not meet the above criteria? He get kicked out and defaults per law going to "PUBLIC SCHOOL" as punishment!

Anonymous said...

In the olden days, public high schools offered 3 diplomas. The good old Academic required passing regents exams with a minimum grade of 65 in different subject areas. Then there was the Commercial diploma with requirements to obtain with those types of subjects. The third they called the General diploma which required passing no regents. I'm old enough to know a whole lot of people who never took or passed a regents.

georgetheatheist said...

What's with this "diploma"?

I always thought he was the guy whosa-fixa-da-pipe.

Anonymous said...

The Regents Exams of today are a JOKE. 30 years ago a Regents diploma might have meant something, but these tests have been ridiculously dumbed down. A Regents diploma today is about equivalent to what a standard diploma used to be.

Go to the NYS Board of Regents website and download a real exam in any subject. If you can't get a 65 (which isn't even 65% correct because of scaled grading--another trick to artificially inflate grades) you shouldn't graduate.

I recently graduated from one of best public high school in Queens. We had to pass 9 regents to graduate. The Regents curriculum was standard and AP was the tougher option. If the average student is half as smart as the brightest, he or she should have no problem passing 5 of these tests.

Sadly, whether students "graduate" with lower standards or fail with "higher" ones, the public school system is still failing them.

Anonymous said...

Maspeth moms sayss.
The people on this blog all talk about how great their schools were,blah blah blah.. and how smart they all are blah blah blah.. . But not one person named the school directly.

Italian Girl please dont talk about children/grammar schools. and regents diplomas etc.. You obviously dont have children. Until you do.. stick to subjects you know about... Thanks!

Anonymous said...

italian girl made a few good points. maybe you need to be a little more openminded

Anonymous said...

italian girl made a few good points. maybe you need to be a little more openminded

Anonymous said...

Why has this become an argument of Catholic vs. Public School? It all comes down to whether the parents are paying attention to what their children are learning and, if those children are struggling, providing the resources to understand the subject matter. Expecting a good regents score because you pay tuition is a ridiculous. Are you saying that it's okay for a child to get a low score because they attend public school? Duh!

Anonymous said...

absolutley. but you must admit you are more likely to find a better batch of students in a parochial school than a public school. no?