From the Neighborhood Retail Alliance:
If any one can really make heads or tails out of the latest school grades released by the DOE-well, good luck. It has a bit of the old, "The operation was a success, but the patient died," quality to it. As the NY Times reports, 97% of all of the city schools received either an A or a B on the latest round of evaluations: "The news could have been cause for a huge celebration: a whopping 97 percent of New York’s elementary and middle schools earning an A or B on the city’s annual report card. Yet Chancellor Joel I. Klein was tempered in his praise, careful to say that the high marks did not necessarily mean that the city was filled with excellent schools."
What the grades do mean, then, escapes us: "We want to make clear that that means that they met their progress targets,” Mr. Klein said, a tad defensively, at a news conference at Public School 189 in Washington Heights on Wednesday. “Not by any stretch of the imagination that those schools don’t have a lot of improvement ahead of them.” At the same time, when asked if there was something wrong with a grading system in which nearly every school earned top marks — 889 of the 1,058 graded schools got A’s, and just two received F’s — he clearly took pride in the results. “If you’re asking whether I would rather see less A’s,” he said, “the answer is no.”
Boy, this is really so confusing. If the grades are not precise indicators, and, "a lot of improvement," is still needed, why the fanfare over these grades? And the rising grades simply encourages skepticism about the entire grading scheme-kinda like the questionable standardized test scores that gets Klein all chest puffy. As the Times points out: "Suddenly, New York City looks like Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average — or like the Ivy League, noted for grade inflation that makes, say, a B-minus seem like the new F."
Here's another from the same blog:
Well, the bloom certainly came off the DOE rose pretty quickly for the editorialists at the NY Post, didn't it? It seems as if the fact that over 97% of all the city schools received an "A" or a "B" grade doesn't sit all that well over at the paper; and we wonder if they're having some second thoughts about the way they shamelessly supported the purported Bloomberg Miracle: "The city Department of Education this week released letter grades scoring each of the New York's public elementary and middle schools -- and it turns out that nearly every one of them is above average. Indeed, the results simply beggar the imagination. Of the thousand-plus schools graded, nearly 900, or 85 percent, scored an A -- up from fewer than 400 last year. A mere 27 received C's, D's or F's."
It appears that these grades are like those anomalous SAT test scores that show someone jumping hundreds of points from one exam to the next-can any one say, "Re-test?" But the Post has some 'splaining to do: "We know the schools are improving, but that's a little ridiculous.
When Schools Chancellor Joel Klein unveiled the grading system two years ago, he touted it as a revolutionary new way to measure overall student progress -- and hold principals accountable for it. A worthy goal -- but not many can be shaking in their boots this year. And what does a top grade even mean, if nearly every school in the system "earns" one?"
Of course, the Daily News editorial board is there to bail these two nitwits out:
Conspiracy-minded critics suggest that Bloomberg, in an election year, is playing fast and loose with numbers to get votes.
Wrong. This was simply a big flub. One that must not happen again.