The kids nobody wants

The Kids Nobody Wants are the ones guaranteed to pull down test scores and graduation rates, writes teacher Arthur Goldstein on GothamSchools.

Queens Collegiate is a shiny new school on the third floor of closure-slated Jamaica High School. Jamaica’s UFT chapter leader, James Eterno, told me that when Queens Collegiate got a special education/ESL student it wasn’t equipped to handle, they sent the kid right back downstairs to Jamaica.

Some schools, like mine (Francis Lewis High School) take kids we know won’t graduate — they’re on track for “alternate assessment” instead of academic diplomas. And every one of these kids — about 2 percent of our total population — is counted against us when they fail to achieve a traditional graduation. You might say they are dropouts on the day they enroll.

When these teens go on to job training programs, that’s considered worthless by the district’s school evaluation system, Goldstein writes.

Immigrants may need five years in high school to learn English and earn a diploma. Is that a sign of failure?

When California’s school evaluation system started — years before No Child Left Behind — high schools created “opportunity” schools for “at-risk” students. “Opportunity” students’ very low scores were reported separately, even if they were taking classes on their old campus.

About Joanne