In NYC, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has stated that the students in the public school education system have made improvements that meet standards. However, a recent study showed that rampant grade inflation, social promotion as well as low standards have skewed the official report. Schools have routinely bumped up grades and allowed failing students passing scores in order to meet standards. With the bar already set so low, we are truly doing a disservice to our students.
Mayor Bloomberg likes to boast of the “gains” made in city schools during his tenure, but the test scores and graduation rates he cites have long been suspect.
Want to know why?
As Susan Edelman reported in last Sunday’s Post, the folks at struggling Washington Irving HS in Manhattan apply a major, um, fudge factor.
Can’t make the passing grade of 65 in some class?
No sweat: Under Washington Irving policy — spelled out in a school handbook and other documents obtained by The Post — a failing grade of 60 automatically gets changed to a 65.
Score as low as 50, did you?
Smile: You automatically get another 15 points, no questions asked — just by passing a state exam. (And who cares that such a policy violates Department of Education rules?)
Still looking for some other way to get by? Consider this: Just complete “a work product not to exceed five pages” or some other phony “alternative project” and — presto: Feel free to order that cap and gown.
And as for those fond of skipping out on classes or blowing off their studying — that’s cool, too: They can take an online multiple-choice “credit recovery” program or get a make-up “packet” of work.
Sheesh! It’s nothing more than — as one expert termed it — “approved cheating.”
“This is simply a phony process for getting kids undeserved credits,” says Brooklyn College education professor David Bloomfield. It makes a mockery of “real learning and subject mastery.”
One staffer at the school frets about the message being sent: “Don’t worry if you don’t attend school; we’ll just give you an easy way to make up the credit … What does this say to the kids who actually do the class work, tests, projects and homework?”
But it does the failing kids no favors, either — turning them loose on the streets wholly unprepared for what they’ll face.
And it deceives parents — and the public.
Meanwhile, staffers at numerous other schools have cited cheating of one kind or another, as The Post’s Michael Goodwin has reported. And state and local officials have uncovered signs of even broader test-tampering.
Even the tests themselves have been questioned, after years of being dumbed down.
State officials say they are in the process of reviewing anti-cheating measures.
But until the tests, and the schools that issue diplomas, can be trusted, Bloomberg’s “gains” will remain subject to doubt.
And kids will continue to lose out.