Apologies for being AWOL, folks - both skoolboy and I are on the road. Below, you can find the beginning of an op-ed about the NYC Progress Reports that the two of us wrote for our local West Side Spirit - the link to the full text is below.
Each fall, many New Yorkers head to family physicians for an annual physical. Doctors record some standard measures—body temperature and blood pressure, for example—and perhaps draw some blood to send to the lab. Doctors will also ask about changes in health over the last year. Only after considering all of this information will they make a holistic assessment and recommend an appropriate treatment plan. This fall, the New York City Department of Education is releasing its version of the annual check-up for schools: the School Progress Reports. September brought the reports for approximately 1,000 elementary, K-8 and middle schools, with the high schools coming shortly. The progress reports assigned these schools a letter grade ranging from A to F, based mostly (60 percent) on their contribution to students’ test scores from last year to this year. The progress report letter grades drive the “treatment plan” for the schools: schools which receive an A or a B are eligible for cash rewards, whereas those receiving a D or F face eventual restructuring or closure. In doctors’ offices, we count on lab tests, X-rays and other reliable measures of our health. Can we count on the progress reports in the same way? Our analyses of last year’s and this year’s progress reports suggest that we cannot.
Click here to read the rest.
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