To the Editor:
The two recent Commentaries published under the headline “Lessons From High School Reform” (“Achieving ‘Success at Scale’”;“Creating ‘Portfolios of Schools,’” June 22, 2005) largely miss an important aspect of these efforts: the effect on students outside the reform bubble.
As I detail in the forthcoming issue of the Politics of Education Association’s Bulletin, New York City’s current high school reform effort is a cautionary tale of scaling-up without adequate planning and with a lack of focus on systemic consequences.
The good news is that small schools are getting the first large-scale test of their effectiveness as a way out of urban high school failure. The bad news is that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s implementation strategy, which receives financial support from the two foundations represented by your Commentary authors, seems to be doing more harm than good by creating greater overcrowding in our large high schools, especially for special education and language-minority students who have been systematically denied admission to the new schools.
This shortsighted strategy is creating a reaction that gives small schools a bad name despite their promise.
David C. Bloomfield
Chair, Educational Leadership
School of Education
City University of New York