Education

Small Schools Under Big Fire

By Catherine Gewertz — March 21, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A New York City advisory group is urging the school district’s leaders to delay their plan to open dozens more small schools, because of questions about their quality and enrollment policies.

The Citywide Council on High Schools, composed of 10 elected parents and one student, adopted a resolution March 8 urging Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein to “substantially delay” small-school openings until problems can be resolved.

The panel says that existing high schools are getting overcrowded as they accept students displaced by small-school restructurings. It also contends that instruction and leadership in many of the new schools are subpar. The district also is breaking the law by turning away from the new schools too many special education students and those learning English, the panel charges. It is asking federal, state, and local authorities to investigate that alleged practice.

New York has opened 180 small schools since September 2003 as part of its effort to improve secondary schooling. District leaders hope to open another 100 during the next few years.

In a statement last week, they defended their initiative as a bid to provide more high-quality options in underserved neighborhoods. They said the new schools already show better attendance and better promotion rates from 9th to 10th grade than the citywide average.

English-language learners make up about the same portion of the 9th grade—about 10 percent—both citywide and at the new small schools, district officials said. Nearly 12 percent of the 9th graders citywide are special education students, compared with 8 percent in the small schools, according to city figures.

That gap is because special education services must be developed over the three-year time span when new small schools are opened, the district’s statement said. Over time, it added, every school will have a fully developed program.

New York isn’t the only place seeing tension over small schools. The Chicago Teachers Union wants that city to stop downsizing its schools in the wake of a Chicago Sun-Times investigation that found sharp increases in violence in schools that have had to accept many displaced students. District Chief Executive Officer Arne Duncan has vowed to push on with his program.

A version of this article appeared in the March 22, 2006 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Data Webinar
Working Smarter, Not Harder with Data
There is a new paradigm shift in K-12 education. Technology and data have leapt forward, advancing in ways that allow educators to better support students while also maximizing their most precious resource – time. The
Content provided by PowerSchool
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Deepen the Reach and Impact of Your Leadership
This webinar offers new and veteran leaders a unique opportunity to listen and interact with four of the most influential educational thinkers in North America. With their expert insights, you will learn the key elements
Content provided by Solution Tree
Science K-12 Essentials Forum Teaching Science Today: Challenges and Solutions
Join this event which will tackle handling controversy in the classroom, and making science education relevant for all students.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education School Bus Driver Retires After 48 Years Behind Wheel
Charles City school bus driver Betty Flick sat behind the wheel for the final time last week, wrapping up a 48-year career for the district.
3 min read
Charles City school bus driver Betty Flick poses with one of her farewell signs. Flick has been driving for Charles City School District for 48 years.
Betty Flick quickly fell in love with the job and with the kids, which is what has had her stay in the district for this long.
Courtesy of Abby Koch/Globe Gazette
Education Briefly Stated: December 1, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: October 27, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read