You know how low the bar is when you read the proud statement that no one has been murdered in a NYC high school sine 1992. You also know how meaningless a 73% high school graduation rate is in a school where more than half of those graduates were chronically absent in their senior year. The middle school that feeds into that high school had a pass rate of 13% on the statewide reading test and 5% in math. Simply put, 87% of the students who couldn’t read at an 8th grade level and 95% who couldn’t do 8th grade math were promoted into high school and subsequently shoved out with diplomas regardless of academic competence This Bronx high school with the lofty title of The Urban Assembly Wildlife Conservation School is headed by a non-profit organization that also runs 20 other schools in New York, all with pretentious claims to professional aspirations in law, justice, global commerce, media studies, environmentalism etc. It’s in the news today because it appears that one of the eponymous wildlife was actually inside the school and stabbed two fellow students, killing one and hospitalizing the other.
On its website, The Urban Assembly lists three pages of prestigious partners from the public, private, not-for-profit and higher education sectors - such impressive names as the Office of the Bronx D.A., JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Brooklyn Law School - even the New York Yankees. Will these partners look more closely at the 20 other schools supervised by this group now that the shocking failure rates on standardized tests give the lie to that inflated high school graduation rate? The murder has spurred demands for metal detectors in these schools but there should be an equal demand for mental detection on the part of overseers and the Chancellor of Education What is the point of a Board of Advisors and support from the community if they are not challenging the lack of achievement in the most basic tools of learning - reading and math? You can’t have a future in any career if you can’t read or count. And who is checking the budgetary expenses of schools with glaring disparities between test results and graduation rates? This is a red flag even for do-gooders suffering from cognitive dissonance and especially for politicos who have been steadily pushing the scandalous crisis in education under a thickly piled rug.
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