New York public schools

New York public schools

Most New York Students Unprepared for College

Students graduating from high school in New York are found to be unprepared for college. In the latest set of graduation statistics, fewer than half of the students in the state of New York are leaving high school fully prepared for college or well paying careers. These new statistics are being used as a push to realign state standards with college performance.

In 2009, statistics show that only 23 percent of students in New York City graduated ready for college or careers. This number excludes special education students. Surprisingly, New York City is doing better than other large urban districts in the state. Less than five percent met the standards for being college-ready in Rochester and less than 17 percent in Yonkers, Buffalo and Syracuse. The state Board of Regents met on Monday to make decisions on how to use this new data and should reach a decision sometime in March.

Unfortunately, city and state officials have been slow to raise the standards for graduation even though they know that graduation from a public school does not mean a student is ready for college.

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Conflict at First English-Mandarin Public School

shuang-wenThe Shuang Wen Academy opened in New York in 1998, and was celebrated as the first-ever English-Mandarin dual-language public school. Although its students perform well on tests and earn high grades, the school is facing unhappy parents and nine city investigations.

A major concern is abuse in the admissions process, which should operate with a lottery system. Sixty-two percent of the district’s students are black and Hispanic and 20 percent are Asian, yet 80 percent of the students at Shuang Wen are Chinese. The city is investigating allegations that the school discourages black parents from enrolling their children.

Another area of concern is the after-school program. During the day, classes are taught in English, and the Mandarin-language part of the curriculum is part of an extra-curricular program. The after-school classes were once mandatory but free, however, a lack of funding caused the school to charge $600 for the extra instruction. The program is no longer mandatory, but many parents feel pressure to pay. The school also warned that it could no longer provide after-school supervision to students not enrolled in the program. “The safety of the child will be in jeopardy if you come late,” one letter to parents said.

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For Students in New York, Back to School Supplies Include Visa

visa-needed-for-schoolDespite a 1982 Supreme Court ruling that gave the children of illegal immigrants the right to attend public school, many districts in New York are asking for visas. One in five New York State school districts are requiring students to present immigration papers to register for school.

Although there are no records of students being turned away for the lack of proper papers, the New York Civil Liberties Union says the practice will “discourage families from enrolling in school for fear that they would be reported to federal immigration authorities” in a letter to the state commissioner. They also gathered a list of 139 districts that ask for visa information.
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Younger Teachers are the First to Go During Budget Cuts

nyc department of educationWhile many teachers are facing the prospect of losing their jobs due to budget cuts, those who have been teaching for the longest amount of time have been relatively safe in New York City. Here’s why:

The teachers’ union in NYC has protected teachers with the most seniority from layoffs in the past. However, a new bill might cause some changes to the city’s policy, concerning who is fired and who gets to keep their jobs during budget cuts.

New York City’s public school system may have to lay off up to 8,500 teachers next year because the city is facing a budget cut somewhere between $600 million and $1.2 billion. Under the current law, the youngest and newest teachers would be the first to go, a policy known as “last in, first out.” The new bill that is being proposed would not count seniority as the most important issue, concerning which teachers should remain and which should be laid off.

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