Friday, August 14, 2009

The Quest To Become King

According to Gotham Schools, Bloomberg now wants to do something about Community Colleges. He wants to "beef up" these schools, adding more money and more seats and get more people attending.

Once again our illustrious mayor is showing how little he knows about education.

Community colleges are having a serious problem getting their students to graduate in two years. In fact, it takes many students as long as six years (if they don't get frustrated and drop out first) to graduate. It is common for students to use up all their financial aid on remedial courses and have nothing left for the real thing.

Our education mayor has to realize that many of the students graduating high school today know less than a sixth grader knew twenty years ago. The "slam bam thank you mam" education system he has pushed has created a crop of students that are not ready for college. No one can pass college algebra if they have barely passed high school math. No one can pass English if they can't read and write.

Aside from not being academically prepared for college, many students are not emotionally prepared. They are used to being passed along although they did no work, were excessively absent and had failing grades. They are used to principals and guidance counselors pressuring teachers to pass them in spite of their not deserving to pass. They don't understand why, all of a sudden, they must show some knowledge to pass.

Now, all the above has been said by me and many others many time before.

As a community college teacher as well as a high school teacher, I know the extra funding is needed. More seats are needed. There have been too many times have I had to turn students away from my class due to overcrowding. There have been too many times when students have been forced to spend an extra term in the school because the one class needed for graduation is not available. There have been too many times I have seen students forced to take evening or weekend classes because those were all that were available.

All this being said, I see Bloomberg now becoming the Community College Education Mayor. He will donate money and do to the college what he has done to all the schools preceding college. He will test and test and find ways to lower the bar and pass everyone through. He will find a way to blame the teachers. He will do whatever it takes to make himself look good and continue his quest to become the King of NYC.

Bloomberg would never allow someone like me to make decisions about his corporation. I would never want to as I know nothing about business. Too bad he doesn't realize the same should hold true for education. Yes, the schools have problems that need to be fixed. He has to realize that all problems can't be fixed. He needs to let the experts in the field do their jobs and get on with the business of education.


NYC Educator said...

Great writing, really cutting straight to the heart of the matter, and unfortunately, all too true.

Rachel Grynberg said...

Yeah. One of the things we worked on at my school was sending our students off to college prepared. That takes more than passing a GED, which is all those students will be given now. There are something like 150,000 overage and under-credited students in NYC. These are kids not succeeding even with the lowered standards. They need complete and thorough re-training. What most of them do is go to places like ASA Institute where they can work on their GED and take college classes at the same time. You can do that at Kingsborough, too, though there are more restrictions. I can see it now: a two-for one test which you pass to graduate high school and enter community college. Then you make an exit exam which is laughable. Meanwhile, you cut back on tenured faculty so that these kids are served by underpaid adjuncts who have to catch the bus to their next job and can't help them outside of class. And when kids start to fail the exit exam, you blame the teachers again and fire them and start with new ones.