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    #243335 - 07/18/18 06:46 AM Scrap selective middle schools?
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2604
    Loc: MA
    As children get older, their absolute mental ages and academic preparation diverge (as my children in middle school have noticed). Maybe the standard deviation of mental age is about 1 year at age 6 and 2 years by age 12. A consequence of this is that by middle school, children have diverged greatly in what they know and what they can do, and the dominant middle school philosophy of having "balanced teams" means that there is a wide range of abilities within classes. It would be be better to have leveling of most academic classes, as used to be done when we had "junior high schools", but having selective admissions to middle school is better than nothing.

    Brooklyn Parents Have Mixed Feelings on School Admissions Proposal
    Integration advocates want to scrap middle schools’ use of academic criteria to select students
    By Leslie Brody
    Wall Street Journal
    July 11, 2018 8:19 p.m. ET

    Quote:
    As New York City parents debate how to give all students fair access to good public schools, integration advocates in Brooklyn want to scrap middle schools’ use of academic criteria to select students.

    Some supporters of the proposal for District 15 from its Diversity Plan Working Group are optimistic they will prevail, partly because New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza has questioned the rationale for accepting students by ability. Other parents are wary, saying they want their hard-working children to have the chance to earn their way into desirable schools.

    District 15, which includes low-income immigrant neighborhoods such as Sunset Park and more-affluent areas like Park Slope, is one of the first in the city trying to change its admission system to better integrate all of its middle schools. Its Diversity Group, which includes parents and city Department of Education officials, has tried to drum up support by hosting workshops and seeking community input.

    The group’s new draft recommendations to the department—which will be finalized in coming weeks—call for the elimination of screening for admission to the district’s 11 middle schools, which serve about 6,000 students. Applicants for sixth-grade would rank their favorites. The department would try to give them their top picks, and offer seats by lottery to oversubscribed choices, after each school gives priority for 52% of its slots to students who are poor, homeless or English-language learners.

    Michele Greenberg, a District 15 parent, calls this process more fair than the current selective system, which she said discriminates against students with few resources. “Children shouldn’t be rejected because they don’t somehow fit,” she said.

    Department officials said they will decide on the recommendations this summer. If approved, the plan would mark a huge change from today’s method. Now, students rank the schools they want to attend, and schools rank students they want to enroll, based on varying criteria such as course grades, test scores, behavior, attendance, punctuality and auditions. The department makes matches.

    Many parents complain this complex process brings massive anxiety, and often leaves disappointed children in tears.

    Even so, a survey released by the working group found that 58% of 879 respondents considered it appropriate for middle schools to screen for admission this way. That included 62% of 321 respondents from Park Slope, where Mayor Bill de Blasio lives, and 42% of 162 respondents from Sunset Park.

    ...

    Top
    #243337 - 07/19/18 04:41 AM Re: Scrap selective middle schools? [Re: Bostonian]
    puffin Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/11/12
    Posts: 2035
    So a special education teacher thinks no-one else should get education aimed to meet their needs? Or are they doing away with special education as well? In that case it would be like NZ. We have a system that only meets the needs of extrovert, complaint just above average intelligence kids.

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    #243340 - 07/20/18 06:44 AM Re: Scrap selective middle schools? [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4345
    not a direct quote... excerpts somewhat rearranged, for clarity and direct comparison:

    Current NYC District 15 Middle School Admissions:
    Now, students rank the schools they want to attend, and schools rank students they want to enroll, based on varying criteria such as course grades, test scores, behavior, attendance, punctuality and auditions. The department makes matches.
    ...
    Comments on Current NYC District 15 Middle School Admissions:
    1) Michele Greenberg, a District 15 parent: “Children shouldn’t be rejected because they don’t somehow fit,”
    2) Many parents complain this complex process brings massive anxiety, and often leaves disappointed children in tears.
    3) 58% of 879 respondents considered it appropriate for middle schools to screen for admission this way. That included 62% of 321 respondents from "more-affluent" Park Slope, where Mayor Bill de Blasio lives, and 42% of 162 respondents from "low-income immigrant neighborhood" Sunset Park.
    ...
    Proposed NYC District 15 Middle School Admissions:
    Applicants for sixth-grade would rank their favorites. The department would
    1) give priority for 52% of each school's slots to students who are poor, homeless or English-language learners.
    2) try to give students their top picks,
    3) offer seats by lottery to oversubscribed choices

    A few questions which may crystallize the debate:

    1) Does the proposed plan eliminate rejecting children who don't somehow "fit"?
    To address Michele Greenberg's criticism of the current admissions criteria: Do you see that under the proposed plan, children are rejected because they don't somehow "fit" with priority demographics: poor, homeless or English-language learners?

    2) What criteria creates a better match to a school's academic program, and the ability for that academic program to meet students' educational needs:
    2a) selection based on course grades, test scores, behavior, attendance, punctuality and auditions...
    2b) priority based on poor, homeless or English-language learners?

    3) Which process better emulates "real life" for college admissions, job applications, and other opportunities such as internships, volunteerism, running for elected office... and provides feedback as to ability and readiness?

    4) Will the proposed process NOT bring massive anxiety, and NOT leave disappointed children in tears?

    5) The article reports that a majority of parents (58%) support the current middle-school admissions criteria.
    - In a democratic system, wouldn't that majority prevail?
    - Why take on the expense of re-tooling the middle school admissions process, not initiated by the taxpaying citizens... but dictated by the government?

    6) Because the article mentions "low-income immigrant neighborhoods," how many of these residents are in NYC legally, how many are undocumented/illegal/overstayed (therefore have not paid to support the public system which is giving them top priority)?

    A few thoughts:
    1) Different students have different needs.
    2) Grouping by ability and readiness to learn a particular subject and level is a researched, evidence-based, efficient way to meet student needs for appropriate academic challenge and intellectual peers.
    3) Changing admissions criteria will necessitate changes in programming at each school, in an attempt to meet a broader range student needs, abilities, readiness.
    4) There is an old adage: "What you reward, you get more of." Rewarding course grades, test scores, behavior, attendance, punctuality and auditions encourages students to do their best. Changing to a system which does not reward best effort and eliminates competition signals devaluing a work ethic. This seems likely to erode the American Dream of upward socioeconomic mobility... which is based largely on multi-generational hard work, sacrifice, and saving within families.

    Top
    #243341 - 07/20/18 07:19 AM Re: Scrap selective middle schools? [Re: indigo]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2604
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: indigo
    6) Because the article mentions "low-income immigrant neighborhoods," how many of these residents are in NYC legally, how many are undocumented/illegal/overstayed (therefore have not paid to support the public system which is giving them top priority)?

    Discussing admissions criteria is difficult enough without bringing immigration status into it, and in any case, the 1982 Plyler v. Doe Supreme Court decision stated that local governments cannot discriminate based on immigration status in K-12 education, and the purpose of public schools is to ensure access to children of poor families. Making this argument is unlikely to help preserve selective middle schools.

    Top
    #243342 - 07/20/18 07:23 AM Re: Scrap selective middle schools? [Re: Bostonian]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4345
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    Originally Posted By: indigo
    6) Because the article mentions "low-income immigrant neighborhoods," how many of these residents are in NYC legally, how many are undocumented/illegal/overstayed (therefore have not paid to support the public system which is giving them top priority)?

    Discussing admissions criteria is difficult enough without bringing immigration status into it, and in any case, the 1982 Plyler v. Doe Supreme Court decision stated that local governments cannot discriminate based on immigration status in K-12 education, and the purpose of public schools is to ensure access to children of poor families. Making this argument is unlikely to help preserve selective middle schools.
    Agreed.

    However what I am addressing is the article stating that under the proposed admissions criteria, certain demographics would be given priority.

    Top


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