Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home


School saves 150 failing students with quickie online courses



A NY Post story from July 16 seems related:


Two of city's worst-performing schools overhauling staff

A majority of educators at two of the city's lowest-performing high schools, both in Brooklyn, are being replaced, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña ­announced Wednesday.

Only one-third of 63 staff members at Boys and Girls HS in Bedford-Stuyvesant are returning in September, according to the Chancellorâs Office.

At Automotive HS in Greenpoint, only 42 percent are being brought back.


By Susan Edelman

Flushing HS put 150 flunking students in quickie online "credit recovery" courses and pressured teachers to reverse failing grades to boost a lower-than-50 percent graduation rate, a stunning internal ­e-mail shows.

"Our benchmark of a 60 percent graduation rate in June is nonnegotiable," ­Patricia Cuti, assistant principal for guidance, insisted in a June 1 missive to staff.

With fewer than two weeks before the end of regular classes, all 150 students were enrolled in Apex Learning online courses, where they could get a quick and easy replacement for a semester or year's work.

"With 150 students failing a grad requirement, we are looking at a rate of less than 50 percent," Cuti wrote. "Every effort to assist these students in reaching all the graduation requirements is necessary.

"I urge you to call the homes as well. ENCOURAGE these students. The ONLY message they need to hear is that THEY CAN and THEY MUST!" she wrote. âSummer graduation is NOT an option.â

Cuti also ordered staffers to come up with ways to fix failing marks.

"Teachers are to speak with these students and discuss a plan to pass the class," Cuti wrote. "This is extremely urgent."

Flushing HS is one of 94 low-performing "Renewal" schools that Mayor de Blasio has vowed to fix.

A veteran retired teacher blasted the 11th-hour ultimatum as "too little, too late" to allow for real learning -- and called Cuti's e-mail a veiled threat: "Do it or else."

But it did the trick, one Flushing teacher said.

"After two to three weeks of working with the computers, students accumulated all needed credits in various subjects, bringing the graduation rate to almost 55 percent," the teacher said -- adding that Flushing HS "feels pressure" from its ­superintendent, Aimee Horowitz, to show progress.

Critics said Flushing's actions smack of the "Easy Pass" scam recently exposed at another Renewal school, John Dewey HS in Brooklyn. After a yearlong probe, the Department of Education confirmed teacher complaints that administrators gave full credits to failing students who completed a "packet" of work with little or no instruction.

Apex courses -- also given this summer at Flushing and other schools -- let kids rack up credits quickly.

At Bryant HS in Astoria, a teen who failed his English class last semester told The Post he expects to whiz through the Web course in eight or nine days.

"It's just trying to help students get easy credits," he said, explaining it was easy to cheat. "You're not supposed to look up ­answers on the Internet, but people do it anyway."

City Department of Education officials said preliminary data do not show a "significant increase" in Flushing's June graduation rate, but gave no figure.

â"This past year at Flushing HS we've replaced the principal, overhauled curriculum, held bi-weekly teacher training sessions and built smaller student learning communities," said DOE spokesman Harry Hartfield. "We're making the tough decisions that will improve student outcomes.â"

— Susan Edelman
New York Post

2015-07-19

http://nypost.com/2015/07/19/school-saves-150-failing-students-with-quickie-online-courses/

NY


MORE OUTRAGES


FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.