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NCLB Outrages

Middle Class Parents Shocked to Find Their School on Feds Failure List

Forest Hills HS in Queens is listed in a guide as one of the city's best neighborhood high schools - so parents were outraged yesterday to find it landed on the state list of academically troubled schools.

"I didn't know it was a low-performing school. This is really shocking," said Dora Perry, whose daughter is a freshman at the school, in an upper-middle-class neighborhood dotted with $1 million homes.

"I thought quite the opposite. That's why I put my daughter here."

State officials explained the school was put on the underperforming list because its immigrant and special-ed students did not do as well as they should have on their English and math Regents exams.

Clara Hemphill's book on "New York City's Best Public High Schools" describes Forest Hills HS as a crowded but "safe, well-kept, traditional college-preparatory school."

It's crowded because it's popular.

The list was made public to comply with a new federal law requiring the state identify all lagging schools.

A school can be placed on the list if any cateogory of its students - including minorities and kids from economically disadvantaged homes - do not show academic progress.

This was the first year that schools not receiving federal poverty funds were rated.

It's not just Forest Hills.

Well-regarded middle and high schools throughout the city now are eating humble pie after landing on the dreaded list.

Forest Hills students were surprised to learn their school could be considered not up to par.

"Forest Hills has a good reputation with good teachers. I'm a little surprised," said 16-year-old sophomore Gabriel Duran.

Sophomore Stephanie Sica said, "All the teachers there tell us the school has the highest standards. It's not quite as great as teachers make it out to be."

A senior who identified himself only as Vladimir said, "I don't blame the teachers. I blame the students." He should know. He admitted to flunking the English Regents exam three times.

— Carl Campanile
"Low Grade" High School in Shock
New York Post
2003-09-12


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