I posted the results of the NCLB status of the Amsterdam School District (here) and today the Recorder adds some detail and reaction (here).
As I do not have the scores, I’m going to temper my initial reaction and wait for the data to help me answer some of my questions. I also have a few other questions given some of the comments in the Recorder piece so here they are:
1) Who is accountable for performance? I’m glad to see Lynch Academy off of the list but the questions remain: Why was it — along with the other schools– allowed to get on the list in the first place? Why is AHS on its 6th year on the list? Why has McNulty suddenly appeared on the list?
2) Why don’t academics drive decisions versus funding/grants? As I read the Recorder piece, I hear great deal of the funding debate yet no discussion of the academic programs and directives that may effectively deal with this issue.
3) Why do we believe magnet schools are the answer? I flagged the problems with McNulty’s performance last year (here) using the State Report Card data and noted frequently that our magnet school programs are driven by financials versus academics. Remember that magnet programs have been positioned as the solution to our issues so why is our championed magnet school failing in its goals?
Given McNulty’s performance, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to believe that magnet school programs are the solution and find Ms. DeRossi’s statement contrary to the outcomes from McNulty: “Tecler is a new magnet school,” said DeRossi. “Once it gets up and running it will benefit the students there.”
4) Why are we focusing on elementary literacy programs now versus prior years? Again, I’m baffled as to why we expect our middle school and high school performance to improve when we’ve failed to support and build programs at the elementary level. I cannot be the only one who sees the irony of ‘Literacy’ in the name of the ‘Raphael J. McNulty Academy for International Studies and Literacy’.
5) How do we fix it? I’m not at all confident that we even try to fix it as much of what I hear effectively reduces to ‘not a thing to be done’.
6) How do we drive academic performance?
7) Why do we let the public debate on academics fall to the side and allow the debate to be framed as a budget debate?