When Students Become "Leftovers"

“Fed up with low graduation rates and sometimes chaotic classrooms, schools chancellor Joel Klein has decided to kill off large neighborhood schools like Tilden and replace them with smaller, oftentimes more specialized ones. Klein is joined in this push by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and by a cadre of wealthy donors, notably Bill Gates. In recent years, the Microsoft multibillionaire has poured in $51.5 million to help the city open microschools, some of them occupying real estate recouped by closing places like Tilden.”
-Jessica Siegel-

Siegel’s Village Voice article, “Small Order,” explores a new education initiative in New York City whereby larger schools will be closed to open smaller specialized schools, an effort to provide students with more choice. Siegel, who taught for twelve years in New York City public schools, profiles one such large school, Samuel J. Tilden High School. She finds that it’s not so much the students who are getting a choice as it is the schools themselves. As Tilden student Carlos Richardson explains, “In a way, it’s discrimination. They want to get us out of the school to get more high-quality students.” This is in the face of a quality review of the high school not less than a few months ago. As activist and mother Ana Cartanega says, “Joel Klein, Mayor Bloomberg and their consultants came up with this scheme without ever asking parents or teachers what is working and what needs to change.” After reading Siegel’s article, check out the NYC Public School Parents blog.
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