To hear Mayor Bill de Blasio tell it, New York City’s failing schools are few and far between, and improving quickly. Better yet, New York City’s students are passing their math, science, social studies, and English courses with flying colors. In reality, hundreds of schools – and the majority of students – are failing state tests, a truth that is masked by rampant grade inflation within NYC Schools. This report reveals that schools across the city are misleading parents by giving students high marks on school coursework even though the students are performing below grade level. The vast majority of students are passing their classroom work while failing state tests. The findings of this analysis underscore why state test results play a critical check and balance function – it’s only by reviewing both school coursework and state test results that parents have the full picture of how their children are performing. To address this across-the-board grade inflation, StudentsFirstNY is calling for an independent audit of school coursework in NYC public schools to ensure that it is on grade level.
It’s not hard to understand why Mayor de Blasio would choose to obscure what’s really happening in New York City’s schools. Owning up to the extent of school failures citywide would obligate City Hall to address the issue in a meaningful way – something the de Blasio administration has shown no inclination to do. Improving school quality and genuinely elevating the quality of education in New York City is hard, and requires the courage to enact policies and practices that the United Federation of Teachers does not support. Things like making sure that students have access to the best schools possible – including charters – and are taught by the best teachers available are unpopular with special interest groups.