A few excerpts from. and comments on, a NYT article on the subject of ‘Waiting for Superman’ – Geoffrey Canada, founder of the experimental Harlem school ‘miracle.’
I wish I had had these resources when I was teaching under-privileged, low-achieving students:
“In the tiny high school of the zone’s Promise Academy I, which teaches 66 sophomores and 65 juniors (it grows by one grade per year), the average class size is under 15, generally with two licensed teachers in every room. There are three student advocates to provide guidance and advice, as well as a social worker, a guidance counselor and a college counselor, and one-on-one tutoring after school.”
Even so, they drop lots of students:
“The school, which opened in 2004 in a gleaming new building on 125th Street, should have had a senior class by now, but the batch of students that started then, as sixth graders, was dismissed by the board en masse before reaching the ninth grade after it judged the students’ performance too weak to found a high school on. Mr. Canada called the dismissal ‘a tragedy.'”
And just how successful is it?
“[…] most of the seventh graders, now starting their third year in the school, are still struggling. Just 15 percent passed the 2010 state English test, a number that Mr. Canada said was ‘unacceptably low’ but not out of line with the school’s experience in lifting student performance over time. Several teachers have been fired as a result of the low scores, and others were reassigned, he said.”
Ah, yes! When in doubt, always blame the teachers!