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The Students Klein is Leaving Behind

November 11, 2010
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2-out-of-3 Black and Latino students not on track for college after huge drop in state scores and DOE has offered no comprehensive plan for improving student performance

A day after hearing that Chancellor Joel Klein was resigning, struggling students led a rally with parents and advocates on Wednesday, November 10th at Department of Education headquarters in Manhattan to demand that the Chancellor and his staff create a comprehensive plan to get more than 239,000 New York City schoolchildren back on track for high school graduation and college.  Calling themselves the “Students Klein Left Behind”, dozens of students testing below standard in City schools spoke and called for a centralized strategy and basic academic services to help them get back on track.

After a huge drop in state math and English scores, now nearly two-in-three Black and Latino students citywide is testing below standard and not on track for college. Yet despite the spike in struggling students – an increase of more than 100,000 just this year, to a total of more than 239,000 – the Bloomberg Administration and Chancellor Klein have not directly addressed the crisis. Instead, DOE spokespeople have shirked off that responsibility to schools and teachers—saying that parents should not hold the agency accountable.

The result has been confusion at schools across the City—especially those in low-income Black and Latino neighborhoods, where the score drop has been most dramatic. Even basic services that were automatically guaranteed to underperforming students in previous years have disappeared, and students have been left without any help at all to turn their futures around.

Many parents around the City are also just now learning that their children are struggling and need extra help because DOE stopped printing score reports itself, and also left that important responsibility to cash-strapped schools. The NYC Coalition for Educational Justice found last month that at least 50 schools had not informed parents of the scores, causing some children who were meant to stay back because of low test scores, to attend the wrong grade in the wrong school for the first two months of the school-year.

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