Posts from Luke Hammill
March 15, 2013
Stephanie Dejesus spent an invigorating three weeks last summer in the dormitories in upstate New York’s Bard College studying mathematical problem solving with the faculty. When she returned in the fall, she set to work applying for Bard, studying for and passing its entry exam. The school would be a tough commute from her Bronx home in Tremont, but she was enticed by its excellent academic reputation.
Stephanie wasn’t applying for college. Stephanie is an eighth-grade student at the Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science in the Bronx, or AMS for short. She was considering applying for Bard High School Early College, a Lower East Side high school affiliated with Bard College. And Bard is just one of many New York City schools that require prospective students to test, interview, write an essay, and submit test scores for admission. It’s all part of a labyrinthine citywide system in which students must choose from over 500 high schools.
Today, eighth-graders across the city will find out which of their choices has accepted them.
For Stephanie, the news won’t come as a surprise. She ended up declining to go through the interview for Bard and chose instead to stay at AMS, which enrolls students from grades six through 12. Stephanie says she’s glad she had the opportunity to choose from different schools and find different programs that might suit her, but she’s also happy to avoid the anxious wait for a school assignment. Plus, AMS is familiar, and it’s close to home. (more…)
February 22, 2013
Reprising a march they held last fall, parents and community leaders stood outside P.S. 64 Pura Belpre with signs and mock sirens and declared a “state of emergency” in District 9 Thursday evening just before a public hearing about whether the South Bronx school should be phased out.
Local residents agreed on two things: P.S. 64 remains a failing school, and they are also frustrated with the Department of Education. But they had different views on what to do next.
Everybody, including department officials, recognizes that P.S. 64 is in need of a fresh start. At the hearing, parents complained that their children almost never come home with homework, that administrators are nearly impossible to reach on the phone, and that teachers are incompetent. But while some accept that the school is beyond salvation and want the department to provide a better setting for current students, others in the community think a total closure is a bad idea. (more…)