Posts tagged "college readiness"
April 1, 2013
I remember so vividly the anticipation of getting my grades each term in the mail, tearing off the perforations to reveal whether or not my all-nighters were worth it. Now, even though grades are available in an instant and perforated paper is a thing of the past, I have that same anxiety for my students each time they send me their grades online. (more…)
January 28, 2013
Walid Rahman was homeless from the time he was four until he was 10. He moved from couch to couch as his family struggled to earn a living while caring for Walid’s terminally ill father.
But Walid, an 18 year-old senior at Townsend Harris High School in Queens, refused to let any of that stop him. He is determined to find a cure to beat his father’s illness. The first step for him is getting out of poverty and getting into a top college. Even though there are over 70,000 high school seniors across the country this year who are like Walid — low-income and qualified to attend a top college — they make up only 3 percent of the population at elite colleges and universities.
The odds were stacked against him.
Despite the Rahmans’ numerous hardships, the family considers their circumstances a blessing from God.
The Rahmans, originally from Bangladesh, feared for their lives during Walid’s childhood. A criminal blackmailed the family, leaving them the choice to give up their business and lose everything or have Walid kidnapped. For Mr. Rahman, the choice was obvious.
His family believed they could rebuild their lives in the United States. They entered the visa lottery and were chosen.
When the family arrived in America, they had nothing. (more…)
January 4, 2013
Joanna Dolgin uttered only a few words during her first period “Tragedy” class one Monday last month, and she thought even those might have been too many.
Dolgin’s junior and senior English students at East Side Community High School were holding a formal discussion of Shakespeare’s Othello.
Tragedy is one of four English electives offered this semester at East Side, a small secondary school whose students, mostly Manhattan residents, are not required to take the full slate of Regents exams typically required for graduation. Instead, students complete projects, make presentations, and participate in discussions to show that they have mastered course material.
Dolgin’s Tragedy class is one of 52 high school courses citywide that the Department of Education has certified as being good preparation for college.
GothamSchools spent a morning in the class, observing as students discussed a central question about Othello’s plot. As when we have chronicled other classes in the past, we’ve included both a description of what we saw — and, in block quotes, a description of what the teacher was thinking.
9 a.m. ”Who or what is to blame for Desdemona’s death?” The debate prompt was written on the board when students entering Dolgin’s makeshift classroom on the seventh floor of the Norman Thomas High School building, where East Side Community moved in October after its building was found to be structurally unsound. (more…)
December 20, 2012
The city should ease the path to college for top high school students by promising them free tuition at city colleges, Comptroller John Liu said today in a “State of the City” speech, his second in 2012.
In the speech, Liu put forth a slate of policy proposals, including several focused on education, that he said would enhance the city’s economic future. Liu is a likely mayoral candidate, but as comptroller his job is to safeguard the city’s financial prospects.
“The offer of free tuition would help motivate students and elevate CUNY, one of our city’s most valuable gems, to the level of a competitive prize,” Liu said, according to his prepared remarks. “It would also be a life-saver for many working families who are struggling to send their kids to college.”
Liu did not explain how the city could fund the initiative, but it would not cost much. With tuition set at $5,400 a year, even if every student in the top 10 percent of each graduating class enrolled and would not ordinarily receive financial aid — an unlikely scenario — paying their way would cost less than $12 million a year.
Other proposals Liu made today would cost the city a lot more. (more…)
December 18, 2012
College and career readiness isn’t just about what students know — it’s about whom they know, too.
That’s the philosophy behind the Opportunity Network, a 10-year-old nonprofit organization that aims to develop professional skills in students who might be the first in their family to attend college. Last Wednesday, that development came in the form of two-minute conversations with an array of young professionals during an event that the organization bills as “speed networking.” (Watch part of the event in the video above.) (more…)
November 30, 2012
At Harry S. Truman High School, juniors in an honors English class arrange their desks in concentric circles to discuss Marxist and feminist theory in the American literary canon.
At Central Park East High School, students taking the Mt. Sinai Careers course develop research projects on the health sciences while interning in hospital departments like pediatrics, orthopedics, and Mt. Sinai’s morgue.
And at East Side Community School, seniors compare ancient Greek tragedies.
The courses are as challenging as any Advanced Placement class, their teachers say: To pass, students must demonstrate not only deep knowledge but also the kind of critical thinking required for success in college. But last year, when the Department of Education moved toward giving high schools credit in their annual letter grade for exposing students to college-level work, the courses did not count.
This year, they are among 52 courses in city high schools to get the department’s “college and career preparatory” stamp of approval, meaning that students who pass them typically stay in college after many ill-prepared students drop out. (more…)
November 26, 2012
At a briefing on the latest high school progress report grades this afternoon, Department of Education officials touted the small boost in the number of schools receiving the best grades, but warned that the high grades might not be fully warranted.
It wasn’t easy for schools to keep their graduation rates or progress grades up this year. For the first time, most students were required to pass five Regents exams before graduating, and schools’ college readiness rates were factored into their overall progress scores. Still, 72 percent of schools received As and Bs—up from 64.4 percent last year.
Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky told reporters that the gains showed that schools were able to meet the new challenges before them.
“When you set a high bar and you give people time as you phase it in, people rise to the challenge,” he said. ” I think it’s a real accomplishment … but we’re very interested in getting schools to push higher.”
But that could mean raising the threshold for a good progress report grade—necessary to stay off the city’s list of schools it might close—for the second time since the progress reports were designed in 2007.
“If everyone’s reached the goal that we’ve set, then we typically up it because we want to push people to keep striving higher,” Polakow-Suransky said. If that happens, he added, the department will announce the new cut-off point this winter, giving schools time to reset their expectations. (more…)
November 26, 2012
When the Department of Education releases a new set of letter grades for high schools today, some schools could see their scores change substantially.
That’s because the latest progress reports, which the city uses in part to decide which schools to close, are the first to incorporate data about how well schools have prepared graduates for college. The shifting metrics reflect the department’s growing recognition that a high school diploma does not guarantee college success.
The new data look at the percentage of students who passed college-level exams or courses; met City University of New York proficiency standards; or entered college, the military, or a work training program, and together they make up 10 percent of each school’s score. Most of the information appeared on last year’s progress reports but did not factor into schools’ grades.
For the most part, the new data points do not work in schools’ favor. For the last two years, the city has boasted a four-year graduation rate over 60 percent. But city and state assessments of students’ college-readiness during the same period found that only about a quarter of students were ready for college four years after entering high school. The wide discrepancy means that the new metrics could easily depress some schools’ overall scores, particularly because the department reduced the weight on graduation rates and credit accumulation to free up the points. (more…)
November 12, 2012
As a college counselor with Bottom Line, I visit my college students on campus monthly to meet with them one-on-one. Sometimes we problem-solve (think “I don’t have my books!” or “My bill is incorrect!”); sometimes we prepare for the future (think “What classes should I take?” or “Can you help me edit my resume?”); and sometimes I’m just a familiar face from home with a handful of Jolly Ranchers, ready to listen. (more…)
October 25, 2012
The city’s very low college and career readiness rate for black and Hispanic students is a statistic usually cited by advocates seeking to discredit the Bloomberg administration’s education record.
But when asked to measure the true value of a high school diploma in New York City Wednesday night by education reporter John Merrow, Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch turned to the familiar statistic to convey her concerns.
“That, to me, is tragic,” Tisch said, after rattling off the numbers.
Merrow pressed her to account for the disparity between the city’s graduation rate, which is over 60 percent, and its low college-readiness rates. “Why isn’t this fraud?” he asked.
“I didn’t say it wasn’t,” Tisch said.
The exchange was part of a 90-minute public dialogue in which Tisch also criticized families who opt out of state tests, set firm limits about the city’s request to certify teachers, and proclaimed that the city and its teachers union would reach a teacher evaluation deal before Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s mid-January deadline. (more…)