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pushouts in NY City



More consequences of the regime of testing?

NY Post
SHOCKER OF BOOTED STUDENTS

By CARL CAMPANILE
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November 9, 2002 -- EXCLUSIVE

Scores of city teenage students are being illegally discharged - or "pushed out" - of public high school, an explosive report obtained by The Post charges.

There were 160,000 discharges of students from schools from 1998 through 2001, according to the draft analysis by the group Advocates for Children and Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum's office.

Many students are discharged for legitimate reasons - such as moving or transferring to another school. Others can be discharged for not being in attendance for 20 consecutive days or when they turn 21. But the report alleges that some students are being forced out because they're behind in credits - and students who are officially discharged are not counted as dropouts.

"This has clearly been going on for years," said Gotbaum, who expects new Schools Chancellor Joel Klein to take appropriate steps to stop illegal expulsions.

"In many of the cases, we see schools are just excluding children from school based on age and school performance," said Elisa Hyman, deputy director of the public advocate's office.

"Some of the parents have even signed forms agreeing to the discharge because schools tell them to leave - that they have no choice.

"That is not true - not only do students have the right to attend a regular high school until the age of 21, but the state law says they are entitled to services and tutoring to help them pass tests."

The report said the new state Regents exam requirements and merit pay to high school administrators for performance might be encouraging principals to "force out" struggling students.

The report says that more than 25 percent of the students were discharged at high schools including: Park West, Seward Park, Martin Luther King and Brandeis in Manhattan; Far Rockaway, Franklin K. Lane and Springfield Gardens in Queens; Jefferson, Wingate, Bushwick, Prospect Heights, Automotive Van Arsdale and John Jay in Brooklyn; Stevenson, Childs, Roosevelt, Morris and Taft in The Bronx.

But Department of Education spokesman Kevin Ortiz said high schools are not illegally tossing kids out.

"The department policy has always been and always will be to do everything within its power and use every available resource to give students a traditional high school diploma," Ortiz said.

"We do everything we can to help at-risk students get additional instruction and tutoring."

School officials also have been aggressive in booting out chronic truants who are never at school - but that's legal.

Still, private programs that administer classes for the alternative general equivalency diploma report a huge increase in the number of 16- and 17-year-olds applying for their classes.

Edith Gnanadass, director of Discipleship Education Center in Brooklyn, said the number of 16- and 17-year-olds in its programs has doubled from 20 percent to 40 percent.


Monty Neill, Ed.D.
Executive Director
FairTest
342 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02139
617-864-4810; fax 617-497-2224
email monty@fairtest.org
web: http://www.fairtest.org

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