New York State Releases List of Struggling NYC Schools

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza (Photo by Alex Zimmerman via Chalkbeat)

Using a new, broader set of criteria, New York State has identified low-performing schools in the state, including 124 New York City schools  – some of which don’t appear to be performing poorly according to New York City’s own assessments, reports Alex Zimmerman in Chalkbeat.

State officials said that 84 of the NY schools on the list rank on the lowest rung, needing “Comprehensive Support and Improvement Schools,” while 40 were categorized as in need of “targeted” support and less oversight.

The lowest-performing schools were identified partly because they were in the bottom 10 percent of schools across the state on a combined measure of growth and proficiency on state tests — the biggest factor that went into their rating. For the first time, state officials also took into account science exams, progress on a test taken by English learners, and rates of chronic absenteeism.

At the high school level, graduation played a big role, and any school that did not graduate 67 percent of its students within six years was automatically identified. New measures of college and career readiness were also factored in.

These designations are part of a new framework for identifying schools under the Every Student Succeeds Act, a federal law that gives states more leeway to figure out which schools are underperforming and how to intervene.

In another Chalkbeat article, Zimmerman described the state’s new rating system, and Ira Shwartz, an associate commissioner at the state’s Education Department, stressed that “this is not about naming and shaming schools.”

Schools in these bottom two tiers will be required to submit self-assessments that explain the ways their schools are falling short and craft a plan, including “evidence-based” approaches — such as “looping,”  the practice of having the same teachers stay with a cohort of students for multiple years, state officials said — and additional teacher training. Schools in the bottom-most tier must also set aside at least $2,000, a fund that students and families can vote on how to use in a process known as “participatory budgeting.”

Go to Chalkbeat to learn about likely next steps for schools that don’t make progress. And click here to read what de Blasio had to say about different ways of assessing schools and differing results.

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