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Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza all but popped champagne last week after announcing that the high school graduation rate had hit a historic high. Yet this one may win the prize for the hollowest de Blasio “victory” yet.
The citywide graduation rate reached 78.8 percent, per the State Education Department. Carranza insisted this meant, “No matter the circumstances, New York City students continue to make record progress and exceed our expectations.”
It’s a record with a lot of asterisks. The academic year was upended by the pandemic, while graduation requirements have been significantly watered down in recent years, not least with “alternate pathways” to diplomas.
Schools closed in March and it took weeks for the city Department of Education to get remote-learning set up as it struggled to get devices to needy students — and the teachers’ union demanded new work rules and grading policies. The Regents exams were canceled, it became impossible to flunk, and even daily attendance for online classes went unmonitored.
The Post exposed the extremes the system went to pretend — awarding fake grades and phony teacher assessments to a student actually enrolled at a different school.
For public school seniors, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” lasted four months. Chalkbeat noted that “an estimated 8,000 seniors last year, or 13.5 percent, hadn’t yet fulfilled their Regents diploma requirements” — but were waived through to virtual graduations.
Despite this, the DOE claims (with a straight face!) that the share of the graduating class that was ready for college actually increased, which is patently absurd. Far too many of those who start college will find they have to waste a year or more on remedial classes — paying college tuition to learn what the public schools failed to teach them.
Now so-called education advocates have petitioned the SED to waive Regents exams again this year, “to ensure that no student loses their chance to graduate due to COVID-19.” Students who have lost more than a year of a sound, quality education and have yet to show any competencies will get shoved out the schoolhouse door because advocates hate standardized testing.
The happy talk hides a truly grim reality.
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