Monday 3rd August 2015

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

More On New York City’s Elite Schools

August 28, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK

In the July 24 edition of First Teachers there was a discussion of the efforts of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to change the admissions process — currently based on a single test — to the city’s elite high schools, such as Stuyvesant High School, Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Latin, and Brooklyn Tech. De Blasio’s goal is find a way to increase the black and Hispanic enrollment at these schools, which is currently under 10 percent, in a city where the ethnic makeup of the public schools’ 1.1 million students is 15 percent Asian, 15 percent white, 40 percent Hispanic, and 28 percent black.
A reader we will identify as W.W. weighed in on the implications of de Blasio’s actions. “Diluting the standards of superlative schools,” writes W.W., “has always led to the same end, namely eradicating that which made those schools superlative. They soon become no different from the rest of the herd. In some cases they lose the reason to exist at all. When that happens, the champions of the slack standards are nowhere to be found to explain why eliminating superlative schools is preferred to having them function superlatively!”
The problem in New York, W.W. continues, is that “aside from these five schools, NYC public high schools [attempt to] operate on a one-size-fits-all model. Why does that make sense? Different students have different skills and interests. Why not model high schools accordingly to get the best out of each student, at whatever level that student exists? Instead of watering down those five elite high schools, wouldn’t it serve all concerned to model public high schools on the college system? Keep these five as the ‘Ivy League’ of high schools in NYC!”
W.W. does not see anything objectionable about such diversity: “We have a tiered system of colleges in this country. No one objects. Each college selects, serves, and improves a student body whose talents and skills are suited to the tier in which the college belongs. The student’s SAT scores are a primary means to determine which colleges are best suited for each student. By and large this method does a pretty good job of getting a student into college in the tier best suited to him or her.
“My vision would be a system of high schools accommodating students ranging from future Ivy League to merely occupying (baby-sitting) students until they ‘graduate.’ As with colleges, inter-school transfers would be permitted, provided the student demonstrated the necessary skill level in order to transfer. Most college students routinely show pride in their colleges. Few are sullen because they don’t go to Yale. That would also be true for the high school students.”
On another topic: The Duval County Schools in the northwest corner of Florida became involved in an intriguing brouhaha recently. As reported on the web site Education News (www.educationnews.org), the authorities in Duval County sought to raise the reading levels of the students in its schools in response to a directive from Florida state authorities ordering lower-performing schools to add more time to the school day to improve this deficiency.
We frequently hear that parents favor more rigorous standards in their children’s schools. In Duval County that preference took an intriguing form. Duval County decided, according to Education News, to extend the school day, or “create more time during it for reading.” In the Jacksonville area, “52 schools will be changing their schedules” to add an extra hour of reading to the school day.
Parents in the affected schools met recently at Holiday Hill Elementary School to discuss the extra hour of school. Of the 200 parents who attended, nearly all raised their hands when asked if they were against the extra hour of reading. Denise Smith Amos, writing for The Florida Times-Union, reports that some parents were considering transferring their children because of the extra hour. Parents at this meeting aired their concerns about:
— The real need for extra reading help for their child.
— Seven hours being too long a day for younger children.
— Extended homework time resulting in less time for sleep.
— Traffic problems at the later hour encroaching on homework time.
— Parents having their workday, after-care or childcare disrupted.
One parent told the Times-Union reporter, “Most of our concerns are going to be what will they be doing for the extra hour. Will they really be focused and have one-to-one attention?”
The authorities in Duval County project the cost for lengthening the school day to be somewhere between $8-10 million. They point to what they say was a 67 percent improvement in reading proficiency when, in a trial run, they lengthened the school day for a dozen schools last year. But Greg Keefer, parent of a first-grader, says he and other parents are concerned about the costs and the impact the longer day will have on families. “We looked at the research and we do not see a return on investment for the sacrifice they are asking of our parents and our teachers and everybody,” said Keefer.
An interesting twist to this story: Not every student will have to stay for the extra hour of reading if this plan goes through. According to Education News, “Students who scored a 5 on Florida’s standardized reading tests are exempted from staying the extra hour.” This has led some parents to think of the extra hour as a form of punishment. Beyond that, many parents do not know how they will orchestrate the picking up of their children if they have one child who has to stay the extra hour and another who is not on the “added instruction” list.
So how should we view all this? Should we be critical of the Duval County parents for not “walking the walk,” for not being willing to expend the effort required to help their children take advantage of the added instructional time being provided in their local schools? Or should the parents be praised for refusing to go along with another attempt by government authorities to solve a problem by “throwing money at it”? In other words, are the parents making a sound cost/benefit analysis of the proposed extension of the school day? Is there a better way to improve reading scores than adding an hour to the school day?
It is difficult for an outsider to make a judgment in this matter. If there are readers of First Teachers familiar with the situation in Florida, we would welcome hearing from them.

+    +    +

Readers are invited to submit comments and questions about this and other educational issues. The e-mail address for First Teachers is fitzpatrijames@sbcglobal.net, and the mailing address is P.O. Box 15, Wallingford CT 06492.

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Untitled 3

Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

Promote the common good and give workers a raise, Catholic leaders tell Congress

Washington D.C., Jul 31, 2015 / 05:31 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholic leaders are calling on Congress to raise the minimum wage, for the good of low-wage workers and their families. “An economy thrives only when it is centered on the…Continue Reading

Catholic Colleges Must Regain the Art of Temperate Drinking, Says Author

July 30, 2015, at 2:40 PM  |  By Justin Petrisek  | Catholic colleges need to be mindful of the moral and spiritual state of their students, said Dr. Michael Foley, associate professor of patristics at Baylor University, in an interview…Continue Reading

Last Catholic priest at US base in Antarctica leaves post

A Catholic priest who served at the U.S.-operated McMurdo Station in Antarctica was told he will have to leave his post due to declining attendance and budget cuts. Father Dan Doyle, who lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, would spend summers…Continue Reading

Jamestown Excavation Unearths Four Bodies and a Possible Catholic Reliquary

Could a mysterious box unearthed in historic Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in North America, point to a Catholic connection with the foundation of the United States of America? While Spanish and Portuguese exploration, settlement and conquest of…Continue Reading

Catholic officials, others react to Boy Scouts’ decision to allow openly gay leaders

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The top leaders of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting have made an uneasy peace with the Boy Scouts of America’s decision July 27 to allow openly gay troop leaders and employees to serve in their ranks…Continue Reading

The Remnant REALLY? . . . Is This How We Support Fellow Catholics Battling A Cause We Should All Be Behind?

Planned Parenthood Hires PR Firm to Run Damage Control After It’s Exposed Selling Aborted Babies

The Planed Parenthood abortion business is so desperate to put out the public relations fires that have developed in the wake of it being caught numerous times selling the body parts of aborted babies that it has hired a top…Continue Reading

More than Half of Young Catholic Families Are Latino Despite Recent Decline

More than half of young Catholic families (53 percent) identify themselves as Latino or Hispanic compared with 32 percent of all Catholics, according to a recent survey. Could the presence of Hispanic families in the Catholic Church indicate Latino congregational…Continue Reading

New York Catholic churches closing after decades of service

Parishioners in New York are losing their churches as the Catholic Archdiocese carries out an aggressive consolidation plan. The cuts are driven by declining membership, fiscal insolvency of churches, and fewer priests, according to church officials. While there are 2.8…Continue Reading

Kenyan President to Obama: You Will not Impose The ‘Gay Rights’ Agenda In Kenya

We need to speak frankly about these things” says President Kenyatta in response to Obama’s statement that Kenya must share the same values as the United States on sodomite rights issues. Kenyatta, at the press conference this morning in Kenya,…Continue Reading

Nancy Pelosi: Ignore Planned Parenthood Selling Aborted Babies, Investigate Pro-Lifers

nancyp

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has no interest in digging deeper into the revelations that the Planned Parenthood abortion business is selling the body part of aborted babies Instead, she wants the Obama administration to investigate the pro-life activists who…Continue Reading

Carly Fiorina to Planned Parenthood: You Deny Ultrasounds to Show Women Life Within Them, but Use Ultrasounds to Preserve Organs of Their Dead Babies

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope Francis: “Jesus is the bread of life”

pope512

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged the faithful to look beyond material needs and turn to Jesus who is “the bread of life”. The Pope’s words came as he addressed the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus. Taking his cue from the Gospel reading of the day which tells of the crowd that went looking for Jesus, not because they saw the signs but because they had eaten the loaves of…Continue Reading

‘Shadow council’ speaker pushes Church acceptance of contraception, gay sex

By Andrea Gagliarducci Rome, Italy, Jul 29, 2015 / 03:01 am (CNA).- Yes to contraception, homosexual acts, and Communion for the divorced and remarried – all considering the circumstances. No to understanding any acts as intrinsically evil. These are the positions advocated by speakers at the May 25 “shadow council” which gathered prelates and theologians, led by the German bishops, at a Jesuit university in Rome. That day 50 specially chosen representatives of the the…Continue Reading

Canada’s Bishops Urge Faithful to Respond to Government Consultation on Euthanasia

Canada, July 31, 2015 (ZENIT.org) Staff Reporter Canada’s bishops are calling on the faithful to respond to a government consultation on euthanasia. Earlier this month (July 17), the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Peter MacKay, and Minister of Health, Rona Ambrose, announced the establishment of an External Panel of experts who will consult with stakeholders and with all Canadians on options for dealing with the Supreme Court of Canada’s lifting of the prohibition…Continue Reading

US Bishops Respond to Planned Parenthood Videos

Washington, D.C., July 30, 2015 (ZENIT.org) Kathleen Naab The Center for Medical Progress released today its fourth video exposing Planned Parenthood’s use of fetal tissue, with the results of its investigation attracting growing national and international attention. On Wednesday, the chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities released a brief statement about the videos. Cardinal Seán O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, cited Pope Francis’ teaching on abortion and said that the heart of the…Continue Reading

Caring For The Elderly Vs. Assisted Suicide

By FR. JOHN FLYNN, LC (Editor’s Note: Fr. John Flynn, LC, wrote this commentary for ZENIT News Agency. Fr. Flynn, a regular ZENIT contributor, holds degrees from the University of New South Wales and from the Pontifical Gregorian University. All rights reserved.) + + + On Sunday, July 26, the Church in England and Wales…Continue Reading

Holy See Stresses Pro-Life Creds At UN Amid Questions

By PATRICK B. CRAINE and PETE BAKLINSKI NEW YORK (LifeSiteNews) — The Holy See is emphasizing its commitment to promoting life and family at the United Nations after a confusing statement the nunciature made in a negotiation on the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in June. In a speech on June 22, Msgr. Joseph Grech, representing…Continue Reading

Hillary Lies Again

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO In a column I wrote in early July, based on research by my colleagues and my own analysis of government documents and eyewitness statements, I argued that in 2011 and 2012 then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waged a secret war on the governments of Libya and Syria, with the approval of…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . An Excellent Guide To Answering Anti-Catholic Attacks

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Five Anti-Catholic Myths: Slavery, Crusades, Inquisition, Galileo, Holocaust by Gerard M. Verschuuren (Angelico Press: 2015; 181 pages, $16.95 print edition). Available at http://angelicopress.com/. In this book the author sets out to investigate just how it has come about that anti-Catholic myths about particular topics have managed to become so deeply embedded…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Homosexuality And The Church Crisis”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For electronic copies of previous articles on homosexual “marriage,” the special rights agenda and the role of homosexuality in the Church crisis, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + “Facts are stubborn things,…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… Marking Humanae Vitae’s 47th Anniversary

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Families are under attack on several fronts: whether it is what makes a marriage with one man and one woman, whether it is children who should have a mother and a father or about how life comes into the world. Those who wish to redefine God’s plan continue to apply euphemisms in attempts to change…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course . . . The Divinity Of Christ — A Response To Islam

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 13 In our days, a misguided sense of ecumenism tends to equate the main monotheistic religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) as different ways to worship the same God. It is like saying that all Protestant denominations are OK as long as you mention the name of Jesus, regardless of the visceral doctrinal contradictions that…Continue Reading

The Four Marks Of The Church — Catholicity

By DON FIER Part 4 “The Church is catholic,” proclaims the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), firmly and without hesitation. “She proclaims the fullness of the faith. She bears in herself and administers the totality of the means of salvation. She is sent out to all peoples. She speaks to all men. She encompasses all times” (n. 868). Moreover,…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: In the wake of the latest Planned Parenthood scandal involving selling the body parts of aborted babies (see LifeNews.com to view the videos of interviews with Planned Parenthood officials), this is an opportune time to contact not only your legislators about ending taxpayer funding of this conglomerate that kills more than 330,000 babies a year, but also to…Continue Reading

Our Journey Through The Desert

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Nineteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: 1 Kings 19:4-8 Eph. 4:30-5:2 John 6:41-51 In the second reading today St. Paul instructs us to do nothing that will grieve the Holy Spirit. In his brief list of offenses that would grieve the Holy Spirit, St. Paul includes bitterness, fury, anger, reviling, shouting, and all malice.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Martha

By CAROLE BRESLIN A popular pilgrimage among the Catholics of southern France takes visitors to the Grotte de la Sainte-Baume, located in the hills of Provence about 20 miles east of the port of Marseilles. To reach this holy site, the driver must cover miles of winding, ascending roads to the foot of the mountain. Then the pilgrim ascends a…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Bridget

By CAROLE BRESLIN One of St. Teresa of Calcutta’s most quoted sayings would fit with this column’s saint, “God hasn’t called me to be successful. He has called me to be faithful.” What encouraging words for anyone seeking to do God’s will, knowing that the cross, the setbacks, and the obstacles are all part of working for the Kingdom of…Continue Reading