More Meaningless Public School Rankings: A’s or B’s Given to Most NYC Schools

Written By: Robert Cox

The New York Times is reporting that 97 percent of New York’s elementary and middle schools earning an A or B on the city’s annual report card.

Suddenly, New York City looks like Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average — or like the Ivy League, noted for grade inflation that makes, say, a B-minus seem like the new F.

The “Making AYP” Charade

…making AYP means only that New Rochelle is not among the bottom 5% of school districts in New York State. At the county level making AYP translates not being in the bottom 7%. Considering that the New Rochelle school district is one of the 50 most expensive school district in the United States (25 of Westchester’s 37 districts are among them top 50) this is not what most people would consider an indication for getting good “bang for the buck”…

There are measures of success for public schools but these “grades” and “tests” are not them. Parents need to start asking the right questions about how to judge the relative merits of a particular school or particular school district and stop relying on the district’s themselves or the state public education system to tell parents how to judge. These are all people who are paid by the same public education system that they are ranking, hardly a reliable approach.

Would you buy a car just because a car dealer tells you that the car was rated highly by the car company? Or would you want an independent evaluation from a disinterested, objective third-party.

Parents need to ask about how kids perform on AP exams, SAT and PSAT tests and how they do after they leave a particular school. If you ask the school board or the administration or the state they are always going to give you the same old self-serving claims about “making AYP” and “award-winning” and so on. Is there a single district in Westchester that has not “won” some award at some point? If every school is above average on state tests and every school has won an award then how can those things be useful metrics to measure success. Simple answer — they’re not.