Governor Cuomo’s Education Solution: Merge Failing Schools with Successful Districts.

WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. From the Governor’s Press Office. February 26, 2015 (EDITED):

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today in a news release issued 30 minutes ago, called for merging failing schools into successful school districts as a proven solution for upgrading school performance. He cited the Massachussetts model of taking over failing districts as being highly successful

To address this problem, the Governor is proposing a model that worked in Massachusetts, where when a school fails for 3 years, a nonprofit, another school district, or a turnaround expert must take over the school. When this model was used in a large school district in Massachusetts, the following results were seen:

• Graduation rates increased from 52% to 67%
• Math proficiency improved from 28% to 41%
• The dropout rate decreased by nearly 50%
More information on the Governor’s proposal is available here: https://www.ny.gov/2015-opportunity-agenda/education-great-equalizer-0#transform-failing-schools

The administration  issued a report detailing the crisis of failing schools in New York State. According to the report:

· The State currently has 178 failing schools.
· There are more than 109,000 students currently enrolled in New York’s 178 failing schools.
· 77 of these schools have been failing for 10 years, with more than 250,000 students passing through these schools while New York State government has done nothing.
· Statewide, more than 9 out of 10 students in failing schools are minority or poor.
· While the education bureaucracy demands more and more money, the reality is school districts with failing schools have statewide seen an average 13.8 percent increase in funding over the past three years, and continued to fail.
The full report can be found here: https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/NYSFailingSchoolsReport.pdf

The below chart provides details on failing schools in the Hudson Valley, including the consecutive years failing, the state aid increase over the past four years, and the members of the State Legislature that represent each school.

Failing
School
District Years Failing 2013-14 Enrollment 2012-13 Spending Per Pupil: % Above National Average ($10,608) School District Funding Increase Last 3 Years % Change Assembly Member Senate Member
Cross Hill Academy Yonkers City School District 10 640 $18,798 + 77.2% $32,653,445 + 15.8% Shelley Mayer Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Davis Middle School Mt Vernon School District 4 723 $22,708 + 114.1% $11,319,284 + 16.8% J. Gary Pretlow Ruth Hassell-Thompson
Enrico Fermi School of Performing Arts Yonkers City School District 4 873 $18,798 + 77.2% $32,653,445 + 15.8% Shelley Mayer Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Martin Luther King, Jr High Tech Computer Magnet School Yonkers City School District 8 534 $18,798 + 77.2% $32,653,445 + 15.8% Shelley Mayer Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Museum School 25 Yonkers City School District 6 359 $18,798 + 77.2% $32,653,445 + 15.8% Shelley Mayer Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Poughkeepsie High School Poughkeepsie City School District 8 1,145 $19,063 + 79.7% $6,658,535 + 13.0% Frank Skartados Sue Serino
Poughkeepsie Middle School Poughkeepsie City School District 4 956 $19,063 + 79.7% $6,658,535 + 13.0% Frank Skartados Sue Serino
Robert C Dodson School Yonkers City School District 7 736 $18,798 + 77.2% $32,653,445 + 15.8% Shelley Mayer George Latimer
Roosevelt High School Yonkers City School District 10 738 $18,798 + 77.2% $32,653,445 + 15.8% Shelley Mayer George Latimer
Scholastic Academy For Academic Excellence Yonkers City School District 4 596 $18,798 + 77.2% $32,653,445 + 15.8% Shelley Mayer Andrea Stewart-Cousins
School 13 Yonkers City School District 8 618 $18,798 + 77.2% $32,653,445 + 15.8% J. Gary Pretlow Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Temple Hill School Newburgh City School District 10 961 $19,891 + 87.5% $15,494,453 + 13.2% James Skoufis William J. Larkin Jr.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said: “This is the real scandal in Albany, the alarming fact that state government has stood by and done nothing as generation after generation of students have passed through failing schools. This report underscores the severity and shocking nature of this problem. The time is now for the State Legislature to act and do something about this problem so we no longer are condemning our children to failing schools.”

What is a failing school?

According to the report, a school is designated as “failing” if they are in the bottom 5 percent of schools statewide based on combined ELA and math scores, are not showing progress in test performance, or have graduation rates that are below 60 percent for the last three years.

The average graduation rates and test scores at failing schools are:

46.6 percent graduation rate (compared to a statewide average of 76.4 percent)
6.2 percent of students in grades 3-8 are proficient in math (compared to a statewide average of 35.8 percent)
5.9 percent of students in grades 3-8 are proficient in ELA (compared to a statewide average of 31.4 percent)
What is the Governor proposing to fix this?

To address this problem, the Governor is proposing a model that worked in Massachusetts, where when a school fails for 3 years, a nonprofit, another school district, or a turnaround expert must take over the school. When this model was used in a large school district in Massachusetts, the following results were seen:• Graduation rates increased from 52% to 67%
• Math proficiency improved from 28% to 41%
• The dropout rate decreased by nearly 50%
More information on the Governor’s proposal is available here: https://www.ny.gov/2015-opportunity-agenda/education-great-equalizer-0#transform-failing-schools

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