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Credit Recovery Being Abused in New York City Public Schools!

Dear Commons Community,

The New York Daily News and the New York Post had articles yesterday questioning the excessive use of credit recovery programs in the New York City public schools.  Public high school students across the city earned more than 50,000 credits in 2011-12 for credit recovery or what some term “quickie versions” of high school classes they’d previously failed.

At nine schools, including two schools that earned A’s and two that earned B’s on the city’s high-stakes report cards, one of every 10 credits awarded in 2011-12 was for credit recovery.

Though the practice helps kids who’ve fallen behind to move forward, critics argue it has artificially boosted the city’s graduation rate and sometimes requires only flimsy homework assignments.

The New York Post citing senior New York Education officials was particularly critical in its coverage of the practice:

“The city is abusing a system that was intended to help struggling high-school students get back on track, by allowing kids to earn credits even if they don’t show they’ve mastered a subject, state education officials charged yesterday.

They said they’re mulling public hearings on the misuse by large urban districts of the practice, known as credit recovery, which has allowed kids who failed a course to make up the credits simply by completing computer programs or brief term papers afterward.

The concerns come as city graduation rates have ballooned in recent years — from 47 percent in 2005 to 61 percent last year. Over the same period, the percentage of kids deemed college-ready also grew, but by a smaller margin.

“What’s clear . . . is that there’s a lot of pressure on people to graduate kids, and so people will say to kids, ‘Hey, do this computer program for 10 hours, write me a five-page paper and I’ll check it off that you passed,’ ” State Education Commissioner John King told The Post.

He said his Education Department has also asked state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to check whether districts are complying with protocols for credit recovery that were approved by the Board of Regents last year.

These include requiring makeup courses to be approved by a three-person school panel, and ensuring that the work conforms to state standards.”

It appears that an audit of the practice is in order.

Tony

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