New York City's public schools began the fall semester with sharp declines in enrollment and education standards. Enrollment in grades K-12 fell to 890,000, the first time in 20 years that it fell below the one million mark.
Many parents pulled their kids out of public schools offering only remote learning over the past 18 months and put them in private schools with in-person learning. New guidance from the Department of Education (DOE) may trigger another exodus of students.
DOE wants to scrap grades, honor rolls and student rankings that are "detrimental to learners" and "negatively influence future student performance." This is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's racial equity program to replace merit with mediocrity.
He wants to level the playing field for minority students, but it is really the soft bigotry of low expectations that sets kids up for failure when they graduate high school unprepared for college or the workplace.
DOE's guidance is the latest step in an effort to dumb down education that ended academic screening for middle schools and reduced Gifted & Talented programs. These measures cheat students and taxpayers.
New York City spends $28,808 a year for every public school student, more than any other U.S. public school system.
We get a poor return on our investment, based on the results of the state's English Language Arts & Math tests for students in grades 3-8 in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year in which those tests were given: 45.4 percent of all test takers were proficient in English and 46.7 percent in math.
That means the majority of the city's elementary and middle school students can't satisfactorily read, write or perform basic math functions.
A voucher system giving parents funds to send their kids to private schools makes more sense than the mess we now have. I hope that Eric Adams, our likely new mayor, replaces DOE's woke warriors with responsible educators who value academic merit over corrupt manipulation.
Kew Gardens Hills