The Board of Education, which has spent months assiduously pushing off a discussion of the pathetically low minority graduations rates reported by the New York State Education Department last March, will meet tonight at a date and time best suited to insuring minimal turnout. And based on the reaction (or lack thereof) among the minority community in New Rochelle perhaps they are right. Perhaps if you live in the South End and are the parent of a black or latino child and are too disinterested to show up and express some concern of there being a 50-50 chance your kids will not graduate on time then maybe your kids really do deserve to be treated like cattle, penned into low-functioning abattoirs they call classrooms, and then "processed" like so much meat, in time to make room for the next batch.
If you do not subscribe to the Comedy Channel, this might be your best chance for a few good laughs as New Rochelle school administrators try to explain why only about half of minority students graduating from high school on time is a good thing. This is the same line up that has brought you the dirtiest school cafeterias in Westchester County, the 3rd lowest graduations rates in the county and managed to get New Rochelle High School dropped from the Annual Newsweek Survey of top high schools, after having made the list every year since the survey was first introduced in 1997.
This is the same group that did not blink twice when Isaac E. Young Middle School Principal Anthony Bongo, a man not fit to run a Burger King, announced massive, unprecedented increases in math test scores last year and a massive increase in english test scores last year which put IEYMS "about on par" with ALMS -- a fantasy that no parent, no realtor, and no homebuyer would ever leave.
This is the same group that celebrated the "improvement" in the acceptance rate for the Performing and Visual Arts Program at the high school to "only" 75% of the students coming from Albert Leonard Middle School (a 50 point differential). Sadly, this was an improvement because the year before the figure was worse; just 10% of the students in PAVE came from IEYMS.
This is the same group that crows about its commitment to diversity yet 8 of 9 board members lives in residences that are zoned for Albert Leonard Middle School. The same group that does not want South End residents to know that over 90% of the kids in the "gifted and talented" Kaleidoscope Program are zoned for Albert Leonard Middle School.
The same group that is always ready to raise taxes but somehow unwilling to confront the millions spent no-show jobs, unqualified incompetents in positions of major responsibility, and truly dangerous people like our Transportation Director who gets so drunk that she drives her car into three parked vehicles, flips her vehicle, is found by police to be in possession of marijuana and yet retains her job! Or the guy who works a no-show job for years, stealing all the while and yet no supervisors are held to account after he is arrested by officers from the District Attorney's office. Or the guy who is working for the buildings and grounds department one day and murdering a man in Ohio the next.
This afternoon, the City School District of New Rochelle held a so-called "Professional Development Retreat" for members of the Board of Education, Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak and Assistant Superintendents John Quinn, Jeffrey Korostoff and Diane Massimo. The topic of the retreat was not disclosed and appears to be little more than yet another attempt to hold an xecutive session to hide from public view discussions which the Board of Education prefer to keep out of the public eye.
Following this four hour extravaganza of an Executive Session, the Board will break and then come in to session at 6 PM at which time it intends to immediately go back into Executive Session to hear an appeal from a student. Apparently no one has explained to the kid or his parents that appeals to the Board of Education are useless because the Board of Education always defers to the Superintendent and the Board of Education always requires that a parent or student first go the Superintendent. In other words, these Board of Education appeals are just another dog and pony show at which the Board of Education members nod their heads, express sympathy and then do absolutely nothing.
At 7 PM tonight there will be a Committee of the Whole Session during which Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak will regale the board with tales of the wonderful high school completion and college acceptance rate -- something I questioned just a few weeks ago (the district claims 96% of its graduates go onto college which seems amazing when just 66% even graduate on time -- talk about late bloomers!). There is something about the New York State Retirement Incentive program and one that may interest parents at Trinity School, a discussion of Elementary and Intermediate Testing Schedules.
At 7:45 PM there will be the much anticipated "Special Meeting" at which time the public will be informed as to the plans created by Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak to address the decline in graduation rates which has taken place since he was first appointed to the position of Superintendent. As Mr. Organisciak has been going around town telling people for months that the low graduations rates in New Rochelle are misleading because the 5 and 6 year graduation rates are higher it is difficult to imagine why Mr. Organisciak would bother developing any plans for something he has repeatedly asserted is not a problem.
In any case there is any doubt that the Board of Education is addressing this most fundamental issue -- whether our kids actually graduate from the school system -- at a time most likely to result in low turnout, you will note that all of these meeting are scheduled for the Carew Room on the second floor at City Hall rather than the far larger "fish bowl" meeting room.
Photo Source: http://www.grandin.com/humane/restrain.slaughter.html