BSGE’s College Readiness Reply

BSGE is among the top public NYC schools rated with what the DOE calls the “college readiness” factor. This means BSGE among other schools is no longer being evaluated solely on grades, but also on how well-prepared students are to pursue higher education. The New York City Department of Education defines the “college-readiness index” of a New York City public high school as the percentage of graduating students in a given school who qualify to avoid remedial college courses. While BSGE boasts a 100 percent graduation rate, according to NYC standards, only 97 percent of its graduates last year were considered “ready” for college. The majority of schools rated by the DOE do not hold a 100 percent readiness percentage. In fact, only 5 of the 28 ranked schools mentioned in a New York Times article entitled “Graduating Students, but then what?” that segregated schools into sections A and B (A being schools with high percent graduation and high percent college readiness, and B being schools with high percent acceptance but low percent college readiness) were branded with a 100 percent college readiness index. In other-words, students seem to be more preoccupied with getting into college than what they will do when they get there. This new addition to the public profile of City High Schools begs the question: “Who or what is responsible?”
New York City’s top academic officer Shael Polakow-Suransky said that “the academic standards of state-wide tests were to blame” for the surprisingly low 6-9 percent college-readiness indexes of schools like the Academy for Social Action and the Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design in Brooklyn. Polakow-Suransky claims that until kids are asked to engage in “more problem solving” and “rigorous texts” on a daily basis, the standard will not change.
On the contrary, the city attributes the declining performance of students to the rising standards for graduation. Students in the NYC area are required to pass four state Regents exams with a score of 65 or above to graduate. A recent initiative has curtailed the practice of letting students who scored just below 65 pass and many angry parents claim that the stringency of such policies is directly connected to the decline in the percentage of students receiving A’s on their report cards by 5 percent in the last year.
New York State and City high school students lag with respect to college and career readiness when compared to students across the states. The state education department published that only 23 percent of graduating high-school students meet the college and career-ready standard in comparison with the 65 percent of general-education students. New York State posted an averaged 49 percent graduation rate this year with only 10 percent of those graduated deemed college and career ready by the education department.
It seems to be the case that while New York City high schools amass praise for their high graduation rates, their focus with regards to the true purpose of education has been slowly declining over the past several years. According to the College Board, known for its SAT (the ‘brick wall’ in the college admissions process for many), colleges today are “looking for a solid foundation of learning that you can build on in college”. Not only do colleges and other institutions of higher education want applicants to excel in one discipline, their admissions officers are also looking for students who diversify their activities in an out of schools. There is no agreed upon “golden formula” for getting into college, but according to both the College Board and the State Education department, a student with a particular interest in mathematics will do well for him/herself by expanding his/her schema with regards to the humanities or social sciences. Popular consensus says that students in the New York State and City area lack this foundation and as such are not as prepared for careers and colleges as students in other states or countries are.
The pressure is on. Due to the overwhelmingly large averaged 11.3 million applicant body to most schools in the United States alone, the value of outstanding test scores and grades has been diluted. A 2200 on the SAT just isn’t enough to distinguish you from the flood of college applications being submitted each year and as such, BSGE’s community service and CAS programs are there for student advantage. Colleges want to see their applicants engaged in a real life setting because the people who will set the world straight in the future will not be sitting behind desks dwelling in theory. Therefore public education officials and the United States student body have to take a step back and break the rote decline of their present academic situation. BSGE’s students as well as students throughout the NYC area need to realize that arduous studying is actually the easiest part of their academic careers.

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