Sunday, August 26, 2012

City on a Hill Charter School's success is based on smoke and mirrors - Submitted by a member

City on a Hill Charter School's success is based on smoke and mirrors, and the evidence can be found right on the DESE Web Site. If 120 students start as freshmen and only 40 graduate, that is less than a 40% graduation rate. The hypocrisy is in the double standard. The evidence is in yesterday's Standard Times article about City on a Hill. "This is something the commissioner is excited about," DESE spokesman J.C. Considine said of the number of applications received this year from already-operating schools. "He's excited about strong, successful charter school operators looking to expand in communities where it makes sense to expand." Their definition of strong and successful charter schools is a graduation rate of less than 40%.

New Bedford Educators Association President Lou St. John has often stated that charter schools are really private schools that use public funds. According to St. John, "Charter schools are only successful because they get rid of students they don't want."

View for yourself the enrollment and drop out data directly from the DESE Web Site. The information goes back to 1995.

Read what some folks familiar with City on the Hill had to say about the school:

"It my firm belief, that if the school does not address the need for teachers to be able to identify learning disorders, however slight it may be, they will end up hurting more students than helping. More professional development is needed at this school."

"I am not a parent but a former student of City on a Hill (COAH). I started there in 2003 and left there in 2005. I believe that COAH is a horrible school for many reasons (1) the administration and teachers do not take the students seriously when they are being harassed (2) the total atmosphere of the school is negative (3) teachers do not take enough time to help students when they do not understand material (4) countless teachers have left because of behavior issues in the school (5) safety is not guaranteed and (6) academic success is hard to measure given how many people are kept back or sent to summer school."

"City On A Hill Is a horrible school. I would not want anyone to put their child through the things my child goes through. The children do not learn, and the teachers do not teach. During study hall time children get the hair braided and play cards. Children also look at adult material on the Internet during school time in the school. City on a hill is a horrible school and no child should go there."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was intrigued with the article on the City on a Hill article by Natalie Sherman that was published in the Saturday, Aug. 25 paper ("City on a Hill calls New Bedford 'match' for school mission"). It certainly was thought provoking, and at first glance I thought, "Wow! I hope that charter comes to New Bedford. It is exactly what we need.

"School population would be 84 percent low income, 17.5 percent special education, 27.1 percent first language not English and 5.5 percent English language learners. And on top of that 100 percent of City on the Hill graduates since 1998 have been accepted into two- and four-year colleges. Unbelievable! In sharp contrast at New Bedford High School, "barely half the students graduate after four years."

Oh, but wait. The article goes on to say, and I quote, "About 110 freshman enter the freshman class through a lottery system. By the 12th grade the class size has shrunk to about 40 students. During the 2010-2011 school year 33 students transferred out of the school (where did they go?), two were expelled, nine left for academic reasons and seven for disciplinary reasons. Only 40 children graduated out of 110 who entered in grade nine.

If I am doing the math correctly, that means that only 36 percent of the students graduated and went on to college. What happened to the other 63.6 percent? Is this school really any better than New Bedford High School?

The following day, the editorial in Our View strongly recommends that City on a Hill Charter School come to New Bedford ("City on a Hill could shine brightly in New Bedford"). I think that this issue needs much further consideration and that The Standard-Times needs to do more homework before wholeheartedly endorsing a charter school they know little about.

For now, I stand with Larry Finnerty when he states that our focus needs to be on improving New Bedford High School.

Kathleen Mullen Guarino