Report: City Students Not Ready For College

“Startling” new data shows 89 percent of New Haven Public School graduates need to catch up in English and math before they can start earning credits at Connecticut public colleges and universities.

That data on remediation rates are set to be released soon, warned Alex Johnston, a New Haven school board member who sits on the gubernatorial P-20 Council that collected the data.

“We need to brace ourselves,” said Johnston at a board meeting Monday night. “It’s going to be some startling data.”

Melissa Bailey File PhotoA Google search showed the data are already available for the city’s nine high schools, even though they haven’t been officially released. Follow the links for individual reports on: Wilbur Cross, New Haven Academy, James Hillhouse, Cooperative Arts & Humanities High, Sound School, Career, Hyde, Metropolitan Business Academy and High School in the Community.

Click here to read the full report.

Mayor John DeStefano said Tuesday that he welcomes the information, which was previously unavailable to the district. A key part of his school reform effort, he said, is to track not just how many graduates go to college, but how they do when they get there.

The new data provides a first-ever look at the performance of public school graduates across the state in higher education, according to Malia Sieve, program manager for the P-20 Council. Sieve is the associate director of the CT Board of Regents for Higher Education. 

She called the remediation rates across the state “fairly alarming.”

Statewide, 73 percent of Connecticut public high school graduates at state community colleges are recommended for “developmental” English or math classes, according to a “toolkit” the council put together. “Developmental” means “courses that carry no college credit and are designed to improve students’ basic skills so that they can be successful in courses that carry college credit.”

At Connecticut state universities, the remediation rate is slightly better: 66 percent of public school grads enroll in remedial or developmental English or math freshman year. In the state university system, “remedial” courses carry no college credit and are “designed to improve students’ basic skills.” “Developmental” courses “carry college credit only as elective courses; they do not count toward general education in any major and serve as prerequisites that students must complete prior to starting general education requirements in math or English,” according to the toolkit.

At New Haven’s local university, Southern Connecticut State University, the remediation rate was a whopping 92.8 percent.

At Gateway Community College, it was 85.6 percent.

Those figures are based on students who enrolled in state universities or college students immediately after graduating from public Connecticut high schools in the spring of 2010.

Remediation rates matter in part because they’re a predictor of success: “Students who need to take even one developmental course in college are less likely to earn a degree than their counterparts who do not need remediation,” according to P-20’s report.

No high school in the state is exempt from the remediation problem, according to Sieve.

“There’s some proportion of every high school that is needing some remediation, but the need is greater in ‘higher-needs’ districts,” she said.

New Haven’s Report Card

Districts like New Haven, that is.

The reports, not yet officially released but available on a hidden part of the P-20 website, show the vast majority of city kids arrive at college unprepared.

In New Haven, 89 percent of district grads needed remedial or developmental coursework in English or math their freshman year. That number concerns six high schools for which data was provided. (Data were withheld for three smaller high schools.)

The numbers cover students who enrolled in a state-run community college or university immediately following graduation from high school in Spring 2010. It doesn’t include students who went to the University of Connecticut, because that institution doesn’t consider any coursework to be “remedial.” It also excludes out-of-state universities and private institutions.

The reports give a first glimpse at how well city high schools are preparing kids for college.

For example, of the 329 students in the Wilbur Cross Class of 2010, 92 enrolled in a Connecticut college or university the following fall. Of those, 86 percent needed remediation or developmental courses in English or math.

At Hillhouse, where 58 students enrolled, the remediation rate was 95 percent.

Allan Appel File PhotoIn an interview Tuesday, DeStefano said these new data are key to the school reform drive, which aims to produce graduates who go on to succeed in college and beyond.

One problem in measuring that objective, he said, is “there’s a real breakdown in academic data on the transition from high school to college.” The district has been focusing on finding out “whether kids are arriving at college ready to compete or not.”

Then-Gov. M. Jodi Rell set up the P-20 Council in part to address that breakdown and to increase the flow of information between high schools and colleges, said Sieve. The council has been sharing the new data in a series of workshops between secondary and post-secondary institutions around the state.

DeStefano called the remediation rate “an important measure.” “It’s good to start measuring this information and figuring it in to our evaluation of the effectiveness of our schools.”

The measurement could add to the city’s toolbox as it goes about its new reform-minded quest of grading city schools, placing them into three tiers, and managing them according to performance. The scores for high schools are based mostly on standardized tests for sophomores, a graduation “trajectory”, and a “college success rate.”

Right now, New Haven measures college success with a rather “blunt” tool, the mayor conceded. The College Success Rate is defined as the percent of graduates who enroll in at least three semesters of education within two years of graduation.

The new data show not just who’s enrolled, but what kind of courses they’re taking. As the information becomes available, DeStefano said, “it’s got to be part of the evaluation and the tiering of the high schools,” he said. That way, he said, high schools can respond to the information and adjust accordingly.

Garth Harries, New Haven’s school reform czar, said district has been working “to the limits of our capacity and our ability” to study whether kids are on track to succeed in college.

College performance for urban K-12 districts is “a sobering issue” nationally, he said.

“It is sobering, but it will be important for us to understand the high standards we need to be educating kids to so they can be successful after they leave us.”

The data will highlight the need for high academic standards not just for students bound for four-year college, but to “those kids who are doing career-focused associate’s programs,” he said. “While it may be easier to go to Gateway, it’s not necessarily easier for [students] to succeed there,” Harries noted.

“For kids to be successful in a career-focused associate’s program oftentimes takes a high level of academic ability. If they’re not prepared to start that career work without remediation, that puts their career training in jeopardy.”

College Success

P-20 CouncilThe governor’s council is also set to release another batch of data that will aide the city in that quest: How many high school graduates end up getting college degrees. P-20’s high school reports study the performance of the high school Class of 2004 six years after graduation.

The reports show that many city graduates may enroll in higher education, but they struggle to finish out the degree.

At the city’s largest high school, Wilbur Cross, 331 students graduated in 2004. Only 18 percent received any “certificate” by Aug. 31, 2010, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse. (A “certificate” is an undergraduate certificate, associates degree, or bachelor’s degree.) Another 35 percent of Cross grads enrolled in higher education at some point but did not complete a credential by 2010. And the remaining 46 percent did not enroll in higher education.

At Hillhouse, which had 194 grads, 15 percent completed a credential by 2010, 40 percent enrolled in higher education without completing a degree, and 45 percent did not enroll in higher ed.

Charts (like the one pictured) display the students’ paths after graduation. Check the links at the top of this story for the individual high school reports.

“I’m very welcoming of this information,” DeStefano said Tuesday.

Ultimately, he said, New Haven would like to go even further in tracking its graduates, both before and after high school.

“We would love to track [students] five years after college, in the workforce,” DeStefano said.

That would give a greater glimpse into the bigger picture: Whether New Haven Public Schools are preparing kids who land jobs, launch careers, and start on the path to becoming taxpayers.

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posted by: Teach on November 16, 2011  1:26pm

There is a large push (from all around) for ALL students to go to college. Why? There are perfectly happy people who never attended college. Why strap someone with a HUGE debt if he is not “college material”?

Yes, I think that everyone who WANTS to go to college should. But when we, as a society, say that you MUST have a college degree in order to be successful, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

posted by: anon on November 16, 2011  1:33pm

No surprise if you read the actual news headlines every day and don’t just get your news from WTNH, Daily Show, or Oprah.  Another new report from Chicago showed that only 3 in 100 black boys graduate from college.

Poverty is no longer just an educational issue, it is a death sentence, too.  Even after you adjust for every other factor, poor people in poor neighborhoods die up to 20 years earlier than everyone else. 

Unfortunately, very few persons in positions of leadership are willing to take meaningful action on this.  At some point, people will wake up and realize:

1) This issue is crippling our entire economy and ability to compete globally.

2) Thousands more programs can be created, but reducing income inequality is the only way to make any meaningful progress towards solving this issue.

posted by: parent on November 16, 2011  1:35pm

How about if we free up classroom teaching time by cutting state pre-tests, district pre-tests, quarterly district exams, CMTs, and all the test prep in between?  Half of the learning time is wasted by this standardized test crap.

posted by: Gary Doyens on November 16, 2011  1:54pm

The election may be over, but the lies keep coming from John DeStefano.

What we have here is a catastrophic, systemic and chronic failure to educate our children for an entire generation. They may go to school in brand new Taj Mahals but they can’t read, write or do arithmetic at an adult level, or well enough to survive college.

A high school graduation rate of 51% should have given DeStefano and the NH BOE and administrative staff pause, should have provided all of them with a clue that what they were doing was in fact, a failure. But no, for years, they intentionally chose to use a measurement of graduates they knew was cooking the books and providing a false positive. As late as the current budget year, the NHBOE’s narrative about Wilbur Cross for example, pegged its graduation rate at least 20 points higher than it really is.

More to the point, a state study showing that even the graduates don’t possess these basic skills and are in fact, unprepared to go to college is not new information nor is it some surprise to DeStefano due to a lack of “academic data.”  This may be the first time the data is this deep, but in fact, the now defunct Board of Governors and the Department of Higher Education has known this for years and passed that information on down to New Haven. In fact, it was so well known, the state launched a pilot program in Danbury to realign the high school course work and performance in order to lesson demand for tutors in college. The program was openly discussed across the state and the alarms were sounding back then, years ago.  That also gave rise to programs run by UCONN called Gear Up which provided tutoring and other support to high school students in New Haven.

But be clear about this: The idea that this is new information to DeStefano and the NHBOE is patently and demonstrably false, misleading and not one of these people including DeStefano should be allowed to hide behind the skirts of this expanded information. Frankly, to have waited on more “academic data” that shows just how poorly NHPS graduates do in college is to have analysis paralysis – do nothing while you analyze the problem. When the ship is sinking, do you start bailing or do you hold a meeting and talk about how bad it is that the ship in the middle of the ocean, with no land in sight, is sinking and you don’t know how to swim?

John DeStefano’s predicate to re-election was the “success” of the NHPS to turn itself around. He trumpeted higher test scores, school construction, and at one point, claimed that 82% of our graduates go on to college. Indeed, some of this misleading information was then used by DeStefano endorsers including NHBOE’s Alex Johnston despite what he knew about this report and our real educational statistics.

What will it take for the NHBOE to live up to its mission, its primary goal, the sole purpose of which is to truly educate our children and prepare them academically for the road ahead? How much longer are we going to be handed platitudes and “I don’t knows” or told to shut up and sit down while those in charge search for more “academic data?” That only 18% of WC graduates earned a degree, that only 15% of Hillhouse graduates did, is a testament to the quality of our schools. When added to an overall high school graduation rate of barely 50% - is it any wonder poverty is on the rise in New Haven? That drug dealing, crime and unemployment are too? We are not raising the next generation of independent taxpayers – we are raising the next generation of dependents and far too often inmates. DeStefano whines about prisoner re-entry. He needs to recognize they’re just coming home and his inability to effectively, proactively and relentlessly deal with these educational issues for his entire 18 years in office is the bedrock upon which these lost lives are built. One can only hope his new “more” agenda for the next two years uses “school reform” as something more than a campaign slogan, and that he gets out of the LITE mode and into initiatives that actually work.

posted by: Morris Cove Mom on November 16, 2011  2:08pm

I don’t think this statistic is startling.  I think it is average nowadays.  I have friends (in their 40s) who still can’t do basic math.  Or balance a checkbook.  It has definitely become the norm.

That aside, I don’t understand what is all this focus on attending college?  Most people, unless they are in a specialized career field, like medicine or law, do not need it.  Or the extra debt load it requires.

To keep focusing on the importance of attending college in a society that cannot provide employment for those who have attended college is bizarre.  We should focus on basic life skills like establishing good credit, living on your own, and the like.

But to blame schools and then focus on college seems strange, when we have an unemployment rate that fluctuates between 7-11%, and so many adults who cannot do the basic mathematics and English skills we are demanding of our children.

(For reference: I am almost 40, barely attended college, and have always supported myself.)

posted by: Lee on November 16, 2011  2:10pm

This doesn’t surprise me, this was information that was released in the late 90’s… So why is it a subject now?  Parents need to take a more active role in their childs education, and New Haven needs to wake up, finally get rid of loser Mayo….!

[Editor’s Note: This is newly to-be-released data covering more than a decade. Some of it fresh from 2010.]

posted by: streever on November 16, 2011  2:12pm

Doyens is spot on.

This is the result of decades of school mismanagement, and could have been ameliorated if the Mayor had chosen a Superintendent for professional reasons instead of political.

Yes, you built some gorgeous schools… However, you’ve managed to create a patronage system of administration which costs too much and delivers too little. What a shame.

posted by: TFNH on November 16, 2011  2:13pm

If you read this quickly it seems that 89% of NHPS graduates aren’t ready for college… in fact it is only 89% of those who go to public CT schools excluding UCONN… so SCSU, Gateway, etc… and those who went to out of state schools or private colleges (UNH, QU, Yale) aren’t counted and presumably did NOT need remedial.
So at WCross it is 79 students (92X86%) out of the 329, 24-30%% of graduates (assuming that about 80-90% did some sort of college).
More telling is the number who didn’t finish college, probably because of financial issues, and I hope promise will help with that.

posted by: Fairhaven Dave on November 16, 2011  2:15pm

You should make your next article about how about how half of the college degree programs are incompatible with the global job market.

I’m sure majoring in ‘1970’s Feminist Comparative Bovine Archeology with a minor in Music History’ is full of depth and wonder, but how are you going to use it to put food on your table?  Oh, yeah, go teach it to someone else…

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on November 16, 2011  2:40pm

My university tried to make me take two remedial Calculus classes that were worth 0 credits. Luckily, I was able to use my score on the AP Calculus exam from high school to get out of it.
So, while college remediation for New Haven high school graduates is probably a serious issue, there also needs to be investigation into the universities. We need to ensure that the exemption exams from colleges are relevant to the material that is supposed to be covered in high school. In my case, I bombed my university’s Calculus exemption exam even though I aced the AP Calc exam because the university’s test used different notations and was very different from the material covered in my high school books.
It’s no secret that universities are money-making businesses that have an interest in prolonging student’s academic careers through things like remediation.

Also, the link to the Hillhouse pdf didn’t work for me.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on November 16, 2011  2:42pm

Give me a break.Just because you got this 89 percent of New Haven Public School graduates need to catch up in English and math before they can start earning credits at Connecticut public colleges and universities.Who says they have to go to college.They can go to trade schools.Tehy can become entrepreneur.Look the world is not what it used to be and neither is an education.In fact check this list of people who managed to succeed in life without college degrees:

Edward Albee, Woody Allen, Maya Angelou, Wally Amos (the cookie guy), Jane Austen, Dan Akyroyd, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Joan Baez, Warren Beatty, David Ben-Gurion, Sonny Bono, Rick Bragg (Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist), Richard Branson, Albert Brooks, David Byrne, James Cameron (anyone heard of Titanic or Avatar?), Raymond Chandler, Coco Chanel, John Cheever, Sean Connery, Walter Cronkite, Peter Jennings, Daniel Day-Lewis, Michael Dell, Princess Diana, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bob Dylan, Clint Eastwood, Thomas Edison, Harvey Weinstein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jane Fonda, Benjamin Franklin, David Geffen, John Glenn, Richard Grasso (headed the New York Stock Exchange), Ernest Hemingway, Dustin Hoffman, L. Ron Hubbard, Ralph Lauren, Alex Haley, Doris Lessing,  Abraham Lincoln, Charles Lindbergh, Madonna, Malcolm X, Steve Martin (how many times have I read his articles in The New Yorker?), H.L. Mencken, S.I. Newhouse, Jack Nicholson, Neil Simon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Bob Pittman (founder of MTV) Edgar Allen Poe, Wolfgang Puck, Robert Redford, John D. Rockefeller, J.D. Salinger, Margaret Sanger (birth control education), Dawn Steel, Barbra Streisand, William Howard Taft, Nina Totenberg, Ted Turner, Mark Twain, Governor Jesse Ventura, Thomas J. Watson (founder of IBM), Walt Whitman, August Wilson, Anna Wintour, Frank Lloyd Wright, Wilbur and Orville Wright, and Harry S. Truman…that’s PRESIDENT HARRY S. TRUMAN!

posted by: professor on November 16, 2011  2:54pm

These data are even more alarming when we consider just how basic remedial college courses are.  For instance, the remedial math course at SCSU is essentially a 9th grade algebra course. Students entering at that level are more than a year away from introductory calculus, where students ought to begin their college instruction. If the college bound students cannot do algebra, it is likely that the non-college bound cannot do basic division, and that the dropouts cannot subtract. The caliber of this failure is astonishing.  The mayor may welcome the data, but the rest of us would welcome decisive action based on that data, starting with high level personnel changes.

posted by: brutus2011 on November 16, 2011  4:45pm

This is not news nor should it be startling.

Another obfuscation from our city government.

Those in education have known of this forever.

What is needed is transparency and a return to public virtue in those who ostensibly have been given the public trust.

This is a huge issue and requires a competent public policy response.

And by that, I don’t mean blame the teachers!

People wake up.

Think referendum!

posted by: Fountain Street Parent on November 16, 2011  5:03pm

To Three-Fifths, the list of names includes very few African American names.  In my opinion, your list indicates that Caucasians have a better chance of making it in “America” without a college degree compared to an African American making it in “America” without a college degree.  You need a better argument than that.

Although, college may not be for everyone, but many African Americans have chosen to forget about all the African Americans that either put their lives on the line or died for the opportunity for African Americans to attend any school (including colleges and universities) of choice.  So, what’s your point?

posted by: look at the real pic on November 16, 2011  8:33pm

Noncredit remediation is a money making scam.  It forces college students to attend college for more than 4 years.  The tests are biased and written to ensure inflated remediation needs.

posted by: LOL on November 16, 2011  9:11pm

Problem is, top officials at NHPS think it’s OK to load up primary classrooms with 20 to 25 kids and NOT have an assistant in those rooms.  In the suburbs and at New Haven’s top schools—where students don’t have extreme social, behavioral, and emotional needs—that might be fine.

But at New Haven’s struggling schools, ones filled with extremely needy students, students need all the adult role models and support staff possible.  There are MANY kids entering Kindergarten in some of New Haven’s schools who know less than 10 alphabet letters, zero letter sounds and, in some cases, aren’t even potty trained.

IF NHPS is serious about closing the achievement gap, then it should stop spending on outside agencies to run schools, on useless consultants who provide non-constructive suggestions to teachers, and on people to show teachers a millionth way to present data.

Teachers have college degrees.  They need classroom support in the form of an additional qualified adult to facilitate meaningful small group instruction, differentiation of work based on data and to assist with class management (even if it means sitting with a troubled student to maintain order during whole group lessons).

Teachers don’t need consistent, non-constructive walkthroughs by some hacks who ran scared out of their classroom teaching positions because they couldn’t walk the walk, or who were scared off by the reform and became equally useless “coaches”.

And, not for nothing, but why must every student go to college?  What’s wrong with plumbers, electricians, carpenters, mechanics, truck drivers?  In fact, the trade route might be the best way for some of our kids.

posted by: Curious on November 16, 2011  10:14pm

Interesting that both Sound, an NHPS Tier 1 or “top performing” high school, and Cross, an NHPS Tier 3 or “bottom performing” high school have similar percentages of kids completing at least one credential in college.  And of the two, Cross is the one that makes state averages for number of kids completing an AP course and number of kids receiving a score of 3 or higher in AP.  Would love to know how these data points figure into the tiering equation.

posted by: Teacher at Wilbur Cross on November 16, 2011  10:46pm

I agree with Fountain Street Parent.  It is total bull… to say that you do not need a college education to make it in this world.  Yes, there are people who have, but most minorities do not.  If you even look many of the big entertainers like Diddy, he went to college before he became a huge record executive.  It is quite obvious that minorities are the ones who are not making it in college.  I teach ALL of my students as if they are capable of going to college, whether it is an Honors course or not.  The real reason why most of our kids are unprepared for college level work is because we don’t have many teachers who teach all of their kids as if they have a chance.  If they do end up getting into college, they are screwed because of assholes who think “Oh. They aren’t going to college, so I don’t need to have high standards for them.”  Every person who thinks this way is failing our kids.  Everyone needs to take responsibility here.  In this economy there are some people with college degrees and no job, so what are the chances for minorities if they don’t pursue higher education?  Why don’t we prepare EVERYONE? (Even those who may act like they don’t care or don’t want to go.)  The truth is, for some of them, somewhere along the way they’ve been told they can’t do it.  Let’s break that cycle.

posted by: Icarus on November 16, 2011  11:28pm

Just because you can be successful without college does not mean they you are more likely to be. Also, just because you are already successful does not mean you cannot benefit from further education. Education builds confidence and most importantly, communication skills.

Speaking from experience, if you are not prepared in high school to be able to perform well as SCSU, you are in trouble. SCSU is NOT a difficult school in most subject areas. I am saddened by the news that so many young adults are not ready for college out of high school as it does not bode well for their job prospects, our crime rates, or the general attitude of the state. I will look for ways to help buck this trend, as it is crucial. I hope anyone else who can help will as well.

posted by: Goatville mom on November 16, 2011  11:29pm

For those of you who argue that a college degree isn’t necessary, take a look at the unemployment rates for college educated vs. non-college educated people.

Less than a high school diploma…....... 13.8
High school graduates, no college…....... 9.6
Some college or associate degree…... 8.3
Bachelor’s degree and higher…......... 4.4

Estimated lifetime earnings with bachelor’s degree: 3,380,060 vs. 1,767,025 and by 2018, 63% of new jobs are projected to require a college degree. The world has changed folks, and the recession has just increased the problem.

So which group do you want your kid to be in?

posted by: Goatville mom on November 16, 2011  11:34pm

@TFNH, you state:  “and those who went to out of state schools or private colleges (UNH, QU, Yale) aren’t counted and presumably did NOT need remedial.”
You are making a huge presumption. I’d need to see data on that before making any such assumption.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on November 17, 2011  1:10am

posted by: Fountain Street Parent on November 16, 2011 4:03pm
To Three-Fifths, the list of names includes very few African American names.  In my opinion, your list indicates that Caucasians have a better chance of making it in “America” without a college degree compared to an African American making it in “America” without a college degree.  You need a better argument than that

I know African Americans who are make more money without a college degree,Then African Americans and Caucasians with   a college degree.Also there are many African Americans without college degrees who are entrepreneurs and live very well.In fact my father had no collage,But he made good money in real-estate.He purchase Brownstones in Harlem and Brooklyn.He started in 1950.Also I know a lot of African Americans who drop out of college and started working in Civil Service Jobs that pay more then those who have college degrees. Last the person who works on a BMW and other cars the electrician and plumber makes more pediatrician.You need a better argument than that.

Although, college may not be for everyone, but many African Americans have chosen to forget about all the African Americans that either put their lives on the line or died for the opportunity for African Americans to attend any school (including colleges and universities) of choice.  So, what’s your point.

This is my point.

In Job Hunt, College Degree Can’t Close Racial Gap

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on November 17, 2011  1:20am

@Fountain Street Parent.

Here are Two books you can read.

Class Dismissed
Why We Cannot Teach or Learn Our Way Out of Inequality

by John Marsh


posted by: Concerned Citizen on November 17, 2011  3:14am

NHPS Students Perform Poorly – Why is that News & Why Should We All Care about It?

It is not news to many who teach in the NHPS, at Gateway Community College, SCSU, or in any other CT college where students from the NHPS system have gained admission. At 54 Meadow Street (the NHPS’ Central Office) neither the Superintendent nor his administrators have ever acknowledged the facts presented in this report.  In fact, anyone who tried to address the poor performance of many NHPS students was roundly criticized, ostracized and often sidelined as being an enemy.  Or, on the school level such people were accused of being elitist.  We heard that term from Peggy Moore earlier this year.  In some schools teachers who insist on high academic standards found themselves marginalized.  Some teachers inflate grades to please administrators or placate parents.  This is not to say there are not outstanding principals and educators in NHPS.  Unfortunately, except in rare situations: Lola Nathan, Kim Johnsky, Ilene Tracy, Greg Baldwin and others who remain under the radar for obvious reasons.

“Mayor John DeStefano said Tuesday that he welcomes the information, which was previously unavailable to the district. A key part of his school reform effort, he said, is to track not just how many graduates go to college, but how they do when they get there.”  I suggest to the Mayor that in addition to tracking how NHPS students do when they get to college, he should also monitor how many NHPS students graduate on time, and how many graduate at all within a period of six years after starting college.  The statistics are distressing.  Some legitimate questions are: why haven’t more parents protested?  Why haven’t more parents held NHPS accountable? How many parents know that their children are not learning what they are supposed to be learning?  How can they find out exactly what their children are supposed to be learning and what constitutes competence in a subject? 

There are readers right now saying – parents send their children to school; it is the teachers’ responsibility to see to it that they learn. Yes, but it is also the parents’ responsibility to monitor what is going on in school with their children; it is the parents’ responsibility to see to it that their children are prepared to learn.  Sadly, in many inner-city public schools (not only in NH) an “A” in a subject does not always mean proficiency.  It should, but there are various reasons for grade inflation. Some parents demand that their children be given better grades; what is often not questioned is – how competent is my child in this subject?  Many NHPS parents have been shocked by the fact that their B+ and A students go off to college and cannot function; they are lost and need remedial help in all subjects, and particularly in Math, Writing and Reading Comprehension. That is when these parents start getting angry; it is too late then.  Parents need to become full partners in the education system; don’t cower to system.

Parents need to be more involved with what is going on in their schools.  Ask questions! Demand answers!
a) Join the PTA; if there isn’t one at your child’s school, get together with five other parents and start one.
b) Get to know your child’s teachers and what they expect from your child. Ask for the class’ lesson plan.
c) Compare your goals for your child to those of the teachers. Make sure that your child knows of your interest in her/his school. This will send the message that what he/she is doing is important.
d) If you don’t understand the school system, or don’t feel competent academically, pair up with parents who are competent and more knowledgeable.  Put pride aside and do everything in your power to help your child succeed in school.  Hold the school system accountable for fulfilling its responsibilities to educate children.
e) Encourage older children to take charge of their own learning by seeking out independent learning projects that give them rich learning experiences.

To NHPS parents, you do not owe allegiance to Dr. Mayo or anyone besides your children.  Many parents kept their children at, or moved their children to Roberto Clemente School because they knew and liked Leroy Williams.  Today, many of those children are frustrated learners or have long dropped out of school because for nine years they did not get the education they needed to prepare them for a productive academic future.  Mr. Williams has a great job at Hillhouse with his full principal’s salary and a fat pension in his future. Keep in mind that the NH Promise Scholarship goes away after the first year if the scholars do not maintain a 2.5 GPA in college. Whether NHPS students get a Promise Scholarship or not, if they are to succeed academically beyond high school and in life, they need to be literate and competent. It is imperative that are able to acquire skills with which they can earn a living.

posted by: Gary Doyens on November 17, 2011  10:53am

We build $50 million schools, $1.4 billion overall - but the kids don’t learn. Until two years ago, there was no talk of school reform, just school construction. Scant attention and excuses were paid to performance tests, drop out rates or an honest assessment of graduation rates.

Multi-million dollar New Haven Promise was launched allegedly to boost the number of kids going to college, staying in school and performing better. But no attention was paid to quality of graduates or whether they can perform once they get to college.

Once again, New Haven’s leaders ignored widely known and distributed information that public school children from our city were not only not staying in college, but that they couldn’t complete college level work.

It seems to me that we are consistently being lead with a set of priorities that is the exact opposite of what ought to be happening - or at very least simultaneously. Can we not chew gum and walk at the same time? It seems not. But it sure has given rise to administrators, more schools, more budget, more consultants….same result. What’s it going to take to change this?

posted by: Dee on November 17, 2011  12:10pm

Not arguing that the state of New Haven public education is a mess, but your lede, as already mentioned, is misleading. It says:

“‘Startling’ new data shows 89 percent of New Haven Public School graduates need to catch up in English and math before they can start earning credits at Connecticut public colleges and universities.”

As written, it says 89% of all graduates need remediation. But that number doesn’t apply to all graduates, it ONLY applies to the subset of graduates WHO GO TO CT PUBLIC COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES (except UConn). As previously mentioned, not counted is high school graduates who go to colleges OTHER than state schools, high school graduates who go to UCONN, and high school graduates who don’t go to college at all. So the total number of ALL high school graduates who need remediation in general is some other number, but it is NOT 89%.

This is explained about 18 paragraphs later in the story, but we all know that many people just read the beginning.

posted by: Student at Wilbur Cross on November 17, 2011  1:53pm

Not every one is “College Ready” and to say that you need a college education to succeed in cooperate America isn’t fair. Many people who didn’t attend college has been very successful without a degree. Students have applied and been accepted to colleges and universities but do not stay in school. And i’m not saying its because they don’t have what it takes but maybe they weren’t ready, i’m sure all the students that have applied but eventually dropped out had a legitimate reason. Motivation is the key to anyone’s success, with out someone in your corner backing you up how is any going to feel that they can achieve any and everything. Some students are more prepared than others when it comes to a higher education. We need people who are going encourage us and believe that we can do it. I personally blame all those who insist that college is needed to succeed and set every else up to fail when some aren’t as well prepared as others.

posted by: goatville mom on November 17, 2011  2:48pm

@Student at Wilbur Cross, here are some facts from a recent report:
“The U.S. economy will create 46.8 million job openings by 2018, including 13.8 newly created jobs and 33 million “replacement” positions produced when workers retire. Employers filling these jobs, overwhelmingly, will require
college degrees or other postsecondary preparation of 63 percent of their new hires.”
This is your future they are describing in this report. Students of your generation *will* need more than a high school diploma to compete for jobs in corporate America. 
You should blame the people who are cheating you out of your future, not the ones who are telling you what you are going to need.
I do believe in you and what you can do—that is the whole point. I’m not willing to write you off and say “you’re not college material”. And neither should the school system or anyone else.

posted by: LOL on November 17, 2011  4:24pm

@teacher at Wilbur Cross— There are MANY TEACHERS who work their ass off to help students ... the apathetic, emotionally disturbed and socially challenged kids—as well as those at or above grade level.

How dare you state that there are “many teachers” who don’t teach their kids as if they have a chance.  What do you base your ... comment on?  I have hard data that shows how many students enter some of our city’s schools ALREADY WELL BEHIND ... like kids who enter Kindergarten knowing fewer letters and letter sounds than suburban PRESCHOOLERS.

Further, if you truly are teaching all of your kids to “honors” standards—as you claim—then you’re part of the problem.  You should be differentiating your students’ work and goals so that, with hard work, students can achieve those goals.  Each student should have a unique set of goals based off the student’s data.  That’s not lowering expectations, that’s setting the bar at an appropriate level so that kids feel as if they have a chance.

posted by: Teacher at Wilbur Cross on November 17, 2011  5:00pm

To Lol:

#1- I do not need any data to back up my claim.  I have seen it first hand.  I have heard teachers conversations.
#2- ...  I never said it was all teachers, and the truth is yes there are “many” who just get into it because they see it as a steady paycheck.  And even 1 teacher who thinks this way is too many.  Those are the teachers I’m referring to, not those who work their asses off and I know plenty who do.
#3- I have done my research.  You are not telling me anything I do not already I know.  I know that some kids are already behind, but there are other factors that contribute to our kids not being prepared.  I’m not placing blame solely on teachers.
#4-... Differentiation has nothing to do with having high standards for ALL kids.  I differentiate all the time.  Differentiation happens in any class from remedial reading to an AP Lang class ...

posted by: student1231 on November 17, 2011  5:09pm

I think there is nothing wrong with collage students who need to take “developmental” English or math classes,so what if they need to take those classes to be prepared, that does not mean that their career training is in jeopardy. Those student can still do as good as everyone who didn’t need to take those classes. Not every student gets the same education from their teachers, so not every student is ready.

posted by: brutus2011 on November 17, 2011  5:16pm

to “LOL” and “Teacher at Wilbur Cross:”

If I may be so bold as to suggest that you:

1. stop shooting at each other.

2. band together and start shooting at those
  who treat teachers as fools.

3. The real truth is that teachers have given
  control of their collective bargaining to
  those who do not represent their best

4. For proof, compare the administrator’s union
  and contract with those of teacher’s.

5. When in doubt, always follow the money. (no,
  I didn’t make that up…someone smarter did)

6. I believe teachers could make an incredible
  difference if they would band together, make
  a stand, and take control of our schools.

7. I truly believe that everyone would benefit.
  All except those who are benefiting now.

posted by: Just a nobody on November 17, 2011  6:28pm

Nothing will change this school system until you get the Mayor and Mayo out and all the corruption and nepotism is put to an end!

posted by: A Different Generation on November 17, 2011  6:36pm

For all those claiming there is no need to go to college to succeed, here’s an idea: welcome to 2011. You and your parents and all others who succeeded without college are from different times. In the modern world, going to college is, for the most part, essential in having a successful career.

posted by: Teachergal on November 17, 2011  7:36pm

Just nobodt states:Nothing will change this school system until you get the Mayor and Mayo out and all the corruption and nepotism is put to an end!

No truer words have been spoken through this entire thread. Nepotism runs wild in the Ed dept. I NH. I have watched many an unqualified teacher be hired, promoted, and made then be ome an administrator only to hide out I. An office. This is common knowledge to anyone has worked in NH for a number of years.
I would say this is one of the major problems inNH and we can thank king john and doc mayo for this.

LOL makes excellent points, as always, and I couldn’t agree more. Cross teacher, it is a mistake to make the comments you have made because you can’t know what goes on In all schools. Teachers at Cross are undoubtably frustrated right now as they are being led by an incompetent principal that is a part of the regime that needs to be replaced. I truly believe that most of us that choose teaching for a career do believe we can make a difference. The problem in NH is that teachers are beat down, told to teach to the test, constantly evaluate test data, and then given poor evaluations when kids don’t
make the mark. I am currently looking for a job in the private sector as I can no longer take the stress involved in working in NH despite my strong belief in public education.

And Brutus, you are on point with all of your observations!

posted by: posted by; A student at Wilbur Crosss(BDC) on November 17, 2011  7:48pm

I agree with the teacher from Wilbur Cross because….. If we have these teachers who’s not preparing these students or motivating them to do well how can we expect them to do well..or how can we expect them to want to attend college to further their education when we have these people that’s supposed to be some type of authority basically them that they wont have a chance to be a college grad if they do not attend a out of state or private school. Not everybody can afford to do that so again that’s basically telling them oh the hell with you then…Or saying you don’t need a college education to succeed in life. First of all there’s already students out there with their mind set like that but its supposed to be up to people with authority or some kind of accomplishments to set an example , to encourage and to show them that there’s no better way or path to success other than a college education, so try your best because your more than capable of succeeding.

posted by: shaq daddy on November 17, 2011  7:55pm

im a student at wilbur cross who will graduate this year and will be attending college this fall without taking any remedial classes and i believe that this article is total BULL!!!

posted by: Rachel on November 17, 2011  8:06pm

I am a student who goes to Wilbur cross High School and the article talks about how children from city schools are no prepared for College. This maybe true but alot of your statistics don’t take into account what all the kids are going through outside of school. I know a bunch of my friends have to go home every day and babysit for their little brother or sister, kids have to get dinner started, do dinner and keep up with their chores. A person who is just taking the test scores iisn’teally factoring all these other responsibility students have. Who knows if kids have a hard home life making it hard for them to show up to school or have a hard time staying focused because they had a fight with someone in there family. Also i know for myself, i need to refresh my memory constantly. The article says that most students have to go into remedial English or math. Is that really so bad? the whole point of school is to learn what you don’t know and since teachers don’t carry out the information we learned when we were younger then we will eventually forget. Its not saying the city school students are not bright because that’s definitely not it but, everyone needs a reminder of how to do something every once and a while. I think a big part of not remembering either is having lessons rushed. I believe teachers have a curriculum they need to follow, well what if majority of the class doesn’t get it. teachers are forced by law to move on. Most kids wont stay after to get the material they don’t know and that’s our fault but people should recognize that a lot of children are not self motivated. I think what needs to be done is motivate kids in city areas because fear doesnt work, so many of us live through tramatic traumaticby the time we reach high school, prizes and money only work if you get the word out but then again they dont work because if kids keep failing we loose hope in ourself( or at least i do and i give up), and for public schools since there is so many of us you cant get to know what each child wants. I think in the end everything is up to the person who wants to succeed or doesnt want to because you cant blame anyone but yourself in the end. My generation has to realize that society cant lower the “bar” because we didnt prepare ourselves.

posted by: Eliana on November 17, 2011  9:49pm

I think it’s silly to try to blame education problems on any one thing. We have teachers who do not teach properly, students who don’t want to learn, bad curriculum, poorly-prioritizing governments, social prejudice, difficult family situations, a messed-up system of jobs, a struggling economy, careless college transitioning methods, you name it. We cannot look at why education has not worked and blame, we must look at where and why education had succeeded. Then we can replicate what works. We should look at successful teachers, ask the students for advice, and look into functional situations in other cities and other countries and reform NHPS not for a higher gross of college degrees, but for the benefit of the entire world when our young people enter it.

posted by: Student from Cross on November 17, 2011  10:01pm

I don’t understand what is the BIG problem with students taking remediation or developmental courses in english or math. Not all students learn the same way. Some learn quickly, others tend to learn at a slow pace and sometimes they forget constantly what they learn, so that could be an issue. After reading the article, I feel like is not right how it mentions the percents of students graduating, those enrolling to college and those taking remediation or developmental courses. This can put some students down about even going to college after they graduate. Everyone has a different way to view things and this article can also motivate students in improving their English/Math skills so that they won’t be one of those students taking those classes. All of us should just work together to improve this so call “issue”, such as students, teachers, the actual school system, and just all involving education. This article is definitively good to start a debate about, but it shouldn’t be just about debating, but actually coming to a solution or conclusion that can benefit everyone!

posted by: LOL on November 17, 2011  10:08pm

posted by; A student at Wilbur Crosss(BDC) on November 17, 2011 6:48pm
I agree with the teacher from Wilbur Cross because….. If we have these teachers who’s not preparing these students or motivating them to do well how can we expect them to do well..or how can we expect them to want to attend college to further their education when we have these people that’s supposed to be some type of authority basically them that they wont have a chance to be a college grad


It’s always SOMEBODY ELSE’S FAULT, right?

It couldn’t possibly be because some students choose not to take advantage of the opportunities before them.  No, that would mean accepting responsibility and being held accountable for your own actions. Right?

Listen, in all my years as a teacher, I’ve never heard a teacher say of another student that they won’t make it to college. NEVER.  I’ve heard educators express frustration over failing to “reach” a student, or watching a student waste away his/her talents by choosing to goof off in school, falling in with a bad crowd or getting into drugs.  I’ve also seen teachers point kids to trade schools to become plumbers, electricians, mechanics, etc.

Are there bad teachers?  Sure.  But in life—guess what?—you’ll have some bad bosses.  And it’ll be up to you to rise above it and challenge yourself for better things.  Think Isaiah Lee hasn’t had a bad teacher once or twice?  Of course, but look at his character and leadership abilities—outstanding.

That said, and believe me when I say this, for every bad teacher out there, there are probably 10 who live and die with their students and would do most anything to see them succeed.

Don’t be fooled by those who offer excuses as crutches.  Got a bad teacher?  Then challenge him or her to be better.  Demand more.  Demand to be guided.  Demand to be taught.  Rise above the excuses, accept some responsibility and grow.

posted by: GonnaMakeItNoMatterWat on November 17, 2011  10:34pm

i am a student a Wilbur cross high school i have been going there since my freshmen year and i can say that some of my teacher dont do there job right its been plenty of times i have went to class ready to do some work and the teacher is having a full blown convo instead of doing work, so who do you blame then when you have kids that want to learn but nobody here’s to teach. i also believe that they shouldn’t blame it on the student because it not always us yes some of the student have that attitude that a education dont matter but when you have somebody there by your side making you want to go to school and do work. We need teachers that going to sit there and tell us about college and try to get us into it we dont need teachers sitting there telling us that we anit going to college and we not going to make it because you put us black kids down bad enough most of us got things going on at home that we act like and hurting us when it is. I believe that education is money and money is education because with a education you will be able to have what ever you want without having nothing to worry about not saying that its a promise but with a college education you can have so muchh more. You can also make money without and college education but it will be so muc harder and in know so much longer because i see people that have a education and people who dont a education who is living a good life. And how they going to say if we take these classes we are not going to be able to get the credit that’s like saying you going to go to work without getting paid come on now thats whats going to make kids that want to go because you going to have me sitting in a room and doing work for something i know is going to pay off but i should at get a credit for it and what about the money we pay to go to college we dont pay to be taking classes thats we are not going to get credit for , for all that they should be free while we take are other 4 classes in college.

posted by: New havener on November 17, 2011  10:40pm

Why is this startling news???  gateway Community College has known this for years becuase over 80% of the incoming freshmen—the large majority who are from New Haven schools—cannot read, write or do math at a level sufficient to take college courses! 

To “Teach On”, these kids need to go to college at a minimum to get a post-secondary credential that will let them build a career and earn decent money. This means work as an EMT, heathcare techniciain, lab technician, HVAC technician, etc.  These jobs don’t require college degrees but they do require community college skill training, which means the person has to be able to perform at a level beyond high school in order to be trainable.  Once again, the New Haven public schools failed our children, and the “reformers” are making all kinids of promises that they will get this right this time around.  Absolutely ridiculous!

posted by: Student123 on November 17, 2011  10:57pm

Universities look for diversity because it will make them look better. Therefore, they are more willing to accept the minorities with the same credentials as caucasians for a better reputation. Unfortunately, many minorities aren’t taking advantage of the amazing oppurtunity of free education. Yes there are incidents where problems outside of the school environment affect the students so dramatic that they don’t work as well as they should in school. However, that is not the case every time. If each student had the strength to hop over each puddle they crossed, then they would excel beyond the low expectations the jerks have set for them.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on November 17, 2011  11:28pm

This is why I tell young people to get a job first.

Many With New College Degree Find the Job Market Humbling.

And look at what they get stuck with.

The following are testimonials submitted to this site. To tell your story, please go here.

posted by: Jessica on November 18, 2011  12:23am

Students drop out because maybe they lost motivation to attend college or have financial issue…

posted by: Janylis on November 18, 2011  1:24am

I’m a student in Cross and I agree with Teacher at Wilbur Cross and Rachel. Education it’s the key to success so the more you know the better.

By looking at this statistics, the numbers look really bad and it’s sad. I’m not surprise but I feel like instead of wasting time looking at numbers, they should spend more time trying to fix the problem. I personally had teachers who couldn’t teach so that’s already an issue. We have administrators worrying more about who is wearing a hat in school than how classes are doing and much more. This problem has been around for a while but each student it’s responsible for their own choices. Each student knows what education means to them. They can either go to school and work hard to achieve knowledge or just go to school just to go and don’t try at all.

Hopefully people would realize how important education is and that without college you can’t really get far in life like some “lucky” people. But remember luck doesn’t usually last compare to your knowledge.

posted by: DISTRESSED on November 18, 2011  1:28am

@shaq daddy: “im a student at wilbur cross who will graduate this year and will be attending college this fall without taking any remedial classes and i believe that this article is total BULL!!!”  Here you want to shoot the messenger.  Why?  The truth hurts?

Sadly, shaq daddy, you prove the points of the article so very well. You will not take the remedial classes before you get to college; you will need to take them whem you get there in order to be able to master college level work. To remediate means to correct a deficiency. The question is—what are your academic deficiencies? Reading comprehension might be the first remedial class you will need.  Exactly are you so angry about?  If you are not affected - why are you protesting?  Have you ever taken a college-level course in high school?  How do you know that you will not have to take remedial classes in college?

There is an ancient proverb that says: “He who knows not and knows not he knows not: he is a fool - shun him. He who knows not and knows he knows not: he is simple - teach him.
There is nothing wrong with not knowing; we all have to start learning somewhere. It is a smart person who knows that he does not know; that person is willing to learn. He or she will succeed. To be able to learn is a blessing

posted by: Edward on November 18, 2011  6:56am


If this story alarms you, there is an option:

Ask about finacial aid, but it is the best option, and no one wants to acknowledge it!

posted by: NenaLaqrimas on November 18, 2011  9:01am

If this is the case why haven’t they started this research earlier? they could’ve have PREVENTED this instead of sitting back and watching. instead of wasting tons of money on rebuilding schools they could have been laying off bad teachers and replacing them with better ones. if remedial is a problem why do they keep telling us students to TAKE the courses? even the good students they tell them to go to gateway for the first couple of years and take basic academics and THEN transfer to the school they want

posted by: Chris Ortiz on November 18, 2011  9:12am

I think that the percentage of graduates of Wilbur Cross that took remedial classes was unbelievable.

posted by: Donald-___- on November 18, 2011  9:18am

these remedial classes needs to be credited , i don’t like the fact that you pay for them and then gets no credit .

posted by: Anon student WCHS on November 18, 2011  10:22am

It’s ridiculous that college students are placed into these remedial classes, that they HAVE to pay for, though they get NO credit for them what-so-ever. That makes NO sense, when these students aren’t even choosing these classes, yet they are expected to attend & pay for them, or else they won’t be able to take any higher courses. SHAKE MY HEAD!!!!

posted by: Gary Doyens on November 18, 2011  10:45am

For the most part, my children have had excellent teachers. While some over the years, could have been better, I wouldn’t say any were bad. There are so many issues at Cross and nearly every one of them has to do with leadership and management - command and control of the school. We are currently operating on the third principal in 5 years at Cross. Discipline and consequences of bad behavior are lax; drug use is rampant. Walking down the hallways is like watching a breast parade. There is an ever changing set of priorities and goals from on high - which then causes issues at school.

Romper Room - This is a case in point. The NHBOE wants fewer suspensions. Cross then establishes a “re-focus” room which is nothing more than a Romper Room Gone Wild. Sources tell me kids literally walk out of class to go re-focus.

I don’t have the all the answers but I would strongly suggest front line teachers have a good idea what it’s going to take. They interact with parents and students. There is a clear breakdown from K-8 to high school. Instead of “make work” ideas from BOE on what will heal our schools, and a near stampede of consultants who all say they have the answer, let’s harvest ideas and initiatives from our front liners instead of the REMFs who haven’t seen educational combat in a generation. And while we’re at it, let’s raise the standards for those who lead these schools and inject the word “excellence” as the new standard.

During the campaign, I spoke with Kermit Carolina about what he was doing at Hillhouse - he used the words excellence, accountable, no excuses. From the janitor to the principal. Interesting concepts.

posted by: Morris Cove Mom on November 18, 2011  10:47am

@Gary Doyens: Right on!  I’ve always said it’s insane to have a pretty, new school when it’s crumbling on the inside, academically.  Nathan Hale School is shiny and relatively new, but I’ve already pulled my older kid out, as it was failing her academically.

@Goatville Mom: It’s great to quote these stats on lifetime earnings, but to not take into account the debt load of said degrees is unwise.  Many doctors outearn me, but I have no debt at all, and will own my house outright, well before my 30 year mortgage is due.  And to compete in corporate America is not for everyone, not for most people.  No matter how we progress, society will always have a need for the basics, like police, fire, EMTs, trash, plumbing, electrical, construction, and the like.  And those fields do not require the secondary education and debt load that you recommend.

posted by: Marcus Perkins on November 18, 2011  11:25am

Hi Ms.Cobb :)

posted by: Marcus (The Hulk >:I) Perkins on November 18, 2011  11:34am

Students drop out of highschool maybe because they dont have enough motivation wanting to go to college or having trouble with financial aid.

posted by: LookAtTheProof!! on November 18, 2011  12:32pm


You’re a Wilbur Cross Student. You really need to re-read what you typed.  There are so many errors,,, it’s unbelievable. Please,, work on your writing skills,, and your English.  Some of these kids need 6 years of high school,, not 4 years.

posted by: Goatville mom on November 18, 2011  2:19pm

@ Morris Cove Mom, the difference in lifetime earnings quoted in that report I mentioned is $1,613,035. Do you think anyone comes out of college with a level of debt that would neutralize that difference?
I mentioned competing corporate America because I was responding to another commenter.
Most of the jobs you mention also require training beyond high school, as well as the ability to read and do basic math.

posted by: streever on November 18, 2011  2:57pm

I am a little surprised by the level and depth of disagreement here, when I see the same goal being repeated.

Folks, going to college or not, everyone—everyone—should have a comprehensive education.

The education should teach them a variety of subjects, give them a strong historical foundation, and help them to understand the world we live in. A good liberal arts education—with practical education in the scientific method (how to troubleshoot, research, and analyse problems) and the fundamentals of logic/math will serve anyone well.

Everyone should receive a comprehensive education. That our children are not is a serious problem, and not one we can easily place the blame for on anyone. Sure, some kids don’t want to learn and have absent parents—great description of me actually—but I had great teachers, smaller class sizes, and my teachers had a supportive administration (which I was often referred to when I acted out).

The administration worked with me, never suspended me, and made me stay in school. When I didn’t want to learn, they sent me to detention, and forced me to do EXTRA school work.

This is a problem in New Haven, where at many schools, out of school suspension is the ONLY real punishment. Kids who don’t want to learn misbehave until they get sent home, where they have no parental guidance. They get into trouble. They end up dropping out or barely skating through high school and then go to a college where they are totally unprepared.

We have to fix this. We can fix this. We need top-tier administrators like Kermit Carolina and more incredible teachers—and we need to get them all working together to ensure that each has the resources they need to improve education in this city.

posted by: brutus2011 on November 18, 2011  5:14pm

NHPS appears to be about education. (hear me out)

NHPS is about municipal politics.

NHPS is run by an extreme top-down model.

For proof, look at the city budget and see how much is spent on administration and consultants.

Furthermore, research statements by city officials citing ineffective teachers as the root cause of poor student outcomes.

NHPS has been run a certain way for almost 20 years although I would wager that it goes back further than we could possibly know.

The solution to our public education problem, I submit, is not an education solution.

The solution to our public education problem is a political one.

This is why the debate about this is almost schizophrenic.

As long as our leaders engage in information asymmetry (they know a lot more than we do about what is really going on)

Someone said in these posts that there will be no change until those at the top are changed.

I fear that if such change occurs, power will pass to those placed by those who have been at the top for so long.

And this is the most desperate reason why we need to educate our future citizens-so that this kind of erosion of our republican government will be recognized and stopped.

This is serious business, folks.

posted by: LOL on November 18, 2011  8:36pm

@streever—You ought to know that out-of-school suspension is the very last resort in most schools’ comprehensive improvement plan.

In fact, there is a multitude of interventions that teachers, staff and administrators must implement before administration can suspend a student (except those who commit assault or bring weapons/drugs to school, among other CRIMES).

The most effective deterrent for misbehavior is a strong teacher-parent relationship.  When students know that their parents are on board with their teacher, it gives the students no fall back.  In fact, in my experience, strong relationships with parents has eliminated the need for implementation of interventions.  All I have to do is make a phone call ...

Of course, that places the onus on teachers to be strong communicators to their students’ parents ... to justify grades with student work portfolios, to call home for “good things” as well as concerns, to take the time to spell out the differentiated work you’re giving to their child and explain why it will benefit them.

It also places accountability upon the parents to attend conferences, return calls, check on their child’s progress and ensure they come to school consistently and on time.

If everybody works together, it can work.

posted by: ShyGirl on November 20, 2011  10:31pm

I am a student at Wilbur Cross and hearing this type of news does not make me happy at all. It’s bad enough that I’m struggling in order for me to moreceiven and become someone in life while having a child to take care of on the side. Yes, it may be true that there are those kids who choose to throw their life away but then there are those kids like me who are willing to do whatever possible in order to get somewhere.

It really sucks to know that our city has made the effort in helping students pay for college with the “New Haven Promise” but now have the nerve to basically say we’re not smart enough to accept that money and move on.

If students have to take some sort of remedial classes then they should be allowed to and they should very well recieve credit for them. If people feel these classes aren’t “credit worthy”, well then something has the be done between the transition from high school to college to better prepare students and not let them waste their hard earned money [scholarships]

posted by: NHPS Teacher on November 21, 2011  10:28pm

I believe that parents, teachers, administrators, and students need to work together to raise standards and help these students learn the skills they need to succeed not only academically, but later in life. There are many things all parties involved can do to improve academic standards.

    I also believe that a college education, while costly, is essential in today’s society. Students need to either have a trade (and a HS degree from a trade school) or have plans to further their education. Can you get a job without a college education? Yes. However, more and more employers are looking for at least a bachelor’s degree for jobs that a generation ago, did not require one. Education is key to breaking the cycle of poverty.

  We all want our children to have better than we have. When our children have families of their own, I want my children to have good, steady employment that comes with a good health insurance package. Does that mean student loan debt? Yes. However, I believe that, in the long run, the debt is worth the ability to get a better, higher-paying job that will allow my child to have a better standard of life than I do.

posted by: anon on November 22, 2011  8:52am

This info wasn’t suprising, just sad. Have we even looked into reasons why these kids have to take remedial and developmental classes? The heart of it could lie with the teachers. Impatient tachers, incompetent teachers. We’re just so quick to want to heap all the blame on the students’ uninterest in learning or laziness. I’m sure, and this is going to sound bad, that these kinds of teachers run rampant in New Haven. Start looking into your education providers before taking all of these heavy measures, the answer to this problem could be simple.

posted by: Ryan on November 22, 2011  8:56am

I think that colleges need remedial courses. Why should uneducated people who can’t take high school level math and english recieve degrees. Remedial courses are just as easy as high school courses. If they did get credit for them it should be half a credit or less. Why should you get college credit for remedial courses. It’s not just inner city schools that have these problems. There are students all across the country but more in inner city schools.

posted by: Determined_Student on November 22, 2011  9:08am

In my opinion, college is necessary, but doesn’t have to happen right after high school. Perhaps that’s the problem. The article focuses on those going onto higher education, and cuts off data after a specific amount of time. However, there are those people that either choose not to go, or, people, like my brother, who didn’t have the option to go at the time.
  On the topic of remedial courses, perhaps they are a money making scam, but also perhaps, they are necessary. Sometimes, high school courses too significantly lack, whether there was an issue with the teacher or the class itself. You can’t attribute it to one specific cause. My brother’s girlfriend ended up in some remedial classes and she came from a very good high school.
  No matter what anyone says, there are always options in the future. Hundreds of people go to college later in life, when funds are available, or when they have a greater understanding. I personally understand that it often takes awhile to have all the information fall together and make sense, and that sometimes comes from turning it over in your mind for hours or months, making sense of it. Therefore, the statistics that these students aren’t going to college is invalid, first because it doesn’t incorporate students who go to other colleges and secondly, students who go in later.
  It is true, that many people have succeeded who didn’t attend college, but, the world is changing, and what is necessary to succeed has evolved. Now, some college isn’t recommended, all of it is. Whether you go in right after high school, take a year off to discover yourself, or wait until your 50, college is important.
  It also falls upon the educators to prepare students to go to college and handle the coursework. The fact of the matter is that many are unprepared, but so many more aren’t. Everyone here is arguing, and fighting and saying who is right, who is wrong, and the reasons. But an opinion is an opinion, whether it is right or wrong, and you have to acknowledge that. Therefore, instead of arguing, why not work together to create a solution to the problem.

posted by: Sam on November 22, 2011  9:10am

i feel like you don’t need to go to college to be successful in life, but if you don’t have a back up plan then you are out of luck. Although now-a-days the economy is so screwed up that even if you do have a college degree it’s still hard to find work that pays.  In order to succeed you need to have a plan