Schools We Know to be Good

Kate Taylor did not bury the lede in a surprisingly candid profile of New York City’s schools chancellor in the Metropolitan section:

A dozen principals and New York City education officials were gathered in an office early last year, sorting through a database to look for schools to use as models — those scoring highest on tests, graduation rates and other measures, compared with schools of similar demographics.

The new schools chancellor, Carmen Fariña, walked in, saw a spreadsheet projected on the wall and cut off the official who was presenting the data. “I know a good quality school when I’m in the building,” she said, according to one participant in the meeting. “We’re going to do this,” she added, “based on the schools we know to be good.”

And how will we know they are good?

Ms. Fariña asked [a superintendent] which principals she was most concerned about, and they talked about who among them might be encouraged to retire, who should spend time visiting a better nearby school and who needed to share more authority with her staff. Ms. Fariña, who was once the superintendent of an adjacent district, seemed to know many of the principals well and did not withhold her opinions.

New York City has 1,800 public schools and 1.1 million students. We don’t need data or results, we just need Farina’s personal opinion on which schools are good and which ones are terrible.

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