Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The State of HCSD: She Said, He Said

There's been no official word on the graduation rate in the Hudson City School District for the Class of 2015. Last year, the graduation rate for the Class of 2014 was not made available until December. When the information was released, it was cause for celebration. In an article that appeared in the Register-Star on December 23, 2014, HCSD superintendent Maria Suttmeier reported that the graduation rate for the Class of 2014 was 71 percent, a significant improvement over the graduation rate for the Class of 2012, which was 59 percent. In her column District Insights, which appears on page 7 of today's Register-Star, Suttmeier reports of the school year just ended, "We exceeded our target graduation rate," but she doesn't say what the target was.

On page 4 of  today's Register-Star, there's a letter to the editor from Tom Gavin, former principal of the Bridge Program, which didn't make it into the online version. In it, Gavin alleges that the Bridge Program is responsible for the improved graduation rates at HCSD--not because the students enrolled in the program are succeeding where they might otherwise have failed (according to Gavin, "The Bridge Program had [a] dismal passing rate of less than 50%"), but because the success or failure of the students enrolled in the Bridge no longer has to be factored into the overall performance of the district. Gavin explains, "When a student is placed into the Bridge Program, HCSD is no longer responsible for reporting the student if they drop out or fail. The student is now part of the Berkshire Union Free School District." Gavin further alleges, "What's really taking place is the dumping of what they consider 'problem' students into a program so that the district can give the appearance that both passing and graduation rates are improving." Gavin concludes, "The truth . . . is that HCSD has not improved at all in dealing with at risk students. They just sent them away and say everything is great!"

1 comment:

  1. The most telling item in Ms. Suttmeier's piece this morning was her calling the high school graduation a "baccalaureate." There is, in fact, an international secondary school baccalaureate that is recognized by educators of standing throughout the world. It is a achieved after successfully completing a very comprehensive and difficult curriculum and series of written exams. What the HCSD offers is, per the rankings, barely a Regents diploma let alone a baccalaureate. Ms. Suttmeier may be unaware of this; then again, she may simply not care about the distinction between a globally recognized level of excellence and the relatively worthless paper HCSD hands out on a regular basis to the bulk of its "graduating" student body. Paper made worthless, by the way, through the HCSD's administration's own efforts at obfuscating the real educational outcomes it produces.