NEW YORK, February 6, 2014- Insideschools.org, a project of the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School, today launched an alternative to the city’s controversial A-F system for grading elementary schools. Called Insidestats, the new scorecard provides a nuanced picture of the strengths and weaknesses of the city’s 735 elementary schools, including charters.
Rather than ranking schools or giving them letter grades, Insidestats gives the answers to questions parents ask most: Do most parents and teachers recommend the school? Is it welcoming? Is bullying a problem? How many students are in a kindergarten class? Is the atmosphere calm or rowdy? How do children do on standardized tests? How is attendance?
For example, at The East Village Community School, teachers say bullying is not an issue, class size is small and most teachers would recommend the school.
Just in time for the Feb. 14 deadline to apply online to kindergarten, Insidestats presents easy-to-read data on elementary schools drawn from the Department of Education's parent and teacher surveys (called the Learning Environment Survey), the results of standardized testing, and other DOE statistics. The new feature expands the successful Insidestats metrics for high schools and middle schools, which were posted in 2013. (Insidestats for combined elementary and middle schools serving children in grades K-8 as well as those for K-12 schools will be posted later this spring.)
Mayor Bill de Blasio campaigned on the promise to eliminate the city’s A-F system for grading schools--but he didn’t say what would replace it. Researchers at the Center for New York City Affairs hope Insidestats will inform the city Department of Education as it develops a new accountability system for the city’s schools.
“Under Mayor Bloomberg, the city began collecting an enormous amount of data, much of which is quite useful,” said Andrew White, director of the Center. “For example, Department of Education surveys of parents, teachers and students provide a terrific glimpse into the climate of each school. The problem is the A to F grading system was often used to punish schools. We’d rather see this valuable data used to inform parents. Improvements in the schools will follow. Insidestats offers some of the benefits of an accountability system without the drawbacks.”
Insidestats for Insideschools.org was made possible with a grant from the Donors’ Education Collaborative. Major support for Insideschools is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
For further information, please contact Clara Hemphill, editor, Insideschools.org, 212 229 5400 ext. 1521
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