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Letter: How to measure high school success?

This is a first-grade classroom at Branch Brook

This is a first-grade classroom at Branch Brook Elementary School in Smithtown at the end of the day Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Different ways to measure high school success

Regarding the editorial “Troubling gap at high schools” [Jan. 19], I take great exception to the last sentence, “That’s what we mean when we say the educational system needs to be fixed.”

The truly troubling gap is that Newsday’s editorial board and those who set educational standards use the Regents exams to measure success in our schools.

Many students are proud to aspire to military careers. Many choose to be electricians, cosmetologists, auto mechanics, plumbers, carpenters or cabinetmakers — all fields that are necessary to a productive society. The question you should ask is, when students receive a diploma, do they have all the skills necessary to be anything they want to be?

We spend funds and energy to get students to pass exams, but what we do for the artist, the musician or the student who learns carrying out physical activities is not measured, and as we well know, cannot be measured. To state that a rigorous curriculum was not provided because the test scores didn’t meet certain standards is inaccurate.

Patricia Cruz


Editor’s note: The writer is retired math teacher.


Thank you to Newsday’s editorial board for recognizing the frightening statistics that were outlined in “Troubling gap at high schools.”

The low numbers of graduating Long Island high school seniors who are adequately prepared for college is a critical issue, and raising community awareness is essential. We would like to highlight the truly tragic disparities in disadvantaged districts, such as Roosevelt, where there is a 3.3 college readiness rate and a 72 percent graduation rate. Statistics like these demonstrate that we are not only failing our children, but failing as a society when we are unable to provide a quality education for all. This is a crisis that needs to be a top priority for all Long Islanders and New York legislators.

Many of the communities with such abysmal rates of college readiness are communities of color. We live in one of the top 10 most segregated communities in the United States, and it is the children of color who most often are excluded from the best opportunity to move ahead: a quality education. Erase Racism’s recent education equity report revealed that not only are our districts separate and unequal, but over the last decade they have actually become more racially segregated.

Integration has been found to increase graduation rates from high school and attendance in college. Studies show that all students benefit from learning in a racially diverse environment.

It’s time to acknowledge the inequity on Long Island and act.

Melissa McCardle

Susan Bliss

Rockville Centre

Editor’s note: The writers are associate professors in the Department of Social Work at Molloy College.


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