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Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Wed Sep 15th 2010, 10:43 PM
That is Paul Fucaloro speaking, bragging actually, about how the Harlem Success Charter schools groom their students for testing. Test-taking machines, what a sad commentary on what education is becoming.

This is part of another thread, but it deserves its own. It points out clearly the goals of one the top charter schools in NYC.

The Patron Saint (and Scourge) of Lost Schools

"We have a gap to close," says Paul Fucaloro, director of instruction. "I want the kids on edge, constantly."
(Photo: Yolo Monakhov for New York Magazine)

The day before the scheduled math test, the city got socked with eight inches of snow. Of 1,499 schools in the city, 1,498 were closed. But at Harlem Success Academy 1, 50-odd third-graders trudged through 35-mile-per-hour gusts for a four-hour session over Subway sandwiches. As Moskowitz told the Times, “I was ready to come in this morning and crank the heating boilers myself if I had to.”

“We have a gap to close, so I want the kids on edge, constantly,” Fucaloro adds. “By the time test day came, they were like little test-taking machines.”

They actually have a so-called Kindergarten boot camp.

New students are initiated at “kindergarten boot camp,” where they get drilled for two weeks on how to behave in the “zero noise” corridors (straight lines, mouths shut, arms at one’s sides) and the art of active listening (legs crossed, hands folded, eyes tracking the speaker). Life at Harlem Success, the teacher says, is “very, very structured,” even the twenty-minute recess. Lunches are rushed and hushed, leaving little downtime to build social skills. Many children appear fried by two o’clock, particularly in weeks with heavy testing. “We test constantly, all grades,” the teacher says. During the TerraNova, a mini-SAT bubble test over four consecutive mornings, three students threw up. “I just don’t feel that kids have a chance to be kids,” she laments.

These schools do have high test scores. But there are reasons for that which go beyond the regimentation. They have ways of getting rid of the non-productive students. Public schools can not do that.

At Harlem Success, disability is a dirty word. “I’m not a big believer in special ed,” Fucaloro says. For many children who arrive with individualized education programs, or IEPs, he goes on, the real issues are “maturity and undoing what the parents allow the kids to do in the house—usually mama—and I reverse that right away.” When remediation falls short, according to sources in and around the network, families are counseled out. “Eva told us that the school is not a social-service agency,” says the Harlem Success teacher. “That was an actual quote.”

Not a big believer in special education.

Eva Moskowitz and her "in" with Joel Klein makes it possible for her to move her school into public school buildings one by one without following proper procedure.

Any such expansion would obviously require a significant change in our school building’s utilization, without any of the public procedures outlined in the school governance law having been implemented. As I’m sure you are aware, the governance law, A8903, requires that any significant change in public school utilization in New York City must be preceded by an Educational Impact Statement issued at least six months before the start of the new school year, as well as a joint hearing of the DOE, the CEC and the School Leadership Team at the affected school; and finally, a vote of the Panel for Educational Policy.

None of these events have occurred in this case

To hear a director of a charter boast about training "little test-taking machines" is truly sickening.

I don't understand why parents don't find this offensive.

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