Gail Robinson writes about education in New York City. This post is about the fate of John Dewey High School in Brooklyn, about which I posted earlier.
In this article, published in June, she detailed the dreams and anticipated demise of John Dewey High School. Once it was seen as the cutting edge of progressive reform. Over time, the school became a dumping ground for students excluded from other schools, and city officials expected the school to die a quiet death. Dewey was one of 24 schools slated to close over the summer, but the execution was stayed by a judge.
But WAIT! I just received an email from an anonymous student who insists that John Dewey WILL NOT DIE.
Hello Ms. Ravitch,
I am a student at John Dewey High School, as you may know, JDHS is one of the schools the NYCDOE abandoned and damaged by forcefully accepting unruly students that were rejected by Bloomberg’s smaller schools, and other unwanted academically deficient students. In 2007, John Dewey High School was named one of the Best High Schools in the United States by U.S. News & Report, even though the NYCDOE stripped funds that year. How coincidental that a year later, after Dewey forcefully accepts 400 academically deficient and unruly students causing discipline problems and overcrowding, there’s a gun scare. Then Dewey was placed on high alert, receives a C on the annual progress report, with graduation and safety rates plummeting. Obviously, this was all part of the NYCDOE and Bloomberg’s plan to destroy one of the ex-best high schools in the city. They tried, Ms. Ravitch. And just when they thought that they succeeded once again [since 2002] in destroying another school, Dewey gets back up on its feet and shows the DOE and Bloomberg how damn wrong they were. So very wrong.
Yes, I was that same student under the name “Rupert” that previously commented on your blog. Since the 2011-2012 high school progress reports have been released recently, I tell you with great satisfaction and joy that John Dewey High School’s graduation rate increased from 65.9% in 2011 to 72.4% in 2012! The college readiness rate also increased from 29.7% in 2011 to 35% in 2012! And last but not least, this school that the DOE considers “failing” received a high B for the 2011-2012 progress report, up from the C on the 2010-2011 progress report. Can you believe it? The NYCDOE neglects and bullies Dewey, it also strapped a lot of money from the school eliminating facilities and teachers (about $3 million) and yet the school improves!
Long story short, I go in depth on this issue like the little high school journalist I am. I have a blog titled “The Chronicles of a Dewey Student” in which I make monthly posts about education, like you do, Ms. Ravitch. Except mines are related to Dewey more per se, you can access my blog by clicking here.
I know that you may have a busy schedule, but please, please… Whenever you have time, please read this article I published on my blog The Road to Recovery: A B for John Dewey High School in which I visually but thoroughly speak about Dewey’s progress in depth in just ONE year! Please, please, whenever you have the time, it would mean so much to me and the Dewey community if you read it. Here’s the link to the article:
I use images and make comparisons from the 2010-2011 school year to the 2011-2012 school year, and the changes are so noticeable. It is jaw dropping how much progress a so-called “failing” school can make in just one year. Would you consider a 72% grad rate and 35% college readiness rate (above the city average), along with a high B on the progress report, failing?
I just hope you that when you finish reading my article, that you’ll share it on your blog, or even with colleagues, and even other blogs! Because this is something people throughout the nation must see! So they can see how ugly public education and bureaucracy in NYC can be. The worst part is that the NYCDOE is still ripping away funds from the school and expects more progress. I just hope my article gets the publicity it needs, in order for people to see and realize that John Dewey High School is NOT a failing school, nor has it ever been. It was just a failed attempt by the DOE to crush a beautiful school, well they didn’t win this time!
The teachers of John Dewey High School, and my experience attending this lovely special public school has molded me into a well rounded intellectual, and I plan on becoming a high school teacher. Most certainly, I plan to return to Dewey one day and teach here for the rest of my life. Something I never would have wanted to do, had I not attended Dewey. I love this school so much, and I hope you feel the same way.
Thank you for your time, and I sincerely hope that you had the time to read my article. Take care, and have a nice day.
Random Dewey Student