A Crisis In New York City Public Schools


By:Rhonesha Byng

It is not uncommon to see a seventeen-year old in high school with only seven credits. Either way you look at it, the drop-out rates are increasing, and teenagers aren’t getting an education.

In 2000, 10.5% of teenagers, nationally, dropped out of high school. According to the National Center for Education Statistics five out of every 100 young adults enrolled in high school in October 1999 left school before October 2000 without successfully completing a high school program. An article by Washington Square Review found that 65 percent of New York City’s minority youth do not graduate from high school on time.

Gary Orfield of the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University and Christopher Swanson of the Urban Institute found that about 50 percent of black, Hispanic, and Native American students fail to earn high school diplomas, as reported in the American School Board Journal (ASBJ). In New York City, one in six young people are neither attending school nor working.

“It’s bad because number one, we don’t have [any] books. Teachers don’t really care [and] half the students don’t go to class. We don’t have [any] real leadership. The principal [doesn’t] do [anything] he just sits in his office,” said Charles Barnett former senior of Canarsie High School.

Studies find that many students, especially boys, aren’t going to school. They sometimes do so undetected. Several parents are never aware that their child is not in school during the day, and schools usually do not make enough of a deal out of it. A program known as Attendance Improvement and Dropout Prevention (AIDP) provides funding for schools to improve their attendance rates and reduce their dropout rates. Yet, a report has found a “weakness in the Department’s distribution of funds.” Some schools received less than they were budgeted and some received no funding at all, while others received more than they were allowed.

Sophomore Jose Vinicio of Franklin K. Lane noted, “The teachers don’t care about the students. They don’t pay attention. All the students get away with everything. They’re in the hallways and all that.”

New York City public education suffers from a limited amount of funding. The result is schools which are ill-equipped as well as in poor conditions. These conditions combined with over-crowded schools cause the children to suffer educationally.

“The NY Board of Ed. is ill-equipped to educate our young people. It’s an ad equated system,” said youth director of St. Paul Community Baptist church Mr. Robert Hooks.
Teenagers are not going to school, not going to class, and dropping out all together. There has to be a root of the problem. The problem lies in the system itself.

“They come up with systems without taking into account that children aren’t systematic,” said Hooks. “Children are individuals and everyone doesn’t learn the same way.”

Curriculum within the schools is at times ineffective. Teenagers can not relate to the way things are being presented to them. Often, especially in teenagers of color, they do not find one familiar person to connect or identify with unless it is Black History month. Yet, even in that the same leaders are talked about year after year.

Senior at Science Skills High School Jaeson Williams said, “I don’t learn anything. They teach the same thing every year. It’s boring if you are going to learn the same thing you already know.”

Many students who aren’t in college-prep classes feel that what is being taught to them has no use for them in the real world. They have no interest in it at all and feel it is simply useless information. Thus, this belief is readily reflected in their school performance overall. Barnett firmly believes that what teachers teach have “no relation to life down the road.”

“It [The curriculum] could be fairly better. It doesn’t teach us things that we can go through in everyday life,” said Edward R. Murrow student Tangela Grant.

High schools are not reaching teenagers effectively and the result is a generation of people who are not educated to the best of their ability. Outreach programs need to be expanded. Teachers need to realize the importance of their relationships with the students. When students do not connect with the personnel they do not connect to the material.

In not completing high school young people will be locked in a cycle of poverty and unemployment. The economy will suffer as a result of an increase in unemployment and unskilled workers.

Perhaps even those who do stick with it and graduate may be ill-equipped as well. Standards are lowering everyday.

“It’s going down. The standards are being lowered and meritocracy is the order of the day,” said English teacher Ms. Angela Roberson of Transit Tech high school. “There are some teachers that pass students that have been absent 20 or 15 times.”
Junior at Canarsie High School Kyia Jones finds there are students who cannot even read aloud. “I think the boy was trying to read something like ‘satellite’ or something and he couldn’t and the whole class just laughed at him.”

This is no laughing matter when seventeen year olds cannot read or understand basic skills. According to the American Diploma Project, 60 percent of employers question whether a diploma means students have learned academic basics. They have also found that more than 70 percent of high school graduates go immediately to two- or four-year colleges or universities. But 28 percent of them have to take remedial English and math courses before they can start their regular college work.

According to an article in Washington Square Review, those under the age of 24 who are neither working nor enrolled in school, is also increasing.

There is a crisis going on within the walls of New York City’s high schools. There is a problem when the attitude of a majority of young people is in agreement with Sophomore Vinicio.
“I think we shouldn’t have school, it’s a waste of time.”


  • admin

    Wow, Rhonesha I am so proud of your article it sounds as if it could be in the source magazine or maybe a better example would be vibe; since soucre has its own problems. You covered so much information on him that i felt as if i was in the converstion also. Your great… I wish you the best of luck. Love Kina

    September 6, 2011
  • admin

    Good work nesh…i like your stlye. Try 2 keep it more rock solid though. u used more quotes than u needed 2. even tho its tru its still heavily biased. i like how u gather ur info tho…do ur homework. keep up the good werk

    September 6, 2011
  • admin

    hey rhonesia u ask me to read i think schools need ” crazy joe clark” from lean on me nah just kidding umm this story has opened me up to so many things that i never realized, umm classes and teachers are most of the tyme boring and all the tyme i feel like i dont need these things (this information teachers give us) to go through life , but i still get it doe and do it well, and its not always teachers its sometimes violence inflicted upon students,the put downs,like u expressed in ya story about laughing at one another, we should be helping instead of laughing , but who is really trying to hear that? umm about diplomas and graduating percentage it doesnt look good thats y im going straight for the top with more than a diploma,or a local diploma, advanced regents diploma sounds more like it blk people. all u have to do is put that effort forward and u can achieve . education is the key to opportunity. WAKE UP MINORITIES. to you rhonesia u write so well i have a better look on things from the way u expressed things. keep pushing foward love to see u suceed sweety.


    September 6, 2011
  • admin

    It was very enjoyable…and used good words 2 make it more interesting…and thats true da majority of kids are leaving school…it takes us teens 2 realize whats happening 2 us….

    September 6, 2011
  • admin

    Keep up the good work Rhonesha. I liked how you gathered and put together your information. I found the article to be very true, and I can relate to things that were mentioned.

    September 6, 2011
  • admin

    hey…. its assata. i agree with what anonymous said. your article was well written but you used alot of quotes. that wasn’t too bad though. it let me see that there are other students out there who are noticing the same flaws in the public school system that i’ve noticed and that there are people who work with youths who know what’s going on. and for what one of the student said about someone not being able to recognize the word “satellite”… that’s not the first time i’ve heard of or seen something like that. its disappointing to witness. although the system is supposed to be set up to keep students who have those type of reading problems in school so that those problems can be fixed, it’s doing the exact opposite and trapping those students in a state of hopelessness. if ur 17 years old and you have a problem with reading aloud and everyone knows it, that’s making them not want to push harder but to reject the whole idea of trying to achieve and ultimately dropping out all together.

    September 6, 2011
  • admin

    yea yup yup yea….the articles were written well with a lot of outside information.You should try and the teachers side to the story to see how they really feel about the whole situation but i think they would feel that they do not choose for the kids to care so……By reading this it is easy to tell that you are very educated and have the boys chasing after you…..yup yup yup yup

    September 6, 2011
  • admin

    I know what you mean. Teens thses days have no values and their parents are failing them. Teens today have no drive to do anything. They think everything is supposed to be handed to them. Life is not easy, they have to understand that you have to work for what they want in life. I feel that to change that parents have to do a better job taking care of their responsibilities. Nesha I feel you….

    September 6, 2011
  • admin

    Will says:
    10:23 PM
    Hey baby, that was very good and really true, your seriously improving like I said before “if you keep up the good work and keep improving by the time your done with college everybody will want a Rhonesha Byng story or article”. The reason why it was really true is because a lot of teens and even some of my friends feel that they don’t need high school. I think its because of these rappers and music videos. They are encouraging teens to sell drugs instead of being a positive roll model, cause I feel that’s what every teen needs a positive roll model. In this literacy course I’m taking my professor had said a quote to the class that he heard before. He said something that was really sad but true to a lot of Afro American teens now a days. He said that “If you want to hind anything from black people just put it in a book”.And that’s something I needed to change about myself.In which I did from that day on, cause after hearing that that made me want to read more and more. In other words I’m proud of you.
    Keep Up The Good Work Baby.

    September 6, 2011

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