Friday, March 20, 2015

Why DeBlasio's Plan to Apply Comstat to "Failing Schools" Would Be Disastrous

Today, in an article in the NY Daily News, NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced that he would begin applying a version of the NYPD Data system, Compstat, to  100 so called "Failing Schools" to put them under pressure to improve.

I could think of no policy that could be more misguided.

Compstat, which has put fierce pressure on precincts, and individual police officers to make arrests, if not for major felonies, then for "quality of life" crimes like turnstile jumping and drinking in public,  has played a major role in increasing police community tensions in recent years.

Not only was it the driving force behind the hundreds of thousands of "Stop and Frisks" during the Bloomberg administration, it contributed to the incident that led to Eric Garner's death - an arrest for selling illegal cigarettes on the street.  And despite Mayor DeBlasio's promise to "decriminalize" marijuana, Compstat has helped drive a disturbingly large number of buy and bust operations, almost all in communities of color, aimed at young people who sell marijuana.

Basically, what Compstat does is tell precinct commanders, sergeants and individual officers is that their careers depend on generating data- in this instance, large numbers of arrests. No matter that the arrests they make are overwhelmingly in poor communities, directed at young people of color, often involving non violent offenses. .

Now think of what this will mean when applied to so called "failing schools." Principals and teachers will be under fierce pressure to get their students to do well on tests, with their careers at risk if they don't succeed. Think there is too much test pressure in schools now?  If this policy is implemented, you can be sure that instruction in any school designated as "failing" will be nothing but test prep and that teachers and principals will view students as their adversaries.

Already hard pressed teachers will be pushed to the breaking point. Students lives will be made miserable

This is the last thing we need in public education in New York City

We actually need to get rid of it in law enforcement