The New York Post recently reported that the enrollment in New York City's public schools plunged from 1,040,000 in 2014, which was the first year of Democrat Bill de Blasio’s catastrophic mayoralty, to 890,000 in 2021, which is thankfully his termed-limited last year.
This mind-boggling, seven-year decline of 150,000 students, or 14%, is larger than the enrollments in each of America’s roughly 14,000 public-school districts, except for the 16 largest.
In 2000-01, which was the last full school year of Republican Rudy Giuliani’s extraordinarily successful, eight-year mayoralty, the NYC’s public schools enrolled 1,110,000 students.
Thus, during the first two decades of the 21st century, NYC’s public-school enrollment declined by a humongous 220,000 students, or 20%.
Between 2001 and 2009, I taught math at William Cullen Bryant High School in Queens, whose enrollment of 3,500 students necessitated that classes were conducted between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM.
The student body was roughly one-quarter each Asian, White, Black and Hispanic, and many were from immigrant families from dozens of countries.
There were no racial, ethnic, religious, or national-origin conflicts, and an Indonesian mosque is located opposite the main entrance.
Moreover, at Bryant High School during the first decade of the 21st century, there was also no abominable "Critical Race Theory," no "White Supremacy," no "Black Lives Matter," nor any other mandatory, neo-Marxist indoctrination for teachers and students.
My specialty was getting students, many of whom were juniors or seniors, to pass the State Algebra Regents, which was a graduation requirement.
The city’s best math students pass this Regents in seventh or eighth grade.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress, popularly referred to as the "Nation’s Report Card," tests students biennially in math and reading, both by state and in two dozen of the America’s largest urban school systems.
On the eight grade math exam in 2003, the second year of then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 12-year tenure, NYC students scored 266, which was four points higher than the average of all participating large-city school systems.
On the 2013 exam, the last year of Bloomberg’s tenure, the average score was 274, an 8-point improvement since 2003, but 2 points lower than the national average for large urban districts.
But on the next three assessments, on Mayor De Blasio’s watch, steady academic progress stalled, with a 273 in 2019, which is one point lower than the average for large cities.
In March 2018, five months after winning re-election, with a puny 726,000 votes in a city of 8.5 million residents, Mayor De Blasio selected Richard Carranza to succeed Carmen Farina as schools chancellor.
While Farina worked for more than 40 years as a teacher and top administrator in NYC’s public schools, Carranza had fewer than six years as the mediocre leader of the public-school systems in San Francisco and Houston, whose also declining enrollments are, respectively, 60,000 and 197,000.
In 2019, Mayor De Blasio and Chancellor Carranza, who finally resigned in March 2021, demagogically denounced "segregation" in the NYC’s public schools, which are actually much more integrated than Houston’s, and many of America’s other largest urban systems.
NYC’s schools are: 41% Hispanic; 26% Black; 16% Asian; and 15% White.
The public schools in Houston, which Carranza led for less than two years before decamping to NYC, are: 62% Hispanic; 23% Black; 9% White; and 4% Asian.
In June 2018, a few months into his abhorrent chancellorship, Carranza unleashed a despicable slur against the city’s Asian-American students, who are the largest group at the city’s leading academic high schools, including Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech: "I just don’t buy into the narrative that any one ethnic group owns admission to these schools. Either we believe the kids — Black kids and brown kids — can’t compete, or there is something wrong with the system that is not casting a wide enough net."
In fact, no "group owns admission" to these venerable STEM high schools, as the "Specialized High Schools Admissions Test" (SHSAT) has been mandated by the state legislature since 1971 as the only gateway.
Additionally, in June 2018, De Blasio and Carranza launched an unsuccessful campaign to have the legislature repeal the Hecht-Calandra Act, which requires the SHSAT.
By contrast, in 2012, after the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and other organizations filed a meritless complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, that the SHSAT was biased, Former Mayor Bloomberg, who has an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins, rejected their argument: "I think Stuyvesant and these other schools are as fair as fair can be…You pass the test you get the highest score, you get into the school – no matter what your ethnicity is, no matter what your economic background is."
The average scores for New York City eight graders in math, on the "Nation’s Report Card" in 2019, are: Asians, 308; Whites 295; Hispanics, 260; and Blacks, 255.
Advanced-level percentages are: Asians, 30%; Whites, 20%; Hispanics, 3%; and Blacks, 2%.
Since 12 points roughly equal one-grade level, Asian eigth graders outperform Whites by one grade, and Hispanics and Blacks by four grades.
Finally, the Democratic mayoral primary is June 22, and the leading candidates are focused on public safety, which has also significantly deteriorated during Bill De Blasio’s cataclysmic second term.
But if public education isn’t dramatically improved, if the racial/ethnic propaganda disseminated in the schools isn’t repudiated, if the SHSAT is not maintained, and if a nationally-renowned educator is not appointed chancellor by the next mayor, New York City's enrollment will continue its tragic steep decline.
Mark Schulte is a retired New York City schoolteacher and mathematician who has written extensively about science and the history of science. Read Mark Schulte's Reports — More Here.
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