Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Ever wonder what $16,212 buys you? In Brooklyn, that's how much education dollars are spent on each student at the very elite I.S. 187, as well as the not-so-elite M.S. 313, The Satellite West Middle School. But, I was curious if money can really buy success and by the looks of the numbers, the short answer is NO!

Despite a student/teacher ratio of 13-1 (pretty good for New York standards), M.S. 313, according to School Digger, ranks 622nd of the 810 middle schools in the state of New York. Just five miles away, I.S. 187, ranks number 2. There, the student/teacher ratio is 18-1.

M.S. 313

Total students: 285

Eligible for free lunch: 75%

Black/Latino students: 99%

Attendance rate: 87%

Teachers with
fewer than 3-years
experience: 36%

Teachers with Masters
degrees: 18%

Grade 6 English
Percentage "partially
or NOT meeting learning
standards: 69%

Grade 6 Math
Percentage "partially
or NOT meeting learning
standards: 23%

Teacher turnover rate: 30%

I.S. 187

Total students: 1000

Eligible for free lunch: 52%

Black/Latino students: 9%

Attendance rate: 97%

Teachers with
fewer than 3-years
experience: 5%

Teachers with Masters
degrees: 52%

Grade 6 English
Percentage "partially
or NOT meeting learning
standards: 2%

Grade 6 Math
Percentage "partially
or NOT meeting learning
standards: 0%

Teacher turnover rate: 6%

Now, some observations:

* Teachers are far less qualified at M.S. 313.

* It's obvious, the most educated are employed at I.S. 187

* M.S. 313 is a truly urban district, with an urban make up. A majority of students are black and Hispanic. While the majority of students at I.S. 187 are Asian and White. Parents of those students are generally wealthier.

* Despite a smaller class size, fewer students and equal financing, M.S. 313 greatly under performs.

* Teachers don't stay at M.S. 313 very long. The turnover rate is one of the highest in the state of New York, by teacher choice but more often because, as we've learned, of the schizophrenic nature of Principal Suzane Joseph.

Having said all that, let's be fair. Comparing M.S. 313 to one of New York's most elite schools isn't necessarily fair. Still, the numbers are telling. It says a few things. For one, Why should students in the elite schools always deserve the best teachers? Those who volunteer to teach at schools like M.S. 313 deserve bonuses for taking on a such a challenge. A principal needs to be installed that has the education and training needed to attract smart, dedicated and innovative teachers.
There are many already at M.S. 313, but often when they challenge teaching styles or attempt creativity and innovation, they are quickly removed, rather than rewarded.

This needs to change and it needs to start at the top. A principal, as well as the teachers, need to inspire the students to learn and excel. Elite or not, the fact of the matter is students are equally funded by the government at M.S. 313 and at I.S. 187. Yet, Satellite West Middle school gets the short end of the stick and so do the students.

1 comment:

  1. Thank You Mr. Weber for posting this story. The principal tries so hard to sell the school as a modern and front of the line school, well it isn't. Just this week students took a practice test and their weren't enough calculators to be given out to each student. So some students had to take the practice test later than others. All the while those that finished their test were forced to sit in the classrooms getting fictitious lesson to fill time. They were forced to sit in the same room for 4 periods as if this was elementary school.
    I thought the world might like to know, currently in the school there are two teen mothers who should be somewhere else going to school and taking care of their children but nothing is done about it. Both are about 15 years old and had their children this past year. One of the young unwed mothers started a fight during a student assembly with the whole school present. It didn't come to blows just yelling and screaming with administration present. WOW did they take blame. Of course not they blamed us for not having control. But weren't both Pricipal Joesph and AP Esperance in control. Did the child go home that day or suspended not at all. She was seen walking around the building later that day cursing and acting fresh. This same child on a different day left school with a friend to go purchase, get this, Chinese food because she was hungry. Just left and came back. Pretty secure school. Where is the money for that?
    I am sure she will be back in school after being told to stay home for a few days with the baby.

    You posted a great comparison here Mr. Weber. The money spent can't buy quality education when those who run the school are so disconnected from the staff and the children and only care more about how they and school looks than the treatment of its staff or children alike. The sad thing is because of the poor neighborhood too many parents don't come to the school and fight for the rights of their children. I bet you wouldn't have that problem at 187. The problems will continue to be ignore until someone comes and talks to the staff and the students for they know the truth. Its sad that 187 is getting done what we can not do for our children. Well, I wish them well at 187 maybe someday one of their graduates will come be the principal here at MS 313.
    Time to head back to class, if they catch you reading anything from this site you will severely reprimanded or they ask the children in secret did they see anything. Great huh?! Keep up the pressure Mr. Weber eventually the Vail will be lifted.

    I may be new but I am not blind.


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