View Full Version : Manhattan-UWS Parents say DOE mandates hurt PS 859 Special Music School

11-23-2011, 09:30 AM
From Insideschools (http://insideschools.org/blog/item/1000170-parents-doe-mandates-hurt-music-school) by Meredith Kolodner:
The departure of half the core teaching staff at an elite Upper West Side elementary school has roiled parents who worry test prep is destroying the school’s creative spirit.

In July, close to half of the parents at the Special Music School signed a letter decrying the “apparent shift in school culture” and the new principal’s leadership.

“This is not the same place it was three years ago,” said a 3rd-grade parent, who like most interviewed, asked to remain anonymous for fear of negative repercussions for their children. “There’s a lot of talk about data and test prep, and I didn’t used to hear that.”

The school, which until recently was a program at PS 199, provides an almost private-school like experience for musically gifted students who must audition in kindergarten and again in 5th grade for middle school.

“It’s been a slow erosion, from Technicolor to back and white,” said an upper grade parent. “We had a very rich environment, and we’ve been reduced to the DOE mandates and the Common Core standards. But the joy in learning and the creative element – I don’t see it any more.”

[E]ven though on average 95% of students have consistently passed state exams, parents say 3rd grade students spent two months on test prep last year, compared with two weeks in past years.

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