Silent sting

P.S. 8 in Brooklyn Heights, a school with some of the highest test scores in the city, is considered the bee's knees in that part of Gotham; it is so popular, in fact, that its leaders recently decided to build a new annex to "accommodate the flood of students wanting to attend." Everyone seems to love the school-everyone, that is, except Joel Klein and the New York City Department of Education. P.S. 8 will receive an F on its school report card this year; Klein explains that the low grade is "based on its failure to move its students forward over the past year at a pace competitive with similar schools and the system as a whole." Klein is right to emphasize student growth over reputation and popularity. But does the city have its metrics right? It seems to Gadfly that slapping an F on a school that appears to be leaps and bounds ahead of others-certainly in the eyes of parents and educators-undermines the credibility of the grading system itself. Could we settle instead on a Gentleman's C, everyone?

"In Brooklyn, Low Grade for a School of Successes," by Elisa Gootman, New York Times, September 12, 2008

"At P.S. 8, Image Didn't Match Performance," by Jim Dwyer, New York Times, September 13, 2008