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Klein Reveals How He Chose Top Schools

Last week New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein unveiled his formula for picking the 208 schools that will be exempt from the city's new mandated curriculum. The formula was meant to ensure a mix of both rich and poor schools on the list, and to guarantee the inclusion of schools with high proportions of black and Latino students. The formula sought to avoid choosing only the top-scoring schools, since they are mostly made up of middle-class white and Asian students. Education officials said that 40% of the students enrolled in the 208 schools on the list are black and Latino, and 55% of the schools are predominantly black and Latino. The formula divided schools into three categories--high, medium, and low need-- based on poverty, number of English Language Learners, and number of special education students. Each school was given a score based on math and reading test results, and then a cutoff score was determined for each category. The cutoff for high-need schools was 30 points lower than that for low-need schools. Schools not on the list can file an appeal and Mr. Klein's office will decide by April 1st whether or not to add them to the list. Jeffrey Henig, a professor at Teachers College noted that the formula is sure to infuriate some school officials and parents. "There's never going to be a way to defend that this is unambiguously the right way to do it," he said. The article, entitled "Klein Reveals How He Chose Top Schools" appeared in the February 14th edition of the New York Times.previous page