By: Tahmina Alam and Rahima Nayeem

A Brooklyn School Saved Lives, and Some Now Try to Return the Favor

Bushwick Community High School has opened its doors to unprivileged students and offered them a last chance. It has become a haven for struggling 17-18 year old students. The teachers and staff there strive to turn these wayward students into graduates and full-fledged adults. Iran Rosario, a former student and now teacher at Bushwick Community High School fondly recalls his experience there as an 18-year-old, “Where would I be without this school family? I would be in jail. I would be dead.”

Recently, this high school has come under scrutiny by the Education Department and is now facing the threat of closing due to its low graduation rates. The Education Department has its system firmly ingrained in the “scientism of metrics.” It simply evaluates schools based on test scores and graduation rates, and often turns a blind eye to everything else the school teaches.

The article brings up the issue of whether a school should be evaluated solely on its performance on tests. Though the Education Dept sees that its overall performance is poor and the graduation rate is low, it fails to consider the fact that the high school takes in 18 year olds with “five credits to his name, the odds are strikingly good that he will not graduate within six years of his freshman year.” The Department’s focus on data often hampers the ability of teachers to ‘nurture’ young and troubled students.

They tend to overlook the fact that the school serves to do more than just teach academics, it teaches the students values, life lessons–things they need to become adults. “Bushwick Community High School is “effective,” teachers demonstrate genuine “expertise” and the “pedagogy is aligned to schoolwide goals.”

Is it okay for a school to continue even if its test scores and graduating rate is low? Is teaching for the sake of testing more effective than teaching for a wider scope?