City Schools Blow It; Send Error-Riddled Stats To Federal Oversight Agency *UPDATED*

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From the land of the seriously hard to believe, a major statistical report by the New York city Department of Education, which oversees our public schools, to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights is so riddled with obvious errors as to be laughable.

The exhaustive report covers 2009-2010, but was released earlier this year. It gives overall and school by school data for the largest public school system in the country.

Consider: The Ed. bosses at Tweed Courthouse reported that of the 979,960 students in the system, there isn't a single one who receives free or reduced price lunch.

They claimed that of 1,530 schools, there are no charter or alternative schools in the city. And they say there was one student expelled for the entire year in the entire system, nor was a single student referred to law enforcement, or arrested in school.

They also claim there wasn't one student harassed or bullied in the entire system, and not one student reported any allegations of harassment or bullying, nor were any students disciplined for harassment or bullying.

Only 0.8 percent of students have limited english proficiency--an obviously wrong statement, and just 0.8 percent have disabilities. Hardly possible.

They also claimed that the student-teacher ratio is 11 to 1. Hah! And they say there isn't one student awaiting initial testing to go into special education programs.

Again, to be clear, the data was reported by the City of New York to the feds. The feds merely pasted it into a report, so it would appear that the responsibility for the errors lays at Tweed Courthouse.

There are other curious statements in the school by school data. For example, teachers at Canarsie High School in Brooklyn make an average salary of $411,800. And Edward R. Murrow High School's teachers made an average salary of $252,843. Wow! Bet that's news to them.

Also, at Canarsie, the city reported not one student is enrolled in SAT/ACT courses, physics, or calculus.

At Benjamin Banneker Academy, the city Education Department reported that the average teacher salary was $806,121, and the student teacher ratio was 163.6 to 1. Well, that certainly explains those near-million-dollar salaries. But it does not explain the fact that 320 percent of the school's teachers were absent more than 10 days of the year.

We know, we know, this all seems impossible. How could they get it so wrong? But, check it out for yourself here.

Someone mentioned the other day that there is good data, bad data and New York City data. Something to consider.

We asked for comment from the U.S. Dept. of Education and the New York City Department of Education. We are still awaiting a response.

The teachers union declined comment.

*UPDATE*

While confirming that the data for New York City was supplied by New York City, a U.S. Dept of Education spokesman tells the Voice today that the errors aren't necessarily the product of ignorance or bad faith, but rather, the kind of mistakes one might see in any large data compilation, especially one that is fairly new. (The full report contains data on 7,000 school districts across the country.)
 
"The civil rights data collection is a huge and complicated undertaking," US DOE spokesman Darren Briscoe says. "Where we see discrepancies between what data collection shows and what schools or districts say are more accurate numbers, we are working diligently to identify how these discrepancies occurred and how to correct them."
 
As for city education officials, thus far, they have not commented.
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