Home > Uncategorized > Union City Redux

Union City Redux

February 14, 2013

Earlier this week I posted a reaction to a story in the NYTimes entitled “The Secret to Fixing Bad Schools” by Walter Kirp. Gary Rubenstein, a blogger who provides a valuable service to the education community in examining stories of “miracle schools” found that Union City was not quite as super as Kirp reported and reported his findings in a blog post today. He concluded that Union City was doing a decent job in meeting the needs of ELL children born in poverty, but flagged some underperformance in SATs, AP tests, and the high percentage (23%) of their students who graduated with an alternative diploma. It was in reading the comments, though, that I found the most interesting factoid: Union City, like most “Abbott Districts” in NJ, received supplementary state funding to assist them in their programming. That finding elicited this comment from me:

I just re-read Kirp’s article and did not see any mention of the additional money Union City received… good news in this article is that when supplementary funding is spent wisely and thoughtfully it can make a difference… That’s not nearly as newsworthy or inspirational as a school succeeding WITHOUT additional funding, but it IS more accurate…. The headline should have read: The Secret To Fixing Bad Schools: The Wise Use of Supplementary Funding… the question is: would the NYTimes be interested in publishing such a story?

The answer to that rhetorical question is: probably not!

I still find the story heartening and helpful. I know of many districts who have used the supplementary funding to but smart boards, I-pads, and other equipment that, in some cases, is completely un-used. Union City did it right… and deserve commendations…. but the extra funding HAD to help make that difference!

%d bloggers like this: