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Credit Problems

A formal credit recovery policy is considered after questions arise in New York City schools.

Sometimes credit recovery programs, like the students they are designed to help, need help themselves. That’s the case in the New York City schools where, according to The New York Times, students in some schools have eased through programs apparently without making any academic progress.

As the paper reported in a July 13 article, a nearly illiterate student at one high school went through after-school remediation programs and was promoted to 12th grade still unable to write full sentences or read a line of text, according to his teachers. At another school, teachers said several students got credit for clicking through questions on a computer screen until they got the right answer, the Times reported.

Without discounting the article’s findings, Andrew Jacob, a spokesman for the New York City Department of Education, says there is “no evidence that schools on a widespread basis are granting credit when they shouldn’t.” He points out that the New York State Education Department is considering a formal credit recovery policy that it developed in consultation with districts, including New York City.

Among other things, the proposed policy calls for school-based panels—to include the principal, three teachers and another administrator—to approve all credit recovery programs. Such programs would have to consider each student’s needs and course completion deficiencies and be aligned with the state Board of Regents’ learning standards. The policy also would require that a teacher certified in a particular subject oversee students trying to recover credits in that subject. In June, the state agency sent its draft policy out for comment to district superintendents, principals, other school officials, education and professional associations, parents and teachers. The department is expected to implement new credit recovery regulations this fall.