In the wake of the city Department of Education’s (DOE) decision to shutter 19 public schools, Comptroller John Liu has initiated an audit of the very measuring stick that led to those schools’ demise.
On Tuesday, March 2, Liu announced that his office had begun a management audit of the DOE’s annual School Progress Reports, used by the agency to determine performance and progress, highlight areas in need of improvement and enable parents to compare peer schools.
Liu’s announcement came about a month after a contentious public hearing at which the DOE’s Panel for Education Policy voted to close 19 under-performing city schools, including Beach Channel High School in Rockaway Park, Jamaica High School and Cambria Heights’ Business, Computer Applications & Entrepreneurship High School.
“The DOE places extraordinary weight on the annual Progress Reports in making decisions from school resources to even the school’s very existence,” Liu said in a statement. “In an era where data has become the driving justification in such decisions, the real stakeholders – parents, teachers, students, community at-large – must be assured and confident about the accuracy of these high-stakes Progress Reports.”
The yearly reports, based largely on student performance, are used as a barometer for student achievement and can be a major factor in deciding whether or not to close a particular school.
The audit, according to the Comptroller’s office, will determine whether DOE procedures are sufficient to ensure that the Progress Report data is dependable and fairly compiled, collected and reported. It will also examine whether Progress Report results are comparable from year to year.
A spokesperson in Liu’s office could not say when he expects the audit to be complete and the DOE did not return a call for comment by press time.