New York City high school students denied math and English classes

November 30, 2012

In a situation that may harm their chances of receiving scholarships for college, some students at a Bronx high school won't be admitted into math or English classes this year, according to news reports. The Bronx High School for Medical Science states that its resources are too limited to teach math or English classes to students who haven't already been admitted to its honors problem. The bereft students will be allowed to make up the credits at a later date, students and teachers explained to DNAinfo.

The article features a pair of students who, concerned about how a lack of math or English work will affect their SAT scores and chances of getting into a four-year college, met with the school's guidance counselor, who repeated the school's claims that there simply aren't enough teachers to cover all the students. The school's principal declined the opportunity to comment from DNAinfo, and a representative from the Department of Education told the news provider that the five English and six math teachers on staff at Medical Science should be enough to provide classes for all.

A former teacher refuted the notion that Medical Science consistently keeps enough teachers among its ranks to teach all its students.

"Since the school is always short on teachers and rooms, kids miss out on a competitive education,” wrote Valerie Harmon, a former Medical Science teacher, in an e-mail to the news source. "I am very sorry for those kids, because they truly are heroic, and intelligent and deserving of an enriching education."

DNAinfo notes that Medical Science high is an very selective institution that only accepts less than 1 percent of applicants. Although admission to the honors program is designed to lead to an early graduation, a parent who spoke with the news source said the school seems to prioritize students who attended the Medical Science middle school when it comes to honors program enrollment.

Funding: a statewide problem in New York
In a follow-up article The Huffington Post reported on a study from the New York State Council of School Superintendents that showed that almost half think, at the rate they're going, their schools will be bankrupt within four years.

"It speaks to how budget constraints can limit a school’s ability to prepare kids for college," Megan Hester, collaborative coordinator at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, told the source when asked for a comment regarding the Medical Science school. "Schools should be concerned about getting students to that level, not just getting them sufficient credits."

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