The Bloomberg Privateers' Mis-education Policy's Ripple Effect: Degeneration of Science Education in Elite Hi Schools

This year's list of Intel STS semifinalists has just been announced, and the news for NYC public schools is both good and bad. 

On the plus side, Stuyvesant HS appears to have regained some of its former Intel mojo with 13 semifinalists, its best year since 2003 when it scored 19 semifinalists. In the last four years, Stuyvesant's numbers had been 11, 10, 9, and 5 (last year), creating a substantial drag on NYC public schools' traditional solid performance in the Intel competition. Bronx Science scored 8 semifinalists this year, the same number they had last year. 

It is worth noting that even for these two science-oriented schools, their average number of semifinalists in the five years before mayoral control were 13.67 for Stuy and 10.33 for Bronx Science; in the nine years from (January) 2004 - 2012, the Bloomberg years, those numbers hav e been 9.67 (down 29.3%) for Stuyvesant and 6.56 for Bronx Science (down 36.5%). 

The most alarming result of this year's Intel competition results is that Stuyvesant (13), Bronx Science (8), and Staten Island Tech (1) were the ONLY NYC public high schools with a semifinalist. The entire rest of the NYC public high school system -- including such traditional STS achievers as Townsend Harris, Murrow, Cardozo, Midwood, and Susan Wagner--had no semifinalists. Of course, this is only the culmination of a trend that has been readily apparent since Mayor Bloomberg test- and data-driven school policies have practically driven all but the most basic, Regents-required science instruction from our classrooms. 

The six years before Bloomberg (January 1998 - January 2003) averaged a bit less than six Intel semifinalists per year from public high schools other than Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech, and Staten Island Tech. Here are the numbers since Mike took over:

2004 -- 4
2005 -- 4
2006 -- 4
2007 -- 3
2008 -- 2
2009 -- 3
2010 -- 1
2011 -- 1
2012 -- 0

While this year's total number of semifinalists shows an improvement over the past several years, even the 22 spots earned by our science high school students is less than it was in all but one of the six years prior to Bloomberg/Klein. For the rest of the city's public high schools, Intel STS appears to be virtually out of reach any more. Michael Bloomberg has single-handedly managed nearly to kill advanced science research for most of NYC's public high schools, where once those students' achievements were one of our city's (and those kids') greatest sources of educational pride.

 As only George Bush could put it, "Great job, Mikey!!"

Steve Koss