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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776
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Brooklyn Hebrew charter school gets F in N.Y. evaluation

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A Brooklyn academy touted as the model for a national movement of Hebrew charter schools received an F on its New York City Department of Education Progress Report.

The Hebrew Language Academy Charter School, which opened in 2009 and has 450 students in kindergarten through fifth grade, is one of 23 New York City elementary and middle schools to get an overall grade of F for the 2012-13 school year.

The progress report letter grade, issued to all city public schools annually since 2007, is intended as an overall measure of student progress, performance, school environment and success in closing the achievement gap, according to a guide published by the city’s Department of Education. An F lands a school on a city watch list and makes it subject to possible closure.

“As frustrating as it is to be wrongly branded this way, we know anyone looking at HLA holistically — not on the narrow basis of how one out of six grades performed on one test — will see it as a great school,” Sara Berman, the chair of HLA and of the Hebrew Charter School Center, a network of Hebrew charter schools, said in an emailed statement to JTA.

Robert Tobias, the former executive director of assessment and accountability for the city Department of Education, reviewed the academy’s progress report at the charter school center’s request and concluded that the grade does not accurately reflect the overall quality of the school. He also noted that the test-score data is based on only two grades.

Kim Nauer, who researches education at the New School, also criticized the evaluation, telling JTA that the grading system is not “not nuanced enough” and “openly confusing.”

JTA

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