Below is the text of a NYTIMES article, is there even an argument as to why one shouldn't go small?
Graduation rates at 47 new small public high schools that have opened since 2002 are substantially higher than the citywide average, an indication that the Bloomberg administration’s decision to break up many large failing high schools has achieved some early success.
Most of the schools have made considerable advances over the low-performing large high schools they replaced. Eight schools out of the 47 small schools graduated more than 90 percent of their students. One campus of small schools at the old Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, for example, reported a 92 percent four-year graduation rate this month. In 2002, 40 percent of its students graduated.
The announcement appeared to solidify the first signs of progress in the city’s new small schools that came last year when a group of 15 schools that opened in 2002 graduated their first senior classes.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has made small schools a centerpiece of his efforts to overhaul the public education system in the belief that a more close-knit environment — and schools with themes like health, diversity, arts or architecture — will serve students more effectively than the large and often chaotic high schools they replaced.
On average, the 47 small schools reported 73 percent of their students graduating this June, compared with the city’s calculations of an overall 60 percent graduation rate in 2006, Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein announced yesterday.
The city and the state have traditionally disagreed about New York City’s graduation rate, and the state calculated last year’s graduation rate at 50 percent, below what the city reported. Still, both say that there have been jumps in performance. Mr. Klein said that using the state’s method of calculation, the 47 small schools had a slightly lower average graduation rate of 71 percent.
New York City’s results are closely watched because of the size of its experiment. Marie Groark, a spokeswoman for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has put millions of dollars into small schools, said the foundation was encouraged by the data released yesterday.
“I think it demonstrates that this problem is solvable,” she said. “Schools that New York City has taken leadership in developing are a critical element in any city’s strategy in improving high school graduation rates.”
To publicize the results, Mr. Klein went to the Evander Childs High School campus in the Bronx, long one of the city’s most dangerous and dysfunctional schools. It once housed 3,300 students, and in 2002, the four-year graduation rate was just 31 percent. This year, Mr. Klein said that three new small schools in the building graduated 80 percent of their seniors.
Mr. Klein, speaking in the library of Evander Childs, where, he added, his mother was a student 60 years ago, said that while there is much more work to be done, the data showed that the schools are working. “All indications are that we are making enormous progress,” he said. “I believe we’re going to see more and more students graduate.”
Others were more skeptical, pointing out that the small schools enroll few special education students or students with limited English proficiency, who typically drag down graduation rates.
David C. Bloomfield, the president of the citywide parent council on high schools and an education professor at Brooklyn College, said he was reluctant to draw conclusions from the small schools’ graduation data. “These schools are artificial environments,” Mr. Bloomfield said in an interview. Mr. Bloomfield filed a complaint with the United States Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights last year about the policy of allowing small schools to exclude some students during their early years.
Mr. Klein acknowledged that the small schools have fewer students with disabilities and limited English. But he said that in other ways the schools were serving an educationally disadvantaged population. He said that more than 90 percent of the students attending the small schools are either black or Hispanic, compared with the citywide average of 72 percent, and that more of the students in small schools come from poor backgrounds.
Ron Chaluisan, the vice president for programs at New Visions for Public Schools, a nonprofit group that has helped create more than 30 schools in New York City, said the special education students enrolled in the small schools have had a high rate of success.
“I think that the classes do take on many of the challenges that face high schools,” he said.
The first batch of small schools, which began opening in 2002, were funded by the New Century High Schools project, a $30 million collaboration among the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation and the Open Society Institute. The Gates Foundation has pumped more than $100 million into city schools.
Last June, the Department of Education announced results from the first graduating class of those 15 new small high schools that opened in 2002. Those schools posted an average 73 percent graduation rate, with a handful reporting high graduation rates and others having low rates. The graduation rate at those 15 schools was largely unchanged this year, the education department said.
Even as they were cheering the results yesterday, some experts wondered if a high school diploma is enough. The Carnegie Corporation announced at the news conference a $10 million grant to help high school students prepare for college, with the goal of doubling the number of students who enter college.
Michele Cahill, a director at the Carnegie Corporation who had previously been a senior aide to Mr. Klein, said part of the grant will be devoted to tracking graduates for the first two years after high school to see how well they perform.
“We want them not to stop, but to go on to the next phase,” said Vartan Gregorian, the president of the Carnegie Corporation.