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May 24, 2013
As Lamont Sadler moonwalked up to the microphone, his classmates clapped and cheered for their senior class president.
“When I say hee hee, you say ow!” Sadler yelled to the auditorium full of students and teachers who chanted in reply.
The exuberant display was part of Uncommon Charter High School’s “signing day” on Thursday to celebrate the college acceptances that its first graduating class of 28 students nabbed. The students were individually recognized for their achievements, walked across the stage to a song of their choice, and then announced what college they would attend in the fall. While on stage, students also signed a contract that promised they would succeed in and graduate from college.
May 24, 2013
Starting today, the Department of Education plans to release annual reports about teacher retention that detail — by their performance ratings — which teachers resign, retire, stay on, are fired, or are promoted.
“Having detailed information about teacher performance and retention at their fingertips will better enable our principals to develop staff and retain our best and brightest,” Chancellor Dennis Walcott said in a statement.
The “Smart Retention” reports were inspired by a report released last year by TNTP, a group that advocates for aggressive changes to hiring and firing practices in public schools. The TNTP report, called the “Irreplaceables,” found that weak and strong teachers leave school districts at roughly the same rate and argued that districts could adopt low-cost strategies to hold on to top performers.
The reports cite the TNTP study and show retention and attrition patterns by their growth scores, which the state is calculating for some teachers, and their ratings under the city’s current evaluation system. Principals can also see the “exit paths” for the different categories of teachers, look at how their schools’ patterns have changed over time, and compare what happens at their school to what happens across the city. (more…)
May 24, 2013
- The state is recruiting seniors at some high schools to pilot McGraw-Hill’s GED-like exam, for pay. (WSJ)
- Anthony Weiner set out support for co-locations and other school policies. (GothamSchools, SchoolBook)
- The UFT has not yet endorsed a mayoral candidate but has given its nod to 13 others. (GothamSchools)
- Students at Brooklyn’s J.H.S. 278 were arrested for releasing pepper spray in the cafeteria. (Daily News)
- As we reported, some principals are protesting state tests by not using scores in admission. (Daily News)
- The Panel for Educational Policy approved the school bus contracts that spurred the bus strike. (NY1)
- Gonzalez: A teacher and students are working to honor slaves buried in a park near their school. (News)
- A Bronx teacher is suing to get her job back after being fired over remarks that a student reported. (Post)
- A Long Island high school is disciplining students who used Facebook to share test answers. (Post)
May 23, 2013
- Former school leaders from Queens argue that not all students need academic diplomas. (Indypendent)
- Middle and high school robotics students are helping to fuel the city’s startup culture. (Epoch Times)
- Merryl Tisch, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and big funders were at Success Academy’s gala. (Bloomberg)
- A projection of the drops that could be seen in proficiency rates on this year’s tests. (GS Community)
- As usual, U.S. leads the world in bachelor degrees, but the margin is shrinking. (Hechinger Report)
- A veteran teacher recalls that Bill Thompson has not always been a friend to the UFT. (NYC Educator)
- A longtime education activist, “both praised and vilified,” passed away this week. (Ed Notes Online)
- A cancer-ridden teacher was busted for dealing meth, sort of like TV’s Walter White. (Post)
May 23, 2013
Anthony Weiner’s views on education policy became a little clearer on his first full day on the campaign trail, when he told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer that he supports letting charter schools use space in public school buildings.
The issue puts him at odds with several of his Democratic competitors for mayor, who have said they would impose a moratorium on the space-sharing arrangements. Co-location has induced tension in many school buildings, but it has also allowed the city’s charter school sector to thrive, and whether to continue the practice is a major decision facing the next mayor.
In fact, on the issue of school choice, Weiner suggested that his support extends well beyond the public school system. He proposed helping non-public schools — he cited cash-strapped Catholic schools in particular — with publicly funded support that they are already entitled to, including technology, health care and security. He first floated the idea in his 2009 policy book “Keys to the City,” which he re-released last month.
May 23, 2013
The United Federation of Teachers might not have endorsed a mayoral candidate yet, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been busy picking politicians to support. The union has endorsed candidates in more than 40 local and citywide races, too.
The UFT endorsed 13 City Council candidates in their Democratic primary races at its Delegate Assembly meeting Wednesday night. Seven of them are running for seats whose current occupants cannot run again because of term limits. The union plans to endorse candidates for all 19 open council seats.
The union endorsed state Assemblywoman Inez Barron in the primary for the 42nd district, an East New York seat that has been filled by her husband Charles for the last 12 years. It’s support that Charles Barron could not secure last year while running against Hakeem Jeffries in a Democratic primary for Congress. In that race, the UFT opted not to endorse either candidate.
The UFT is also supporting one of its own in the 47th district primary, which encompasses several southern Brooklyn neighborhoods. Mark Treyger, a civics teacher and union delegate from New Utrecht High School, officially got the union’s support on Wednesday evening. (more…)
May 23, 2013
After hearing candidates pitch ideas to teachers at union-run forums across the city over the past few weeks, members apparently heard enough. They voted to scratch plans to open up Wednesday’s union-wide Delegate Assembly meeting to comments. The meeting instead adjourned after UFT political director Paul Egan explained what laid ahead in the final stretch as the union prepared to make an endorsement.
The workload includes a lot more vetting, with viability as a crucial quality, Egan explained, according to several people who attended last night’s meeting at 52 Broadway. Over the next four weeks, Egan said his team of political consultants, which includes the firm Red Horse Strategies, will analyze fundraising and expenditures, who’s advising and consulting for the candidates, and lots of poll data.
There’s one more task, too. The union said it plans to meet with and interview Anthony Weiner, who formally announced his candidacy on Wednesday.
As usual, the Delegate Assembly meeting was closed to the press. But afterward, many delegates were eager to talk about their opportunity to play a role in the outcome of a monumental election. (more…)
May 23, 2013
- A Queens 12-year-old committed suicide, citing bullying by I.S. 109 peers as a cause for distress. (Post)
- Chicago’s school board voted to close 49 schools, the most in a single year. (Tribune, Sun-Times, Times)
- City teachers discussed the mayoral candidates at the teachers union’s monthly meeting. (SchoolBook)
- As the UFT endorsement nears, former chief Randi Weingarten backs Bill Thompson. (GothamSchools)
- The latest entrant to the mayoral race, Anthony Weiner, has a spare education record. (GothamSchools)
- An appeals court backed the city’s firing of a teacher who offered good grades for support. (Daily News)
- The heads of City Year New York cite growing up in the Bronx as reasons they lead well. (Daily News)
- Community colleges are getting less federal funding, even as they enroll more students. (Times)
- Boston charter schools have higher test scores but lower graduation rates, a new study funds. (Globe)t
- Leaders in upstate districts where voters rejected school budgets say taxpayers are tired. (Times-Union)
- D.C. is requiring all teachers at two struggling schools to reapply for their jobs. (Washington Post)
May 22, 2013
- Chicago’s appointed school board approved 50 school closures, over loud protest. (Tribune, Sun-Times)
- A local argues that cutting communities out of the closure conversation will impede reform. (Atlantic)
- School science projects strike again, this time when one was mistaken for a bomb on a bus. (HuffPo)
- The latest issue of the “Public School Press,” a promotional paper about the city’s schools, is out. (DOE)
- When student dancing veers almost out of on control, a school official kicks up his own feet. (Upworthy)
- To provide low-cost schooling to children in developing countries, schools turn to large classes. (Fixes)
- Brooklyn charter schools offer kids unique opportunities to study Greek and Hebrew. (Brooklyn Ink)
- This “listicle” is meant to help readers figure out if they have been in the classroom too long. (Buzzfeed)
- A teacher calls the city’s threat to shutter the few remaining teacher cafeterias “callous.” (NYC Educator)
- Districts might or might not be losing interest in winning federal Race to the Top funds. (Politics K-12)
- Marcus Winters: In New York, people paradoxically like both school reform and teachers. (City Journal)
May 22, 2013
More principals have committed to ignoring test scores when selecting students for admission, in a growing show of concern about the state’s new Common Core-aligned reading and math tests.
Principals began making the commitment last week, but the number grew on Tuesday when letters explaining the policy change went out to ”Elementary and Middle School Families, Students, Teachers, Parent Coordinators, Counselors and Principals” who might be affected by it. Now, 15 principals of selective schools across the city have said they will not consider scores on tests that they say did not meet their expectations.
“We appreciate that officials at the New York City Department of Education seem open to hearing our concerns and we hope for the same response from the state,” the letter says.
The principals are part of a larger group who sent a letter to State Education Commissioner John King this week expressing concerns about the tests. They say they want the state’s tests to be shorter, open to public scrutiny, and more aligned to the Common Core, which emphasizes critical thinking and problem solving over recall and the completion of rote processes. (more…)