Posts from February 2012
February 29, 2012
- Parsing the list of high schools with open spots for schools that might be good picks. (Insideschools)
- Teacher Laura Klein: My students’ high school options will turn out to be just okay. (SchoolBook)
- Contextualizing the Teacher Data Report release in a growing list of city ed policy missteps. (Russo)
- Breaking down how the city’s major print and TV news organizations have covered TDRs. (Capital NY)
- Responding to the TDRs, Leonie Haimson has foiled for DOE officials’ performance reviews. (Ed Notes)
- A review of teacher-rating reporting shows it’s easier to gather data than make use of it. (Atlantic)
- Diane Ravitch: The scores are just another reason why teachers are demoralized. (Bridging Differences)
- After moving to high school, a former middle school teacher seeks solidarity. (Miss Eyre/NYC Educator)
- New York turned in its NCLB waiver application today, along with 26 other state and D.C. (Politics K-12)
- An argument that test-based teacher evaluations unfortunately bypass principals. (Common Core Watch)
- Jose Vilson: Teachers of color are just like other teachers, but they also add something special. (GOOD)
- A teacher weighs female colleagues’ talk and what, as a man, he can’t say to students. (NYC Educator)
- A parent-teacher conference in a school with many ELLs takes a surprising turn. (Accountable Talk)
- Mayor Bloomberg and his L.A. and Chicago counterparts will talk schools on Friday. (Politics Now)
- A graduate of the city’s first KIPP charter school describes how it changed his life. (Yale Herald)
February 29, 2012
An earlier timeline for the city’s high school admissions process didn’t equate to a higher match rate between students and schools.
Data released today by the Department of Education about high school admissions show that 90 percent of the 77,137 eighth-graders who applied to high school this year were matched with a school during the first round of the city’s admission process, just under half to their first-choice schools.
But about one in 10 did not get into any school, roughly the same proportion as last year, when the city induced a flood of applications to top schools by listing schools’ graduation rates in the high school directory for the first time. Students who did not get a seat will have to choose from schools that did not fill up in the main round of the admissions process, likely because too few students sought spots in them.
The data also reveal at least small strides in two enrollment areas the city has identified as problems. First, the number of black and Hispanic students offered spots at the city’s specialized high schools inched upward, although it remains woefully low. Plus, students with disabilities will also get a second chance to win admission to a number of selective schools as part of a city initiative to require those schools to enroll more special education students.
The admissions decisions, which schools will begin distributing to students today, come a full month earlier than the city has ever before informed most students about their high school placements. That’s because the city shifted this year to a unified admissions schedule for the first time. (more…)
February 29, 2012
The New York Times’ first big story on the Teacher Data Reports released last week contained what sounded like great news: After years of studies suggesting that the strongest teachers were clustered at the most affluent schools, top-rated teachers now seemed as likely to work on the Upper East Side as in the South Bronx.
Teachers with high scores on the city’s rating system could be found “in the poorest corners of the Bronx, like Tremont and Soundview, and in middle-class neighborhoods,” “in wealthy swaths of Manhattan, but also in immigrant enclaves,” and “in similar proportions in successful and struggling schools,” the Times reported.
Education analyst Michael Petrilli called the findings “jaw-dropping news” that “upends everything we thought we knew about teacher quality.”
Except it’s not really news at all. Value-added measurements like the ones used to generate the city’s Teacher Data Reports are designed precisely to control for differences in neighborhood, student makeup, and students’ past performance.
The adjustments mean that teachers are effectively ranked relative to other teachers of similar students. Teachers who teach similar students, then, are guaranteed to have a full range of scores, from high to low. And, unsurprisingly, teachers in the same school or neighborhood often teach similar students.
“I chuckled when I saw the first [Times story], since the headline pretty much has to be true: Effective and ineffective teachers will be found in all types of schools, given the way these measures are constructed,” said Sean Corcoran, a New York University economist who has studied the city’s Teacher Data Reports. (more…)
February 29, 2012
A frequent critique of the city’s release of value-added ratings for thousands of teachers last week has been that the city has never rated other workers in similar ways.
On Tuesday, Mayor Bloomberg explained the discrepancy, according to Capital New York. In short, Bloomberg said, teachers are not widgets, but other city workers are:
This is not like police and fire. You think about it. Police and fire, we assign a cop or a firefighter to a station, to a post, to a firehouse, to a piece of equipment. And all of the firefighers and all of the cops are changed. Not only are they interchangeable, we deliberately move them around, because that helps their careers and they learn more things and they’re better able to perform their jobs.
Education is different, Bloomberg added. His comments channeled the 2009 “Widget Effect” report by The New Teacher Project, which became fuel for reformers to push tougher teacher evaluations.
“The Widget Effect describes the tendency of school districts to assume classroom effectiveness is the same from teacher to teacher,” the study’s executive summary says. “This decades-old fallacy fosters an environment in which teachers cease to be understood as individual professionals, but rather as interchangeable parts.”
February 29, 2012
- Mayor Bloomberg said the reports help parents make good choices. (Post, WSJ, NY1, Capital NY)
- Many parents say the Teacher Data Reports haven’t changed how they think about teachers. (NY1)
- Ratings for charter school teachers were released. (GothamSchools, SchoolBook, Post, Daily News)
- The Post says it’s inappropriate for Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch to back shielding teachers’ scores.
- The Daily News says any politician who opposes the ratings’ release is caving to union demands.
- Michael Goodwin: The data are flawed, but the UFT still shouldn’t have tried to stop their release. (Post)
- In letters, teachers weigh in on the reports and news outlets’ decision to publish them. (Daily News)
- The city has begun detailing its plans for schools set for “turnaround.” (GothamSchools, SchoolBook)
- A bill would give district parent councils control over co-locations. (GothamSchools, SchoolBook)
- The ROTC teacher at Graphics HS was arrested on sex abuse charges. (Times, Post, DNAInfo, NY1)
- The Queens school board rep wants parents to push the city for safer school bus service. (Daily News)
- Connecticut’s top court said it was wrong for the state to dissolve Bridgeport’s school board. (Times, WSJ)
- A national study found lots of community colleges place too many students in remedial classes. (Times)
February 28, 2012
- The teacher pilloried as the “worst in the city” got a standing ovation from her colleagues. (Edwize)
- A former city teacher who works at a controversial Chicago charter explains all. (Flypaper)
- A “below average” teacher at a high-scoring school writes about his ratings experience. (Insideschools)
- Mayor Bloomberg said he would oppose any legal change to shield teachers’ scores. (Capital NY)
- A city teacher says the union blew the chance to turn the ratings into a lesson. (Education on the Plate)
- A call for the UFT to stop negotiating with the city until Bloomberg leaves office. (Chaz’s School Daze)
- Pennsylvania is barring Philadelphia teachers from grading their own students’ tests. (Notebook)
- D.C.’s schools chief says districts need national standards to root out cheating. (D.C. Schools Insider)
- A city teacher finds little relationship between teachers’ added value in two subjects. (Gary Rubinstein)
- A parent argues that large high schools have value and should be nurtured by the city. (SchoolBook)
February 28, 2012
Confusion about whether the city’s turnaround proposals would amount to school closures can be put to rest.
Eight of the schools the Department of Education has said it would “turn around” are on the Panel for Educational Policy’s April agenda — as closure proposals. The schools are among 33 the city has said it would overhaul in order to qualify for federal funding earmarked for overhauling low-performing schools.
The eight schools do not represent all of the closure proposals the city will ultimately make. Other schools that are not yet on the agenda, including Brooklyn’s School for Global Studies, were told on Monday that the city had scheduled public hearings about their closure proposals for late March and early April. (The panel approved 18 non-turnaround closures earlier this month.)
City officials have said that they would move forward with turnaround at all 33 schools, even after the city and union settled a key issue that had derailed previous overhaul processes at many of the schools and after it became clear that the schools’ performance varies widely. Turnaround would require the schools to close and reopen after getting new names and replacing half of their teachers.
Thirty-page “Educational Impact Statements” for each of the closure proposals offer clues about what the replacement schools would look like. The statements indicate that the city would maintain the schools’ partnerships, extracurricular programs, and many curriculum offerings. The school that replaces Automotive High School, for example, would still offer vocational certification in car repair. Several of the schools would be broken into “small learning communities” that include ninth-grade academies, according to the city’s plans.
In the statements, the department also explains the switch to a more aggressive overhaul strategy from the models that most of the schools had been undergoing until the end of last year, when their funding was frozen because the city and teachers union failed to agree on new teacher evaluations. (more…)
February 28, 2012
When the Bloomberg Administration threatened to shut down a school in Assemblyman Keith Wright’s district this year, Wright vowed to create legislation to repeal mayoral control of the schools.
The city didn’t go through with the closure, but Wright is making good on his word — at least to a degree — by introducing a bill that would chip away at one of the mayor’s most controversial powers: the ability to install schools inside other schools’ buildings.
The bill would require elected parent councils known as Community Education Councils to approve any co-location proposal before it may go into effect.
Co-location proposals often generate heated debate within districts, particularly when the city is proposing to move a charter school into a district building. The CECs regularly play a vocal role in opposing charter school co-locations within their district schools, but they have no power to stop them or any other co-location.
Instead, the Panel for Educational Policy, which has never rejected a city proposal, must approve co-locations.
Parents, politicians, advocacy groups and representatives of at least three CECs rallied infront of Department of Education headquarters this morning to show their support for Wright’s bill, saying they hope it will pass because the CECs already must vote on zone lines within their districts.
Co-locations were the only subject of today’s rally; but according to Noah Gotbaum, a member of CEC for District 3, the CECs are hoping the co-location bill will be the first step toward legislation restricting the city’s ability to close schools, and eventually leading to the outright end of mayoral control. (more…)
February 28, 2012
The Department of Education released a final installment of Teacher Data Reports today, for teachers in charter schools and schools for the most severely disabled students.
Last week, the city released the underlying data from about 53,000 reports for about 18,000 teachers who received them during the project’s three-year lifespan. Teachers received the reports between 2008 and 2010 if they taught reading or math in grades 4 through 8.
When the department first announced that it would be releasing the data in response to several news organizations’ Freedom of Information Law requests, it indicated that ratings for teachers in charter schools would not be made public. It reversed that decision late last week and today released “value-added” data for 217 charter school teachers.
Participation in the data reports program was optional for charter schools and some schools entered and exited the program in each year that it operated, with eight schools participating in 2007-2008 and 18 participating in 2009-2010. At the time, the city had about 100 charter schools.
The department also released reports for 50 teachers in District 75 schools, which enroll the city’s most severely disabled students. The number is small because few District 75 students take regular state math and reading exams. Also, District 75 classes are typically very small, and privacy laws led the city to release data for teachers who had more than 10 students take state tests. District 75 also teachers received reports only in 2008 and 2010; the program was optional in the district’s schools in 2009.
Department officials cautioned last week that the reports had high margins of error — 35 percentage points for math teachers and 53 percentage points for reading teachers, on average — and urged caution when interpreting them. (more…)
February 28, 2012
- Keeping new evaluations private would require a legal change that some officials are backing. (WSJ)
- Teacher ratings caused many emotions. (GothamSchools, Daily News, WSJ, NY1, SchoolBook, Post)
- UFT President Michael Mulgrew attacked the ratings and the mayor. (GothamSchools, SchoolBook)
- A study suggests that small changes could make recess much healthier for students. (GothamSchools)
- Some of the teachers accused of misconduct recently also have low value-added scores. (Post)
- A Queens mother says she opposes the ratings’ release because the scores don’t reflect reality. (Post)
- A Washington Heights father says he feels empowered by having teachers’ ratings accessible. (Post)
- The Post says all opposition to the ratings’ release is actually opposition to accountability.
- Proposed changes to Florida’s school grading system would yield more failing scores. (AP)