Posts from February 7th, 2012
February 7, 2012
- A teacher outlines what he likes and doesn’t like about the state’s teacher evaluation law. (DOENuts)
- Pallas: The evaluations pose deep tension between fairness and efficiency. (GS Community/Hechinger)
- The AFT, Randi Weingarten’s national union, endorsed President Obama for reelection. (Teacher Beat)
- But Norm Scott predicts rank-and-file members will be less likely to hit Allentown in 2012. (Ed Notes)
- A Washington Irving HS teacher offers a deeply personal argument against school closures. (Edwize)
- Legacy HS students’ organized closure protests were seeded in an after-school program. (SchoolBook)
- The vice president of P.S. 161′s PTA reiterates the school’s recent history as it faces truncation. (EdVox)
- An teacher finds many students with long commutes at a school facing turnaround. (Chaz’s School Daze)
- A list of schools in all four outer boroughs that might still have space. (Insideschools 1, 2, 3)
- The principal of Arts Media Prep describes how his school uses technology. (Learning Matters)
- A N.J. teachers union head who earns $500,000 a year had wise words for the poor. (Real Clear Politics)
- The Chicago Tribune yanked a comic touting the funding site DonorsChoose. (Romenesko via Russo)
- D.C. is launching a gifted and talented program, but not for the first time. (D.C. Schools Insider)
February 7, 2012
An annual caravan of charter school parents to Albany took place today with a specific mission: convince legislators to approve a bill allowing charter parents to run for the city’s local parent councils.
It’s a battle that charter advocates will have to fight without the Department of Education’s help. The city has never supported allowing charter parents to run for parent councils, even as it has encouraged the proliferation of charter schools and allowed them to operate in district space.
State law requires that each school district in the city field an elected parent council, known as a Community Education Council, to provide an avenue for parents to weigh in on schools policy. Some of the council’s duties, such as presiding over public hearings about co-locations, involve charter school issues. But the Bloomberg administration has constrained the councils’ authority and their only statutory function is to redraw school zone lines, which do not affect charter schools. They do not actually approve or reject co-locations.
Still, the CECs are seen as one of the few formal venues for parents to voice opinions about department policies, and charter school parents see the exclusion as an equity issue. They have convinced two legislators — Assemblyman Peter Rivera, a Bronx Democrat, and State Sen. Marty Golden, a Republican from Brooklyn — to introduce a bill that would reserve one of the 11 seats on each council for a charter parent.
“In order to protect our children and their continued access to a great public education, charter parents need and deserve a seat at the table to help inform the decisions about the schools in their neighborhoods,” said Valerie Babb, director of the Charter Parents Action Network, in a statement. “By supporting this legislation, our lawmakers will send a strong signal to families that their voices carry just as much weight as other public school parents in their districts.” (more…)
February 7, 2012
City students were among the hundreds of thousands of New York Giants fans who flooded the streets around City Hall today to celebrate the team’s Super Bowl victory.
I took a lunchtime walk near our Lafayette Street office to soak in the spectacle and encountered, amid the crowds, families who had pulled their children from school today for the ticker-tape parade along Broadway’s Canyon of Heroes.
It’s a practice that is not officially sanctioned but got encouragement from former Mayor Rudy Giuliani in 2000, when he said students should be allowed to skip school for the Yankees’ World Series parade, as long as they read a book about baseball as well. After the Yankees’ 1998 World Series victory, high school attendance was 72 percent on the day of the parade, down from about 85 percent on typical days.
The Giants have been less of a draw in the past. In 2008, the last time the Giants won the Super Bowl, school attendance fell by about 4 percentage points on parade day across all grade levels.
About 20 seniors from Queens’ Bayside High School had gathered at the corner of Howard and Lafayette streets after the festivities. (more…)
February 7, 2012
I’ve been relatively quiet in the ongoing debate about how best to evaluate teachers in New York City and across New York State. I’m not close to the negotiations and can claim no expertise on the political machinations outside of public view. At its heart, this seems to me a dispute over jurisdiction: Who has (more…)
February 7, 2012
This story originally appeared in Miller-McCune. Since this story was completed, New York City has said it would require Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School to undergo “turnaround,” which would cause the school name to disappear and half the teachers to be replaced.
On a hot, sunny September afternoon — the sticky kind so common in New York City that time of year — a tall, dark-haired young man with his shoulders hunched slightly forward padded into Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School’s back entrance and into a small courtyard. Moustafa Elhanafi sought the school’s principal. He needed her help. Not being a student there, he didn’t know what she looked like or where he would find her inside the massive, unfamiliar building. In the courtyard beneath the shade of a wide-leafed tree, looking for crafty students cutting class, stood Principal Geraldine Maione.
“I saw her, and I didn’t know if she was the principal, but she was wearing a suit, so I asked her if she was,” said Moustafa.
Maione welcomed him inside and listened to what he had to say. With his father beside him, Moustafa told Maione how, at 18 years old, he still didn’t know how to read or write. He had tried and failed at other schools, and he was willing to work as hard as he could to learn, but Moustafa said he needed help. After 15 minutes relating his frustrations, he began to cry. Maione, too, became emotional. She told him she knew just the person who could help. As if on cue, special education teacher Rosalie Dolan strode around the corner on her way home for the day, right into the tear-streaked faces of Moustafa and Maione.
“He cried, she cried, I cried,” recalled Dolan, relating the details in the thick accent shared by so many of the South Brooklyn school’s teachers. “I don’t know how to explain it; it was like a rainforest. I think we all had a spiritual experience that day.”
The trio’s first meeting that day launched Moustafa on an academic journey that has brought him tantalizingly close to obtaining a high school diploma. Outside of school hours, and without pay, Dolan began the painstaking process of teaching Moustafa how to read, one letter at a time.
That was in 2008, at the end of Moustafa’s three-year run at the Roy Campanella Occupational Training Center — known colloquially as the OTC — a school for developmentally disabled children. The New York City public school system — the largest in the world — has many resources at its disposal, but as Moustafa’s case suggests, it’s not always successful at plugging every student into the right ones. (more…)
February 7, 2012
- Rochester wants to speed schools’ closures because students are foundering. (Democrat & Chronicle)
- The city will appeal a judge’s order that it rehire a teacher who complained about students. (Daily News)
- After school programs that provide child care and GED classes are on the chopping block. (Daily News)
- A poll found wide support for Gov. Cuomo’s approach to new teacher evaluations. (GothamSchools)
- Another look at Manhattan Theatre Lab, an arts school that is facing a closure vote on Thursday. (NY1)
- Latinos worry that if P.S. 19 vanishes, so will Roberto Clemente’s name. (GothamSchools/El Diario)
- Every teacher is being removed from an L.A. school roiled by sex abuse charges. (L.A. Times, Times, AP)
- Detroit is set to name 10 schools it will turn over to state management in a new district. (Free Press)