Posts from February 23rd, 2012
February 23, 2012
- A UFT chapter leader recalls what he says was a sunnier time for teacher evaluations. (Labor Lessons)
- More experts warn about problems with the Teacher Data Reports the city is releasing. (DNAInfo)
- A roundup of city Teacher Data Reports debate — past, present, and probably future. (Teacher Beat)
- The New York Times will publish the reports tomorrow and wants teachers to weigh in. (SchoolBook)
- A look at whether value-added models like the TDRs’ controls for students’ socioeconomics. (Shanker)
- Stepping inside Opportunity Charter School, which won the right to stay open for two years. (DNAInfo)
- The fight over Williamsburg Success Charter School is between old-timers and gentrifiers. (Capital NY)
- Teacher Stephen Lazar is helping to open the sustainability-themed Harvest School. (Outside the Cave)
- A Queens school aide was charged with molesting students in the fifth arrest this month. (City Room)
- D.C. wants to be able to authorize charter schools again; it lost the right in 2007. (D.C. Schools Insider)
- A former textbook developer tells all about the state of education publishing. (Salon via Core Knowledge)
- Teachers at an L.A. school are attempting turnaround with a new curriculum. (Zocalo Public Square)
February 23, 2012
The Department of Education is cracking down on graduation rate inflation, following an internal audit that uncovered errors and possible evidence of cheating at 60 high schools.
The audits, conducted by the department’s internal auditor, scrutinized data at 60 high schools that had posted unusual or striking results. Of the 9,582 students who graduated from the schools in 2010, the audit found that 292 did not have the exam grades or course credits required under state regulations.
At one school, Landmark High School, 35 students had graduated without earning all of the academic credits required for graduation. At another, Pablo Neruda Academy for Architecture and World Studies, 19 students had gotten credits through “credit recovery” that the school could not prove complied with state requirements. At two schools, Fort Hamilton High School and Hillcrest High School, an examination of Regents exams uncovered problems in the scoring of multiple students’ tests.
Department officials said they had asked Special Commissioner of Investigation Richard Condon to launch inquiries at nine schools based on issues raised during the audits. (Schools where investigations were already underway were excluded from the audit.)
Students who graduated without sufficient credits won’t have their diplomas revoked, officials said. And schools won’t have their graduation rates revised to reflect the audited numbers, either, except potentially where the city found schools had purged students from their rolls without confirming that they had enrolled elsewhere.
Instead, department officials are cracking down on loopholes in city and state regulations about how to graduate students. Among the major policy changes are revisions to Regents exam scoring procedures, new limitations on “credit recovery” options for students who fail courses, and an alteration to the way schools determine whether a student has met graduation requirements.
The changes reflect a new understanding of the degree to which principals had become confused with — or, in some cases, ignorant of — graduation policies. They also reflect an unusual acknowledgment from the Department of Education that its strategies for delivering support to schools and holding them accountable are not always successful. (more…)
February 23, 2012
Tomorrow’s planned release of 12,000 New York City teacher ratings raises questions for the courts, parents, principals, bureaucrats, teachers — and one other party: news organizations. The journalists who requested the release of the data in the first place now must decide what to do with it all.
At GothamSchools, we joined other reporters in requesting to see the Teacher Data Reports back in 2010. But you will not see the database here, tomorrow or ever, as long as it is attached to individual teachers’ names.
The fact is that we feel a strong responsibility to report on the quality of the work the 80,000 New York City public school teachers do every day. This is a core part of our job and our mission.
But before we publish any piece of information, we always have to ask a question. Does the information we have do a fair job of describing the subject we want to write about? If it doesn’t, is there any additional information — context, anecdotes, quantitative data — that we can provide to paint a fuller picture?
In the case of the Teacher Data Reports, “value-added” assessments of teachers’ effectiveness that were produced in 2009 and 2010 for reading and math teachers in grades 3 to 8, the answer to both those questions was no.
We determined that the data were flawed, that the public might easily be misled by the ratings, and that no amount of context could justify attaching teachers’ names to the statistics. When the city released the reports, we decided, we would write about them, and maybe even release Excel files with names wiped out. But we would not enable our readers to generate lists of the city’s “best” and “worst” teachers or to search for individual teachers at all.
It’s true that the ratings the city is releasing might turn out to be powerful measures of a teacher’s success at helping students learn. The problem lies in that word: might. (more…)
February 23, 2012
- Bill Gates: Releasing teachers’ performance ratings would be a “big mistake,” educationally. (Times)
- A city charter school’s closure has spurred talk about how to help struggling charters. (GothamSchools)
- On average, five students a day were arrested in schools last fall. (GS, Post, Daily News, SB, NY1)
- Five career and technical schools will open in the Bronx, replacing ones that are closing. (Daily News)
- Parents in Queens want the city to keep its promise to open a citywide gifted middle school. (Daily News)
- Follow-up was not swift or even present after a mother said her autistic son was abused at P.S. 94. (NY1)
- A tour of DOE headquarters soothed parents whose local school will open there. (Downtown Express)
- Five state school districts had federal grants restored to their schools, but not the city. (GothamSchools)
- Chicago’s school board voted to overhaul or close 17 struggling schools. (WSJ, Tribune, Sun-Times)