Posts from March 1st, 2012
March 1, 2012
- A teacher reveals a respectful demand that works like a charm on students. (Miss Eyre/NYC Educator)
- Imagining if Socrates, the storied teacher, had to be measured by today’s evaluations. (ASCD)
- An educator says teachers just need the right encouragement to use new technologies. (Tech Learning)
- Researchers have found that children’s books have increasingly little content about nature. (Motherlode)
- Gail Robinson: If the city says education is a civil rights issue, why suspend minority students? (HuffPo)
- On the frequency of bell curves in education, and how efforts are underway to shift them. (Blue Engine)
- Aaron Pallas: The public shouldn’t know teachers’ ratings but should know the flaws. (GS Community)
- Even though teachers have found tons of problems in their data, the data won’t be revised. (SchoolBook)
- A City Council bill will require all kinds of city data to be made public — by 2018. (Gotham Gazette)
- A teacher is “waiting for the other shoe to drop” on Common Core implementation. (Tween Teacher)
March 1, 2012
On the agenda of the Panel for Educational Policy tonight: changes to schools in six buildings in three boroughs, the city’s plan for school construction, and regulations about how students are admitted to schools.
The meeting — one of two set for March — is sure to be mild compared to the last one, when the panel approved 18 school closures and plans to shrink five other schools after a contentious meeting that lasted until nearly midnight. But that’s not to say that there isn’t likely to fierce debate tonight, too. The panel is set to vote on a proposal open a Success Charter school inside the M.S. 50 building in Williamsburg, and some neighborhood parents are very upset about the plan.
The parents — who today filed suit over the network’s efforts to engage the largely Spanish-speaking community, which they charge was lackluster — are holding a 5 p.m. protest against the co-location plan. They’ve had plenty of time to refine their arguments: There were two heated public hearings at the school building about the co-location.
Rachel is at the meeting, taking place in Brooklyn Technical High School’s cavernous auditorium, and just as we did in January, we’re going to stream our Twitter updates all evening. (This time, though, we’ll save them afterwards so they don’t vanish over time.) (more…)
March 1, 2012
New York City schools erupted in controversy last week when the school district released its “value-added” teacher scores to the public after a yearlong battle with the local teachers union. The city cautioned that the scores had large margins of error, and many education leaders around the country believe that publishing teachers’ names alongside their ratings is a bad idea.
Still, a growing number of states are now using evaluation systems based on students’ standardized test-scores in decisions about teacher tenure, dismissal, and compensation. So how does the city’s formula stack up to methods used elsewhere?
The Hechinger Report has spent the past 14 months reporting on teacher-effectiveness reforms around the country and has examined value-added models in several states. New York City’s formula, which was designed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has elements that make it more accurate than other models in some respects, but it also has elements that experts say might increase errors — a major concern for teachers whose job security is tied to their value-added ratings.
“There’s a lot of debate about what the best model is,” said Douglas Harris, an expert on value-added modeling at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who was not involved in the design of New York’s statistical formula. The city used the formula from 2007 to 2010 before discontinuing it, in part because New York State announced plans to incorporate a different formula into its teacher evaluation system. (more…)
March 1, 2012
Each fall, thousands of runners descend on the Big Apple to run the New York City marathon. They’ve trained hard all year, and give their all on the course. Long after the elite runners have finished, they stream across the finish line in clumps, exhausted at the end of their 26.2-mile journey. In the middle (more…)
March 1, 2012
The city’s school board isn’t set to vote on the last of the Success Charter Network’s 2012 expansion plans until tonight. But plans for the network’s 2013 additions are already well underway.
In a letter sent last month to elected officials and community leaders in central Brooklyn, Success CEO Eva Moskowitz announced that she intends to apply for charters to open three schools in the area in the 2013-2014 school year.
One school would go in District 13, an area of Brooklyn that Moskowitz had originally said would house the school now set to open this fall in Cobble Hill. The two others would go in District 17, which includes Crown Heights and parts of Flatbush.
Already, the tentative plans are drawing criticism. The district manager for Community Board 2, which covers much of District 13, told the Brooklyn Paper that the community would be hesitant to embrace any such plan after Moskowitz suddenly opted out of her plans to open a school in the district this year.
“The board is not prepared to go down that road again,” Rob Perris told the newspaper.
City Councilwoman Letitia James, whose district covers large swaths of both districts, said she has grown wary of co-location battles in public school facilities, something that has accompanied nearly all of the Success network’s school openings. (more…)
March 1, 2012
In Room 307 of Manhattan’s Stuyvesant High School, 23 students spent a recent afternoon copying tables and number trees representing a mathematical problem-solving technique used in graphic design computer software.
The students, who all won admission to Stuyvesant by posting top scores on an entrance exam, listened raptly as their teacher, Mike Zamansky, walked them through the complex algorithm behind “seam-carving,” a process used in resizing images. Then Zamansky checked to make sure they understood.
“No problem? Seems reasonable? or ‘Huh’?” he asked, offering students the chance to signal by a show of thumbs whether they understood or needed more help. No one pointed a thumb down.
Zamansky has been teaching computer science since 1995, through a program he designed for students to follow from sophomore to senior year. Stuyvesant’s program is the only rigorous computer science sequence in the city’s public schools and one of the few in the country.
Now it is the inspiration behind a new city high school that aims to change that.
Founded by an influential venture capitalist with deep ties to the technology industry and a young principal fresh from the city’s training program, the Academy for Software Engineering will be the city’s first school to focus on software engineering. The goal is to extend the approach of Zamansky’s classes — which teach problem-solving, network communications, and programming language literacy — to any student in the city, even if they can’t make the cut for Stuyvesant or don’t even have a computer at home. (more…)
March 1, 2012
- High school admit data showed a slight uptick in diversity at elite schools. (GothamSchools, Times, AP)
- The school ranked first most often was again Baruch College Campus High School. (Insideschools, Post)
- Queens parents and politicians don’t like the city’s plans to turn around local schools. (Daily News)
- Students at John Dewey HS say they’re being bullied and the city won’t let them transfer. (Daily News)
- Williamsburg parents are suing over Success Charter Network’s engagement efforts. (Brooklyn Paper)
- An appeals court ruled churches should be allowed to use city school buildings until June. (NY1, Times)
- A charter school version of Eagle Academy, the city’s network of boys schools, will open in Newark. (AP)
- A judge did not require bail for the latest city school worker accused of sexual misconduct. (Post)
- San Francisco dropped seniority layoffs in a limited policy designed to protect recent hires. (Chronicle)
- Los Angeles could soon do away with a policy that removes misconduct files after four years. (L.A. Times)
- Los Angeles is also revising a draconian truancy law that meant students were arrested at school. (NPR)