Posts from March 9th, 2012
March 9, 2012
- The Brookings Institution says the national impact of the Common Core will be low. (Notebook)
- A fruitless search for proof that the authorization process affects charter school quality. (Shanker)
- Inspiration from Saul Alinsky about the role of school improvement in combating poverty. (Sara Mead)
- A review of Chicago’s turnaround efforts found better teacher retention but flat scores. (Teacher Beat)
- Teacher survey says arts, language and PE programs are facing widespread cuts. (Curriculum Matters)
- Study: federal policies and state standards have caused “bubble kid effect.” (Inside School Research)
- Hundreds of students walked out of John Dewey High School to protest turnaround plan. (Ed Notes)
- Students from Schomburg Satellite Academy also walked out today, to protest a colocation. (DNAinfo)
- An English teacher describes the “roller-coaster” experience of receiving his TDR. (Schoolbook)
- Suggested lesson plans for teachers interested in the 2011 earthquake in Japan. (Learning Network)
- Nonprofit Classroom Champions is looking for teachers and athletes to pair. (Classroom Champions)
- Opponents of FL’s “parent trigger” bill said it could lead to for-profit school takeovers. (Answer Sheet)
- Nonprofit is accepting nominations of teaching improvement plans for annual prize. (Teaching Matters)
March 9, 2012
New York City’s top-ranked high school two years ago achieved its lofty score under a veil of academic improprieties that ranged from fudged student records to inflated test scores, according to a lengthy report released today by the Department of Education.
After a sweeping, 17-month investigation into Theatre Arts Production Company School, investigators concluded that the school’s leader, Lynn Passarella, was directly responsible for much of the misconduct.
Substantiating nine of 19 allegations against her, the investigators also concluded that under Passarella’s watch student transcripts were falsified, school funds misused, and non-credited staff were assigned to teach a loosely defined “Wellness” class that replaced physical education requirements.
They also concluded that Passarella had personally marked students present when they had been absent — altering a metric that factors into schools’ progress report grades. TAPCO received the highest score among all city high schools in 2010, insulating the school from criticism and guaranteeing Passarella a hefty bonus even as allegations about improprieties began to pile up.
The Department of Education removed Passarella from TAPCO this morning and will move to fire her. Chancellor Dennis Walcott issued a statement saying that Passarella’s behavior was “dishonest and disgraceful, and shows a blatant disregard for principal responsibilities.”
Even when the investigators did not formally substantiate allegations, they often concluded that improprieties might well have taken place. (more…)
March 9, 2012
The city’s charter schools are preparing to release reams of data about themselves — some of which could make them uncomfortable.
The data, prepared for release on Monday by the New York City Charter School Center, will include measures that are often used to promote the schools, such as student test scores, as well as data points often used to criticize them, such as student demographic information and student and teacher attrition rates.
The new report, a 40-page document called “State of the Sector,” will be followed by individual dashboards for all 136 city charter schools published on the center’s website.
The project was modeled after an effort by the national KIPP charter school network to hold schools accountable for more than the most-often-used metric, how their students perform on tests, by tracking other measures deemed important for what the network calls “healthy schools.” These include the percentage of students and teachers who stay in the schools year after year.
In advance of Monday’s release, KIPP C.E.O. Richard Barth was invited to the charter center to brief a room full of charter school leaders and share his insights from KIPP’s initiative. (more…)
March 9, 2012
Bolstered by the city’s unflinching plan to close John Dewey High School this June, students from the South Brooklyn campus added a walk-out to their growing resumé of protest actions this afternoon. (more…)
March 9, 2012
Principals of many of the schools proposed for radical overhauls this summer have begun trekking each Tuesday to the Department of Education’s headquarters at Tweed Courthouse to prepare.
There, department officials are briefing them on how to shepherd their schools through the next six months during a weekly “Turnaround Schools Institute.” The institute launched several weeks ago, after Mayor Bloomberg announced that 33 schools would be closed and reopened after having their leadership, programs, and teaching staffs shaken up under a federally prescribed process called “turnaround.”
The institute is an adaptation of the “New Schools Intensive,” a six-month training seminar that the department has run for principals of new schools for nearly a decade, according to Marc Sternberg, the department official in charge of school closures and new schools, who himself participated in the new school program when launching the Bronx Lab School in 2004.
The main idea, Sternberg said, is that the principals can work both with Department of Education officials and with other school leaders preparing for an unprecedented school overhaul process this fall. Multiple offices are involved in designing the programming, which borrows also from school overhaul trainings conducted in Chicago and North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg district and from efforts by nonprofit groups such as New Visions for Public Schools, which works with some of the city schools proposed for turnaround. (more…)
March 9, 2012
Confusion over where a new elementary charter school was supposed to be sited on the Lower East Side — and the co-location plan that ultimately emerged — has prompted widespread opposition from the community.
Up until four months ago, Manhattan Charter School II was bound for private space in District 1 — or at least that’s what its founders were hoping for and told local elected officials. But after those plans fell through, the Department of Education moved quickly to offer up public space in a Henry Street building that already housed three middle schools and a high school.
Now that plan is under attack by teachers and administrators at the schools, as well as the elected officials who originally were under the impression that there would be no co-location.
City Councilwoman Margaret Chin said she initially supported the school’s opening, and even helped connect the school to a couple of viable private facility options last year. MCS II was hoping to lease a building owned by the Archdiocese of New York, but lost out on its bid.
Chin said she felt deceived by the charter school after reading its original charter application for the first time in recent days. In the application, she discovered that the school ”seeks to be located in public school space” in District 1.
“I was shocked when I read it,” Chin said. “When they came to ask for help, they said they were looking for private sites only. I’m just very disappointed to find out that they intentionally, all along, were looking for public space.” (more…)
March 9, 2012
- Upstate schools are ready to lose the stigma attached to NCLB’s labeling system. (Press & Sun-Bulletin)
- Advocacy groups gave scholarships to some undocumented students as legislators weigh more. (Times)
- The state’s new principal evaluation requirements could be difficult for the city to meet. (GothamSchools)
- A fleet of City Council members and other officials convened to defend city teachers. (GothamSchools)
- The Queens veteran teacher accused of assaulting a 6-year-old student was charged. (NY1, Daily News)
- A theater program at M.S. 278 gives a spotlight to professional artists working in schools. (Daily News)
- Buffalo’s fight over weighing attendance in teacher evaluations hints at a truancy problem. (Buffalo News)
- New details are being set in Memphis’s planned urban-suburban district merger. (Commercial Appeal)