Posts from March 15th, 2012
March 15, 2012
- Former “chief mom” Martine Guerrier is running for Hakeem Jeffries’ Assembly seat. (Politicker NY)
- Thoughts on the fairness of charter school lotteries by the head of a charter school. (Mike Goldstein)
- An educator reflects on the challenge of getting started in the Common Core in math. (Charter Notebook)
- Andy Rotherham lists five things teachers could learn from the U.S. Marines. (School of Thought)
- Louisiana teachers got permission to use a training day to protest evaluation proposals. (Teacher Beat)
- An incomplete, redacted schedule from 2009 for Ed Sec Arne Duncan, released this week. (Russo)
- As the NCAA tourney gets underway, Duncan issues a stern grad rate warning. (Schooled in Sports)
- The city posted new help wanted ads for teachers, touting a potential $25,000 signing bonus. (Idealist)
- A father offers a long answer to his child’s question, “Why did you want to be a teacher?” (NYCDOEnuts)
- Touching notes that a teacher has received from current and former students. (Mr. Foteah)
March 15, 2012
The state’s system for pursuing allegations of test fraud is disorganized, outdated and ill-equipped to root out cheating, according to a independent auditor’s findings released today.
wA four-month, self-imposed audit into the State Education Department’s current test integrity policies found nearly two dozen areas where the department was deficient in dealing with claims where cheating could have occurred on state tests. The audit came months after U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan urged state commissioners across the country to scrutinize their test integrity practices following a spate of cheating scandals.
Among the recommendations made by the auditor, Hank Greenberg, was the creation of a new top-level office called the “Test Security Unit.” Officials said the office will be budgeted with $1 million annually to staff a team of seven investigators with backgrounds in law enforcement and law to deal with cheating allegations on a daily basis.
For the first time, state investigators will proactively seek out suspicious testing trends through data forensics and conduct their own probes, a change that Greenberg called a “paradigm shift.”
No office previously existed solely to investigate allegations and the audit’s findings suggest that SED does not have a realistic grasp for how widespread the cheating problem is. Until now, charges were logged and tracked through an antiquated paper-based system in an office that was ill-equipped to handle test integrity issues. Investigations were left up to local school districts, which had little incentive to comprehensively conduct such probes.
SED received fewer than 100 allegations per year from 2006-2011 and verified half of them, Greenberg said. (more…)
March 15, 2012
Teachers union president Michael Mulgrew told teachers to dress for a funeral today.
Teachers who worked at schools that the city has closed or is trying to close gathered at “Mayor Bloomberg’s Cemetery” — actually Foley Square, in Lower Manhattan — to mourn the Bloomberg administration’s school closure policies.
Joined by about 60 union members, the teachers displayed pictures of tombstones etched with the names of schools the city has targeted for closure, including Bread and Roses High School, Legacy High School for Integrated Studies, Manhattan Theater Lab School. (more…)
March 15, 2012
The Department of Education is moving to fire eight employees who continued to work in schools even after being found guilty of sexual misconduct.
The eight people were identified during a thorough review launched last month after multiple school workers were arrested and charged with inappropriately behavior toward students.
Chancellor Dennis Walcott said today that he was disturbed “as a chancellor and a parent and grandparent” by some of the “horrendous acts” that the review had turned up. He said the review had highlighted inadequacies in the teacher discipline process, a process over which the city would like more authority.
The review examined all school workers found to have behaved inappropriately since 2000 and referred by investigators for discipline. Walcott told reporters today that he personally examined about 250 cases and concluded that in some of them, appropriate action had been taken. In others, he said, the workers had left the system. And in even others, the investigations had concluded more than three years ago, meaning that it is too late for the department to issue a new punishment, even if one was merited.
Walcott said the department had alerted principals who supervise workers the department would prefer to discipline but legally cannot. Those people will be monitored closely in the future, he said.
“I am not going to tolerate any individual having any improper contact with any of our students,” Walcott said.
After the winnowing process, the department identified eight people – including four tenured teachers — whose punishments Walcott determined had not been adequate. (more…)
March 15, 2012
The Long Island principals who galvanized opposition to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s teacher evaluation proposals say they won’t let the fact that the proposals won legislative approval stop their protest.
Together, Sean Feeney and Carol Burris in October launched a petition critiquing the evaluation system that has garnered more than 8,000 signatures, nearly 1,500 of them from principals. The petition argued that the state’s evaluation regulations — which require a portion of teachers’ and principals’ ratings to be based on their students’ test scores — are unsupported by research, prone to errors, and too expensive at a time of budget cuts.
Those issues haven’t disappeared just because the legislature agreed late last night to turn Cuomo’s proposals into law, Feeney and Burris said today.
They said they would still run an ad featuring about 70 principals in next week’s Legislative Gazette, and they would still ask lawmakers to shield teachers’ ratings from transparency laws that could land the ratings in newspapers, as happened last month in New York City. More than that, they said, they would still speak out about problems they have identified in the evaluation system’s requirements.
“One way or another we have to stand up for what we believe in, and no matter what happens, we’ve stated and articulated our position,” Feeney told me this morning. “We’ll see what happens after that.” (more…)
March 15, 2012
Breaking her silence on the city’s plan to overhaul 33 struggling schools, Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said late Wednesday that she believes “turnaround” is a political strategy, not an educational one.
“There’s a fight going on here that has nothing to do with what’s going on at the school,” she said. “It’s a labor dispute between labor and management and has nothing to do with the kids.”
Tisch was referring to the stalemate between the Bloomberg administration and the teachers union that gave rise to the city’s turnaround plans. Bloomberg announced the plans in January as a way to get federal funds for the schools even though the city and union had not been able to agree on new teacher evaluations, a requirement of less aggressive strategies already in place. The turnaround strategy, which require the schools to be closed and reopened after changing their names and half of their teachers, has only deepened enmity between the city and UFT.
On Wednesday, Tisch visited one of the schools, William E. Grady Career and Technical Education High School, and said she was impressed by the changes underway, which she attributed to its principal, Geraldine Maione. The school received millions of federal dollars in the last two years while undergoing “transformation,” which funded extra tutoring, additional programs, and new technology.
“This is a school that is moving in a really fine direction,” Tisch said of Grady, which received a B on its most recent city progress report. ”This is the wrong message to this school at this time. Don’t be so dismissive of the efforts going on in that building.”
It was Tisch’s second visit to the school. Last week, she brought fellow Regent Kathleen Cashin for a visit that was scheduled after she met Maione in February at a principals union event featuring Diane Ravitch. On Wednesday, Maione said, Tisch and Cashin brought State Education Commissioner John King along with them. (more…)
March 15, 2012
A late-night, no-contest legislative agreement has brought changes to the state’s teacher evaluation system a crucial step closer to becoming law.
The deal also heads off protest by the evaluation system’s critics, including principals from across the state who had planned to ask legislators to make changes.
Under the agreement, the State Senate and Assembly agreed to approve revisions to the state’s 2010 teacher evaluation law proposed last month by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office and the state’s main teachers union, NYSUT. The agreement came during a spree of deals that lawmakers tore through all night and well into this morning, on issues as wide-ranging as the state’s pension system, congressional redistricting, and a database to store most convicted criminals’ DNA.
In large part because NYSUT had signed on to the framework, the evaluations legislation was among the least controversial issues before the lawmakers. They made no changes to the framework agreed upon last month.
That the legislature included teacher evaluations in the spree at all was something of a surprise. Cuomo had proposed the revisions to the law as part of the budget amendment process, meaning that they would be approved only when the state’s budget is finalized by the end of the month. Now, as soon as Cuomo signs the legislation, it goes into effect, and changes to teacher evaluations won’t be on the table when legislators haggle over budget items. (more…)
March 15, 2012
- A teacher at Brooklyn’s P.S. 17 used CPR to save a life during her lunch break. (Daily News, Post)
- A slate of test security proposals didn’t make it into the state’s 2012-2013 budget. (GothamSchools)
- The city committed to buying a building in the West Village to house a school. (SchoolBook, NY1)
- More than 1,500 people from across the state lobbied in Albany for school funding. (Dem & Chronicle)
- A Bronx student is one of 104 to win a $20,000 scholarship for overcoming obstacles. (Daily News)
- A worker at Cobble Hill High School for American Studies was arrested on sex charges. (NY1)
- The Post says the city has failed to keep Murry Bergtraum HS safe and urges even more police presence.
- Wisconsin became the latest state to endorse abstinence-only sex education in schools. (WSJ)
- Museums are expanding their education programs in an effort to provide experiential learning. (Times)