Posts from March 21st, 2012
March 21, 2012
- A look at blended online-offline learning at Mott Hall V Middle School. (EdWeek via Joanne Jacobs)
- A charter school head writes back to a student who wants cheerleading to replace gym. (Harlem Link)
- The good, the bad, the ugly, and the lessons learned in parent conferences. (Charting My Own Course)
- A suburban teacher suggests that the city pick up pensioned suburban retiree teachers. (SchoolBook)
- Teacher Stephen Lazar describes, and presents, a student’s award-winning slam poem. (GS Community)
- New York is one of a dozen districts in a program to learn from KIPP charter schools. (District Dossier)
- From finances to politics, five arguments against turnaround as an educational reform. (Insideschools)
- A study shows that even when less effective teachers leave, turnover has a high cost. (Teacher Beat)
- City teacher Jose Vilson says teachers are a front line to help students like Trayvon Martin. (HuffPo)
- A look at a developer of adaptive learning technologies that is working with publisher Pearson. (Shanker)
- A city teacher is calling on colleagues nationwide to show what they’re worth. (No Sleep Til Summer)
- A potentially useful teaching tool showing the relative size of things in the universe. (HTwins)
- Re-imagining the protest song “Which side are you on?” for the education crowd. (Mr. Foteah)
- A look at the dissenting footnotes in the report that pegs education as a security issue. (Answer Sheet)
March 21, 2012
Fifty different schools would be affected by the 18 proposals before the citywide school board tonight.
The Panel for Educational Policy is set to vote on 18 proposals to change how school buildings are used next year. All but one of the plans would introduce co-locations between multiple schools. Eight of the co-location plans involve charter schools and half a dozen involve schools that are set to or proposed to close next year.
A couple of the co-location plans have drawn criticism. Some elected officials in District 1 are upset that Manhattan Charter School II is aiming for public space after school leaders initially said they were hoping to secure private space. In the Bronx, students at two transfer high schools have been protesting the proposed arrival of a third transfer high school, a charter school originally conceived by the city’s former alternative schools superintendent. And the city’s plan to move some grades of a Harlem Success Academy charter school into District 3 has parents there worried about potential impact on area schools.
The panel is also set to consider 14 contract proposals. One of them is for a three-year, $20 million contract with seven nonprofit groups that have been working since last summer in the 14 schools that had been assigned to the federal “restart” model. Those schools had been receiving federal School Improvement Grants to pay for the partnerships, but the state suspended the grants earlier this year after the city and teachers union failed to agree on new teacher evaluations.
The Department of Education has said it would maintain the partnerships on its own and is now asking the panel to approve $6.5 million in public funds to pay for the year. The contract proposal stipulates that federal funds would support the partnerships in the remaining two years, indicating that the city is confident that it will receive state approval for its “turnaround” plans. Those plans dominate the agenda of the next panel meeting, set for April 26.
Rachel will be sending Twitter updates all evening from the meeting at Manhattan’s Fashion Industries High School. View an archive of the tweets below. (more…)
March 21, 2012
A slightly improved fiscal picture and a higher-than-usual number of anticipated vacancies mean more new teachers are likely to enter city classrooms this fall.
Two groups that prepare new teachers, the national nonprofit Teach for America and the city’s own Teaching Fellows program, both say they are planning to boost the number of recruits that they direct toward city schools. Together, they are anticipating hiring about 1,100 new teachers — far fewer than in their heyday but up by more than a third since last year.
The groups are by no means the only source of new teachers for city schools, whose principals also hire teachers trained through traditional certification programs and teachers who are already working in other districts. But their anticipated enrollment represents a barometer for evaluating the city’s teacher hiring climate, which for years has been dampened by restrictions introduced in 2009.
Then-Chancellor Joel Klein introduced the restrictions as a way to cut costs when economic recession kicked in and the city’s fiscal picture dimmed. They have not been lifted, but over time the Department of Education exempted some subjects and geographic areas and now says on its teacher hiring page that restrictions f0r the 2012-2013 school year “are unavailable at this time,” suggesting that principals might well face different or fewer constraints when filling open positions this year.
Why the change? One big reason is that the city’s finances are on the upswing: Unlike in recent years, Mayor Bloomberg is not threatening teacher layoffs this summer, saying that the city’s improving fiscal picture does not warrant them. In addition, the city is planning a massive organizational change, “turnaround,” at 33 schools that could free up as many as 1,700 positions for new teachers — many of which would fall under an exemption in the existing hiring restrictions. (more…)
March 21, 2012
“Don’t be nervous,” Academy for Young Writers’ history teacher Stephen Lazar told his 72 seniors last night. The seniors were buzzing around the warm cafeteria, prepping their final citizenship projects for the imminent arrival of evaluators, who would be assessing their work and knowledge. “They’re nervous to hear what you’re going to do with the world.”
The seniors had spent the last six weeks brainstorming problems that effect them and the world, researching different perspectives on those problems, articulating their own policy recommendations, delivering persuasive speeches about their point of views on the issues, and working in groups to compile all of the research and findings on display boards. The groups targeted problems ranging from gentrification to cyber bullying to prostitution.
Citizenship Night was the culmination of the Center for Civic Educations’ Project Citizen, a curriculum Lazar implemented to promote students’ responsible participation in government. Approximately 15 “civic-minded” evaluators – mostly teachers, a couple journalists, a few external education stakeholders – perused the 24 trifold poster boards, clipboards in hand, pushing students to articulate their problems and proposed policies.
On one side of the cafeteria, the group that weighed the pros and cons of legalizing prostitution was continuing the debate amongst themselves. (more…)
March 21, 2012
As an elementary school teacher, Nekia Wise has taken her students to the HomeDepot in Midtown and to a nearby Starbucks to learn about business, communities, and cultures. And when she read the materials the city used to introduce teachers to the Common Core standards last year, those lessons immediately came to mind.
In her view, the new standards represent a teaching point-of-view that she has used with her first, third and fourth grade students for years: a focus on “inquiry-based learning,” which privileges learning opportunities ripe for experimentation and analysis over the rote memorization of facts.
“They learned so much about Africa from learning about where the coffee beans come from. And about the lack of water systems,” she said. “[The Core] made me think about everything that I’ve already tried to do in the classroom with kids along the lines of real-world understanding and implementation.”
She and two Manhattan principals joined city officials and educator Deborah Meier in District 2 on Monday night for a forum to demystify the new curriculum standards for parents who feel the city’s curriculum pilot has left many in the dark about how teaching practices are expected to change. The standards have come under fire since their inception both for being too vague in some areas and too rigid in others.
Meier, a city educator and the influential author of “the Power of Their Ideas,” said she is particularly concerned that the Core will stifle students’ and teachers’ creativity, by prescribing a strict guide to what they need to learn, when they need to learn it, and how they will be judged using standardized tests.
“The word alignment is not something we ever used to use,” she said. “You’ve set up a situation starting in pre-Kindergarten in which we are all involved in a race.” (more…)
March 21, 2012
I never lack for reasons why I love my job, but none of them ever supersede the privilege of seeing young women and ment take hold of the views and positions they will carry with them into their adulthood. In rare cases, I get to bear witness to a student who not only attains a (more…)
March 21, 2012
- The crowded field of 2013 mayoral contenders has made UFT chief Michael Mulgrew popular. (Times)
- As state budget talks continue, Gov. Cuomo said he will negotiate on competitive school aid. (NY1)
- Cuomo’s education budget plan would boost public payments to private schools by 13 percent. (WSJ)
- A gym teacher at a Brooklyn high school was charged with groping a student. (Post, City Room, NY1)
- Williamsburg Success wants to reserve one in five seats for English language learners. (Brooklyn Paper)
- A former New Heights Academy official says the school’s founder engaged in financial misconduct. (Post)
- A mediator will be assigned to city-union talks over teacher evaluations. (GothamSchools, WSJ, NY1)
- State education officials named the first member of a team to take on cheating. (GothamSchools, WSJ)
- The Regents are saving Believe Northside Charter School but will close Believe Southside. (NY1)