Posts from March 22nd, 2012
March 22, 2012
- Take Your Child To Work Day, set for April 26, falls during this year’s state testing dates. (Crain’s NY)
- A teacher frets about a beloved student whose skin color and attire might cause alarm. (NYC Educator)
- A student’s removal from his home by ACS induces a reflection on the transience of teaching. (Prelife)
- An anonymous parent and student decry their experience at a KIPP charter school. (NYC P.S. Parents)
- City schools were “notable” applicants for a federal Green Schools prize but didn’t win. (NYSED.gov)
- An education reformer extols the pricey but empowering American Girl dolls. (School of Thought)
- A progressive elementary school that lost its chance to open this year is on the path again. (SchoolBook)
- Parsing Ed Sec Arne Duncan’s praise for progress with School Improvement Grants. (Gary Rubinstein)
- A city teacher engages extensively with the question of how to improve teaching. (No Sleep Til Summer)
March 22, 2012
As a young adult watching Univision in the Bronx, Ana Banegas — now a Fordham University graduate student — was galvanized by the “Orgullo Hispano” campaign. Banegas, who immigrated from Honduras when she was eight years old, told her mother that one day she would be worthy of Orgullo Hispano, or Hispanic Pride.
Now, as a mentor through Fordham’s Mentoring Latinas program, Banegas can pass that vision to city students who are not so different from herself at their age. Mentoring Latinas, founded in 2003, pays college students to build relationships with Latina girls in the Bronx, with the goal of empowering the young women and encouraging them to aim higher in school.
In the last year, the city launched an initiative to help young Latino men find employment and perform better in school. Girls, who typically do better in school and are less likely to run into trouble with the law, aren’t part of the initiative.
But Latina girls need a helping hand, too. Mentoring Latinas cites statistics about Latinas’ high birth rate — more than half of Latinas have at least one child before age 20 — and high rate of attempted suicide to explain why young women need positive role models and receptive ears. The mentors and mentees typically pair off on Wednesday afternoons, spending time bonding while walking through campus talking about their lives and futures.
This week, they came together in a bright room on Fordham’s Rose Hill campus for a panel discussion featuring Banegas; Mairelys Alberto, the outreach programs coordinator at El Museo del Barrio; and Pilar Larancuent, a youth development coordinator at Graham Windham. The trio spoke to girls who attend Belmont Preparatory High School and M.S. 45 Thomas C. Giordano, their Fordham mentors, and Mentoring Latina sponsors — including representatives of AT&T, which partly funds the initiative through Aspire Grants. (more…)
March 22, 2012
More than 60 parents, teachers and students trekked to Chelsea last night to beg Panel for Educational Policy members to reject a slate of space-sharing proposals.
As usual, the panel approved all of the proposals — but when it came time to vote on a series of contracts later in the evening, three were tabled unexpectedly after several members said they could not cast impartial votes.
Three panel members who were appointed by Mayor Bloomberg said their ties to the City University of New York were too close to allow them to vote on contracts relating to CUNY. After they recused themselves, an unusual occurrence, four panel members who comprise a consistent opposition block also said they would not cast votes on the contract, making it impossible for the contracts to get enough votes to pass.
The panel did approve a $20 million, three-year contract for six nonprofit groups that have been working since last summer in 14 schools that were supposed to get money from the federal government through the School Improvement Grant program. That money did not materialize after the city and teachers union were unable to agree on new teacher evaluations.
Now the city plans to ask the state to restore the funds when it submits applications for “turnaround” at the schools — but the restoration wouldn’t happen until next year. The panel members okayed a $6.5 million payment for the partnerships for this year. The contracts will be canceled next year if the state does not restore the federal funds at the schools, according to a Department of Education spokesman.
The turnaround plans are not on the agenda until next month’s panel meeting, but they came up again and again on Wednesday evening. Several of the proposed co-locations were set for schools that could be closed and reopened under the turnaround program, drawing criticism from parents and students who attended the meeting. (more…)
March 22, 2012
Three schools left for dead by the city and state’s closure policies have received some life support.
Two of the schools are charter schools that had been set to close at the end of the school year and the third is one of 23 schools operated by the Department of Education that the Panel for Educational policy voted last month to phase out.
Late Wednesday, a Queens County Supreme Court judge issued a temporary restraining order against the Department of Education’s plans to shutter Peninsula Preparatory Academy Charter School at the end of the school year. The city announced in December that it would not renew PPA’s charter, saying that it had not fulfilled its performance promises. Parents and school leaders spent months protesting the decision and even floated a radical plan to hand the school over to different leaders.
But after the city issued a final rejection last month, the school’s board hired lawyers and filed for a restraining order last week. When PPA and the city return to court March 29, the burden will be on Department of Education officials to present evidence defending their decision to shutter the school, which outperforms the other elementary schools in its neighborhood.
“We took it a step further,” said Lisa George, a board member and co-president of the school’s parent association. “We got attorneys and we took it to the state. We did not accept no for an answer.”
The PPA decision comes a day after another charter school, Believe Northside Charter High School in Williamsburg, learned that it would remain open after its authorizers, the New York State Education Department, decided to extend its probation instead of following through with a closure plan. Northside belonged to the Believe Charter Network, which is under investigation by the New York State Attorney General’s Office for financial improprieties, and had ignored earlier warnings to sever ties with the network before finally complying with SED’s demands. Two other schools that had been part of the Believe network, Williamsburg Charter High School and Believe Southside, are still set to close.
And finally, parents from Satellite III, a middle school in Brooklyn, are making their case to State Education Commissioner John King as part of a legal strategy to force the Department of Education to reverse its closure decision. (more…)
March 22, 2012
- Amid pressure, city schools will cut ammonia-treated beef. (SchoolBook, Daily News, NY1, Post, WSJ)
- Mayoral candidate Christine Quinn has made making kindergarten mandatory a top focus. (Times)
- The DOE is set to release social media standards to guide links between teachers and students. (NY1)
- State Senate Republicans want to give private schools public funds for after-hours busing. (Daily News)
- The city’s prospects for teacher hiring appear to be improving after years of restrictions. (GothamSchools)
- The DOE found funding so low-income students won’t have to pay for AP exams after all. (SchoolBook)
- The city’s plan to relocate a school for disabled students has some students staying behind. (Daily News)
- The Panel for Educational Policy approved nearly 20 school co-locations. (GothamSchools, NY1)
- Two city students won tickets to a national spelling bee, including last year’s favorite. (Daily News, NY1)
- Teachers describe the issues that have them more dissatisfied than ever on a survey. (Huffington Post)
- Seattle’s school board voted to keep its relationship with Teach for America after tension. (Seattle Times)