Posts from April 6th, 2012
April 6, 2012
- As we reported in March, the longtime principal of August Martin HS was pulled. (Queens Chronicle)
- Bloomberg suggested that arbitrators in misconduct hearings ruled in favor of the union. (Politicker)
- A psychologist’s prescription for parents who want to help their children with homework. (Answer Sheet)
- An art teacher encourages students to incorporate design and math lessons into their work. (Schoolbook)
- The rating for a film about bullying was lowered, meaning teenagers can finally watch it. (MSNBC)
- Francis Lewis High School is hosting an ‘unconference’ on teaching for city educators in May. (EdCamp)
- When lured with cash, students excelled in Advanced Placement programs. (Inside School Research)
- Tennessee lawmakers voted to ban teacher evaluation data from public, parents. (Commercial Appeal)
- A new study suggests that Upper West Side school overcrowding could soon get even worse. (DNA Info)
- Chicago Teachers Union leaders in contract talks say members would support a strike. (Tribune)
- D.C. officials are celebrating more accurate data as graduation rates decline. (Quick and the Ed)
- The number of Atlanta schools suspected of test fraud has dropped significantly since 2009. (AJC)
- GothamSchools is joining the city schools next week for (mostly) a week off. Enjoy spring break!
April 6, 2012
Nearly 2,500 children are on wait lists for their zoned kindergarten programs this year, according to data released by the Department of Education today.
Their parents will have to wait until the end of June to find out where they will be offered a kindergarten seat instead. Last year, families received alternate spots in mid-April, but the wait lists tend fluctuate so much that the department decided to delay making assignments that would likely have to change families will away, enroll their children in private or parochial schools, or win lotteries for charter school admission.
About 600 more students than last year have applied for kindergarten. But there are about 600 fewer children on waiting lists than last year at this time.
The wait list numbers reflect an annual rite of spring as parents register at their nearby elementary schools but land on wait lists because there are more zoned applicants than there are kindergarten spots.
The phenomenon is highly stressful for families who are told they cannot be accommodated. But it is not widespread: Of the total number of families that have applied for kindergarten so far this year, just 4 percent were placed on wait lists. (more…)
April 6, 2012
Rejoice is turning to concern about funding at schools newly spared from an aggressive overhaul process.
The seven schools — all with top grades on the city’s performance metrics — pulled from the Department of Education’s “turnaround” roster on Monday were positioned to receive about $15 million in federal School Improvement Grants next year.
Being taken off the turnaround list means the schools won’t have to replace half of their teachers, lose their names, or get new principals. But it also means that they might not receive the funds: A letter distributed by the Department of Education to students at the schools on Tuesday states, ”We regret that this [change] may result in the loss of federal resources for your school.”
The funds could make the difference between continued improvement and backsliding for the schools.
Five of the seven schools had received SIG funds in 2010 and 2011, enabling them to pay for enhancements that their principals said led to quick improvements. At Brooklyn’s School of Global Studies, nearly $1 million received under “transformation” allowed the school to buy new technology and hire expert teachers. William E. Grady Career and Technical High School paid for tutoring, college trips, an extended program, and Saturday school for students who had fallen behind. Both schools scored B’s on their most recent city progress reports after years of low grades.
“If we don’t get the money we wont be able to finish what we started,” Geraldine Maione, Grady’s principal, said this week. “We started out on the premise that we were getting this money for three years because that is what we were told.” (more…)
April 6, 2012
Public hearings about the city’s plan to “turn around” dozens of struggling city schools have attracted vociferous protest. But behind the anger and frustration we found teachers and students who had carefully considered their schools’ need to improve and the potential effects of the turnaround plan.
At six hearings in four boroughs, teachers and students said their schools had not been given enough time to improve with the help of federal School Improvement Grants, and warned that turnaround would make improvement more difficult. Here’s what some of them told us when we asked them to delve deeper into their thoughts about their schools’ pasts, presents, and future.
What changes have the School Improvement Grants brought to your school so far?
“I don’t know where this money went. Last year, the one when we were [using the federal model called] transformation, it seemed to me that most of the money went to pizza. Every event we had, the students had, there were 20 pizza pies.
The only thing that I see that New Visions, [the non-profit that supervises Automotive,] has actually done, which is a good thing, is they brought in something called “Datacation,” which is a great tool. It’s the best thing they’ve done. It’s basically a one-stop store for teachers. Gradebook, anecdotal logs, contact information. It’s a great tool. The only thing I can positively say that they did well. Other than that, they walk around into our classrooms, they jot down notes and you hear nothing.”
In what areas do you think the school needs further improvement?
“For the students coming in here, there can’t be 40 percent with [Individualized Education Plans for special education students]. Any school’s going to fail with 40 percent IEPs. There had to be a better proportion of non-IEPS to IEPs. We’ll take them, we’ll teach them, we love them, but 40 percent? Any school isn’t going to make the benchmark that the state wants.” (more…)
April 6, 2012
A gamble that the city took back in October did not pay off this week when the state announced which districts would receive extra funds to pay for teacher training.
The city had applied for the funds, part of the state’s Race to the Top winnings, back in October. But it came up short on one crucial requirement of the application: demonstrating that the teachers union agreed that new teacher evaluations would be in place this year.
At the time, the UFT and city had hashed out a tentative teacher evaluation deal for the 33 schools that were receiving federal School Improvement Grants, but their relations were growing more tense. Here’s what we reported at the time:
The decaying union-city relations could help explain why, when it submitted a bid last week for teacher training funds, the Department of Education asked for its share of Race to the Top funds to go only to schools included in the limited evaluation deal. …
It’s unclear whether the state would approve the city’s funding bids without the [union] memorandums in place. If the city’s application is turned down, the funds would be dispersed among other districts, according to Race to the Top rules. (more…)
April 6, 2012
- Teachers have been called out for sexual misconduct by investigators, but not fired. (Times, Daily News)
- Union officials worry they won’t have support from Christine Quinn in her mayoral bid. (NY Post)
- In his first year as chancellor, Dennis Walcott pushed controversial policies and engaged critics. (NY1)
- Walcott said he agrees with the mayor that the public should access teacher performance data. (NY Post)
- Walcott: Schools are trusted not to peek at State exams before they are administered. (GothamSchools)
- Some ‘turnaround’ schools have already been introduced to ‘proposed’ new principals. (GothamSchools)
- A struggling school district in northeastern Houston has been given one year to improve. (Times)