Posts from April 16th, 2012
April 16, 2012
- A roundup of how six likely Democratic mayoral contenders stack up on education policy. (City & State)
- The graduate of a top D.C. school describes his poor preparation for Georgetown University. (WaPo)
- The Brooklyn Zen Center lets area high school students replace detention with meditation. (City Room)
- The Department of Education is looking for “talent acquisition associates” to screen teachers. (OpenHire)
- Mitt Romney told supporters privately that he would shrink the U.S. education department. (MSNBC)
- Dan Brown brainstorms five things teachers should never say and asks for others. (Get in the Fracas)
- The principal of Amistad Dual Language School outlines her path to bilingual leadership. (DNA Info)
- A teacher reminisces after seeing an ex-student who was always in trouble everywhere else. (Mr. Foteah)
- Leonie Haimson rounds up and maps what we know and don’t know about wait lists. (NYC P.S. Parents)
- A teacher argues that teaching for the test is far more insidious than teaching to the test. (SchoolBook)
- A retired city schools researcher is seeking survey responses about testing from city teachers. (Ed Notes)
- A package of news stories about violence in Philadelphia’s schools won a Pulitzer Prize. (Inquirer)
- An oldie but goodie: A teacher recalls Manning Marable, who also won a Pulitzer. (GS Community)
- We’re tweeting tonight from public hearings at two high schools facing turnaround. (GS Twitter)
April 16, 2012
The Department of Education’s first-ever deputy chancellor for special education and English language learners is stepping down.
Laura Rodriguez will leave the department at the end of June after 34 years working in the school system, Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced today. He has appointed Corinne Rello-Anselmi, a 33-year veteran who currently heads a branch of the department’s school support structure, to replace Rodriguez. Rello-Anselmi began her career as a special education teacher and was briefly a deputy chancellor for special education after serving as principal of P.S. 108 in the Bronx.
Then-Chancellor Joel Klein created the position, which supervises the instruction of about a quarter of a million children, in 2009 after department officials concluded a months-long review of the city’s special education practices. Rodriguez, whose background was in supporting ELLs, was charged with integrating students with special needs into city schools. Under her leadership, the department selected about 200 schools that would accommodate all students.
This fall, after a one-year delay, that pilot program is supposed to grow to include all city schools in a shift that some advocates and parents fear could be problematic for schools. The city has also proposed changing the way that schools are funded so that they have an incentive to spread students with special needs across all classrooms.
“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done between now and September to make that successful, so anyone coming in will have to jump right in,” said Maggie Moroff, coordinator of the ARISE Coalition of special education advocacy groups. Moroff said she was surprised by the news of Rodriguez’s retirement and had not met Rello-Anselmi during her monthly meetings with Rodriguez and other department officials. (more…)
April 16, 2012
At least a handful of the students who are supposed to sit down Tuesday morning for the first day of state testing already know that they will be absent.
That’s because a small number of parents are boycotting this year’s state tests, choosing to keep their children home or away from class out of protest against the tests’ growing importance.
Test scores have long been used to judge students’ readiness for the next grade. And for the last several years, the city has rated each school based in large part on how students perform on state tests. But this year, the test scores could end up being used to rate teachers, too, if the city adopts new teacher evaluations as mandated by state law. This year’s tests are also longer than ever: about 300 minutes for each grade, more than twice what some students spent on testing in the past.
Last year, the Grassroots Education Movement, traditionally an outlet for activist teachers, launched a campaign to draw attention to — and, ideally, lower — those stakes. The parents who are opting out of the tests are part of GEM’s “Change the Stakes” committee, which is holding a forum on high-stakes testing Tuesday evening.
Only a few parents have committed to keeping their children out of the tests, but they say they are willing to go it alone to raise awareness about the pressure that students and schools are under. (more…)
April 16, 2012
New York City’s controversial school turnaround proposals represent a tiny piece of a sweeping effort, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, to overhaul the country’s lowest-performing schools. In the first of three articles about the reform effort produced by Education Week, The Hechinger Report, and the Education Writers Association, Alyson Klein examines the effects of federal School Improvement Grants on districts across the country — and the grants’ uncertain future. GothamSchools was one of a dozen news organizations to contribute to the reporting.
After two years, the federal program providing billions of dollars to help states and districts close or remake some of their worst-performing schools remains an ambitious work in progress, with roughly 1,200 turnaround efforts under way but still no verdict on its effectiveness.
The School Improvement Grant (SIG) program, supercharged by a $3 billion windfall under the federal economic-stimulus program in 2009, has jumpstarted aggressive moves by states and districts. To get their share of the money, they had to quickly identify some of their most academically troubled schools, craft new teacher-evaluation systems, and carve out more time for instruction, among other steps.
Some schools and districts spent millions of dollars on outside experts and consultants. Others went through the politically ticklish process of replacing teachers and principals, while combating community skepticism and meeting the demands of district and state overseers.
It’s not at all clear if the federal prescription can cure the most ailing schools and lead to long-term improvements, but preliminary student achievement data for the program offer some promise. The U.S. Department of Education looked at about 700 of the schools in their second year of the program and found that a quarter of them posted double-digit gains in math during the 2010-11 school year. Another 20 percent showed similar progress in reading.
A collaborative reporting project drawing on the efforts of more than 20 news organizations and affiliated journalists paints a mixed picture of how the SIG program is playing out on the ground. The major findings show: (more…)
April 16, 2012
Debate about the city’s controversial plan to “turn around” 26 struggling schools did not pause for spring break, with a legislative hearing and protest focusing on the proposals last week.
But the school-based closure hearings, required as part of the turnaround process the city is trying to use, did go on hiatus. Now, after holding 15 hearings in the weeks before the break, the city has a dozen more to race through this week.
The turnaround plan will go on trial tonight at August Martin High School, whose principal was replaced the day before the break began. Supporters of Flushing High School, where a hearing will take place on Wednesday, are holding a rally this morning in Queens. Teachers at Brooklyn’s John Dewey High School, who were among the first to begin protesting the turnaround plans in January, are planning to turn out en masse at the school’s hearing on Tuesday. And supporters of Bushwick Community High School, whose low graduation rate is by design because it serves only students who have fallen behind in other schools, will make yet another attempt to convince Department of Education officials to keep their school open.
A full list of the hearings taking place this week is at the right. (more…)
April 16, 2012
News from New York City:
- Educators fear city high schoolers won’t be able to pass a fifth Regents exam, as they now must. (Post)
- As competition for selective city middle schools has intensified, tutoring firms have flourished. (Times)
- Some schools, such as P.S. 15 and P.S. 189, spent the break in intense test prep. (NY1, Insideschools)
- Charter school supporters don’t like Assemblyman Keith Wright’s bill that could limit co-locations. (Post)
- Wright is also one of several sponsors of a bill that would strip the city’s mayor of school control. (Post)
- Eighth-graders’ state science test scores are mediocre and unchanged over the last decade. (Post)
- State education chief John King said he is sure the city will get new teacher evaluations. (S.I. Advance)
- The state teachers union chief says he would accept a ratings’ release for parents only. (Daily News)
- Gov. Andrew Cuomo said releasing the ratings widely would be a “knee-jerk reaction.” (Daily News)
- The city is getting a growing number of complaints about teachers’ inappropriate Facebook use. (Post)
- Special Commissioner of Investigation Richard Condon says he needs more investigators. (Daily News)
- The city complains that it can’t punish teachers, but in fact a discipline system exists for them. (WNYC)
- Two years into a federal grant program to help struggling schools, the city has little to show for it. (NY1)
- Lawmakers questioned and city officials defended turnaround. (GothamSchools, SchoolBook, NY1)
- Bushwick Community High School’s supporters protested its planned turnaround. (GothamSchools, NY1)
- Families are upset that J.H.S. 80 in the Bronx will have had three principals this year. (Daily News)
- The founder of a Brooklyn charter school chain was charged with tax fraud. (GothamSchools, Post, NY1)
- More kindergarteners applied for and qualified for gifted programs. (GothamSchools, Times, Post)
- A data watchdog gave mixed reviews to school letter grades. (GothamSchools, Daily News, SchoolBook)
- The lawyers arguing that the city should speed its cleanup of PCBs in schools laid out their case. (NY1)
- A teacher at LaGuardia High School was beaten to death, allegedly by her son. (Post, DNAInfo, Times)
- A federal judge okayed a religious discrimination suit against a Bronx assistant principal. (Daily News)
- Families and colleagues remembered Fortunato “Fred” Rubino at a memorial service. (Brooklyn Paper)
- The Daily News says it’s not fair that the city could fire an elderly teacher but not some who misbehaved.
- The Post says Cuomo should fill an open seat on the state’s charter school board with a supporter.
- The city’s Blue School is emerging as a laboratory for incorporating neuroscience into education. (Times)
- Louisiana is poised to adopt vouchers not just for schools but for business apprenticeships. (WSJ)
- Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel still wants to lengthen the school day, but not by as much. (Sun-Times)
- A former high school teacher praises a new breed of schools that exalts creative thinking. (WSJ)
- The Posse Foundation, which helps urban students attend college, is expanding to Houston. (Times)
- Michael Winerip: Some students use community colleges as a step to selective universities. (Times)
- Cleveland’s mayor, who has control of that city’s schools, is taking on the teachers union. (AP)