Posts from April 18th, 2012
April 18, 2012
- Randi Weingarten was surprised by mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn’s evaluations stance. (Capital NY)
- Newark schools chief (and ex-NYer) Cami Anderson makes a big list of 100 important people. (Time)
- A principal who showed a comedian’s “Can’t Fix Stupid” clip to teachers was removed. (Get Schooled)
- A Harvard U, Gates-funded project will help high schools track outcomes of their graduates. (HuffPo)
- Brooklyn teachers are on an odyssey before starting a charter school. (Odyssey Initiative via SchoolBook)
- Feedback about this year’s state tests is trickling in from teachers and principals. (NYC PS Parents)
- A report says states seeking NCLB waivers don’t have good plans to add learning time. (Politics K-12)
- A deeper look at a gifted school where parents are skeptical about special ed students. (Insideschools)
- Grace Dodge High School’s mock trial team did well even as the school is set to close. (SchoolBook)
- A prediction: The coming debate over the Common Core will be about what books get read. (Flypaper)
- Stuyvesant’s comp-sci program is just one place where the tech world is looking to high schools. (Inc)
April 18, 2012
Reversing a previous proposal, the Department of Education will award credit to city high schools whose students enlist in the military or enroll in “rigorous” career training programs the year after graduating.
This fall, the department is preparing to factor students’ post-graduation outcomes into schools’ annual progress report grades. When officials first devised the new metrics, which will augment performance data of students who are enrolled in the high schools, they proposed giving credit only for students who enrolled in college the semester after graduating.
In a series of feedback sessions earlier this year, principals pushed back against the narrow scope of the proposal. They argued that students who meet the military’s enlistment standards have been adequately prepared for life after high school as well.
This week, Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced that the department agreed with the principals — and would liberalize the metric even more by granting credit when students enroll in vocational training or public service programs such as AmeriCorps.
“This new version of the metric will reflect the diverse pathways our students pursue after graduation that lead to meaningful careers,” Walcott told principals in a weekly email message sent last night.
The switch was part of this year’s final revisions to the methodology behind the progress reports, which the city uses to decide which principals to reward and which schools to shutter. (more…)
April 18, 2012
Changes to state tests, which doubled in length this year, are hitting some of the city’s neediest students twice as hard.
For students with disabilities who are given more time to complete the tests, testing can stretch as long as three hours on each day of testing. That means the students could spend more than half of the school day — and more than 18 hours total — on state exams this week and next.
At I.S. 190 in the Bronx, Maribeth Whitehouse’s self-contained special education class of eighth-graders sat down to their reading exams at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Including the time it took to hand out the test, read directions, and take breaks, her students didn’t close their test books and head to lunch until after 12:30 p.m. — at which point, one student complained, “My legs hurt.”
That was just the beginning. The schedule repeated today and will again on Thursday and next week for the state math exam.
“It’s not water-boarding, but when you’re 13 it’s pretty close to torture,” Whitehouse said of the morning stretch. “My kids would have done great if it was just three days for Book One.” (more…)
April 18, 2012
Carol Burris, the principal of a Long Island high school, isn’t done fighting. Even after her statewide principals petition failed to sway lawmakers from passing a teacher evaluation bill last month, she’s hoping her newest effort — a poll — will do the trick.
Beginning today, Burris is sending out surveys to principals, teachers, and parents about New York State’s high-stakes testing policy “to give voice to the concerns that we are hearing from all three groups,” she said. ”We have no intention of not continuing our fight.”
She said she expects that the results from the surveys will reflect her own concerns about the testing role in teacher evaluations. “We hope that policymakers and the public will be interested in our findings,” said Burris.
Burris discussed the strategy Tuesday evening at a forum about high-stakes testing held at Murry Bergtraum High School in Manhattan. She sat on a panel alongside Class Size Matters’ Leonie Haimson; Gary Rubinstein, a math teacher known for crunching the city school data on his blog; and Khalilah Brann, a teacher at Bushwick Community High School, which is facing closure because of its student performance data.
The forum, which attracted about 50 people, was organized by Change the Stakes, a group that grew out of a committee formed by a teacher activist group, the Grassroots Education Movement, last year. (more…)
April 18, 2012
The feeling at two Queens high schools Tuesday evening was as much pep rally as protest during public hearings about the city’s plans to close the schools in June.
The city wants to close and reopen the schools, Long Island City High School and Newtown High School, under the federally prescribed reform process known as “turnaround.” The process would require many teachers to be replaced, a prospect that students said has induced anxiety about what classes and clubs would be offered next year.
Students and teachers said unique elective and extracurricular options that currently exist — including boys gymnastics, robotics, and guitar — are a large part of what makes the schools special. They urged the Department of Education to preserve those features and revert to other improvement plans that would cause less disruption.
At a third school whose turnaround hearing took place last night, John Dewey High School, students and teachers have been mounting a vigorous defense since January, when the turnaround plans were announced. The three schools are among 26 whose turnaround proposals are likely to be approved when the Panel for Educational Policy votes on them next week.
Newtown High School
The crowd at Newtown gave forth whoops and cheers for every teacher who spoke, for every mention of the school’s winning robotics team, and for every nod to longstanding principal – and Newtown alum – John Ficalora.
But before there was cheer, there was tension when a top Department of Education official, Deputy Chancellor David Weiner, had not shown up 20 minutes after the meeting was supposed to begin. At 6:20 p.m., with Weiner an estimated 20 minutes away, Jesse Mojica, the Department of Education’s executive director for Family and Community Engagement, tried to start the meeting without him. (more…)
April 18, 2012
- Five of the leading Democratic mayoral candidates said they would preserve mayoral control. (Post, NY1)
- Three of them also offered more details about their school policy views. (GothamSchools, SchoolBook)
- Juan Gonzalez: Worse than the length of this year’s state tests are field questions on them. (Daily News)
- John Dewey High School’s closure hearing attracted a vociferous protest against turnaround. (NY1)
- At another turnaround school, changes could threaten career and technical programs. (GothamSchools)
- At the Brooklyn middle school that won a high school chess championship, chess is cool. (Times)
- City officials touted 54 set-to-open small schools. (GothamSchools, SchoolBook, Bloomberg, Daily News)
- A foundation report described inequities in city schools. (GothamSchools, SchoolBook, Daily News)
- The Post lambastes potential effects of proposed legislation to roll back mayoral control of city schools.
- James Merriman: Recent legislative attempts to curb charter schools are only the beginning. (Post)
- Los Angeles might scale back a college prep requirement that many students can’t meet. (L.A. Times)