Posts from April 23rd, 2012
April 23, 2012
- The grading of state tests has begun along with complaints about how it’s done. (NYC P.S. Parents)
- A city teacher says she’s uncomfortable with rules barring public talk about test content. (Ariel Sacks)
- An Albany principal says N.Y. shouldn’t need a survey to learn its tests are too long. (Common Ground)
- Teacher Will Johnson says setting “Student Learning Objectives” has downsides. (GS Community)
- A student apologizes to his teacher 40 years after inexplicably offending him. (Oregonian)
- A principal who is coaching again calls for more student-administrator interaction. (Practical Theory)
- A first-grade father describes the fraught responsibility of providing class snacks. (Insideschools)
- Andy Rotherham lists three obstacles to education reform, starting with money-sugarcoating. (Atlantic)
- The quest for additional investigators for school cases has hit papers as help wanted ads. (NYCDOEnuts)
- Jean McTavish, a transfer school principal, got in trouble in school for not pledging to the flag. (DNA Info)
- McTavish has also opted her own children out of New Jersey’s state tests this year. (NYC P.S. Parents)
- The principal of P.S. 112 in the Bronx dishes on how it felt when the school earned a D. (SchoolBook)
- A national expert on high school dropouts says online credit recovery can be too easy. (Class Struggle)
- A Teachers College prof says college students might be overdiagnosed as underprepared. (Economix)
April 23, 2012
Responding to criticism about the now-famous “Hare and the Pineapple” story that appeared on last week’s eighth-grade reading test, state education officials today made a promise: State tests will no longer include literary works that have been revised.
“We will use only authentic passages, passages that have been published and not edited,” Kristen Huff, a senior fellow for testing, told members of the Board of Regents during their monthly meeting this morning.
If Huff’s promise sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Exactly a decade ago, then-State Education Commissioner Richard Mills made the same vow.
”It is important that we use literature on the tests without changes in the passages,” Mills said at the time, according to a report in the New York Times. ”I have looked carefully at the Education Department’s current practices and the concerns of the writers and have directed that these changes be made.”
Mills was reacting to an expose, engineered by an assiduous Brooklyn parent, that showed that the English Regents exam taken by high school students across the state contained oddly edited passages. The editing had stripped the texts of “virtually any reference to race, religion, ethnicity, sex, nudity, alcohol, even the mildest profanity and just about anything that might offend someone for some reason,” the Times reported in 2002. (more…)
April 23, 2012
My ninth-graders and I are still working our way through “Romeo and Juliet.” I’ve taught this play before. For the most part, I’m using lessons I’ve used before, just tweaking them to suit my new students. I’m not being lazy. I’m being smart. My lessons are good and I know they work.
In the middle of (more…)
April 23, 2012
More than 200 students have applied to enter a charter school that could very well be closed next fall.
The director of development at Williamsburg Charter High School, Joseph Cardarelli, said today that the school had received 225 applications for ninth grade and 25 transfer applications. Applications continue to trickle in even though officials haven’t done much recruiting since January, when the city announced that it would close the school, he said.
The school had planned to hold its admissions lottery earlier this month, but the city rejected the school’s appeal to stay open a day earlier and the lottery was put on hold. The following week, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman indicted the school’s founding CEO on tax fraud and larceny charges relating to the school’s management.
But a judge late Friday issued a temporary restraining order halting the closure. According to SchoolBook, the school’s lawyer is emphasizing that the state pinned improprieties on the former CEO, Eddie Calderon-Melendez, not the school. The school terminated its relationship with Calderon-Melendez under pressure this winter.
Now, the school has rescheduled its admissions lottery for April 30, a week before the school and city are due in court to argue about whether the school should be allowed to remain open. (more…)
April 23, 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 last of three articles about the reform effort produced by Education Week, The Hechinger Report, and the Education Writers Association, Sarah Garland looks at the national impact of a federal requirement — tougher teacher evaluations — that has tripped up School Improvement Grants in New York. GothamSchools was one of four news organizations to contribute to the reporting.
Elliott Elementary in Lincoln, Neb., struck off on its own last year when it became the only school in the city to win money through the federal School Improvement Grant program. Winning wasn’t something to be proud of, though: It meant the school qualified as one of the worst in the nation. About a third of fifth-graders at Elliott were proficient on state reading tests when the reforms began, compared to 80 percent in Lincoln as a whole.
Winning also meant a lot of work for teachers and administrators. One of the biggest tasks was overhauling the way teachers at the school are evaluated. Elliott was the only school in the city making the change, which meant it had to come up with a new way of rating teachers mostly on its own.
“The challenge was connecting it to student achievement,” said Jadi Miller, named the principal at Elliott after a longtime principal was ousted to comply with the grant’s mandate of new leadership. “That was certainly very new for us.”
In the Obama administration’s new push to turn around the bottom 5 percent of schools nationwide, the vast majority of districts chose the reform option that seemed the least invasive: Instead of closing schools or firing at least half of the teaching staff, schools could undergo less aggressive interventions, such as overhauling how teacher performance is measured and rewarding teachers who do well.
But the teacher-evaluation requirement has turned out to be a major stumbling block for many schools in the SIG program. (more…)
April 23, 2012
- After an outcry, the state spiked a confusing exam passage. (GothamSchools, SchoolBook, Daily News)
- The author of the story that inspired the passage criticized the test questions. (Daily News, WSJ)
- The episode has given fodder to critics of standardized tests and the companies that make them. (Times)
- Others complained that the tests’ reading passages’ focus on sounds was tough for deaf students. (Post)
- Michael Winerip: “Robo-Graders” are said to be reliable, but their results present big issues. (Times)
- A city teacher says real literature is valuable for students to learn, but they see little of it on tests. (Times)
- The principal of Shuang Wen School is facing firing after an investigation. (GothamSchools, WSJ, NY1)
- Some parents are worried that the expansion of a Harlem school will diminish its quality. (Daily News)
- Williamsburg Charter High School won a temporary stay against its scheduled closure. (SchoolBook)
- The mother of a student who was hit by flying scissors in school is suing the city for $5 million. (Post)
- Some city private schools are asking students not to broadcast their college choices until later. (Post)
- Ohio education leaders want 12th-graders to spend the year in internships. (Cleveland Plain-Dealer)
Last week on GothamSchools:
- Some people at closing Washington Irving High aren’t happy about their principal’s new job. (Friday)
- A citywide gifted program in Queens isn’t being allowed to expand to include middle school. (Friday)
- A top Department of Education official seemed to endorse a school on the “turnaround” list. (Thursday)
- The city will give credit to high schools for students who enter the military or work after all. (Wednesday)
- For students with disabilities, the state’s longer-than-ever exams can be even longer. (Wednesday)
- At a Bronx turnaround school, changes could threaten career and technical programs. (Tuesday)
- Citing growing stakes, some families are boycotting the state tests that continue this week. (Monday)
- Federal turnaround funding is generating only mixed reviews in districts across the country. (Monday)