Posts from April 25th, 2012
April 25, 2012
- The nation’s two major teachers unions are both giving big to Super PAC political funds. (Teacher Beat)
- State Chancellor Merryl Tisch said new requirements won’t water down a N.Y. diploma. (SchoolBook)
- New studies suggest major downsides to introducing algebra too early. (Curriculum Matters)
- Dan Brown’s mom describes getting students excited (too briefly) about Shakespeare. (Get in the Fracas)
- Michael Albertson gives a teacher’s take on Flushing High School’s turnaround hearing. (GS Community)
- And Lehman High School student Ubayed Muhith offers another defense of his school. (SchoolBook)
- In D.C., a move is afoot to let charter schools narrow their now-citywide zones. (D.C. Schools Insider)
- Diane Ravitch now says she was too charitable when she said the state forgot a test promise. (DR’s Blog)
- A feature called “Kids Draw The News” starts with a call for art about a sports club brawl. (City Room)
- The UFT says a change to a charter network’s structure effectively creates a new school system. (Edwize)
- A teacher lists 40 strategies for teaching English language skills to diverse learners. (Tween Teacher)
- Math teachers are looking for support to help them create instructional videos. (Kickstarter via Eduwonk)
April 25, 2012
City Council Speaker and likely 2013 mayoral candidate Christine Quinn is the latest public official to throw her support behind an effort to keep Bushwick Community High School from closing under the city’s federally-funded turnaround plans.
A Quinn spokesman said today that representatives for her office have been lobbying the Department of Education in the last week to remove the embattled transfer school from the list of 26 schools being voted for closure at tomorrow’s Panel for Educational Policy.
Like the school’s other supporters, Quinn’s office got involved because she “believes in the idea of transfer schools,” said the spokesman, Justin Goodman. “The metrics that are being used to close schools shouldn’t apply to transfer schools because they’re a completely different model.”
Quinn’s lobbying efforts against a school slated to close is unusual. A City Council speaker rarely gets involved in individual school closures, leaving those fights up to council members who represent the local district where a school is housed.
But Quinn has actually withheld speaking out about High School for Graphic Communications, a Hell’s Kitchen school in her district that’s also on the chopping block.
Traditionally, Quinn has stayed out of fights with the city over its education policies and she has remained especially mum on school closures. Quinn didn’t attend a press conference in January where 2013 Democratic candidates decried Bloomberg handling of mayoral control. Instead, a spokesman passed around statement that lauded Bloomberg’s small schools movement. Quinn was also absent from a panel last week that discussed alternatives to the city’s approach to school closures because she disagreed with a policy paper released by the event’s host, Coalition of Educational Justice. (more…)
April 25, 2012
Immediately after Mayor Bloomberg announced plans to “turn around” dozens of struggling schools, Department of Education officials began laying the groundwork to implement the complex and politically charged process.
Planning is well underway, and it is likely to ratchet up after Thursday night, when the Panel for Educational Policy is set to vote on the proposals to close and reopen the schools with new names and new teachers. Approval is virtually assured, because the panel — whose majority consists of mayoral appointees — has never rejected a city proposal.
Yesterday, in a first post about turnaround’s past, present, and future, we looked at how the process landed on the panel’s agenda. Today, we are summarizing what we know – and what we don’t — about what is likely to come next.
What will happen to the teachers at the schools?
All teachers will have to reapply for their jobs. Under the 18-D process outlined in the city’s contract with the union, each principal and a team of teachers chosen by the principal and the union will set hiring guidelines and hire back at least 50 percent of the teachers from the old school who apply and are qualified to work in the new one. Federal turnaround requirements call for the schools to replace at least half of teachers who have been on staff for more than two years, suggesting that the rehiring might have to achieve exactly a 50 percent replacement rate. But city officials have said they are not setting a rehiring quota for turnaround principals. (more…)
April 25, 2012
A week ago, as I walked into Flushing High School to start my day, there was a strange energy in the air — a mixture of anxiety and strangely, a little optimism. In the mailroom there was a colorful bulletin board of pictures from a recent rally held by teachers and students on the sidewalk (more…)
April 25, 2012
Last week, hundreds of parents, teachers, and students crowded Long Island City High School’s auditorium for a hearing about the school’s planned “turnaround.” On Tuesday evening, just a dozen parents attended a meeting to hear directly from the Department of Education’s latest pick to run the revamped school.
Gathered in the school’s band room, they learned that Vivian Selenikas, the proposed school leader, speaks four languages (English, Spanish, Greek and Italian. They found that she started her career in the 1980s as a Spanish teacher at Richmond Hill High School, another school on the turnaround list. And they learned that she believes careful curriculum planning will lift Long Island City out of a slump of low attendance (the rate last year was 80 percent) and poor city progress report grades.
They also learned that Selenikas is not afraid to stand up and cha-cha. When the school’s cheerleading coach led parents through impromptu dance exercises at the end of the Parent Association meeting, Selenikas joined in.
As a Queens network leader, Selenikas is no stranger to the large high school on Broadway, which required help from her and other Department of Education officials last year to resolve massive scheduling problems.
“It’s important that someone who knew the community and knew the needs of this neighborhood helped to move the school forward, should the decision be made that Long Island City will no longer be Long Island City,” she said.
But many parents say they are worried that the city is not planning adequately for turnaround. Some say they are wary of the abrupt leadership change, which would be the third in less than four years. The current principal, Maria Mamo-Vacacela, came under fire last year for overhauling most students’ schedules two months into the academic year. (more…)
April 25, 2012
- A reading passage on the state test also showed up in a prep curriculum some schools use. (Daily News)
- The state warned about errors on math tests that start today. (GothamSchools, Post, NY1, Daily News)
- A new poll shows New Yorkers want their next mayor to adopt different education policies. (SchoolBook)
- As states create new teacher evaluations, they are grappling with how to rate special ed teachers. (AP)
- The Department of Education’s Young Men’s Initiative program is off to a slow start. (GothamSchools)
- Parents say they’ll occupy Cobble Hill’s P.S. 29 if the city does not slow asbestos cleanup. (Daily News)
- A state board approved an unusual bid for five Success Charter schools to share a set of trustees. (NY1)
- The board also tabled a vote about the Success network to increase its management fees. (Daily News)
- Michael Benjamin: Kids have been dealing with talking fruit for years on TV, so why not on tests? (Post)
- Los Angeles is moving to revoke the charter of a school accused of mishandling discipline. (L.A. Times)