Posts from April 30th, 2012
April 30, 2012
- Diane Ravitch argues that New York’s tests are bad because the spends too little on them. (DR’s Blog)
- At long last, state ed chief John King explains why all students must count in evaluations. (School Zone)
- A report from this weekend’s NYSUT convention, when teachers walked out on King. (Peter Goodman)
- Bill de Blasio: If the mayor wants to release teacher ratings, he should release his deputies’. (Capital NY)
- Mike Albertson outlines other recent changes at Flushing HS as turnaround starts. (Music and Beyond)
- Parsing the data and recent history of Long Island City HS, also being turned around. (NYC P.S. Parents)
- A DOE official and a Success Academy pupil appeared on a people-spotting site. (Humans of New York)
- Dana Goldstein: Research shows that more resources, not respect, will make teachers happier. (Nation)
- In California, students using mobile devices posted hundreds of pictures of this year’s state tests. (SCPR)
- A New York teacher speculates that new evaluations could deter challenge enrollment. (Answer Sheet)
- Teacher Laura Klein describes visiting a student with a tough life in a psychiatric hospital. (SchoolBook)
- An kids’ lit expert says the “Pineapple” saga is a retelling of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” (New Yorker)
- The first and probably last link to GothamSchools on a fashion site is about Kenneth Cole. (Racked)
- An observation: City schools named after several U.S. presidents have been killed recently. (Ed Notes)
- A poll asks parents and teachers if responded honestly on the city’s school surveys. (Insideschools)
- A teacher discusses the value of rewards and shares a reward-based student behavior plan. (Mr Foteah)
April 30, 2012
When Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in January that he would convene a commission to set a course for reforming New York’s schools, insiders said many members would likely come from out of state.
That wasn’t true when Cuomo revealed the composition of the commission in Albany today. All but a handful of the 20 commission members are based in New York, and about half are based in New York CIty.
But the commission is still a far cry from the last panel Cuomo convened, a “think tank” of educators and advocates who advised the state in its bid to escape some federal accountability measures. Few of its members work in organizations that interact directly with children, even fewer are advocates, and there are no district representatives. There is also no parent advocate on the commission, even it is being asked to devise strategies to increase parent engagement.
Instead, commission members are drawn from the highest levels of state government, the state and city university systems, and nonprofit organizations. They include State Education Commissioner John King, Assembly Education Committee Chair Catherine Nolan, and SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher.
“It’s very blue-ribbon,” said CUNY education professor David Bloomfield about the panel’s composition. “The establishment nature of the commission makes it less likely that they will come up with anti-establishment recommendations.”
Working under the leadership of chair Richard Parsons, a former head of CitiGroup and Time Warner; and top Cuomo deputies, they will have seven months to make recommendations about how to boost student achievement and make education spending more efficient. Cuomo said today that he wanted the recommendations to form “an action plan” for his administration. (more…)
April 30, 2012
Hundreds of angry educators from across the country seem to have taught the clothing retailer Kenneth Cole a lesson about diction—and union politics.
Late last week we broke the news about a company billboard that invoked a loaded education policy issue using a slogan many teachers viewed as an attack on their profession.
This weekend teachers and advocates responded, in a flurry of posts on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, and a petition 600 signatures strong, calling for a boycott of Cole’s clothing company. Even national union leader Randi Weingarten waded into the fray with Twitter posts criticizing the company, which is headed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s brother-in-law.
The company has now responded. This afternoon, Kenneth Cole Productions used Twitter to send a public message to the creator of the petition, a D.C. teacher-turned-activist, Sabrina Stevens Shupe, that it plans to remove the billboard.
“We misrepresented the issue – one too complex for a billboard – and are taking it down,” the company posted from its Twitter account, @KennethCole.
This weekend, the company posted a different Twitter message clarifying that the ad campaign’s “Intent is to stimulate debate, not pit teachers against students.” The message now appears to have been deleted. The company has not responded to a request for comment today. (more…)
April 30, 2012
A sweeping look at who attends charter schools in New York City, and how they fare, shows that the sector excels at advancing academic achievement but struggles to enroll high-needs students and to retain staff.
For the past nine months the New York City Charter School Center and a team of charter school founders have collected and crunched data on 35 different topics, including test scores, demographics, attrition, and enrollment. Their findings are laid out in a much-anticipated — and much-delayed — 40-page “State of the Sector” report, released today.
The report represents an inaugural effort to be more transparent about how charter schools in New York City are doing. Coming from a group that more often celebrates charter schools’ achievements, the report offers a blunt self-assessment of the sector, illuminating its shortcomings in student enrollment and staff retention while at the same making a case for it to continue to expand.
For instance, the report acknowledges “striking” staff attrition trends — nearly one-third of city charter school teachers leave annually — but points out the sector’s ability to achieve high academic results anyway. And while the schools serve low rates of students with special education and English language learners, the report emphasizes that those who do enroll tend to do better than their counterparts in district schools.
The report was originally scheduled to be released nearly two months ago. But the center needed more time to verify the data, then held the report until it could be released along with “dashboards” showing individual schools’ statistics, according to CEO James Merriman. Those dashboards were published on the center’s website today, although they have withheld some data, including staff attrition. (more…)
April 30, 2012
The Department of Education has done an admirable job of adding more healthy school lunch options. But more changes — and faster ones — are needed to keep children healthy, according to two City Council members who are sponsoring a resolution to improve school food.
In the last few years, the Office of SchoolFood has added more vegetarian options and swapped out some ingredients for healthier alternatives.
But Brad Lander and Gale Brewer, City Council members from Park Slope and the Upper West Side, think more could be done. “Despite these improvements, critics note that school meals still contain too many “processed” food items, such as breaded chicken nuggets, as well as foods that contain less healthy ingredients, including high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring and saturated fats, such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,” says their resolution, which they are formally proposing today.
Lander and Brewer want the city to adopt recommendations made recently by the Brooklyn Food Coalition, a group of food and food justice organizations. Among other things, they want 10 percent of food served in schools to be produced locally and schools to go meatless at least one day a week.
They also want the city to be required to publish ingredient lists for food served in schools — something that the department has not always done. When nutrition facts were inadvertently published in 2010, they showed that some food served in cafeterias did not meet the city’s own nutrition guidelines for school bake sale snacks. (more…)
April 30, 2012
- UFT chief Michael Mulgrew signaled the union might not help with rehiring at turnaround schools. (NY1)
- Several turnaround schools had no teachers rates unsatisfactory in recent years, or just a handful. (Post)
- A for-profit education firm is seriously gouging some city charter schools on rent and facilities costs. (Post)
- The scheme used to boost attendance rates at the Shuang Wen School might not be rare. (DNAInfo)
- A handful of school administrators were demoted after being caught in affairs with colleagues. (Post)
- Mayor Bloomberg, again: Results of teacher evaluations shouldn’t go just to parents. (Daily News)
- Michael Winerip: Very little separates some A- and F-rated schools on the city’s progress reports. (Times)
- When families withdraw from private schools, the schools sometimes sue for the year’s tuition. (Times)
- Several issues are frustrating families as competition between public and private schools builds. (WSJ)
- As Common Core implementation advances nationally, criticism of it is growing louder. (USA Today)
- Gail Collins: The “Pineapple” test question epitomizes the ill-advised privatization of education. (Times)
- The Daily News frets that SUNY’s Board of Trustees might be turning against charter schools.
- The Post says Mayor Bloomberg’s latest bid to close 24 schools is a sign of strength, even if it wasn’t 33.
- The Washington Post asks why it took a hurricane to induce changes to New Orleans’ school system.
- A youth newspaper serving Los Angeles since the Rodney King riots is facing funding cuts. (L.A. Times)