Posts from May 2012
May 31, 2012
- Parents who answered an online survey said they are donating large sums to their PTAs. (SchoolBook)
- A new report by the advocacy group ConnCAN profiles 10 different evaluation systems. (Teacher Beat)
- Wisconsin’s teachers unions have lost many members since a state law curbed their rights. (Intercepts)
- A teacher weighs the effort it takes to get truant students to show up and learn. (Miss Eyre/NYC Educator)
- A comic from the UFT’s newspaper mocks the changes promised to “turnaround” schools. (Edwize)
- Jay Mathews: Visits with parents, not parent triggers, are effective ways to help schools. (Class Struggle)
- A radio show about the decline of Lehman High School features a teacher we highlighted. (Metrofocus)
- Jose Vilson talks about the power of teacher voice, in a TEDxNYED presentation. (Future of Teaching)
May 31, 2012
Months after fighting to stay open, a troubled Harlem charter school has secured a long-term future after the Department of Education recommended that it receive the longest-possible charter renewal.
Last fall, Opportunity Charter School was one of six charter schools whose performance landed them on the city’s short-list for closure. Now the city is locked in legal battles to shutter two of schools, Peninsula Preparatory Academy and Williamsburg Charter High School. But Opportunity is set to keep its doors open until at least 2017.
It’s good news for Opportunity, a middle and high school that has had its share of performance and management troubles in recent years. The Harlem school stands apart from many charter schools because it serves older students and maintains an even balance of students with disabilities and students who do not require special education services.
“Opportunity Charter is incredibly pleased to have been recognized by the city for all the hard work we do,” said Principal Marya Baker while chaperoning the school’s prom in the Bronx last Friday. “I think that we’re finally being recognized for being successful for a model that is incredibly difficult and something we feel we do very well — that is, having an inclusive setting for 50 percent of our students who have special needs.”
The about-face is especially remarkable because the city recommended a shortened charter renewal for Opportunity in January. Short-term renewals are given when a charter school has failed to fulfill performance promises but is considered capable of improvement. Opportunity got one in 2010. (more…)
May 31, 2012
With just weeks left in the legislative session, bills to shield teachers’ ratings from public scrutiny are still on the table in Albany. But no consensus has yet formed about exactly what that shield would look like — if one is constructed at all.
Albany lawmakers are hung up on one key issue that distinguishes at least three proposed versions of the legislation: Should parents be allowed access to teacher ratings?
Republican Senator Greg Ball and Democratic Assemblywoman Sandra Galef, both of Westchester, have proposed bills that say they should not.
“I just feel very strongly that this is a part of a teacher’s personal and confidential record and that the grades should be handled appropriately,” said Galef, whose bill has so far collected 24 co-sponsors.
Twenty lawmakers, including Education Committee Chair Cathy Nolan, a Democrat, have signed onto a third bill in the Assembly that would give parents limited access to evaluations. The bill would require parents to make a special request for the evaluations. (more…)
May 31, 2012
- The principal of P.S. 94, accused of spurring cheating, defended herself to staff in a memo. (Daily News)
- More than 900 students have used JFK HS’s health clinic since its March 30 opening. (Riverdale Press)
- The DOE promised mental health funding and threatened layoffs. (GothamSchools, SchoolBook, NY1)
- A judge dismissed a lawsuit against Cobble Hill Success Academy but found merit in it. (GothamSchools)
- A school aide cleared of sex abuse allegations by police is still suspended without pay. (City Room)
- Students from Washington Heights are lobbying the city to save after-school programs. (Daily News)
- A probe found that a James Madison HS teacher had sex with a student in her office. (Post, Daily News)
- A probe also found that a Westinghouse HS teacher made inappropriate comments. (Daily News)
- The student filmed kissing his teacher won a bet with friends over the affair, students say. (Post)
- The teacher on the tape had been arrested for driving under the influence last year. (Daily News)
- The Post says the case of the teacher caught on tape kissing a student proves the need for reform.
- Bedford-Stuyvesant Preparatory School has scrapped plans to distribute condoms at prom. (MSNBC)
- Parents at P.S. 121 in the Bronx rallied to get the city to remove PCB-laden lights faster. (Daily News)
- Students from four Bronx schools performed onstage with Disney star Nick Jonas. (Daily News)
- Across the country, principal training in new Common Core standards is accelerating. (EdWeek)
- An ACLU lawsuit alleges that California has neglected the needs of immigrant students. (L.A. Times)
May 30, 2012
- A British religious studies exam asked students to explain prejudice against Jews. (Jewish Chronicle)
- And a test question in Chicago was scrapped amid criticism that it was pro-charter school. (Sun-Times)
- A teacher’s open letter to State Education Chief John King starts, “Testing is not natural.” (Jose Vilson)
- The New York Times’ new national education reporter has two children in city public schools. (Russo)
- A teacher celebrates achieving the difficult task of earning tenure — and plans his next move. (BNiche)
- A union veteran speculates that “turnaround” arbitration could settle other open issues. (Ed in the Apple)
- A homeless victim of a high-profile violent attack in Florida went to Stuyvesant High School. (HuffPo)
- Student arrests ticked upwards in the first quarter of the year, when there are few days off. (SchoolBook)
- Following “Concept Cards,” a coach offers tips for maximizing note-taking. (Coach G’s Teaching Tips)
- A photographer has helped students at M.S. 571 document their school’s phaseout. (SchoolBook)
- Romney’s education plan would buck a trend of dividing city and suburban students. (Campaign Stops)
- Andy Rotherham thinks Romney’s rhetoric that suggests integration is just that — rhetoric. (Eduwonk)
- A survey of this week’s NCLB waivers shows a continued emphasis on testing. (Curriculum Matters)
May 30, 2012
Dozens of schools will get new access to mental health services for their students under a $30 million initiative that Chancellor Dennis Walcott unveiled today.
Walcott introduced the new initiative during a City Council hearing about the Department of Education’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1.
The Department of Education’s proposed budget is $19.7 billion, 1.5 percent higher than this year. The increase, which comes after three years of budget cuts, is allowing the city to add teachers rather than cut them this year.
But Walcott cautioned that the city would still have to lay off 225 school workers who are represented by the District Council 37 union. Principals cut the workers loose last year but the department has been covering their costs, according to Walcott, who called the arrangement “unsustainable.”
“I don’t want to see any layoffs, I know DC 37 doesn’t want to either, and most of all, neither do the men and women affected by the prospective loss of employment,” said Walcott. “If we can work with the union to identify savings and concessions to offset these costs, layoffs are avoidable, and I’m hopeful this can be accomplished.”
The department laid off around 700 school aides in October after negotiations to save their jobs failed. A DC-37 official declined to comment immediately on the threatened layoffs, saying that the union was surprised by Walcott’s comments before the council. (more…)
May 30, 2012
A judge has tossed out a parent lawsuit against a charter school set to open in Cobble Hill this fall, even as he agreed that the school could have done more to solicit community feedback.
In March, the parents filed suit against the city and Eva Moskowitz, CEO of the Success Charter Academies network, charging that they circumvented state education laws when they abruptly changed plans for the school late last year. Brooklyn Success Academy 3 — now renamed Cobble Hill Success Academy — was originally approved for either District 13 or District 14, but the city revised its proposal in late October and announced the school would instead move into a District 15 building.
The parents also argued that the charter network had not sufficiently consulted the local community before the school’s charter was approved. Their suit presented the network’s consultation efforts, which included gathering signatures of support and holding a handful of public meetings, as “feeble, bordering on a sham,” according to today’s ruling.
The State Supreme Court justice, Peter Moulton, ruled that the school’s move from District 13 to District 15 had not violated state law. And he rejected the claims that the Success network had not fulfilled the state’s community consultation requirement — a requirement that he said is “weak” because it does not identify who should be consulted, suggest a strategy for soliciting opinion, or bar schools that register fierce opposition from receiving charters.
“Petitioners are correct that Success Academy could have engaged in a more thorough-going canvas of the relevant neighborhoods in Brooklyn to surface concerns and opposition to BSA 3,” Moulton ruled. “However, the statute does not require that charter applicants conduct such an exhaustive survey of support and opposition.” (more…)
May 30, 2012
- P.S. 94 in Sunset Park is under investigation for giving perks to teachers who cheated. (Daily News)
- Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch’s name is still being kicked around as a mayoral candidate. (WSJ)
- Authorities are devising a way to let charter schools take “over-the-counter” students. (GothamSchools)
- The city seeks a right to fire teachers in sex cases. (GothamSchools, Times, NY1, Post, Daily News, WSJ)
- The Daily News says the city’s proposed change to state law is “still woefully weak” on sex abuse.
- New York was among eight states to get NCLB waivers Tuesday. (GothamSchools, NY1, Times, WSJ)
- A teacher at Manhattan Theatre Lab HS seems to be caught on film kissing a 18-year-old student. (Post)
- Several city schools are nationally ranked for preparing students in math and science. (Daily News)
- Former city schools head Rudy Crew has been tapped to be Oregon’s first schools chief. (Oregonian)
- The Common Core means elementary students can’t take advanced math in N.C. (News & Observer)
- The arrival of Common Core standards in 45 states is likely to be a boon to textbook publishers. (WSJ)
- Children in poor families have growing access to digital devices, but use them for education less. (Times)
May 29, 2012
- The market for cell phone storage continues to thrive under the city’s school phone ban. (Mashable)
- Tottenville High School’s softball coach won’t let players talk to the press, against city policy. (Post)
- A teacher sends himself back to the ATR pool rather than face “turnaround” hiring. (Chaz’s School Daze)
- The nonprofit behind the Common Core helped Michelle Rhee launch StudentsFirst. (Teacher Beat)
- Heroic pilot Sully Sullenberg cites Rhee as an American hero. (North Jersey Record via NYC Educator)
- Mitt Romney and President Obama seem to have similar positions on whether class size matters. (TPM)
- A parent whose high-scoring child lost out in a high school lottery receives advice. (Insideschools)
- A Texas judge sent an honor student who works two jobs to jail for sleeping through school. (KHOU)
- Says a teacher: “The time is now to consider all the things that happened since September.” (Jose Vilson)
- John Chubb, the interim head of Education Sector, has left Mitt Romney’s new education team. (Russo)
- The head of a football team-less school questions the future of high school football. (Practical Theory)
- Boston’s single K-8 teacher of Spanish as a foreign language talks teacher evaluations. (Hechinger)
- Just in time for TFA’s summer institute, Gary Rubinstein launches an “Occupy TFA” blog. (Teach for US)
- A teacher admires the cheerful tenacity of a student whose disability has left her behind. (Mr. Foteah)
May 29, 2012
New York State will be freed from the most onerous requirements of the decade-old No Child Left Behind law, under the terms of a waiver awarded today by the U.S. Department of Education.
In exchange, the state will begin assessing districts and schools on their students’ progress instead of simply their performance — and districts that fall short will get extra funding and support starting this fall.
Lists of lagging schools, which will now be known as “Focus” schools, will be released by the end of June, according to a State Education Department spokesman. The state will also publish lists of “Reward” schools that will merit extra funds because of their strong performance.
The Obama administration introduced the waiver program as a way around Congress, which so far has declined to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, renamed No Child Left Behind during George W. Bush’s presidency. NCLB required all students to be “proficient” by 2014 in a quixotic that goal left more schools labeled as failing each year without urging states to action.
“The waiver lets New York move away from NCLB requirements that were unproductive or unrealistic,” said State Education Commissioner King in a statement. “We can evaluate schools in terms of both student growth and proficiency and recognize schools in which students are making good progress toward meeting standards of college and career readiness.” (more…)