Posts from May 4th, 2012
May 4, 2012
- Could Cuomo’s education commission try to eliminate the Regents? Some think so. (Ed in the Apple)
- The principal of a Long Island school lists reasons this year’s state tests were flawed. (Answer Sheet)
- A math teacher adds another reason for test transparency: out-of-sequence exam topics. (JD2718)
- Robert Pondiscio: The facts about the “pineapple” story don’t make it any better. (Core Knowledge)
- The head of the DOE’s early childhood office makes a list of next generation leaders. (Sara Mead)
- Mark Anderson: Teachers can’t be evaluated singly because schools work together. (GS Community)
- An expert weighs in on how “every teacher is a literacy teacher” works in practice. (Teaching Matters)
- The mother of a student who didn’t get his top middle school choice speaks out. (Insideschools)
- The parent organizer behind California’s parent trigger push explains his philosophy. (Hechinger)
- California wants an NCLB waiver but says it can’t afford required teacher evaluations. (Politics K-12)
- A teacher lists five reasons why low-income students often get subpar schooling. (Urban Teacher’s Ed)
May 4, 2012
An overhaul of the city’s child-care offerings that has concerned providers and advocates for nearly a year took a major step forward today, when the city announced which centers would receive new contracts for next year.
The city awarded contracts to 149 child-care providers on the basis of quality and experience. But providers that together currently offer more than 6,500 spots did not get contracts. On top of the proposed cuts to after school programs included in Mayor Bloomberg’s budget proposal, more than 14,000 city children could go without care next year.
The overhaul, called EarlyLearn, is meant to improve the quality of city-funded programs and allocate seats more efficiently across neighborhoods. Last fall, providers had to reapply for contracts with the city — and the requirements were steep.
The new standards are steep: Programs must show how they provide support to parents, create a challenging curriculum that prepares students for kindergarten and instruct children in health and safety. They need to find more time for staff development, guarantee service for children with special needs and be assessed annually according to a new grading program. Children will need to be screened for health, social and hygienic needs and assessed for academic gains. Some programs will have to expand their hours of operation. And for the first time, centers will need to pay for a portion of this themselves.
Resistance to the overhaul has grown as its implications have grown clearer. (more…)
May 4, 2012
The ninth grade girls at the Urban Assembly School for Criminal Justice weren’t interested in much when Pace University junior Kayla Francis first visited their classroom in February to discuss civics topics to research. She tossed out a few ideas – poverty, humanitarianism – until one issue finally caught their attention.
“Nothing got them as excited as women’s health,” said Francis.
Led by Francis, a mentor on the project, the group spent the next six weeks researching women’s health issues, including teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, which they said were issues in their own all-girls school.
On Friday they presented their findings – along with a plan to raise awareness – to a panel of about 40 judges from around the city community as part of an inaugural “Civics Day” event hosted by Generation Citizen.
More than 500 middle and high school students from 14 schools participated in the six-week program, which is in its first year in New York City. Generation Citizen, founded by Scott Warren during his senior year at Brown University in 2008, already has similar civics programs in Boston and Providence.
New York City is no stranger to civics education programs, of course. In March, a similar event was held at the Academy for Young Writers. (more…)
May 4, 2012
When Principal Jonathan Foy wanted to improve college readiness for Eagle Academy’s 500 male students, he added more advanced classes and staffed a college counseling office.
Atleast two Brooklyn schools have done the same, and more, in a similar quest to boost achievement: At the Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice, boys can take field trips and converse with their male teachers after school through the ”Young Men’s Association.”
And one of the educational capstones of Bedford Academy’s curriclum is Perspectives in Leadership, an elective taught by the principal to help male students to think about their roles in the world.
The motivation behind each of these programs is similar, the high schools’ principals say. It’s the knowledge that only a small fraction of the city’s black and Latino youth, particularly young men, are graduating from high school on time and ready for college.
The Brooklyn high schools are among the 80-some schools that city officials and prominent education researchers say are already making strides towards solving the decades-old problem which has received new attention with the advent of the new college readiness progress metric and the mayor’s Young Men’s Initiative.
Last week all three of them were awarded $10,000 by the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color, a national nonprofit, for their progress addressing the educational needs of young men of color. And two of them are among the 81 schools eligible to apply for the city’s Expanded Success Initiative.
The principals told GothamSchools they think one key to tackling this problem is creating single-gender spaces where young men are asked to think critically about their actions and plan for their futures. (more…)
May 4, 2012
Even when it seemed that everyone had something to say about “The Hare and the Pineapple,” the seemingly nonsensical story that appeared on New York’s eighth-grade reading exam, the company that created the test remained silent.
Now, a leaked memo makes it clear that state officials sought an explanation from Pearson of why the story appeared on some exams — and that Pearson offered a vigorous defense of its test-construction choices.
“The Hare and the Pineapple” and associated items had been field tested in New York State, yielded appropriate statistics for inclusion, and it was aligned to the appropriate NYS Standard,” a Pearson vice president wrote to Kenneth Slentz, the state’s interim testing czar. The story was meant to test students’ ability to interpret characters’ traits and behavior and to “elicit supporting detail,” according to the memo, which Time Magazine published today.
The memo was obtained by Andrew Rotherham, head of the nonprofit Bellwether Education Partners, who said it was given to him by a state government employee. A State Education Department official confirmed the authenticity of the memo, which was signed by John Twing, a Pearson vice president who serves as the company’s “chief measurement officer.” (more…)
May 4, 2012
When Democracy Prep students stroll into school wearing t-shirts that read “I’m kind of a big deal” and “Don’t act like you’re not impressed,” they don’t get in trouble for not wearing their uniforms. Instead, they get applauded for winning the right to wear the celebratory shirts by hitting a major milestone on their journey towards reading 1.2 million words.
Requiring students to log the pages or books they read is common practice in city schools. But the expectation is a bit different at Democracy Prep.
Schools in the network regularly see students’ math scores shoot up. But reading scores proved harder to budge. The network’s founder and superintendent, Seth Andrew, chalked the phenomenon up to differences between the two subjects. In math, a student can be strong in geometry but weak in algebra, but literacy is built on more cumulative knowledge, he explained: In order to raise students’ reading scores, they mostly needed to read more.
In 2010, when Democracy Prep Harlem opened, literacy specialist Ajaka Roth and principal Emmanuel George thought about ways to make this happen. It wasn’t by requiring students to read more books, they decided. (more…)
May 4, 2012
Schools are complex environments, strewn with relationships amongst adults with a multiplicity of roles and allegiances, complicated by the volatile and competitive relationships of children striving to understand their place in the world. To work in a public school is to daily navigate treacherous political and interpersonal waters, work on various teams, alternately pressure and (more…)
May 4, 2012
- Students from Paul Robeson HS and other schools walked out in protest on May Day. (Amsterdam News)
- Mayor Bloomberg’s budget was good for teachers but bad for after-school. (GothamSchools, Times)
- Bloomberg said he did not think unions should get retroactive raises when they get new contracts. (Post)
- M.S. 244 is winning attention for applying a data-driven approach to students’ needs. (GothamSchools)
- Behind Philly’s school restructuring plan is a seemingly agenda-driven consulting group. (City Paper)
- More on the showdown over school space developing in Manhattan’s District 2. (GothamSchools, NY1)
- Teachers who were reassigned during a L.A. school’s sex scandal say they are depressed. (L.A. Times)
- Calling for school vouchers, N.J. Gov. Chris Christie said Republicans are leading ed reform. (ABC)