Posts from May 17th, 2012
May 17, 2012
- A teacher recalls a conversation with her non-teacher husband about testing. (Miss Eyre/NYC Educator)
- Arne Duncan said he doesn’t know why states keep offering free tutoring that doesn’t work. (Politics K-12)
- Education writers from across the country have convened in Philadelphia. Read their updates. (Twitter)
- The director of fiscal strategy for StudentsFirst says LIFO causes more teachers to be laid off. (Flypaper)
- Students who left a Denver school suspected of cheating saw their scores fall later. (EdNews Colorado)
- The UFT has issued the RFP for community social services grants that it promised last week. (Edwize)
- “Top-rated” teacher Maribeth Whitehouse offers 10 explanations for why she teaches. (Learning Matters)
- A Camden principal fired six years ago for whistle-blowing thrives; the district struggles. (Inquirer)
- Rishawn Biddle calls New York City’s latest ed policy news “all in all, not a bad move.” (Dropout Nation)
- The chair of L.A.’s Democratic party wants DFER to stop using the party name. (LACDP via Ravitch)
May 17, 2012
After years of trying to win new powers to fire under-performing teachers, the city is turning to rights it has had all along.
Speaking to a coalition representing the city’s business elite this morning, Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced that the city would move to fire any teacher who receives “unsatisfactory” ratings for two years in a row. He also announced that the city would ask the UFT to allow buyouts for teachers who have been without permanent positions for more than a year.
Both policies are already permitted under the law and the city’s contract with the teachers union — a fact that drew ridicule from UFT President Michael Mulgrew.
“It’s theater of the absurd. It’s getting old,” he said. “I think they believe that everyone’s a fool. They’ve made an announcement about something they already have the ability to do.”
Mulgrew noted that the union contract already allows Department of Education officials to do exactly what Walcott’s two plans announced today would do—incentivize teachers without permanent jobs to take buyouts, and require schools to remove teachers who receive consecutive unsatisfactory ratings. He also said the buyout plan was proposed by the union several times over the past three years, but the city rebuffed it. (more…)
May 17, 2012
Eva Moskowitz and her charter school network are objecting to new targets meant to push charter schools to enroll a fair share of students with disabilities and English language learners.
When they revised the state’s charter schools law in 2010, legislators included a requirement that the schools register a “comparable” number of high-needs students. Now the state has proposed a methodology to calculate enrollment targets for charter schools based on how many students attend the school and the overall ratio of high-needs students in each district. Schools that currently enroll too few students with special needs will be required to show at least a “good-faith” effort to enroll more.
But a top official in the Success Academies network said Wednesday that she objected to any such requirement. Setting enrollment targets creates a disincentive for schools to help students get to the point that they no longer need special services, said Emily Kim, general counselor for the Success Academies network.
“For us, our goal is not to hit a number and stay at that number for English language learners,” Kim said. “Our goal is that they learn English, that they perform at the highest levels, and that they graduate from high school college ready and are successful in life.”
“So if our figures go down, we’re proud of that,” she added.
UPDATE: A state education official said the proposed targets would not penalize schools schools if their students are declassified as special education or ELL. Through what’s being called a “three year lag,” schools would get credit for students who had been classified anytime in the last three years. “With the three-year lag, there is little to no chance that there will be a dinging of schools for declassification of a child,” said Assistant Commissioner Sally Bachofer, who helped developed the targets. (more…)
May 17, 2012
Even without a new teacher evaluation system, New York City will ramp up efforts to weed out teachers who “don’t deserve to teach,” Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced today.
In an early-morning speech to the Association for a Better New York, a business and political group, Walcott said the city would adopt new policies to insulate students from teachers deemed “unsatisfactory” under the current evaluation system. Under the new policies, no student will be allowed to have a teacher rated unsatisfactory multiple years in a row, and the city will move to fire all teachers who receive two straight U ratings.
“If we truly believe that every student deserves a great teacher, then we can’t accept a system where a student suffers with a poor-performing one for two straight years,” Walcott said. “One year of learning loss is bad enough — but studies indicate that two years could be devastating.”
The policies would go into effect if the city and union do not agree on new teacher evaluations by September, when the new school year begins. Under the existing evaluation system, two consecutive U ratings can trigger termination proceedings but do not have to. Two “ineffective” ratings on teacher evaluations now required under state law would automatically trigger termination proceedings.
Walcott also announced that the city would capitalize on a clause in its contract with the teachers union to offer a resignation incentive for teachers who have spent more than a year in the Absent Teacher Reserve, the pool of teachers without permanent positions. Buyouts would have to be negotiated for each teacher, and Walcott promised that the incentives would be “generous.” The move represents a shift in approach for the Bloomberg administration, which has previously sought the right to fire members of the ATR pool.
Walcott’s complete speech, as prepared for delivery, is below. We’ll have more on his proposals later today. (more…)
May 17, 2012
- Sitting too close together cost hundreds of students their SAT scores. (NY1, Times, Daily News, WSJ)
- A school “study tour” is the next step in an initiative to link charter and district schools. (Daily News)
- The state is preparing to set high-need student enrollment goals for charter schools. (GothamSchools)
- A new study finds that 15 percent of students nationally can be considered chronically absent. (Times)
- A judge encouraged arbitration in the union-city suit over turnaround. (GothamSchools, SchoolBook)
- Tottenville High School staff members were honored for saving a student’s life with a defibrillator. (NY1)
- A lucky conversation led to a new Joffrey Ballet program for Fort Hamilton High School. (Daily News)
- Comptroller John Liu found improprieties in payments to a tutoring company. (GothamSchools, Post)
- The parent council for Queens’ District 29 is weighing a middle school choice proposal. (Daily News)
- Downtown families who are still on kindergarten waiting lists are growing frustrated. (Tribeca Trib)
- Parents from P.S. 195 in Queens rallied against the slow pace of the city’s PCB cleanup. (Daily News)
- Across the state, voters overwhelmingly okayed school budgets set under a brand-new tax cap. (Times)
- Chicago aims to add 60 more charter schools in the next five years and go from 110 to 170. (Tribune)