Posts from May 2012
May 29, 2012
A legal change that Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced he wanted in March now has a legislator standing behind it.
State Sen. Stephen Saland is sponsoring a bill that would give school district chiefs the right to fire teachers who have been found to have engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with a student.
Under the current disciplinary process, once the city files charges against a teacher accused of misconduct, an independent arbitrators determines whether teachers have behaved inappropriately, and determine the punishment, no matter the offense.
This bill would create a new disciplinary process for the small number of teachers accused of sexual misconduct. The special process would send the arbitrator’s ruling back to school district officials, who could overrule it. The district would have the power to fire any teacher found to have engaged in sexual misconduct. Termination would be the default consequence, although the district could opt for a lesser punishment.
Walcott and Mayor Bloomberg announced the proposed legislation today at Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s official residence on the Upper East Side. Flanked by Saland, the superintendent of Yonkers Public Schools and several other representatives of state district superintendents, Walcott and Bloomberg said those who might oppose the legislation would be choosing to protect teachers over students.
“If city government can’t take care of them, I don’t know who is going to,” Bloomberg said about city students. “We are calling on the United Federation of Teachers to join us.” (more…)
May 29, 2012
The phone calls are bad, but the visitors are the toughest to reject.
That’s how Daniel Rubenstein feels about the admission requests that his charter school, Brooklyn Prospect, gets each summer from families who moved to the neighborhood after the school’s April lottery.
“This is a population that needs to be in a good school,” Rubenstein said. “Our school — which is a small, relationship-driven, intimate environment — would be better for someone that needs a community.”
But by law, Rubenstein must turn the families away. The state’s charter school law does not make provisions for schools to reserve seats for students who arrive to the city from far-flung locales after their April admissions lotteries. That means that charter schools, which are charged with serving the city’s neediest students, must exclude some of the students with the greatest need.
But after lobbying by Rubenstein and other charter operators, as well as by officials at the city Department of Education, one of the state’s charter authorizers is working on an option that would allow charter schools to open their doors in the middle of the year. (more…)
May 29, 2012
- Without official “rubber rooms,” teachers charged with misconduct languish in other locations. (Post)
- Alleging that a teacher had an affair with her teenaged son, a mother is suing the city. (Post, Daily News)
- Sources say an education department network leader is living with a principal she supports. (Daily News)
- Nearly all city principals scored at least satisfactory on their evaluations last year. (GothamSchools, NY1)
- Michael Winerip: The mayor’s proposed cuts to after-school programs are catastrophic if real. (Times)
- Admissions letters to city gifted and talented programs went out Friday. (Insideschools, SchoolBook)
- York Prep stands out among city private schools for taking challenging students — and a profit. (Times)
- In letters, representatives of education nonprofits weigh in on Joe Nocera’s Bill Gates interview. (Times)
- AQE’s Billy Easton: Budget cuts and tax caps make improving schools in the state a tough ask. (Times)
- The Daily News says Gov. Cuomo’s education reform panel should turn its watchful eye toward Pearson.
Last week on GothamSchools:
- The city and the unions that sued it have agreed to unusually speedy “turnaround” arbitration. (Friday)
- Judges extended the lives of two charter schools the city wants to close, at least temporarily. (Thursday)
- The Panel for Educational Policy approved a controversial special education budget plan. (Thursday)
- Advocates want the state to take more time to phase in more stringent diploma standards. (Wednesday)
- Parent activists are weighing political campaigns as they look toward Bloomberg’s exit. (Wednesday)
- Some parents are resisting next month’s field tests, when the state will try out new questions. (Tuesday)
- Math teachers, whose topic builds sequentially, see a rocky transition to the Common Core. (Tuesday)
- Proposed rules for a district-level Race to the Top contest could be hard for the city to follow. (Tuesday)
- Olympus Academy uses a blended learning model to let students advance at their own pace. (Monday)
May 25, 2012
- Critics of No Child Left Behind fault the federal policy for the spread of cheating practices. (Salon)
- Hancock: The public release of the city’s teacher data reports has illuminated their flaws. (CJR)
- Stuyvesant students say they’ve clashed repeatedly with faculty over the dress code. (Schoolbook)
- Parents of Gifted and Talented children just learned of their kindergarten placements. (Inside Schools)
- SED: Students should not be told how the field tests relate to other assessments. (NYC PS Parents)
- P.S. 51 students perform a tribute to the tap dance “legend” Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. (Schoolbook)
- Some advocates say public schools should emulate private schools’ practices. (Fordham Institute)
- Like the public schools, we’ll be back to work on Tuesday. Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend.
May 25, 2012
As test scores stabilized last year, so did principals’ evaluations.
Two years ago, the state made it harder for students to score proficient on state exams. Scores dropped — and so did principals’ ratings, because the ratings are based almost entirely on student test scores.
Last year’s test scores were more consistent with the previous year’s results. Almost 90 percent of schools received the same grade on their city progress report as they had the year before, or rose or fell by just one letter grade.
Because of the way the city calculates principals’ performance ratings, the stable test scores meant that most principals’ annual ratings could only improve. As a result, only about 1 percent of principals — 18 out of 1,485 — got the lowest rating on the city’s five-point scale in 2010-2011. More than 25 percent landed in the highest category, “substantially meets expectations.”
Of the lowest-scoring principals, only five remained in their position this year. (more…)
May 25, 2012
The battle to save Bushwick Community High School from closure began even before Mayor Bloomberg first announced plans to “turnaround” nearly three dozen schools in January. (more…)
May 25, 2012
Arbitration that will determine whether the city can move forward with its plans to “turn around” 24 struggling schools is set to take place with uncharacteristic speed.
Earlier this month, the teachers and principals unions sued to stop the turnarounds, charging that the city’s plans violated their contracts. A judge who was assigned to hear the lawsuit urged the two parties into arbitration, and the two parties agreed because it is important for the schools to have clarity soon about how to assemble their teaching rosters for the fall.
Arbitration can sometimes take months. But when the city and unions yesterday finalized the detailed terms under which arbitration will take place, they emphasized speed. According to their agreement, the two parties will meet with the arbitrator on three dates in June, starting June 7 and ending June 26. But if other dates open up, they’ll meet sooner, and they will meet in the early mornings and late at night until a resolution is reached. They are even asking the arbitrator to minimize the time spent on transitions between witnesses.
The agreement also offers more details about what could happen after the arbitrator makes his decision. (more…)
May 25, 2012
Parents at the city’s 10th annual English language learners conference literally lept out of their chairs at the chance to meet and take a photo with Chancellor Dennis Walcott this morning.
During his brief speech about how the parents could help their children in school, dozens of parents crowded around the stage, cameras and smart-phones in hand. More later greeted him off-stage, where he shook hands and posed for photos. (more…)
May 25, 2012
Students weren’t able to stop the city from closing Legacy High School for Integrated Studies. But they have been able to turn their protests into a learning experience.
Last night, students from Legacy performed a skit on the difficulty of making choices. In the skit, the students had access to “Make a Choice 3000,” an app that showed them the outcome of possible decisions.
The skit was performed as part of “Show Up,” an annual event showcasing of original performances written by students as part of ENACT, a dropout prevention program that operates in 150 city schools with high dropout rates.
The choice the kids in the skit were confronted with? Whether to fight against the city’s closure of the fictional Regency High School, even if they knew their efforts would most likely be fruitless. (more…)
May 25, 2012
At the beginning of the 2011-12 school year, Elton Hollingsworth and Noel Cruz, both ninth-graders at the Bronx Design and Construction Academy, joined the science club. Little did they know that a short nine months later, they’d board a plane bound for Denver as two of the youngest people to present at a leading industrial conference.
Last week, the boys explained findings from an experiment they’ve been conducting on the school’s green roof — the first of its kind in a New York City public school — at the World Renewable Energy Forum. Neither had been on an airplane before.
“We were the only high-schoolers there,” Cruz said.
“It takes a professional level of work to get through our peer review process,” says Seth Masia, director of communications for the American Solar Energy Society (ASES), which held its National Solar Conference together with the World Renewable Energy Forum this year. “We’re most impressed that the science club was able to do it.” (more…)