Posts from June 8th, 2012
June 8, 2012
- Individuals and interest groups weighed in on the district Race to the Top proposal. (Politics K-12)
- Innovation advocates say the Obama administration shouldn’t force personalized learning. (NewSchools)
- The recent history of the New York Times’ education desk suggests a coverage slowdown. (Capital NY)
- A parent activist recalls fighting for years to get a policy change finally made last week. (GS Community)
- Massachusetts’ main teachers union is giving up some seniority rights to avoid conflict. (Boston Globe)
- The story of the city’s special education reforms is retold through the Passover story. (Ed Notes)
- A teacher describes the experience of being barred from guiding her students through MOMA. (Freestyle)
- A Carroll Gardens school is opening an extra G&T kindergarten after an enrollment snafu. (SchoolBook)
- And don’t forget our (almost)-end-of-the-year happy hour a week from today. RSVPs are required!
June 8, 2012
Some teachers this week are getting bad news about what they thought was already a done deal: their tenure.
Teachers come up for tenure, which confers stronger job protections, after three years. In their third year, their principals recommend a tenure decision to the superintendent, who has the final say on whether to approve, deny, or defer tenure.
But some teachers whose principals had already received superintendent sign-off found out this week that those approvals had been rescinded, according to principals, teachers, and union officials. The teachers are instead being offered an extension of their probationary periods, some for the second time.
The scenario has played out at multiple schools, according to officials at the United Federation of Teachers, who said the schools all seemed to have low scores on their Department of Education progress reports.
The reversals appear to mark a new phase in the Bloomberg administration’s campaign to make tenure tougher to earn — or, as Mayor Bloomberg put it in a 2010 vow, “ending tenure as we know it.” Last year, the city aggressively cut down on the rate of tenure approvals, instead extending the probationary period of 40 percent of teachers up for tenure, up from 8 percent in 2010, and many principals said their superintendents had rejected some of their tenure recommendations. (more…)
June 8, 2012
This piece originally appeared in Spanish in El Diario.
Last Friday, the Department of Education quietly disclosed that it will end one of its signature policies: the all-out ban on so-called “social promotion” of students in city schools. Finally, “in response to … feedback and research showing that being retained multiple times can be detrimental for students,” (more…)
June 8, 2012
Advocates for students with disabilities who have been defending the Department of Education’s special education reforms in the face of mounting criticism are coming to the end of their rope.
They have been calling on the city for years to integrate more students with special needs in mainstream classrooms and were cautiously optimistic in 2010 when the department launched a pilot aimed at doing just that.
But two years into the pilot, with the ambitious initiative set to scale citywide this fall, no one outside of the Department of Education has any solid idea how the initiative has worked so far. Even after extending the pilot for a year, the department has released scant information about what has happened to the schools and students involved in it.
“We’ve been asking for more information forever, essentially,” said Maggie Moroff, who heads the ARISE Coalition of special education advocates, which this week sent a letter of concern to top department officials.
Details have come out in dribs and drabs. One slideshow that department officials have presented shows that attendance and test scores for students with special needs in the pilot schools did not improve. The data points the department touts most often is that students in the pilot schools were referred to special education less frequently and moved into less restrictive environments more often than in comparable schools not participating in the pilot.
But those data points say only that schools did what they were asked to do: aim for placing fewer students in special education classes, for less time. When it comes to more complex and, according to advocates and special education experts, more meaningful data points, the department has been mum. (more…)
June 8, 2012
- More than 40 schools paid for more staff members last year with parent donations. (WNYC/SchoolBook)
- Increased spending on city schools hasn’t let to transparency about each school’s budget. (SchoolBook)
- Parents critical of testing protested Pearson. (GothamSchools, SchoolBook, NY1, WSJ, Daily News)
- Waitlists are clear, but the space crunch in Lower Manhattan schools hasn’t ended. (Downtown Express)
- A city charter school advocacy group is running a feel-good television ad to cap the school year. (WSJ)
- The city is expanding the year-old Common Core Fellows teacher training programs. (GothamSchools)
- Chicago’s teachers union is accusing the schools chief of trying to sabotage its strike plans. (Sun-Times)