Posts from June 18th, 2012
June 18, 2012
- Joel Klein is leaving News Corp’s investigatory post to return to the education division. (Media Decoder)
- Students at Brooklyn’s P.S. 10 want anti-smoking laws, less testing, and better bathrooms. (Twitter)
- Sarah Carr explains why education reporters should be careful about the language they use. (Hechinger)
- Here’s a thorough roundup of education stories from below the Mason-Dixon line. (Southern Ed Desk)
- A teacher describes his transfer school’s trajectory from pretty good to “the epitome of awful.” (Yo Mista)
- Advocates issued a policy paper asking the DOE to include parents and students in teacher evals. (AFC)
- Harbor School students spent their last day of classes on a schooner in New York Harbor. (Tribeca Trib)
- One theory of what charter schools teach the world: Achievement segregation works. (Gary Rubinstein)
- A teacher describes the sad story of middle-schoolers who can’t afford their graduation. (SchoolBook)
June 18, 2012
Thousands of teachers, administrators, and school aides in the city’s 24 “turnaround” schools are getting official notification today that they aren’t assured a position next year.
The total number of workers at the schools who are being “excessed” — or having their positions eliminated — is 3,671, making this year’s citywide tally of displaced teachers larger than in any recent year. The Department of Education released the figures this afternoon but did not share data about excessing taking place at the city’s 1,600 other schools.
Schools learned that the excessing letters would be distributed today on Friday, and at some schools teachers received the notices while interviewing to retain their jobs. The workers who received the notification include 2,995 people represented by the United Federation of Teachers, mostly classroom teachers; 497 people represented by DC-37, the union that includes school aides and parent coordinators; and 179 members of the principals and administrators union.
Typically, schools excess teachers because of budget cuts, enrollment drops, and changes to program offerings that render the positions impossible to fund. But this year, every single person who works at the 24 schools undergoing a federally prescribed turnaround process is being excessed — and virtually every single person is being replaced, either by himself or by another person, during restaffing processes that are already underway.
The expansive game of musical chairs is intended to shake up the staffs of struggling schools and make them eligible for a pot of federal funds known as School Improvement Grants.
“We think it is an exciting opportunity and moment to infuse new talent into these new schools and produce gains for students,” said Marc Sternberg, the Department of Education deputy chancellor supervising the turnaround process. (more…)
June 18, 2012
The state teachers union is lobbying against a bill that would allow charter schools to serve students with special needs more readily.
The bill would allow charter schools, which essentially operate as one-school districts now, to pool their resources to offer special services to students with disabilities and English language learners. The bill was introduced in April, just weeks before state charter school authorizers proposed enrollment targets to comply with a requirement added to the state’s charter school law in 2010 that the schools serve “comparable” numbers of students with special needs.
Charter school advocates have spent recent weeks lobbying for The Charter School Students With Special Needs Act and until now had encountered little resistance in Albany. The bill sailed through the State Senate’s education committee, and Assemblyman Karim Camara introduced an Assembly version two weeks ago.
But last week, NYSUT circulated a memo urging lawmakers to reject the bill. The memo lauded the bill’s sponsors and acknowledged charter schools’ challenges in serving special needs student populations. But it also warned that the bill could result in ”a huge expansion of charter schools” and create an arrangement in which charter schools “segregate all of their students with disabilities to one site.” (more…)
June 18, 2012
Before Sam McElroy became the iLearnNYC coordinator at Flushing High School, he was nervous about initiatives that moved at least part of the instructional program online.
McElroy, a special education teacher, had seen that lax regulations provided fertile grounds for online credit recovery to be abused, and he knew that some of his colleagues were concerned that “blended learning” is intended to render teachers unnecessary.
But after a year leading Flushing’s blended learning initiative, McElroy describes himself as a convert to blended learning. In the Community section today, he recounts what happened when he stopped using a prepackaged curriculum and started developing the online materials his students needed. He writes:
I found that the long-term advantages for my students far outweighed the early struggles. Students quickly learned to treat the equipment respectfully (in most cases), took to the routine, and stayed engaged in their work with little or no distractions throughout each class period. I was able to easily see who struggled with the content and spend significant time with them while other students worked at a faster pace. Managing the different paces was a challenge but also an opportunity to give the stronger students mini-projects while the other students continued in a unit. …
And most importantly, the platform helped me be a better teacher. In fact, I had the most satisfying year of my seven years teaching. I think my students did well on last week’s global history Regents exam, but regardless of test scores, my students clearly demonstrated tremendous academic progress and developed important new digital skills.
Read McElroy’s entire account of his blended learning ups and downs in the Community section. And check out our recent story about Olympus Academy, a transfer high school — also part of iLearnNYC — where every course uses blended learning.
June 18, 2012
Some of the city’s “turnaround” schools, including the one where I work, are listing knowledge or willingness to learn about using a blended learning instructional models as a criterion for hiring teachers.
That’s because we are participating in the iLearn NYC program, a Department of Education initiative to support blended learning throughout the city. The initiative gives (more…)
June 18, 2012
New York public school students have fewer options for recourse against discrimination today than they did a week ago.
The state’s highest court ruled last week that public school students cannot use New York’s human rights law to seek recognition of discrimination — or get financial compensation when discrimination has taken place.
Never before have courts ruled that such a large group of constituents is not protected by the law, said Rebecca Shore, the director of litigation for Advocates for Children, which aims to protect low-income students from discrimination.
New York’s human rights law, the first of its kind when it was passed in 1945, prohibits discrimination based on “age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex or marital status” in a variety of settings, including “non-sectarian educational institutions,” according to the State Division of Human Rights. Individuals can file complaints with the state’s Division of Human Rights and seek restitution, all without paying for a lawyer.
But after two school districts contested the human rights division’s jurisdiction to investigate and fine them, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled in a 4-3 decision that the division cannot probe discrimination claims in public schools. (more…)
June 18, 2012
The United Federation of Teachers’ latest idea for stopping sex abuse in schools is “disingenuous shell game” aimed at protecting teachers who misbehave, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott charged in an unusual weekend letter to the union’s president, Michael Mulgrew.
The letter, released to the press Sunday afternoon, came in response to Mulgrew’s proposal that the city reexamine how it screens school workers as a strategy to curb a recent spate of sex abuse case. Mulgrew made the suggestion to members of the City Council on Friday.
But all school workers already go through a rigorous examination before they are hired, Walcott said, and what the city needs is more freedom to fire those who are found to have behaved inappropriately once they are working in city classrooms. Walcott has been arguing that point strenuously in recent weeks to push a bill that would give the chancellor, rather than independent arbitrators, the power to fire teachers in sex abuse cases.
The bill, which would affect at most a handful of teachers, has gained little attention in Albany and is unlikely to pass before the legislative session ends Tuesday. (more…)
June 18, 2012
- Legislators in Albany are close to a deal to give parents access to teacher ratings. (WSJ, Daily News)
- The main point of contention had been whether parents would get access to the evaluations or not. (WSJ)
- The deal is supposed to be finalized this afternoon and could still fall through, sources say. (Post)
- Magnet schools are seen as one path toward racial integration, but their change comes slowly. (Times)
- Businesses make upwards of $4 million a year storing students’ banned-from-school cell phones. (Post)
- The number of school psychologists is down even as more students seem to need them. (S.I. Advance)
- Teachers at Staten Island’s I.S. 49 chose a colleague who was removed as their union leader. (Post)
- Ginia Bellafante: The much-maligned principal of P.S. 90 is actually well-liked at her school. (Times)
- A new District 13 middle school will put students, not teachers, at the front of the class. (GothamSchools)
- The student whose speech on gay rights was barred from a contest will read it today at school. (NY1)
- A nonprofit will give students at 72 middle and transfer high schools home internet access. (WNYC)
- The state appears to be cracking down on Pearson, its test-maker, after its errors. (GothamSchools)
- Chancellor Walcott said the UFT shields misbehaving teachers. (GothamSchools, Post, Daily News)
- Walcott met with parents at P.S. 208, where a teacher was arrested. (GS, Daily News, WSJ, NY1)
- A Queens high school teacher was removed after simulating sex acts during sex ed class. (Daily News)
- The Daily News: A judge’s ruling in favor of a teacher who had sex at school proves a need for change.
- At a conference, mayors from across the country signed on to support the “parent trigger.” (Reuters)
- Buffalo is letting 16-year-olds eighth-graders leave school for city-run GED programs. (Buffalo News)
Last week on GothamSchools:
- The UFT’s leading intellectual voice is decamping for a union-run D.C. think tank. (Thursday)
- A pot of federal funds that is drying up could cost schools the ability to pay for tech training. (Thursday)
- The range of responses to charter school enrollment targets includes a call to trash them. (Wednesday)
- The principal of P186, a school for students with disabilities, is constantly in motion. (Wednesday)
- New York City became the last district in the state to still have its SIG funds suspended. (Wednesday)
- At a City Council hearing, DOE officials said there is no data from special ed reforms to share. (Tuesday)
- A handful of teachers turned out to protest rehiring practices at “turnaround” schools. (Tuesday)
- In a departure, the city’s annual principals conference focused on details of implementation. (Tuesday)
- The city’s high school graduation rate flattened in 2011 after years of ticking upward. (Monday)
- Mayor Bloomberg praised the graduation rate but said he wasn’t sure growth would resume. (Monday)
- CSI High School for International Studies students say gym credits were incorrect there, too. (Monday)
- Teachers from district and charter schools toured several schools to learn from each other. (Monday)