Posts from June 19th, 2012
June 19, 2012
- A retired math teacher recalls the furor that ensued after she had to grade English exams. (Pissed Off)
- Both the state and city teachers unions are backing Gov. Cuomo’s teacher ratings bill. (Daily Politics)
- Cuomo held a pressser to make clear that unions and legislators alike had little choice. (Wonkster)
- The moving boxes at a school set for charter school co-location are getting filled. (Inside Colocation)
- Students (and teachers) at Williamsburg Charter HS still don’t know if the school will close. (SchoolBook)
- Here’s an argument against “just right” texts pitched to students’ exact reading levels. (Flypaper)
- Parents pushed Chelsea’s P.S. 11 to surpass many schools in making lunches healthy. (SchoolBook)
- Arne Duncan rejected senators’ claim that the White House supports D.C. vouchers again. (Politics K-12)
- A Philadelphia teacher describes the explosions in his school year, both good and bad. (Notebook)
- Pundits discuss if middle schools should stand alone; researchers have asked, too. (Room for Debate)
- A teacher muses on the meaning of the frequently utter phrase, “It’s been a long year.” (NYCDOEnuts)
June 19, 2012
For some students, final exams administered on Monday posed an extra challenge.
Months after a spate of errors on the state’s elementary and middle school exams caused parents and educators to charge that test-makers are held to lower standards than its teachers or students, more mistakes have come to light. This time the errors are on high school foreign language exams developed by the city Department of Education.
This year, local districts were required for the first time to create the foreign language exams that students can take to fulfill graduation requirements. The state had produced Regents exams in several languages in the past but eliminated them in a cost-cutting move last year.
Department of Education officials said the new requirement would be easy to meet because the city already created tests for less commonly studied languages such as Hebrew and Chinese. But when students sat down to take French and Spanish exams on Monday, errors quickly became apparent.
Students who took the French exam were asked a multiple-choice question with more than one correct answer. In one part of the Spanish exam, students were asked to choose two out of three questions to answer, but only given two options. And a printing error meant that the rubric students were supposed to use when structuring their essay on the Spanish language exam was missing. (more…)
June 19, 2012
For months, advocates for students with special needs have been pushing the state to reconsider a safety net meant to help those students graduate.
But when the state’s top education policy-makers sat down in Albany Monday to discuss the issue, they instead floated the idea of making graduation requirements even easier for students who have disabilities.
This year, for the first time, all students in New York State will have to pass five Regents exams with a 65 or higher in order to graduate. In the past, students have had the option of getting a less rigorous “local diploma” with some scores of 55 or higher, with the number of 65′s required inching upward each year.
But the elimination of the local diploma doesn’t extend to students who require special education services: They will still be able to graduate with 55′s on their transcripts, even on all five required Regents exams.
Advocates say that leniency runs the risk of creating a second-class diploma for students with disabilities, similar to the IEP diploma that is being eliminated. Students had to pass exams known as Regents Competency Tests to get the diploma, but earning one did not qualify graduates for college, work, or the military. (more…)
June 19, 2012
The hiring process has hit snags at several “turnaround” schools where teachers have been told to reapply for their jobs this year.
Staff from many of the 24 schools that the city will close and reopen this year under a reform model called turnaround are complaining they are facing confusion and misinformation over who qualifies to be rehired and what will happen to teachers who are not rehired. At a handful of the schools, interviews were delayed by days because of last-minute administrative changes and unexpected time pressures. And some of the school-based hiring committees are working long hours but still falling behind.
Department of Education officials say the rehiring process is underway at all schools and is moving smoothly considering the sheer number of interviews that must be conducted. Any teacher from the schools who applies to stay on is guaranteed an interview, and about 2,600 of them have. They represent 85 percent of the 2,995 teachers currently working in the schools.
“All of the committees are up and running,” said Marc Sternberg, the deputy chancellor overseeing the turnaround initiative. “Some are ahead of others, and some are getting momentum now. Offers are starting to be made.”
But teachers at the schools say the interviews and offers are coming only after logistical hangups that complicated an already stressful process in the waning weeks of the school year. (more…)
June 19, 2012
Hours before nearly 3,000 teachers at dozens of schools got official word that they would need to look for new positions, Chancellor Dennis Walcott greeted 900 fresh recruits to the city’s teaching corps.
The new teachers were recruited and selected by the NYC Teaching Fellows program, which has trained new teachers for shortage areas such as special education and math since 2000. Fellows get training over the summer, then are sent off into high-needs schools in the fall while they work toward a master’s degree in education.
At its peak, the program brought in thousands of new teachers each year. But under tight budget conditions and hiring restrictions, it shrank dramatically in the last few years. This year’s crop of 900 newbies is twice as many as the program hired in 2011, and 200 more than the Department of Education forecast this spring.
The new fellows packed into a Midtown auditorium for a ceremony that welcomed them into the city’s public school system on Monday.
“You have the opportunity to make sure your students are able to grow and thrive in today’s society,” Walcott told the fellows as he praised them for earning a spot in the competitive program, which accepted just 12 percent of applicants this year. “That’s what we want you to do to make that lasting impact.”
But with only a few months to secure a classroom position, the chancellor’s words of encouragement didn’t ease the anxiety that many recruits expressed. Since 2009, fellows who don’t land a permanent position by the middle of the fall semester are tossed from the program — and its payroll.
“I am very nervous,” said Jennifer Allen, who has already started to search for a position. “Every day, whenever I have down time, I schedule at least an hour or so to put out resumes and talk to principals to try to get myself out there.”
And the fellows have an especially large crowd of competitors this year: The welcome ceremony coincided with the announcement that almost 3,000 experienced teachers at the city’s 24 “turnaround” schools are not guaranteed their jobs this fall. Many are applying to keep their positions, but others are striking out on the open market to look for open jobs elsewhere in the system. They will join the fellows, other new teachers, and other experienced teachers looking for a change in competing for open spots. (more…)
June 19, 2012
- Gov. Cuomo introduced a teacher rating privacy bill to buy ongoing talks time. (Daily News, WSJ)
- The move came after legislators missed his deadline and he said the issue could wait. (WSJ, Post)
- The Post says the lack of the deal is good news for those who want the ratings to see the light of day.
- More than 3,500 “turnaround” school workers got pinkish slips. (GothamSchools, Post, SchoolBook, NY1)
- NYSUT is opposing a bill meant to help charter schools serve high-needs students. (GothamSchools)
- Parent activists are trying to galvanize their neighborhoods in advance of the mayoral race. (Daily News)
- A school aide who was accused of but not indicted for molesting children wants his job back. (Post)
- The family of a boy who was beaten by classmates at a Brooklyn middle school is suing. (Daily News)
- Brooklyn students are graduating after beating violence, disability, and language issues. (Daily News)
- The AFT teachers union is launching a lesson plan- and curriculum materials-sharing site. (Times)
- American children who are deported to Mexico with their parents struggle in school and beyond. (Times)