Posts from June 21st, 2012
June 21, 2012
- Portland, Ore., collects all parent donations and redistributes them across the entire city. (SchoolBook)
- Dinged because of its anti-union stances, StudentsFirst extended an olive branch to the unions. (HuffPo)
- Among the 23 1/2 “big ideas” of 2012 is a call for teacher training to resemble boot camp. (Atlantic)
- New Orleans could be on the hook for years of back pay to teachers fired after Hurricane Katrina. (T-P)
- A city teacher characterizes the teacher data shield bill is yet another loss for the UFT. (Accountable Talk)
- The first-ever Broad Prize for charter management groups went to a Texas-based network. (Eduwonk)
- The office that examined charters’ special ed enrollment is looking at ELLs, too. (Learning the Language)
- Voting is open now for a contest to honor schools with innovative instruction. (Teaching Matters)
June 21, 2012
The high-profile debate on public access to teacher evaluations ended today when lawmakers signed off on a bill making the data available to parents, despite reluctance and opposition on both sides.
The bill, which was introduced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday, passed the Assembly 118-17. Cuomo called it a compromise between those aligned with the teachers unions, who opposed releasing teacher performance data, and officials who wanted full disclosure of the data.
Not everyone was satisfied by the compromise. Many assemblymen said they felt the bill still left teachers vulnerable. Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement that he felt the opposite.
“I believe that parents have a right to full disclosure when it comes to information about their child’s education, and I am disappointed that this bill falls short of that goal,” he said.
Many assemblymen said before the vote that they were supporting the bill in the spirit of compromise, although they said the bill itself was weak. One New York City lawmaker apologized to principals for the bill because he said he believed it would give them a host of new responsibilities in order to comply with the law.
“I’m sorry for you principals out there for what we’re doing to you today,” said Bronx lawmaker Michael Benedetto. ”I’ll be voting for this very reluctantly.” (more…)
June 21, 2012
And then there were 40.
Earlier this year the Department of Education named 81 schools that could be eligible to lead one of the most significant educational programs in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Young Men’s Initiative.
Last month, 57 schools submitted proposals for the pot of funds attached to the program, called the Expanded Success Initiative. The funds would go toward programs to improve the college readiness rates of male students.
The 40 schools that made the cut were named today. They will receive $250,000 each to pioneer new college-readiness strategies. Monitors will evaluate the progress the schools make over the course of the coming year and provide feedback for what may eventually become citywide policies.
The schools were selected because they have already made strides serving youth of color, but they are still struggling to meet the city’s new college readiness metrics, officials said. To be eligible, schools were required to have a four-year graduation rate above 65 percent, to have received an A or B on their most recent progress reports, and to have student bodies comprised of at least 35 percent are black or Latino males and 60 percent are qualified for free or reduced-price lunch.
“You have done well in your high school graduation rate, but now we’ve redefined the message, along with the state,” Chancellor Dennis Walcott told an audience of school leaders and students at an event today welcoming schools to the initiative. “It’s no longer just about high school graduation, it’s about college and career readiness, making sure all of our students can attain that high goal.” (more…)
June 21, 2012
A renewed effort to boost test security means the math and reading exams that city schoolchildren took in April will undergo a process designed to catch cheating.
The process, known as erasure analysis, is considered a fundamental security measure for detecting evidence of cheating, but the state has never used it in significant volume. As cheating scandals erupted in other states last year, New York education officials penciled in $1 million for a pilot program that would subject 10 percent of this year’s tests to erasure analysis. But legislators scrubbed the funding, along with another $1.1 million meant for other test security measures, when they passed this year’s $132 billion budget.
State education officials have aggressively sought public and private alternatives to fund it ever since.
Now, the funding is getting restored, and erasure analysis will be conducted on some of this years’s elementary and middle school tests, city and state officials have confirmed.
Details about which districts would participate in the pilot, what proportion of tests would be screened, how much money would be spent, and where exactly the funding would come from are still up in the air, a state spokesman said. (more…)
June 21, 2012
When Bryan Stromer started high school in 2009, few people knew that the Department of Education was on the verge of announcing a radical rethinking of how students with disabilities are included in city schools.
The next year, his school, the selective NYC Lab School, became one of 260 schools to pilot special education reforms that call on all schools to serve students no matter what disability they might have. Advocates for students with disabilities support the shift, but as the Department of Education prepares to expand the initiative citywide this fall, some are raising concerns.
Stromer, who has a disability and is the student representative on the Citywide Council on Special Education, is a steadfast defender of the reforms after living under them for two years. In the Community section, he writes about the changes that have taken place at his school that have allowed him and his classmates with disabilities to take greater advantage of what the school offers.
In my school, only a handful special education students decide to take more than one year of foreign language because the advanced courses do not offer the same level of support, but I knew that I wanted to continue taking Spanish. Participating in the pilot of the reform caused my school to look at special education as a service and not just a place and because of this I was able to request that my Spanish class be supported with an ICT teacher. Knowing that this Spanish class would be ICT-supported allowed my classmates with disabilities and I to be comfortable with taking on the risk of continuing our Spanish studies.
Read Stromer’s entire account in the Community section. And check out GothamSchools’ archives for more coverage of the special education reforms.
June 21, 2012
Growing up with a disability, I am very familiar with the term “special ed.” I am also aware that the phrase “special education” has a negative connotation.
I remember an incident in middle school where one of my math teachers wrote on the board, “All special ed students will report to room 420 for the state (more…)
June 21, 2012
At 20 years old, Luis Saavedra has used his exhausting list of accomplishments — high school valedictorian, purple belt in taekwondo, track and field star, 3.8 GPA in college — to earn enough scholarships to pay nearly the entire amount of his school tuition.
Still, the Bronx resident’s plans to finish his bachelor’s degree at Lehman College and attend medical school will be impossible to achieve if his pool of scholarship aid dries up.
Like other undocumented students, Saavedra cannot rely on government financial assistance or on private bank loans.
But Saavedra, like many immigration reform advocates, hopes that President Barack Obama’s recent announcement to halt some deportations will push Gov. Andrew Cuomo to support New York’s version of the DREAM Act today, hours before the state’s legislative session ends. The act has languished in the State Senate without Republican support for more than a year.
Cuomo has said he supports a federal DREAM Act but has declined to endorse the state’s version and, unlike other elected officials, did not praise Obama’s policy announcement last week.
The state’s bill would give undocumented students access to financial aid through the state-funded Tuition Assistance Program, which provided $885 million to students in 2010-2011. Extending financial aid to undocumented students could cost about $17 million more, a 2 percent increase. (more…)
June 21, 2012
- Hundreds of schools that are canceling classes next week aren’t giving parents clear information. (NY1)
- Lobbying by the tutoring industry got a bill to preserve its market onto Albany’s agenda. (GothamSchools)
- If a teacher data shield bill doesn’t pass today, some scores could be open to the public this year. (Post)
- Regents chief Merryl Tisch said a teacher data shield bill needs to get passed this week. (Daily News)
- Mayor Bloomberg rebuffed concerns about city students who are taking exams in hot classrooms. (NBC)
- Since the state union came out against a charter school special ed bill, it has stalled in committee. (WSJ)
- A judge ordered a fired teacher rehired after deciding an arbitrator was too harsh. (Daily News, Post)
- A high school administrator was pulled for making lewd comments to students. (Post, Daily News, NY1)
- Common Core-aligned sample test items from the state hit teachers’ inboxes this week. (GothamSchools)
- A civil rights complaint says DOE translation services are too thin. (GothamSchools, NY1, SchoolBook)
- Manhattan students won an innovation award for inventing a spoiled milk-alerting pitcher. (Daily News)
- In New Jersey, a compromise on teacher tenure rules includes preserving seniority-based layoffs. (WSJ)
- A suspended L.A. charter school teacher says his test scores should outweigh his behavior. (L.A. Times)
- To show the high school dropout rate, the College Board put empty desks on the National Mall. (Times)