Posts from June 22nd, 2012
June 22, 2012
- The city paid an Australian company $100 million to train teachers last year. (Schoolbook)
- The teachers union produced a video on childcare providers whose jobs are being cut. (Edwize)
- Poll: Less than a third of the American public trusts the nation’s public schools “quite a lot.” (Russo)
- A look at Teach for America teacher attrition rates from the past and present. (Rubinstein)
- Iowa became the first state to have its request for a federal NCLB waiver turned down. (Politics K-12)
- A teacher worries that teacher data privacy will be impossible thanks to a new state bill. (PO’d Teacher)
- Senators are asking the White House for detailed account of education budget cuts. (Politics K-12)
- Congress might be near an agreement to keep federal loans to college students from doubling. (AP)
- A new report finds that three D.C. schools cheated on their 2011 state tests. (Huffington Post)
June 22, 2012
Three months after the city asked the state for federal funds to fuel school ‘turnaround’ efforts, the state has responded — with a resounding “maybe.”
In a letter released late Friday, State Education Commissioner John King said the way the city plans to overhaul 24 struggling schools meets the state’s requirements. But he said he would only hand over the federal funds, known as School Improvement Grants, if the city meets steep conditions.
To meet some of those conditions, the city would need to come out ahead in arbitration with the teachers union over collective bargaining rules at the 24 schools. It must also prove that community members were looped in on the city’s planning process.
The arbitration, which covers a dispute over whether the city may use a process outlined in the teachers union contract for schools that close and reopen (called 18-D), is set to end next week. If the union comes out ahead, hiring and firing decisions at the schools would be reversed and, according to King’s letter, the city would not be able to collect the SIG grants, which total nearly $60 million.
Earlier this year, King said he saw the city’s proposal as “approvable.” But he stayed quiet as the city signaled it would not force schools to adhere to a central requirement of turnaround set by the U.S. Department of Education: that they replace at least 50 percent of their teachers.
King’s letter today says the city must meet the federal government’s staffing requirements.
State turnaround advisors say “the percentage matters,” SED spokesman Dennis Tompkins said over email. “18-D is the mechanism to achieve the required percentage.” (more…)
June 22, 2012
If it’s Friday, then it’s time for us to offer positive reinforcement to our readers who have posted comments that help us meet our goal of elevating public dialogue about education.
This week, we especially appreciated (almost entirely) civil discussions about legislation that Albany considered in the waning days of this year’s legislative session. Comments hashed out the pros and cons of bills about extra tutoring for needy students, charter school enrollment, and shielding teacher ratings.
It’s the last issue, decided in the legislature’s final act for the session, that we’re highlighting today. The very first commenter to weigh in on our story about the teacher data shield bill that passed on Thursday was NYCdoenuts, who wrote:
BEFORE this bill passed, teachers’ privacy wasn’t protected. Now it is. Albany acted to protect teachers…Wow.
In fact, this is the first bill to protect teachers that I’ve seen come out of Albany in a few years. That’s a very cool thing
Soon after, a user posting as “Vote NO” offered another take:
This is NOT good for teachers. … Transparency was the only real protection teachers had against the APPR. Now it will be very easy to fire them under the “cloak of darkness.”
And today, a third commenter, “B,” provided a different perspective: (more…)
June 22, 2012
All eyes might have been on the teacher evaluation shield bill this week, but that wasn’t the only education issue lawmakers tackled this spring. A host of other education bills traveled through both houses of the legislature in recent months, with varying success. Here’s a brief rundown of those bills and how they fared:
Senate, Assembly pave way for universal kindergarten in New York City
In New York City, more than 3,000 children — or 4 percent — of all five-year-olds are not enrolled in kindergarten. Expanding that service has become a pet issue for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other council members, but it first required a change to state law that would allow the city to revise age regulations. Currently, the city requires only that six-year-olds attend school.
The bill passed easily through the Assembly earlier this month, 141-1, and passed in the Senate Thursday just after 9 p.m. The passage doesn’t automatically enact universal kindergarten, however. To do that, city officials will have to agree to new age regulations. Mayor Bloomberg initially raised questions about the expansion’s cost — he estimated the additional enrollment could run $30 million a year — but the city Department of Education has since come out in support of the legislation.
The bill still needs a final signature from Gov. Andrew Cuomo in order to become a law. “We are reviewing the legislation,” said a Cuomo spokesman. (more…)
June 22, 2012
The city will exploit every letter of a new law that sets out exactly who can see the results of teachers’ annual evaluations, Mayor Bloomberg announced today.
The announcement came less than 24 hours after legislators in Albany signed off on a compromise bill meant to shield the results of new teacher evaluations from public scrutiny. The legislation, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced, blocks the results of new teacher evaluations from being subject to Freedom of Information Law requests, preventing news organizations from obtaining them. But it created a process for parents to request the evaluation results of their children’s current teachers.
Bloomberg opposed the bill, arguing that the public has a right to know how individual teachers perform and that the request process was so onerous that few parents would be able to use it.
So during his weekly radio address this morning, Bloomberg announced that city schools will bring the process to the parents.
“We are going to have our schools call every single parent,” he said. “We will tell [them],’You are entitled to this information and if you want it say yes right now and we will send it to you.’” (more…)
June 22, 2012
In its latest effort to get young, male students thinking about the path to college, the city enlisted glow-sticks and a Big Ten football player. (more…)
June 22, 2012
Parents and community activists protested in Harlem yesterday, taking turns to give speeches and heed warnings to schools that will soon share space with a controversial charter network.
But unlike previous protests against the Success Charter network, the rally was significantly smaller. Noticeably missing were the politicians who came out to support a protest against the plan to bring a new Success Academy to the building where Wadleigh Secondary School of Performing Arts operates.
Organizers said they didn’t expect politicians or union to attend because they were busy dealing with last-minute city budget affairs and the close of the state legislative session. Instead, they said the rally was planned specifically with parents in mind – after state exams ended this week.
“This is not a union rally. This is not a special interest rally. This is a parent and a community rally,” said Noah Gotbaum, a vocal education activist and member of Community Education Council 3.
At yesterday’s event, approximately 50 protestors chanted “separate is unequal” and held signs despite in 95 degree weather at 110th Street and Fredrick Douglass Boulevard, just a few blocks from Wadleigh. A handful of children attended the event. (more…)
June 22, 2012
A Harlem realtor known for founding a controversial social club and playing a role in a high-profile loan dispute is now entering the world of charter school politics.
Thomas Lopez-Pierre, a charter school parent, thinks Harlem’s political leaders don’t sufficiently support the charter schools that dot their districts. So he has formed a political action committee to help finance candidates who would.
The committee, called the Harlem Charter School Parents PAC, made its debut this week in a letter to charter school advocates outlining its political goals: to raise $250,000 over the next year to support candidates in Harlem’s three 2012 City Council races and local Democratic Party district leader races. The group also said it would find volunteers to help those candidates get out the vote.
Lopez-Pierre, whose son is finishing first grade at Harlem’s New York French American Charter School, said he and two other parents aim to create a new unified voice for parents in a community that has served as the front line of the political wars over charter school expansion. (Lopez-Pierre declined to name the other parents but said their children attend Harlem Children’s Zone’s Promise Academy and one of the Harlem Success Academy charter schools.)
“Elected officials only respond to two things: votes and money. Our goal is to elect officials that support charter schools,” he said. “My son is in first grade, and he’s going to be in a charter school for at least 10 years. This is not about an election cycle. It’s about transforming Harlem and expanding school choice.” (more…)
June 22, 2012
- A City Council push is on for a state law requiring private school teachers to be fingerprinted. (Post, NY1)
- Gov. Cuomo’s teacher data shield bill passed. (GothamSchools, Times, Post, Daily News, WSJ, NY1)
- The Daily News credits itself and other news organizations that published teacher ratings for the law.
- The state will carry out analysis to detect cheating on state tests despite a budget cut. (GothamSchools)
- Eva Moskowitz: The UFT is “wrong and hypocritical” to oppose charter school co-locations. (Daily News)
- City officials said they plan to seek funding to open more tech-oriented high schools. (Daily News)
- The East Village’s Neighborhood School puts a premium on learning by doing. (The Villager)
- More on the legal ruling that New Orleans illegally fired school workers after Hurricane Katrina. (Times)
- Thousands of New Jersey students take advantage of an interdistrict transfer program. (N.J. Spotlight)