Posts from June 28th, 2012
June 28, 2012
- Today’s Supreme Court health care law ruling has ed implications. (HuffPo, Inside School Research)
- Teach for America alums are running for at least six state legislature spots. (Stateline via Russo)
- A teacher suggests a subversive way for his colleagues to use their $40 bonuses. (Accountable Talk)
- One principal got surprising and expensive news on the last day of school. (Miss Eyre/NYC Educator)
- A principal describes his seniors’ capstone projects, which he says blew him away. (Practical Theory)
- DFER’s Illinois branch wants the world to know that its representatives aren’t anti-union. (Catalyst)
- A teacher reminisces about being hired for her first teaching job on the spot. (On the Shoulders of Giants)
- A portrait of a classroom after preparations for sharing space are complete. (Inside Colocation)
- Attendance on the last day of school was normal, despite the odd days off beforehand. (SchoolBook)
- An argument for education journalism in an era of heavily politicized test score spin. (Shanker Blog)
- A study says California’s exit exam is too late to help struggling students. (Inside School Research)
June 28, 2012
Calling for a “buyers’ cartel” against the publishing industry, more than 30 large urban school districts have formed an agreement to purchase only instructional material that meets new learning standards’ high bar of rigor.
“I think through our collective efforts we want to make sure that the publishing industry understands the power of all of us working together,” New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said today.
Walcott was among more than two dozen superintendents and chief academic officers who convened at the New York City Public Library to announce the pact. The leaders said they were affirming their commitment to ensuring the ambitious Common Core standards aren’t watered down by publishers seeking easy profits.
The event was organized by the city Department of Education; the Council of Great City Schools; and Student Achievement Partners, the nonprofit that developed the Common Core.
New York City alone spends $100 million a year on materials produced by publishers, Walcott said today. And together, the council’s 67 member districts spend more $2 billion annually on instructional materials, including textbooks, supplemental reading text, and online resources.
The education publishing industry is dominated by multinational conglomerates including Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Scholastic, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. In a 40-minute presentation today, Jason Zimba and Susan Pimentel, founders of Student Achievement Partners, indicted the industry for creating low-quality materials that they said contributed to lagging student achievement.
“Part of the purpose of this event is to say loudly and clearly that the major cities in this country are really quite serious about this and we’re going to pull together and signal to you what it is that we need and let the marketplace respond,”said Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of Great City Schools. (more…)
June 28, 2012
When Jacqueline Wayans helped her second daughter pick a high school, they were confident about their choice.
After all, Wayans is a savvy parent who had worked for years visiting and reviewing schools for Insideschools, the online guide to city schools. Her older daughter had attended a city school with an arts theme and gotten a good education, and her younger daughter’s top pick, Manhattan’s High School for Fashion Industries, had gotten an “A” from the Department of Education.
It wasn’t until after her daughter enrolled that Wayans learned Fashion Industries only offered three years of math classes. And when the school added a fourth math class, she didn’t find out until it was too late that her daughter’s scores were too low for her to qualify. Now, when Wayans’s daughter starts college this fall, she’ll need to take remedial math.
“I just assumed that there was a four-year sequence,” Wayans said today during a panel discussion about metrics for assessing high schools that Insideschools hosted. “My older daughter had it at her high school and I just thought it was there.”
Wayans isn’t alone in trusting a small sliver of information to make the potentially life-changing decision about where to attend high school. Some parents and students choose schools by their names, their sports teams, or their neighborhoods, without digging deep to understand what kind of education the schools offer.
Now entering its second decade, Insideschools (where I also worked from 2005 to 2008) is preparing to launch a tool to help parents like Wayans — and those far less savvy than she is — make better choices. The tool, called “Inside Stats,” is a consumer-oriented presentation of public data about high schools that is meant to complement, or perhaps even rival, the information the city distributes. (more…)
June 28, 2012
The decision this morning came hours before the school, Williamsburg Charter High School, is scheduled to host its graduation ceremony, where 118 students will receive their diplomas. It will also mean that the nearly 900 students who remain at the school will not need to find a new one next fall. About 20 students left in recent months because of the uncertainty that loomed from the court case.
“It’s been a great day,” said Joseph Cardarelli, a director at the school. “There were a lot of anxious parents, but it seems like a lot of people stayed in there until the end.”
Kings County Supreme Court Judge Ellen Spodek wrote in her decision today that the process that the DOE’s charter school office followed to revoke the the school’s charter was “riddled with inconsistencies and lacks a certain level of transparency.”
Williamsburg Charter was placed on probation last September and given an ultimatum to sever ties with its founder, Eddie Calderone-Melendez, and the network he operated, or face closure. Calderone-Melendez had been under investigation for tax fraud since last spring and was indicted in April.
The charter school office ruled that the school did not move fast enough to divorce itself from Calderone-Melendez and moved to revoke its charter in January. The school fought back in court and in the streets. It hired a lawyer from Syracuse to lead the case and organized protests in front of DOE headquarters. The school won an early court victory to hold its annual enrollment lottery for incoming ninth graders while the larger case was being decided. (more…)
June 28, 2012
For two high schools that filled a large auditorium at Queens College yesterday for their graduation ceremonies, the festivities were bittersweet.
Long Island City High School and Flushing High School are among 24 city schools graduating their final cohorts before closing and reopening this summer.
Students who were enrolled in the schools this year and didn’t graduate will continue to attend them. But their schools will have new names and many new teachers, in accordance with the rules of a federal school reform model called turnaround.
On Wednesday, the room reverberated not with chants but with applause — this time, to honor their newly-minted alumni. Yet the impending closures were not far from the minds of the graduation speakers, a mix of alumni, principals and top students, some who immigrated to the United States shortly before beginning high school.
“It is sad to know we are the last graduating class of Long Island City High School, but it is also an honor,” Xi Xi Hu, Long Island City High School’s valedictorian, said in her speech. (more…)
June 28, 2012
A quarter-century-old program to give teachers pocket money for classroom supplies will get City Council funds this year after being zeroed out in 2011.
Last year, the council cut the Teacher’s Choice program after pledging extra funds to avert thousands of teacher layoffs. The union, which helped launch Teacher’s Choice in the 1980s and had advocated annually for its continuation, said it was disappointed in the decision.
But this year, with the size of the city’s teaching corps actually set to rise, the council revisited the program and awarded it $3.75 million dollars.
The size of that allocation comes nowhere close to what the program received even in the lean years before it was zeroed out. Two years ago, Teacher’s Choice got $9.25 million, and it received $13 million in council funds the year before that.
That means individual teachers are set to receive only a pittance. In 2007, before the annual cuts began, each teacher got about $220, and the last time the funds were allocated, teachers took home about $110. This year, teachers are likely to receive just over a third of that, or about $40. (more…)
June 28, 2012
- One in four school 911 calls, last year, or 3,600, were for non-suicide mental health issues. (Daily News)
- Chancellor Walcott said he would seek to fire a dean caught on tape beating a student. (Daily News)
- Two dozen students got high school diplomas on Rikers Island, where they are inmates. (Reuters)
- As schools let out for summer, some schools and teachers are prepping for turnaround upheaval. (NY1)
- The UFT and city announced grants to help schools serve communities. (GothamSchools, SchoolBook)
- Teachers at hundreds of city schools canceled classes to get extra training this week. (GothamSchools)
- A parent from Brooklyn’s P.S. 9 laments the school’s surprising loss of federal Title I funding. (Times)
- Michael Benjamin: Unequal enforcement of the school cell phone ban means it should end. (Post)
- More than a thousand academics have signed a letter against the rise of high-stakes tests. (Daily News)
- Nashville denied a proposal for a charter school that would open in a middle-class part of the city. (WSJ)
- Illinois could reduce the promised return from its teacher pension system, high at 8.5 percent. (WSJ)