Posts from June 29th, 2012
June 29, 2012
- Chicago students describe what it was like to attend racially segregated schools for 12 years. (WBEZ)
- At least one person hired at a turnaround school didn’t know the offer was conditional. (NYC Educator)
- Teacher Mike Albertson cheers the news that Flushing HS won’t close this year after all. (Urban Ed)
- Online teacher training is seen as one solution for problems facing public schools. (Hechinger/TIME)
- AFT chief Randi Weingarten suggests a “bar exam” for teachers to boost confidence in them. (Atlantic)
- To write a book in two months, Diane Ravitch is going to blog only four times a day. (DR’s Blog)
- A national Common Core observer says New York is offering guidance everyone needs. (Flypaper)
- A guarded defense of the Gates Foundation’s “engagement” bracelets. (Dan Willingham via Eduwonk)
- Advocates say the number of homeless students in America is “horrifyingly high” and growing. (HuffPo)
- A teacher recalls how a student came out to him: by first ostentatiously confessing drug use. (Yo Mista)
June 29, 2012
Minutes after the close of business hours today — a summer Friday already packed with education news — the city released the first set of required reports about students who left middle school and high school last year without graduating.
Some students leave their schools for good reasons, such as when their families leave the city. But others are dropping out.
In 2011, an audit by the state comptroller found evidence that the city might have underreported its dropout rate by classifying many dropouts as “discharges,” the term for students who have provided good reasons for leaving school and evidence to support their explanations. The audit followed a 2009 report by a researcher and an advocate that suggested that the city was increasingly exploiting the reporting loophole to inflate the graduation rate.
Alarmed by the reports, the City Council took up the cause and a year ago passed a local law requiring the Department of Education to report annually on how many students leave school and why. The first reports were due today. (more…)
June 29, 2012
An arbitrator has ruled that the city’s plans to reform 24 struggling schools by shaking up their staffs violated its collective bargaining agreements with the teachers and principals unions.
The arbitrator’s decision adds a new and abrupt twist to months of uncertainty at the schools. It also guarantees that the city cannot claim more than $40 million in federal funds that the overhaul process, known as “turnaround,” was aimed at securing.
The turnaround rules require the schools to replace half of their teachers, and the city was trying to use a clause in its contract with the teachers union, known as 18-D, to make that happen. In recent weeks, “18-D committees” told hundreds and possibly thousands of teachers and staff members at the schools they could not return next year.
Under the arbitrator’s ruling, all of those staff members are now free to take their jobs back.
The decision is a shocking blow to the Bloomberg administration, which turned to turnaround in January in a bid to win the federal funds without negotiating a new evaluation system with the United Federation of Teachers. (more…)
June 29, 2012
City high schools that don’t require students to take Regents exams beat city averages on most metrics, even though they serve high-need students at the same rate as other schools, according to a new report.
The report, released this week, was produced by a group of the schools, the New York Performance Standards Consortium. But it examines independent data about student performance and persistence in college to find that students in consortium schools graduate at higher rates and are more likely to attend and remain enrolled in college. And it comes as Department of Education officials are increasingly touting the consortium’s approach to assessment.
The graduation rates are especially high for students with disabilities and English language learners. Nearly 70 percent of ELLs in consortium schools graduate on time, according to the report, compared to about 40 percent across the city. And half of students with disabilities in the consortium schools graduate on time, compared with fewer than a quarter citywide.
“What’s in [the report] is dynamite,” said Michelle Fine, a professor of urban education at City University of New York’s Graduate Center.
Fine was speaking at a press conference hosted by the New York Civil Liberties Union on alternatives to high-stakes testing earlier this week to announce that more than 1,100 academics had signed a letter opposing states’ increasingly reliance on test scores. (more…)
June 29, 2012
- In response to concerns, the DOE is creating a hotline for parents of students with special needs. (Post)
- School district heads demanded Common Core-aligned materials. (GothamSchools, SchoolBook)
- Williamsburg Charter HS won a legal fight to stay open. (GothamSchools, SchoolBook, Daily News, Post)
- Insideschools.org is launching a user-friendly data guide to city high schools. (GothamSchools, Post)
- Bronx parents are protesting what they say is overzealous policing in city schools. (Daily News)
- The City Council is again funding a program to help teachers buy school supplies. (GothamSchools)
- A state politician wants students to be able to apply sunscreen in schools without a doctors’ note. (NY1)
- The head of an advocacy group lists priorities he wants to see Gov. Cuomo tackle in the next term. (Post)
- The mayor in San Antonio, Tex., wants a small tax imposed to finance prekindergarten. (Times)
- A third of school districts in the state could run out of savings because of a new tax cap. (Times-Union)