Posts from June 2012
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)
June 27, 2012
- Teacher Jose Vilson lists five reasons that his year was especially memorable. (Future of Teaching)
- Diane Ravitch provides a lengthy account from an upset teacher in a turnaround school. (DR’s Blog)
- What makes a classroom are the people in it, writes a teacher who has just packed up. (Mr. Foteah)
- Soon-to-be-Rep. Hakeem Jeffries says government should support religious schools. (Ft. Greene Local)
- Private high schools in the D.C. area recruit among junior highs for their basketball teams. (Times)
- A SUNY board approved proposals for six more Success Academy charter schools in 2013. (DNAInfo)
- A parent-led composting initiative led five schools to cut cafeteria waste by 85 percent. (Insideschools)
- New York City is among the districts getting Race to the Top buzz before they apply. (Politics K-12)
- Students are setting the traditions at city schools that are graduating their first classes. (SchoolBook)
- A second-career teacher recalls her best lesson ever and frets over the rating it would get. (Larry Cuban)
- In a survey, D.C. education insiders prefer New York’s Common Core consortium. (Curriculum Matters)
June 27, 2012
When teachers’ union president Michael Mulgrew announced a grant program last month to bolster social services in schools, he said the union was moving ahead because the Department of Education was not.
But today, when Mulgrew announced the schools that will receive grants, Chancellor Dennis Walcott was standing next to him. The two came together in a last-day-of-school show of camaraderie after a year in which relations between the union and the city grew more strained than ever.
The joint appearance meant that amount of grant money awarded doubled, to $600,000, since Mulgrew’s May announcement. That will make it possible for six schools to bring health and dental clinics, tutoring, counseling programs, and social services to students and their families, as part of a pilot program to create “community schools.”
The UFT and Department of Education are each contributing $150,000, and the Partnership for New York City, a coalition of business groups, is adding another $300,000.
The initiative is based on a program in Cincinnati that coordinates and targets social services there. The goal is to harness existing services so they are used more effectively.
“We put enormous resources into our education system, into our healthcare system, and some of our other service systems, but we don’t do a very good job of maximizing the output,” said Kathryn Wylde, president of Partnership for New York City.
“We’ve had services for very long time in New York City. What we want to do now is start coordinating the services at the school site,” said Mulgrew, who was part of the team that began developing the initiative two years ago. (more…)
June 27, 2012
In May 2009, the Department of Education launched a new initiative, NYC21C, to remake the American high school using technology. Then-Chancellor Joel Klein made the announcement at the NYC iSchool, then completing its first year, and praised its students and co-principals, Alisa Berger and Mary Moss.
Now, all of those people have moved on.
Klein left the Department of Education in November 2010 and now earns more than $4 million a year running the education division of a multinational corporation. Moss left last year when her family moved to North Carolina. Berger’s family is relocating to Massachusetts this summer.
And on Monday, members of the school’s inaugural class graduated in an afternoon ceremony, featuring a speech by Klein, held at the Ethical Culture Society on the Upper West Side. This fall, they’ll enroll at colleges and universities up and down the East Coast.
“Our greatest hope is that you love college, that you discover something you love learning about, that what you love to do is something that makes the world better, even in small ways, and that you find fulfillment in your life,” said Moss, who returned to see the school’s first students graduate. Of the 100 students who entered the selective school in 2008, 94 graduated on time.
“I ask that you go and do — that you take what you’ve learned at the iSchool to transform the colleges you attend and create communities for yourselves the way that you have created the iSchool,” Berger told the graduates. (more…)
June 27, 2012
Principal Bob Bender wanted to make sure his teachers started planning for September before they left for summer vacation. So P.S. 11 joined more than 600 schools in scrapping classes on Monday and Tuesday in favor of adding prep time for teachers.
Department of Education officials extended the option, which parents were supposed to approve, to all schools late this spring. Many schools took the time to give teachers a crash course in new learning standards known as the Common Core.
The Common Core emphasizes “deeper” thinking and problem-solving skills. Next year’s state tests will be based on the new standards.
P.S. 11 routinely earns A’s on its city progress reports, and Bender said he is not worried about its performance next year because his staff has been thinking hard about the instructional shifts they will have to make.
“It’s not going to be asking ‘What is 8 times 5?’ It’s going to be ‘I have 8 bookshelves, and 40 books, so how many books go on each shelf?’” he said. “We spend a lot of time on problem-solving, giving kids strategies to solve problems.”
This year, the city asked schools to practice with the new standards in one math unit and one literacy unit, and next year, they’ll be expected to roll out two Common Core-aligned units in each subject. But at P.S. 11, Bender asked his teachers to plan their curriculums in teams made up of teachers at each grade level — and align every one of their units to the Common Core. (more…)
June 27, 2012
- Charter school operator Eva Moskowitz won’t run for mayor in 2013 but might in the future. (WSJ)
- The Stuyvesant HS cheating scandal has grown to implicate 100 students. (Times, Post, Daily News)
- The DOE is investigating why it didn’t find out about the cheating until a week after it happened. (WSJ)
- The father of the junior at the center of the scandal said his son was under pressure to succeed. (Post)
- The Daily News says the scandal lays bare the reality that the cell phone ban is enforced selectively.
- The Post asks who can be trusted to take education seriously if Stuyvesant students are cheating.
- A buddy system at P.S. 51 has disruptive students empathizing with their teachers. (WNYC/SchoolBook)
- Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s education reform commission met for the first time. (GothamSchools, Crain’s NY)
- StudentsFirst’s Micah Lasher says the commission’s approach isn’t conducive to change. (Daily News)
- Security camera footage from George Westinghouse HS shows a dean beating a student. (Daily News)
- Connecticut is set to adopt a teacher evaluation system based on student test scores today. (WSJ)
- Post-split NewsCorp could use Joel Klein’s education division to keep the publishing wing afloat. (Times)
June 26, 2012
- John Dewey HS, which graduates its last class today, began as a beacon of optimism. (Brooklyn Bureau)
- Relay Graduate School of Education is different: competency-based, flipped, and growing. (Ed Next)
- A Beijing native says her schooling left her ill-equipped to think creatively or problem-solve. (Atlantic)
- A parent asks why some principals might not penalize cheaters and what she can do. (Insideschools)
- The head of a charter school opening this fall lists the tasks that come after approval. (Charter Notebook)
- At Manhattan’s Facing History School, students hold mock trials of genocidal leaders. (SchoolBook)
- As tests move online, districts are able and willing to require more of them each year. (Hechinger)
- More than 500 school districts across the country are now using Google Chromebooks. (TechCrunch)
- Books used in some Christian schools use the Loch Ness Monster to disprove evolution. (Answer Sheet)
- Illinois is standing by a criticized tougher cutoff score on its teacher credentialing exam. (Teacher Beat)
- A teacher at a “turnaround” school describes the emotional impact of the process. (GS Community)
- With little left to do, a teacher explains how he keeps his room safe over the summer. (NYC Educator)
- A teacher posts a heartfelt plea from an eighth-grader who is facing being held back again. (Prelife)
June 26, 2012
At their first official meeting today, members of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s blue-ribbon education reform commission stayed away from specifics.
But their two-hour discussion, held in a Midtown conference room, previewed some of the issues they will tackle as they travel the state to learn about problems facing local school districts.
The 25-member commission, announced more than six months ago, is tasked with coming up with recommendations aimed at reducing costs while improving the overall quality of the state’s schools. A report is due in late 2012.
New York State’s 3.4 million student school system is diverse and complex. It boasts the country’s largest school district — New York City — but it also includes six districts that employ fewer than eight teachers. At more than $18,000 per pupil, spending in the state is the highest in the country, 70 percent higher than the U.S. average, according to an analysis by Cuomo’s office. Spending has increased dramatically in the last 15 years, outpacing inflation, but student performance has barely budged. The state ranks 39th in graduation rates (73.5 percent) and no higher than 19th on any of the four NAEP test scores.
Cuomo has argued that the state’s school funds should be used more efficiently. The commission — which includes many of the state’s and country’s top education officials, including union leader Randi Weingarten and state education chief John King — is supposed to figure out how to make that happen. (more…)
June 26, 2012
It’s been a week and a half since our (almost) end-of-the-year happy hour and we’re still basking in the event’s good company, story ideas, and perfect weather. In fact, the party was such a success that we’re going to try to sneak another one in for our readers who are treating their summer break as more of a staycation — and those who will also be in town.
Stay tuned for details about that event.
Until then, now is a really great time to make a donation to GothamSchools! We have a challenge grant right now that will guarantee us our full next year’s budget — i.e., one more year of great reporting that you depend on! — if we can raise $150,000 by the end of this week. We’re close, but not there yet, and every single dollar counts. Please click here to make a tax-deductible donation.
There are more pictures below the jump. (more…)