Posts from July 3rd, 2012
July 3, 2012
- A pseudonymous former charter administrator argues against advocacy-driven schools. (Flypaper)
- A Pennsylvania school is selling itself on eBay; the winning buyer will speak at graduation. (AP)
- A teacher removed in April says his school changed his classroom lock during testing. (Portelos)
- New York State elementary schools must now adopt new literacy screening systems. (SchoolBook)
- A new intra-UFT movement is holding weekly “listen and learn”s starting next week. (Ed Notes)
- D.C. wants to fast-track new schools from experienced charter school operators. (D.C. Schools Insider)
- North Carolina legislators overrode their governor’s veto to enact grading of schools. (Jay P. Greene)
- At the NEA convention, VP Biden warned teachers of a coming assault from Mitt Romney. (HuffPo)
- A poll finds most teachers know about the Common Core but the public doesn’t. (Curriculum Matters)
- The AFT has compiled an easy-to-digest guide to what’s in and out in the Common Core. (Teacher Beat)
- USDOE told Georgia that changes to its teacher evaluations could cost it federal funds. (Politics K-12)
- Happy Fourth of July! We’re declaring independence from our computers but will be back on Thursday.
July 3, 2012
A magnitude 7.0 earthquake. The death of a parent. Physical disability. Algebra 2.
Those are just some of the obstacles faced by 193 members of the class of 2012 who convened on Tweed Courthouse last week for a reception of Remarkable Recipient Award winners. Each high school principal can nominate one student for the award, now in its sixth year.
GothamSchools spoke with some of the honorees at the event to find out what helped them through their toughest times — and what academic work will stick with them even as high school fades into the past.
Tashelle Woods, School of Legal Studies, Brooklyn
Tashelle Woods is not only the first in her family to go to college, but the first to graduate from high school, and maybe even complete the ninth grade. Woods suffered the loss of both parents and five half-siblings, and she also endured myriad health problems, including lymphedema, asthma, and a cancerous mass on her thyroid. Undaunted, this fall, she will attend Alpharetta State College in Georgia, where she plans to study biology or health science. Inspired by her own doctors, she aims to be a pediatrician or a pediatric nurse.
What helped her through her toughest times: “My doctors are my outlet for me. I’m very comfortable around them. They made this whole process of me recovering and getting diagnosed with different things easier. Growing up it was just my mother — I call her my mother, but she’s my grandmother — and she’s 69 right now, so a lot of things, she was not up to par about, she didn’t have knowledge about. (more…)
July 3, 2012
The city Department of Education is politically motivated, riddled with waste, and making policy choices that won’t lead to improved student achievement.
Those claims are frequently lobbed by longstanding critics of the Bloomberg administration’s education policies. But now they are coming from a chief architect of the Department of Education’s current structure: Eric Nadelstern, the number-two official until he retired in January 2011.
Nadelstern designed the department’s network school support structure upon the premise that principals should mostly be left alone, as long as they deliver performance results. When he left, Nadelstern said he was confident that his deputies would carry on the work they had been doing with him.
But in a working paper about the network structure published late last week by the Center on Reinventing Public Education, a research group associated with the University of Washington, Nadelstern says the department has lost its way. Instead of thinking about what would be best for students, officials have considered what would be best for Mayor Bloomberg, he says. Rather than trusting principals to make the right choices for their schools, officials are mandating instructional changes. The department is frittering away federal funds centrally rather than distributing them to schools. And instead of using the network structure to support schools, the department is using a “ruthlessly efficient structure for micromanaging” them, he writes.
All together, Nadelstern says the changes have him lying awake at night with worry. ”A new mayor will probably mean a new chancellor. With equal numbers of superintendents and networks, it is not hard to envision how easily the city’s schools can be returned to a geographically organized system of local districts,” he writes.
The portion of Nadelstern’s paper that assesses the Department of Education’s current state is excerpted in full below, followed by the complete paper. (more…)
July 3, 2012
The city’s case for reinstating thousands of hiring decisions at 24 struggling schools relies on the argument that an arbitrator should never have considered reversing them in the first place.
Since January, the city has been trying to carry out a controversial overhaul process known as “turnaround” at the schools. To follow state and federal rules about staffing in turnaround schools, the city had to engineer what amounted to overnight school closures. But the UFT and the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators argued that the changes were “sham closures” designed for political ends and so did not qualify the city to use the staffing rules it had invoked. On Friday, an arbitrator, Scott Buchheit, agreed with the unions.
The city voluntarily entered into the arbitration process in May at a State Supreme Court judge’s urging in order to speed the resolution of the unions’ complaint. Buchheit is one of several arbitrators that the city and teachers union have jointly agreed should hear contractual disputes.
But in a suite of legal papers filed late Monday, the city suggests that the Buchheit should have declined to consider the unions’ complaints. The main petition says that city lawyers argued to Buchheit that he should toss out the grievances before him because the union contracts did not define closure; arbitrators are barred from superseding state laws; and the Department of Education cannot bargain away power over classroom standards.
But Buchheit didn’t listen, so his ruling should be overturned, the petition says. (more…)
July 3, 2012
- Most members of the City Council are urging the city to repeal the school cell phone ban. (Daily News)
- The city opposes a bill passed in Albany to factor count family into special education placements. (Times)
- The city is fighting back against an arbitrator’s turnaround ruling. (GothamSchools, Post, Daily News)
- The Post calls the arbitrator an “arbitrator” and says the deck was stacked because the union okayed him.
- Cheating experts say a competitive culture at the city’s top high school breeds cheating. (Daily News)
- The country’s largest teachers union announced “unprecedented” membership losses. (USA Today)
- Emails show Louisiana’s top officials engineered news to counter damaging stories. (Monroe News-Star)
- A Palo Alto, Calif., high school has a club devoted to helping students launch start-ups. (Times)
- Florida’s education chief is writing to parents to tell them not to worry about low state test scores. (AP)
- The U.S. DOE said national test scores reveal a growing achievement gap for Native Americans. (AP)