Posts from July 18th, 2012
July 18, 2012
- A House subcommittee voted to scrap Race to the Top, SIG, and other federal grants. (Politics K-12)
- Parent: Least-restrictive classrooms are not always ideal for city special ed students. (InsideSchools)
- A consultant says Democrat and Republican ed policies could use critical thinking. (Answer Sheet)
- Researchers found the federal stimulus helped save and increase education jobs. (Politics K-12)
- City students participated in a space suit-building competition to learn about STEM fields. (NY1)
- A federally-funded “master-teacher corp” would reward top STEM teachers. (Curriculum Matters)
- A teacher says contract negotiations are like a game of would-you-rather. (Charting My Own Course)
July 18, 2012
In the days that followed an arbitrator’s decision to restore teachers’ jobs at so-called turnaround schools, teachers and administrators who were once told not to return received almost no guidance from the city on how to reclaim their positions.
The city is appealing the arbitrator’s decision in court on July 24, arguing that they will not be able to carry out rigorous reform plans for the 24 schools without first replacing many of their teachers. But until then, the staffs of those schools who would have been replaced may reclaim their positions. Yesterday evening, turnaround teachers received the first word on how to do that, in the form of an email from teachers union President Michael Mulgrew.
In June, the city asked every teacher at each of the turnaround schools to reapply for their jobs and sit for interviews with a hiring committee under a contractual process called 18-D. State education officials said the city would have to use 18-D if it hoped to hit a federal quota for replacing the teachers (50 percent) and be eligible for millions of dollars in federal School Improvement Grants. The teachers union sued the city to have these plans reversed, and won.
Since then, the city has seemingly balked at complying with the arbitrator’s ruling. In the days that followed it, teachers said they were confused by the outcome, and administrators who led the turnaround schools until June 30 said they were still being asked to report to new assignments.
Despite these complaints, yesterday city officials repeated their promise to comply with the ruling—for now. (more…)
July 18, 2012
The state released the results of this year’s third through eighth grade tests yesterday, and officials from City Hall to the charter sector lept to celebrate students’ gains.
Some changes were the focal point of the Department of Education’s Tuesday afternoon press conference—like the drop among English Language Learners and the boosts charter schools saw. But they avoided nuances in the results for the city’s new schools, which have been at the center of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s education reform policies. Beyond first impressions, here are seven interesting takeaways we parsed from the trove of data:
- Like last year, English Language Learners took a step back. Students who are identified as English Language Learners improved slightly in math, but took another step back from the statistical gains they made on the literacy test (ELA) earlier in the decade, before the state made the exams tougher in 2010. While just under half of the city’s non-ELL students met the state’s ELA standards, just 11.6 percent of ELL students did so. But in math, the percentage of ELL students scoring proficient rose by 2.5 points, to 37 percent.
- But students in other categories that typically struggle showed improvements. The percentage of students with disabilities who are proficient in math and literacy went up again this year, to 30.2 percent in math and 15.8 percent in English. And although Black and Hispanic students are still lagging behind their white peers by close to thirty percentage points in literacy and math, they also saw small bumps in both subjects. Officials said that new initiatives targeting struggling students, particularly students of color, contributed to the gains. (more…)
July 18, 2012
Two years ago, just one in three students at Achievement First Bushwick were rated “proficient” on the state’s reading tests. It wasn’t exactly the kind of result promised from a high-performing charter school in a “no excuses” network.
But the school has nearly doubled that rate in the two years since, according to state test scores released Tuesday. On the 2012 English language arts test, nearly 60 percent of students at the school were rated proficient, compared to 47 percent of students citywide.
Bushwick’s gains on the reading tests were among the largest made in the charter sector, which improved as a whole by seven percentage points, from 44.5 percent to 51.5 percent. The improvement — from matching the citywide average to scoring well above it — has provided fodder for charter school advocates and the Bloomberg administration to push back against critics who oppose the expansion of charter schools across the state.
“Policy makers and legislators should take note” of the gains, said Bill Phillips, president of the New York Charter Schools Association.”It’s not only a tougher measure than the host district comparison, it suggests that districts across the state should consider charters as another tool to better educate children.”
“We can’t possibly handle the demand from parents for the charter schools,” Mayor Bloomberg said during a press conference Tuesday. “They’re just off the charts.”
Several charter operators announced their schools’ test scores in celebratory press releases Tuesday. Deborah Kenny touted the eighth-grade math and reading scores at her schools, the Harlem Village Academies. The Success Academy network announced a 7-point gain in reading proficiency across its four schools with testing grades, more than twice the citywide improvement rate. And Democracy Prep said the low-performing charter school it took over last year had posted the largest reading proficiency gains of any school in the state, with third-grade reading proficiency hurtling from 28 percent in 2011 to 63 percent this year.
The charter school sector wasn’t nearly as enthusiastic to promote its gains two years ago, when reading scores slumped. Struggles to boost literacy were not unique to Achievement First Bushwick. (more…)
July 18, 2012
- Mayor Bloomberg joked about Shael Polakow-Suransky’s South African origins. (Daily News)
- More city students scored proficient on the state tests. (GothamSchools, Times, NY1, WSJ, Daily News)
- Bloomberg and Walcott touted new initiatives for boosting scores. (GothamSchools, Schoolbook)
- City Council members used discretionary funds to save Brooklyn after-school programs. (Daily News)
- Joshua Greenman: The next mayor must speed gains schools made under Bloomberg. (Daily News)
- School chefs and nutritionists met in Denver to reimagine healthier school menus. (Times)
- The U.S. House of Reps could allow teachers in training to be labeled “highly qualified.” (Answer Sheet)