Posts from July 27th, 2012
July 27, 2012
- As the Olympics kick off, here’s a proposal for “teacher teams” to start training young. (Eduwonk)
- Plus, a city teacher points out a logical contradiction in an “education Olympics” infographic. (Yo Mista)
- Randi Weingarten opened the AFT convention by calling for community-oriented unions. (Answer Sheet)
- The new brand of unionism she’s proposing will be “solutions-oriented,” Weingarten said. (Teacher Beat)
- Confused about what the AFT is, why it’s meeting, and how it operates? Here’s a primer. (Teacher Beat)
- Mayor Bloomberg’s spending to back a pro-charter candidate in California didn’t help him win. (PolitiCal)
- The Anti-Defamation League wants Diane Ravitch to push back against Nazi analogies. (DR’s Blog)
- And a city teacher who think he might have triggered the ADL’s response explains his views. (DR’s Blog)
- An economist summarizes recent research about how to get better teachers without firing any. (Slate)
- A teacher argues that great life lessons that some say aren’t taught in schools actually are. (Mrs. Ripp)
- North Carolina is going to train all new teachers in integrating arts instruction. (Curriculum Matters)
- Finally, don’t forget to RSVP now for our end of summer happy hour, set for Aug. 15. (GS Calendar)
July 27, 2012
One thing that district and charter schools have in common is a need for strong principals.
That’s what James Merriman, a lead advocate for the city’s charter sector, told Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s education reform commission on Thursday.
“Charter schools understand and public school leaders understand that a successful school culture is ultimately the responsibility first and foremost of a school leader,” said Merriman, who leads the New York City Charter School Center.
“But here’s the tricky part,” he said. “We don’t have enough of them. We don’t have enough of them in the charter sector; we don’t have enough of them in the public schools.”
The Bloomberg administration tackled principal preparation in one of its earliest education initiatives, a training program called the Leadership Academy. But the program’s graduates have ranged in quality, with some leading successful schools and others being criticized for creating dysfunctional work environments. The program has shrunk over time, and in January, a top Department of Education official told a group of principals who are affiliated with Teachers College’s Cahn Fellows program that the city has not succeeded at maintaining uniformly strong principal quality .
The problem of where to find strong school leaders is more acute in the charter sector, where principal turnover is five times higher than in district schools.
Merriman told the commission he had no concrete solutions for boosting principal quality. But he believes that an annual principal training program that his organization runs, which begins next week, could at least begin to chip away at the problem. (more…)
July 27, 2012
Each Friday, we highlight a sampling of the most thoughtful, substantive, and informed comments that readers left on the week’s news articles. We believe that a constructive conversation in the comments section helps us meet our goal of elevating public dialogue about education.
Unfortunately, with emotions high this week, particularly over the collapse of the Department of Education’s “turnaround” plans, many comments did not rise to that standard.
As a reminder, part of the very first rule in our comments policy reads, “Disagreement with people’s arguments is fine, but personal attacks — including on other commenters and GothamSchools writers and editors — will not be tolerated.”
But there were constructive comments, too! Back on Monday, we wrote about the results of this year’s Department of Education survey, which showed that teachers, parents, and students hold their schools in high esteem, even when the schools’ performance data might lead to other conclusions.
One commenter, “Larry,” offered some advice for interpreting the results, which he said had been rendered meaningless:
1. Many high schools coach the kids into putting good things about the schools on the surveys. The common narrative is either “they’ll close us down” or “you won’t get into good colleges” if the school receives a low grade on the progress report. (more…)
July 27, 2012
A Queens school where scheduling problems cost students days of instruction last fall has a new principal.
Greg Dutton comes to Queens Metropolitan High School from a stint as an assistant principal at the high-performing Williamsburg Preparatory High School. He’s replacing Marci Levy-Maguire, a graduate of the city’s Leadership Academy for new principals, who presided over the scheduling snafus a year into her tenure as the school’s founding principal.
At the time, GothamSchools reported that students received as many as 10 new schedules between September and November, and Levy-Maguire canceled some classes to make time for administrators and teachers to work feverishly to fix the scheduling issues.
At a meeting with parents, Levy-Maguire suggested that her administration was simply in over its head, first by enrolling far more students than originally planned, and then by offering too many elective courses.
“We didn’t know how much we needed to plan last year. I had no idea how much we would have to plan as early as February,” she said. “This school feels like a small school to people. But we’re a big school, and we didn’t have the systems in place to run a big school.” …
“Next year will not be the same,” Levy-Maguire said. “I over-burdened the school. I gave your kids lots and lots of choice. I need to limit those choices unfortunately. I cannot offer your kids as many electives this year as I would have hoped to.”
She has taken a job as the director of Paideia Academy, a charter school in Apple Valley, Minn.
One teacher who asked not to be named to avoid risking her relationship with the new leadership said Dutton will be inheriting a school whose problems went far deeper than scheduling debacles. (more…)
July 27, 2012
Even as city officials swore that they had not set any quota for rehiring at schools it was trying to shake up, they were assuring the state that the schools would replace at least 50 percent of teachers.
The assurances were made in nearly 800 pages of documents submitted to the state in March as part of the city’s application for federal School Improvement Grants. The city released the original application Thursday, four months after submitting it and two days after a State Supreme Court effectively torpedoed the city’s bid for the funds.
The documents include a letter addressed to State Education Commissioner John King from the deputy chancellor overseeing turnaround, an outline of the plans, and a 770-page tome on changes the city proposed for each of the 24 schools, along with the city’s justification for planning to close each of them. The release did not reflect changes that state and city officials said were made throughout the spring.
The city also released a shortlist of programs on Thursday that it says are now at risk after an arbitrator ruled that the city’s plans for staffing the schools violated its contracts with the teachers and principals unions.
Much of the application’s content for each schools mirrors the proposals the city released when it began preparing the schools for closure. But a separate section outlines just how changes at each school would meet federal requirements for “turnaround,” the overhaul process that the city was proposing. (more…)
July 27, 2012
- No eighth-graders in District 7 district or charter schools aced the state’s reading test. (Daily News)
- The city is changing enrollment policies but not conceding problems. (GothamSchools, NY1, Post, Times)
- Gov. Cuomo’s ed reform panel drew logistics and student voice criticism. (GothamSchools, SchoolBook)
- Joel Klein says the city’s charter sector should grow because some schools rival gifted programs. (WSJ)
- After 18 months as New Jersey’s interim schools chief, Chris Cerf was confirmed. (Star Ledger)
- Automatic cuts set for Congress’s spending next year could shut many children out of Head Start. (Times)
- A new report says that some states are using federal NCLB waivers to weaken accountability. (Times)
- An investigation into possible manipulation of Ohio’s test scores is going statewide. (Toledo Blade)