Posts from September 19th, 2012
September 19, 2012
- Diane Ravitch: In Chicago, “regardless of the terms of the contract, the teachers won.” (DR’s Blog)
- Throughout the strike, Rahm Emanuel gave the most access to the New York Times. (ChicagoMag)
- A look back at 150 years of teachers union activity, from the NEA’s formation to Chicago. (Hechinger)
- A 9-year-old rapper whose hit rails against sagging pants goes to Brooklyn’s P.S. 92. (Daily Mail)
- A city school’s new philosophy teacher explains the theory and practice of her class. (GS Community)
- Ex-GSer Rose D’souza is back on the beat with a story on alternative schools in Canada. (Globe & Mail)
- A researcher urges caution in interpreting a study of the city’s School of One program. (SchoolBook)
- What to expect when you’re expecting Meet the Teacher Night at your child’s school. (Insideschools)
- An 11-story school found an innovative use for its walls of windows: stop-motion film. (BuzzFeed)
- A report finds a slight uptick but still a big gap in the nation’s graduation rate for black males. (EdWeek)
- “Dragon + Unicorn = Rhinoceros,” or why science books could use some revision. (Thanks, Textbooks)
September 19, 2012
Across the country, the right of parents to decide who controls their schools is getting a closer look with the new movie “Won’t Back Down,” a Hollywood drama based on the true story of a struggling California school that parents tried to turn into a charter school using a “parent trigger” law.
In the last year, at least 20 states have considered some version of the “parent trigger,” a controversial policy that would give parents the power to vote in significant changes at their children’s school. Advocates of the policy say it empowers parents, but critics say that it allows private corporations to manipulate parents into handing over control of public schools.
Here in New York, a version of the law has been on the books for more than a decade.
Under the New York State Charter School Act of 1998, parents can begin converting their school into a charter school if a majority of them officially vote to approve the plan. But instead of empowering parents in failing schools, New York’s law has enabled politicians, education officials, and school administrators to pursue their own agendas, and its design contains some significant limitations.
How New York State’s existing “parent trigger” law stacks up
Compared to more aggressive versions of the parent trigger legislation that exist in other states, New York’s law doesn’t allow any teacher replacement. Plus, schools converted under New York’s law assume the district’s collective bargaining agreement, so teachers earn the same salaries and are entitled to the same pensions, health benefits, and job protections as they did before the conversion. But once the schools go charter, the district no longer picks up pension and benefits costs, leaving the schools with a heavy burden.
Also, in many of the proposed parent trigger laws, parents would be able to turn their schools into charter schools or otherwise overhaul them by replacing the leadership and making structural and programming changes. But New York parents get only the option to turn their school into a charter school. (more…)
September 19, 2012
If the Bloomberg administration has executed any education policy promises with fidelity, it has been around opening new schools. But its record on the trickier task of improving existing schools has been more mixed.
That trend continued last year, according to our analysis of the city’s progress toward fulfilling the education commitments it made during between September 2011 and August 2012. We found that Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Dennis Walcott are on track to meet most of their school creation goals, but when it comes to improving ones that already exist, their success is less clear. (Each promise is in bold, followed by an explanation of how far the city has come toward meeting it.)
The city did better at fulfilling its school creation and improvement goals than it did at keeping its promises about boosting teacher quality, which we examined earlier this week. In the final part of this series, we will look at whether city officials have kept their word about taking new approaches to handling high-need students and engaging parents.
On creating new schools:
- The city will open 100 new schools before the end of 2013, including 50 charter schools. (Bloomberg’s State of the City address, January 2012)
The city is so far on track to hit this goal. Fifty-four new schools are opening this fall, bringing the total number of schools that have opened under the Bloomberg administration to 589. Of the newest crop of schools, 24 are charter schools.
- Fifty new middle schools will open by 2013, of which 25 will be charter schools. (Walcott’s middle schools speech, September 2011)
The city also chipped away mightily at this number, and depending on the method of counting might be more than on track to hit the total. This year, 18 of the 54 new schools opened with middle school grades, including seven charter schools. Another eight of the new schools, all charter schools, opened with elementary grades but plan to serve middle school students once they are at full enrollment in several years.
- The city will help high-performing charter networks grow faster. (State of the City)
When Bloomberg made this promise, he specifically name-checked Success Academies and KIPP as two networks whose strong performance he would like to see replicated. This year, three new Success Academy charter schools and one new KIPP school opened in the city. All of them had sought to open since long before Bloomberg made the commitment. At least five other local charter schools also replicated this year.
- The city will bring in charter school operators that run successful schools elsewhere. (State of the City)
The city has so far struck out here: Except for KIPP, which has long run New York City schools, none of this year’s new charter schools are part of national networks. One operator that Bloomberg specifically mentioned, Rocketship Education, opened two new charter schools in its native California but so far has not opened or even proposed a school for New York. Its CEO has said dozens of districts have recruited the network but he is wary of operating under different regulations in different places. (more…)
September 19, 2012
When I joined the faculty of Columbia Secondary School as a curriculum adviser last year, I had no inkling that I would eventually become the school’s high school philosophy teacher. This is an honor and an intellectual treat. I want to share my thoughts about what it means to teach philosophy at the high school (more…)
September 19, 2012
- Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, who always said she wasn’t running for mayor, now really isn’t. (WSJ)
- The contract Chicago teachers okayed contains wins for both sides. (Times, WSJ, Tribune, Sun-Times)
- Like other city agencies, the Department of Education has been told to cut its budget. (GothamSchools)
- The principal of Fort Hamilton High School seems to be leaving amid investigations. (GothamSchools)
- Investigators found evidence of fraud in another day care operator. (GothamSchools, Post)
- The 4-year-old cancer survivor whose busing had been botched now has a ride to pre-K. (NY1)
- Liz Ward is a City Year volunteer at Queens’ I.S. 126, which she attended a decade ago. (Daily News)
- A former city DOE consultant will spend three years in jail for bilking the city of $1.7 million. (Post)
- Checker Finn: American schools are bad at identifying, educating, and enriching giftedness. (Times)
- D.C. has set new performance targets for its schools under its federal NCLB waiver. (Washington Post)
- In Syria, schools are supposed to be open, but many remain closed because of ongoing strife. (Times)