Posts from October 11th, 2012
October 11, 2012
- Richard Rothstein: Joel Klein’s “entire autobiography is a sleight of hand.” (American Prospect)
- Rothstein explains why it matters that Klein likely didn’t “beat the odds,” as he said. (Answer Sheet)
- An education crib sheet for tonight’s vice presidential debate starts with funding. (Politics K-12)
- A student who had help getting from the Bronx to Buffalo State recalls what she learned. (GS Community)
- Students at City-as-School made an app that lets students document school lunches. (Insideschools)
- Denver is writing language about “social justice” out of its teacher evaluation system. (Teacher Beat)
- A teacher finds that ex-students are everywhere — and seeing them isn’t always heartening. (Yo Mista)
- A play-by-play of Chicago’s teacher strike spans from before it started until after it ended. (HuffPo)
- Small schools doyenne Deborah Meier laments the direction charter schools took. (Bridging Differences)
- Email us if you are interested in buying discounted tickets to “Brooklyn Castle” on Oct. 21. (GS Calendar)
October 11, 2012
When the first crop of seniors at Democracy Prep Charter High School graduates next June, they won’t be alone. The founder of the school’s network of charter schools will be exiting alongside them.
Seth Andrew, the founder and superintendent of the six-school network, has spent the last week making hundreds of phone calls to friends and professional contacts to let them know that he will be stepping down in June, seven years after launching a middle school steeped in civic values.
Andrew’s decision comes weeks after the U.S. Department of Education announced that Democracy Prep Public Schools would be one of two charter school networks to get federal funding to expand. Democracy Prep will get $9.1 million over five years to open 15 new schools in Harlem; Camden, N.J.; and potentially beyond.
Andrew said the award made him confident that he could depart without destabilizing Democracy Prep — and relieved that the network would be able to grow using only public funds, a value to the network.
“The organization is incredibly healthy,” he said today, speaking by phone from Boston, where he had been meeting with Building Excellent Schools, the nonprofit that helped him start up his first school a decade ago. “This is the time to do a transition.”
Andrew opened his flagship middle school, Democracy Prep Charter School, in 2006 with a $30,000 grant from the city’s Center for Charter School Excellence (now named the New York City Charter School Center). He expanded to a high school in 2009 to accommodate his graduating eighth-graders and has since opened three more middle schools. (more…)
October 11, 2012
Like the Bloomberg administration’s schools reform efforts, our series tracking the city’s progress toward fulfilling its recent education policy promises started last month with teachers and schools. Now we are turning toward the students and families they serve.
It’s a shift that city officials also made in the last year. For nearly a decade, the Department of Education’s approach to helping needy students focused largely on creating excellent new schools and closing ones that don’t work. But its policies drew fierce criticism that families were shut out of decisions and that some student groups had not benefited from years of initiatives.
Last year, the first that Chancellor Dennis Walcott led in full, city officials announced some changes to its approach, introducing policies aimed at helping students and parents. Concrete actions have been slow to come, but we found that the department is slowly plugging away at creating programs to back up last year’s rhetoric shifts. (Each promise is in bold, followed by an explanation of how far the city has come toward meeting it.)
- The city will study high schools that graduate black and Latino students at high rates to find out what they are doing right. (Mayor Bloomberg’s Young Men’s Initiative speech, August 2011)
The study is the intended outcome of the Expanded Success Initiative, the flagship education program of Mayor Bloomberg’s recent effort to help black and Latino young men. The three-year, $24 million program got underway in June, when the city named 40 schools to monitor as they pioneer new college-readiness strategies funded with grants of $250,000 each.
- The city will decrease the concentration of high-need students in some schools. (Communication with the state, June 2012)
Responding to pressure from State Education Commissioner John King, the city quietly embarked on a pilot program to distribute students who enroll during the school year and summer over a wider swath of schools, despite steadfastly maintaining that high concentrations of needy students do not make it harder for schools to succeed. The city gets about 20,000 new high school students, called “over-the-counters,” each year, and they have traditionally wound up in a small number of struggling schools. Last year, about 800 of them went to 54 high schools that have not usually accepted midyear arrivals. But many schools still receive few or no over-the-counter students, while others complain they receive more than they can handle.
- All city high schools, even those with selective admissions processes, will accept students with disabilities. (Directive to schools, June 2012) (more…)
October 11, 2012
Three days. It only took three days for the perception of me at Buffalo State to go from “the innocent girl” to “the girl with the rough upbringing.” All I had to do was answer one simple question, “where are you from?” As soon as I answered “the Bronx,” gasps and wide eyes filled the room. (more…)
October 11, 2012
Educators have gotten a few hints into what new, more challenging state exams could look like this spring. To help them prepare more, city officials are encouraging them to review old exams and new sample questions side by side to see exactly what has changed.
While teachers waited for the state to release examples of how they are re-imagining the yearly exams to line up with new, Common Core curriculum standards, city officials offered their own comparison guide. The guide took the form of a slideshow, with examples of Common Core-aligned math and English tasks developed by city officials, and an explanation of how they compared to old lessons.
And when the state’s only batch of sample test questions came out in late June, city officials prepared another comparison, but with official questions and 2010 exam questions. They presented the comparison to principals in June at an annual conference for school leaders, and then gave it to reporters earlier this month.
The comparisons, officials said, show that students can expect to read more challenging texts and see more multi-step math problems and word problems that reflect real-world scenarios.
They include a set of algebra problems for third- and sixth-graders from 2010, followed by comprable problems from a 2013 sample test. One new question, for example, asks sixth-graders to consider a clothing store offering a 30 percent discount on its wares. In three parts, students must not only find the reduced price of several items, but also figure out what an item would cost with an additional discount, or without a discount at all. The comparison question from 2010 is a word problem with just one step, asking students to divide two numbers. (more…)
October 11, 2012
- Families and City Council members blasted the DOE’s bus services at a hearing. (NY1, Daily News)
- Chemist Robert Lefkowitz is the eighth Bronx High School of Science alum to win a Nobel Prize. (Post)
- Several schools will be eligible for the much-belabored “turnaround” grants after all. (GothamSchools)
- Most schools in the city’s test monitoring program were already under investigation. (GothamSchools)
- The Post says the struggles of the UFT Charter School underscore larger problems within the union.
- A parent who crunches downtown demographic data says overcrowding will continue. (Tribeca Tribune)
- A New Orleans school board challenger raised money from Joel Klein, among others. (Times-Picayune)
- Los Angeles’s schools chief is getting another year on the job, but no performance bonus. (L.A. Times)
- Bronx students created fake Facebook profile to catch an IT staffer in inappropriate conduct. (Post)