Posts from October 15th, 2012
October 15, 2012
- France’s new president wants to ban homework because it widens the achievement gap. (Answer Sheet)
- The hunt is on for educators who are also “upstanders” against injustice and intolerance. (Facing History)
- A city teacher says the Department of Education’s “peer group” system makes little sense. (Schoolbook)
- A teacher has written a “bill of rights” for members of the Absent Teacher Reserve. (Chaz’s School Daze)
- A parent offers advice for how to help children make the most of online learning. (EdNews Colorado)
- A right-wing magazine says homeschooling is the most radical movement around. (National Review)
- A group that wants to revamp teacher prep will pay ed school students for their syllabi. (Teacher Beat)
- A criticism of the call for “diverse” schools is that advocates want only a little diversity. (Sara Mead)
- Micah Lasher calls Deborah Kenny’s criticism of teacher evaluation rules “unhelpful.” (StudentsFirstNY)
- The teacher who was blocked from broadcasting from the rubber room has gone live again. (UStream)
- Some states seem to be using their NCLB waivers to lower their expectations for schools. (EdWeek)
- A parent coordinator explains how she involves parents who want to help but can’t come. (SchoolBook)
October 15, 2012
Next year’s state tests will be shorter, quieter, and potentially more offensive, state education officials said today.
The state math and reading tests that students in elementary and middle school take this spring — just over six months from now — will be the first that are aligned to new curriculum standards known as the Common Core. City and state officials have both warned that the tests will be tougher than what students have been used to, and in dribs and drabs they have released examples of Common Core-aligned test questions.
State officials outlined more nuts-and-bolts changes in a briefing with reporters today. They said that even though questions will more often test multiple skills, the overall length of the exams will not increase. For the youngest test-takers, students in third and fourth grade, the tests will actually decrease in duration, they said.
Last year’s tests were longer than ever before, with students in all grades sitting for around six hours of testing over six days. For third-graders, last year’s tests were more than twice as long as in 2011.
In another shift, the state will make it clear to schools that it’s okay for students to read quietly after they turn in their tests. At some schools, students have in the past been required to stay at their seats without anything to do until the maximum testing period elapsed, an arrangement that one anti-testing activist told the New York Times left her son playing “ballgames in his head.” (more…)
October 15, 2012
The ink was barely dry on New York’s agreement with an organization that is building an interstate student data project when parents and advocates raised concerns about it this weekend.
The parents and advocates held a press conference Sunday about a letter that they sent Friday to the state’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, and Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch. The letter asked the officials to halt New York’s participation in the Shared Learning Collaborative until the state assures them that student information will be secure.
But the state only finalized its agreement with the SLC, a nonprofit group that aims to help state avoid building duplicative data systems, on Thursday, according to a signed agreement that state officials provided to reporters this weekend. The officials said the terms of the agreement should quell privacy concerns about the system, which each state will use and augment independently.
Some of the parents’ and advocates’ allegations — they suggest in their letter that the state might be preparing to sell student data to for-profit companies — are simply incorrect, according to Ken Wagner, a State Education Department associate commissioner. But he said today that other concerns raised in the letter reflected important questions about privacy and security that the department had previously not answered publicly.
“They were right to raise those issues, but we believe those issues have been addressed in our agreement,” Wagner said. (more…)
October 15, 2012
Alvin Roth, a product of Queens’ Martin Van Buren High School who is now a professor of economics at Stanford University, was today named one of two winners of this year’s Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science. The prize recognized his work in market theory, where he has studied markets of people, rather than prices.
To address a time-consuming medical residency matching process that induced perverse incentives for applicants to list less-preferred options first, Roth engineered what is now known as a “deferred acceptance algorithm.” The algorithm allowed the placement system to match applicants to residency programs based on their highest mutual preference.
The deferred acceptance algorithm became the basis for New York City’s high school admissions process in 2003 and remains the mechanism that the city uses to match nearly 100,000 students and schools each year.
In a 2005 paper, Roth and two other researchers detailed the process that brought the algorithm to the Department of Education. He wrote that the department’s then-director of strategic planning, Jeremy Lack, approached him to suss out whether the medical match system he designed could work in a sprawling system of public schools with diverse admissions policies.
“The three authors of the present paper … advised (and often convinced) Lack, his colleagues (particularly Elizabeth Sciabarra and Neil Dorosin), and the DOE’s software vendor, about the design of the match,” Roth and his fellow researchers wrote. (more…)
October 15, 2012
- The HS of Graphic Communication Arts used plungers as bathroom passes until it was told to stop. (Post)
- Parents want the attorney general to ensure a shared data system protects student privacy. (Daily News)
- Some of the same parents who opted their children out of field tests in June are doing so again. (Times)
- The proposal for district-wide choice in District 6 has some parents worried about snagging seats. (WSJ)
- The new law requiring kindergarten means more pre-K students will have to switch schools. (Daily News)
- Parents are upset that Brooklyn’s P.S. 224 cut P.E. instruction for its youngest students. (Daily News)
- Computer programmers held an all-night “hackathon” to come up with apps about absenteeism. (NY1)
- Volunteers fanned out to help spruce up 90 schools, half in Brooklyn, on New York Cares Day. (NY1)
- A city teacher was censured for requiring her middle school students to pray to Jesus. (Daily News)
- The chess team at Brooklyn’s I.S. 318 stars in a new movie. (Come to our showing Oct. 21!) (Daily News)
- The Daily News says the UFT Charter School’s struggles offer a lesson about the value of leadership.
- Micah Lasher of StudentsFirstNY says the lesson the school teaches is about the UFT. (Daily News)
- Charter school operator Deborah Kenny says government-run teacher evaluation is a bad idea. (Times)
- Michael Benjamin: The next mayor has to make early success in reading a top education priority. (Post)
- A test-score boosting scheme in El Paso, Texas, involved pushing many students out of school. (Times)
- New York City’s School of One program is replicating in D.C. as “Teach to One.” (Washington Post)
- Rocketship, a technology-steeped charter network, wants to have 2,000 schools by 2020. (USA Today)
Last week on GothamSchools:
- A year after the Occupy movement swept education, city activists say reverberations are still felt. (Friday)
- Democracy Prep’s founder and superintendent Seth Andrew is leaving after seven years. (Thursday)
- City efforts to boost parent engagement and serve needy students are coming along slowly. (Thursday)
- The city’s comparison of old and new state test questions highlight a coming challenge. (Thursday)
- Even after the city ended its high-profile “turnaround” plans, some could still get funding. (Wednesday)
- Virtually all of the schools monitored on test days this year had possible issues in the past. (Wednesday)
- The UFT Charter School, opened to prove a point, could be closed over poor performance. (Tuesday)