Posts from June 18th, 2013
June 18, 2013
- Sometimes, school space-sharing plans stir up controversy. Sometimes, they don’t. (Brooklyn Bureau)
- A special education teacher recounts the saga of waiting for an observation that never came. (Miss Rim)
- Joel Klein is still not sure how the market will respond to Amplify, but he’s optimistic. (Fast Company)
- A new video profiles two schools that are teaching Asian languages to their students. (Asia Society)
- Houston is considering using student surveys for up to 30 percent of teachers’ ratings. (Joanne Jacobs)
- A city teacher who once backed the Common Core says she has changed her mind. (Living in Dialogue)
- In a new video, the State Education Department tries to win over Common Core skeptics. (GS in Brief)
- The city is opening 29 new dual-language programs this fall: what they are and where. (Insideschools)
June 18, 2013
A slew of glitches in the city’s electronic grading for Regents exams have delayed scores for several subjects, just days before high schools are set to begin holding graduation ceremonies.
The problems represent at best a significant inconvenience and cost and at worst a threat to students’ scores and graduation status, according to educators with knowledge of the grading process.
This is the first June that all Regents exams taken at city high schools are being graded through “distributed scoring,” an arrangement devised to prevent teachers from scoring tests taken by students at their schools. Until last year, teachers graded their own students’ exams, but under pressure to show that test scores are not inflated, the state barred that practice. The city’s scoring system extends the state’s rules.
After a pilot last year, the Department of Education opted to have four of the most-taken tests — Living Environment, Global Studies, U.S. History, and English — scored electronically. McGraw-Hill, the vendor administering the process, collects the exams at schools, transports them to a scanning site in Connecticut, and then distributes answers one by one to teachers stationed at computers in city grading centers.
The company is getting $3.5 million this year from the city to administer the distributed scoring program, part of a $9.6 million, three-year contract to manage the logistical acrobatics that the new arrangement requires. (more…)
June 18, 2013
State test scores won’t count more toward the evaluations of elementary and middle school teachers next year, according to an amended proposal that a Board of Regents committee passed unanimously on Monday.
The proposed model, which was formally approved on Tuesday, included a methodology to calculate student growth that was nearly identical to the “value-added” model that State Education Commissioner John King brought to the board in April. Both models add new data points to the formula used to approximate how much each teacher has contributed to students’ growth.
But under state law, any model termed “value-added” would have required, controversially, that its weight increase from 20 to 25 percent on some teacher evaluations. King’s alternative this month was for the state to adopt an “enhanced growth model” that adds virtually all of the same data points but doesn’t have the value-added moniker. Spurning the name allows the state to avoid increasing the weight of test scores until all districts have at least one year of implementation under their belts, something the state teachers union has asked for.
“I would have thought that adding all these factors would qualify as ‘value-added,’ but this distinction was always opaque,” said Jonah Rockoff, a Columbia University economist who advised the state on its methodology “If the commissioner wants to keep the weight at 20 percent for another year then staying within the ‘student growth’ framework seems like the simplest way to do it.” (more…)
June 18, 2013
A day before the teachers union is set to endorse a mayoral candidate, New York City’s principals union has backed former Board of Education president Bill Thompson while acknowledging that they don’t agree on all policy issues.
“I don’t know if we’ll always agree on what’s best,” said Ernest Logan, president of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators. ”But that’s the difference here — having someone talk to you and be collaborative and listen to you.”
He added about Thompson, “He respects school leaders … and we’re not getting that” under Bloomberg.
Logan signaled that the union’s executive board was not at all unanimous in its decision. Thompson had twice as many votes as the next closest candidate, Logan said, but he won just 40 percent of the board’s vote. (more…)
June 18, 2013
Even as Bill Thompson has continued to criticize the Bloomberg administration’s education policies, he has courted the mayor’s education allies.
Thompson has privately dined with charter school backers and assuaged their fears about what his mayoralty would mean for them. He’s taken thousands of dollars in campaign donations from a Success Academy board member and won the fundraising support of Merryl Tisch, a top state education official who helped expand the charter school sector.
Most recently, he has distanced himself from some Democratic rivals by refusing to oppose a key education policy that the Bloomberg administration has used to help non-union charter schools thrive.
Thompson has managed to stay in favor with these groups even while getting support from Randi Weingarten, an old friend, and emerging as a favorite to get the United Federation of Teachers endorsement, which is scheduled to come on Wednesday (The principals union, a close UFT ally, is endorsing him on Tuesday). His ability to cultivate support from advocates who are often at odds with one another on education is a testament to his political savvy and his experience as a schools policymaker in New York City, political observers say. (more…)
June 18, 2013
- The city’s graduation rate dropped slightly. (GothamSchools, Times, NY1, Post, Daily News, WSJ, SB)
- Bloomberg used the occasion to take on the UFT. (GothamSchools, Post, WSJ, Politicker, Capital NY)
- Policy makers were split on how to interpret the rate, which reflects higher standards. (GothamSchools)
- Statewide, the average graduation rate was steady, but achievement gaps persist. (Albany Times Union)
- At Bronx Compass High School, teachers work to integrate the arts into science and math. (Daily News)
- The principal of the Bronx’s I.S. 232 is being investigated for allegedly threatening teachers. (Daily News)
- Michael Benjamin: Democratic candidates’ criticism of Eva Moskowitz shows that they lack vision. (Post)
- A handful of parents and staff members started a hunger strike for safe schools in Philadelphia. (Inquirer)
- An advocacy group offers a critical report about teacher training as programs are ranked. (HuffPo, WSJ)