Posts from Sarah Darville
December 6, 2013
Just one day after Nelson Mandela died at his home in South Africa, city officials announced that a new high school will be named in his honor—and its creation appears to have won over some prominent critics of co-locating schools.
The new Nelson Mandela School for Social Justice will open inside of Boys and Girls High School, the Bedford-Stuyvesant school that Mandela visited in 1990 when he was celebrated by Mayor David Dinkins and the rest of New York City.
Walcott called the school “a perfect way to give testament to the man who is just admired by so many and transformed lives of so many people, and generations of people. And touched personally the people of Brooklyn as well as the people of New York City.”
The school’s social justice theme and connection to Mandela’s visit to the neighborhood have also smoothed tensions that have been simmering for years at Boys and Girls over the possibility of the city adding another school to the building, which already contains the small Research and Service High School. (more…)
December 6, 2013
- In the wake of Nelson Mandela’s death, two city students explain what it was like to meet him. (WNYC)
- The city’s next police commissioner says his career was inspired by a children’s book. (Times, Post)
- Red Hook residents aren’t happy with a proposed private school’s scholarship plan. (Daily News)
- The city’s GED-prep centers have been renamed as the state prepares to switch tests. (GothamSchools)
- A mom may sue after substitutes at Riverdale’s P.S. 24 allegedly abused her daughter. (Riverdale Press)
- Icahn Charter Schools has abandoned a plan to add a high school to a Bronx building. (Daily News)
- An American recently shot in Libya was a teacher at Benghazi’s international school. (AP, NY Post)
December 5, 2013
As a huge shift approaches for students who are looking to earn GEDs, Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced Thursday a few smaller changes to the system designed to help them.
GED Plus, the name given to the city’s preparation programs for students, was about to become an awkward moniker when the GED stops being administered in New York next year. Though that exam that has long been synonymous with a high school equivalency credential, the state will begin giving a new Common Core-aligned exam with a different name in 2014.
So starting January 1, the student centers will be known as Pathways to Graduation, Walcott announced today. Five of those 62 locations will also host staff members from the Office of Adult and Continuing Education, allowing at least some of the students who age out of the Pathways to Graduation centers the chance to stay put as they continue trying to pass the exam.
For the thousands of students enrolled right now, the name change also reflects their deadline for passing all of the GED’s five component tests before the January switch to a new exam. At that point, students who had already passed portions of the GED exam will have to start from scratch. (more…)
December 4, 2013
- Top state education officials will host public forums on the standards next week. (GS Blog, Ed Notes)
- One teacher explains why she asks students to talk about tragedy in her current events class. (Atlantic)
- At many schools, long cafeteria lines mean just a few minutes are left for scarfing down lunch. (NPR)
- One in four public school parents say their schools give phys ed short shrift. (Schooled in Sports)
- One Alabama district will soon be handing cash to students who earn high ACT scores. (Answer Sheet)
- Seniority and teacher discipline are two looming issues with NYC’s teacher contracts. (Teacher Beat)
- A principal describes the “most emotionally and physically demanding…rewarding job.” (HuffPost)
- Children in a Swiss “forest kindergarten” get to explore and play on rope swings. (Joanne Jacobs)
December 4, 2013
The Independent Budget Office released an unusually early set of cost-cutting ideas today, including a plan for co-located schools to share staff members and changes to where new teachers would be allowed to live.
The report, which the agency typically releases in the spring to influence budget debates, is a list of ways for the city to potentially cut costs or raise cash. Most of the report’s education ideas have been proposed before, including eliminating principal performance bonuses (to save $6 million) and eliminating parent coordinators altogether (to save $91 million).
New this year is the proposal for schools in the same building to share a single parent coordinator and a secretary, which the IBO estimates would save the Department of Education $50 million next year.
Another new proposal could inspire even more controversy: stricter residency requirements for new DOE employees. Currently, most city employees must live in the city for two years and then can move to six surrounding New York counties and are taxed an additional amount equivalent to city taxes. DOE employees have been exempt from both requirements, but changing that for new hires would bring in $3 million next year and increase over time as older teachers retire, according to the IBO. (more…)
December 3, 2013
- Poverty rates alone don’t explain the U.S.’s low PISA scores, which came out today. (Hechinger)
- Dana Goldstein: Parsing PISA means examining income inequality, tracking, and healthcare, too. (Slate)
- Diane Ravitch: Remember that the U.S. has never been first on international tests. (Answer Sheet)
- Shanghai isn’t “China”—and one writer says it’s cheating to allow the media to equate them. (Slate)
- STEAM (STEM plus arts) education is catching on nationwide—and at some Brooklyn schools. (WSJ)
- Alexander Russo: NY Magazine’s piece on the anti-testing push misses a chunk of the big picture.
- What has the Young Men’s Initiative done, $129 million and a variety of programs later? (City Limits)
- Amy McIntosh, a key player in New York state teacher evaluations work, is headed to DC. (Politics K-12)
- InsideSchools‘ Judy Baum: Be careful about holding your December-born child back from kindergarten.
- Sequestration has meant significant cuts for education of Native American children. (EdWeek)
- How to describe a favorite teacher? With more than a couple of “Boy Meets World” gifs. (BuzzFeed)
December 3, 2013
More than twice as many students took Advanced Placement exams, and more than 15,000 more high school seniors took the SAT this year than took the exams in 2002, Mayor Bloomberg announced today.
New College Board data show that the average SAT score of New York City students increased eight points over last year. But Bloomberg took the long view as he presented the data for the final time, emphasizing the growth over his time in office over the year-to-year numbers that typically get the spotlight.
The city did post small, across-the-board gains over last year in every SAT subject, with the biggest gains among Hispanic students, who saw a six-point average gain in writing and a five-point average gain in reading.
The city’s scores are still far below the national average, and big gaps remain among students. While the average total score for white students was a 1541 out of 2400, the average score for Hispanic students was 1235, and the average score for black students was 1225.
But the data also show the number of high school seniors taking the SAT has increased 53 percent from 12 years ago, and the number of students taking AP exams increased to more than 35,000, from about 17,000 12 years ago. (more…)
November 25, 2013
- A study of teachers in 10 cities shows that (significant) merit pay incentives can improve results. (Slate)
- Here’s a rundown of positions taken by Kathleen Cashin, a name being floated for chancellor. (NYCPSP)
- How should parents react to a teacher’s grammatical errors? Most end up saying nothing. (Eduflack)
- STEM graduates are among the highest-paid, but often leave after age 35 for other opportunities. (NPR)
- Local parents and activists are meeting about the future of Beacon High’s building tonight. (DNAInfo)
- A psychology prof is wary but impressed with Pearson’s goal to measure learning. (Daniel Willingham)
- The Maurice Sendak Foundation is giving a Park Slope school financial (and moral) support. (DNAInfo)
- Maryland is the latest state facing opposition to its rollout of Common Core standards. (Washington Post)
- Diane Ravitch: Parents hate Common Core because of the “failing” label attached to their kids’ scores.
November 22, 2013
- A new book looks for lessons in Japan’s test- and discipline-driven education system. (Atlantic)
- On the radio, Mayor Bloomberg said it’s time kids (and parents) got used to tests. Lots of tests. (Capital)
- What makes a “good” urban school? Slate’s podcast tackles that with an author and an ed researcher.
- The key to kindergarten admissions, according to Insideschools? Don’t rank schools you don’t like.
- Psychologist: score cutoffs for gifted programs can miss kids who would benefit from them. (Hechinger)
- Research: mentors who protect students from consequences could hurt character development. (Russo)
- Marc Tucker: Shanghai’s school system is great because of fundamentals, not charters and vouchers.
- Not all schools that received big federal grants saw their scores improve, even by a few points. (HuffPost)
November 22, 2013
- The state education department is requesting $9.5 million to create exams for English learners. (Capital)
- Philanthropies say de Blasio needs to focus on literacy, Common Core. (GothamSchools, WNYC, NY1)
- Many teachers are still waiting for new Common Core-aligned curricula to be completed. (Capital)
- During that talk, Shael Polakow-Suransky said the city could pay for CUNY apps. (GothamSchools)
- Educators say new rules about accessing SESIS haven’t addressed persistent flaws. (GothamSchools)
- Manhattan’s District 2 has maintained local priorities for many of the city’s top schools. (WNYC)
- Politicians have already decided whom a future Upper West Side school should be named for. (DNAInfo)
- Student reporters from Curtis High School reveal more about a leaked benchmark exam. (Daily News)
- “Top Chef” judge Gail Simmons is judging a pie contest at fundraiser for Brooklyn’s P.S. 29. (DNAInfo)
- In Philadelphia schools, poverty is both deep and widespread, adding to the overall crisis. (NPR)