Posts from Sarah Darville
November 14, 2013
- The city is amending safety procedures in response to Avonte Oquendo’s disappearance. (Schoolbook)
- To see improvements, a writer says Chicago schools must put focus on poverty. (Chicago Reader)
- One take: Teach for America is the go-to because top schools are snobs about education. (Atlantic)
- Nationwide, parents of special education students say budget cuts have hurt their services. (HuffPost)
- Not all uptown elementary schools got Kindergarten Connect memo, adding to confusion. (DNAInfo)
- Assailed Teacher: The Common Core focuses too much on the literal at expense of the imaginative.
- Four reasons why high instructional standards matter, but aren’t everything. (Common Core Watch)
- And join me tomorrow for a screening of “The New Public” and a talk at 7:30 p.m. at Maylses Cinema.
November 13, 2013
Officials released what could be the city’s final round of school grades today, emphasizing stability even as major changes are likely imminent.
The Department of Education and City Hall will soon be full of new officials, and last year was chaotic for different reasons—Superstorm Sandy and the first round of the state’s new, tougher Common Core-aligned exams. That meant today’s release was marked by little fanfare and lowered stakes.
The A to F grades and accompanying school progress reports are based mostly on calculations of student test scores, and they have become a signature of Mayor Bloomberg’s focus on school accountability since the city began giving them out in 2007. But they may not stick around at all, as mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has promised to eliminate those grades and pause the school-closure process.
November 12, 2013
The city’s next public advocate isn’t afraid to raise her voice on education issues.
Letitia James’ aggressive oratory against charter schools and co-locations has earned her standing ovations in crowded school auditoriums, effusive praise from Diane Ravitch, and skepticism among charter school parents. And her increasingly vocal presence in education activism provides a clear glimpse into what mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s closest progressive allies want from him on education.
“I think you can view me as a partner in ensuring that the mayor of the city of New York honors his commitment to reform the school system as we know it,” James said in a recent interview. “Now it’s time to put the rhetoric into action. And my role is to ensure that in fact the rhetoric is actualized.”
Currently a City Councilmember representing Fort Greene, Prospect Heights and much of Crown Heights, James will soon be the city’s second highest-ranking official. Though the power of the public advocate has historically been limited, she may end up playing a larger role given her close relationship with de Blasio.
But James, an outspoken critic of charter schools eager for large-scale shifts in the city’s education policies, has been more condemnatory than de Blasio when speaking out about the city’s public schools. ”They have pretty much dismantled public education,” she said of the Bloomberg administration. “I see it wherever I go, and I just see the inequities.”
November 8, 2013
- The State Education Department says the city is skirting special education laws. (GS in Brief, NY1)
- If the de Blasios move to Gracie Mansion, Dante will join many students with long commutes. (Times)
- Across the country, math and reading scores on the “nation’s report card” rose slightly. (Times, WSJ)
- But unlike a few states, New York didn’t see big gains. (GothamSchools, NY1, Daily News, Post, Capital)
- To keep kids from missing school, schools are relaxing rules about how to deal with lice. (AP)
- A new study shows growing segregation in LES schools, and many blame “dezoning.” (GothamSchools)
- Atlantic Express, which runs a chunk of the city’s school bus routes, filed for bankruptcy. (NY World)
- Teachers at Flushing High complained about a proposal to set a grading minimum of 55. (Daily News)
- As M.S. 113′s enrollment is decreased in Fort Greene, a private school is adding seats. (DNAInfo)
- In the Pine Bush district north of the city, reports of anti-Semitism have prompted a lawsuit. (Times)
- A reverend and civil rights advocate who pioneered “street academies” for city youth has died. (Times)
November 7, 2013
A group of urban planners have validated what some teachers and parents on the Lower East Side say they’ve been watching over the last decade: Schools in the neighborhood are growing more segregated.
The planners say they can’t explain the changes, but local parents blame the Department of Education’s emphasis on districtwide choice for allowing the neighborhood’s schools to become increasingly segregated, in an arrangement that researchers say is not good for students of any race or class. Some parents have even lobbied against the department’s proposals to “dezone” other districts, in some cases helping sway other parent leaders away from agreeing to admissions rules like District 1′s.
What the parents are trying to prevent are more stories like the Lower East Side’s, where there is potential for school diversity but students instead increasingly attend schools where their classmates are very much like themselves.
A damning report
A few blocks apart in the Lower East Side, the Neighborhood School is 40.6 percent white, while P.S. 142, just a few blocks away, is 2.8 percent white. More than a decade ago, a gap that size didn’t exist. (more…)
November 7, 2013
In a year when a few states posted across-the-board gains, New York State saw limited progress on the test known as “the nation’s report card,” according to new data released today about the 2013 tests.
Only fourth-grade math scores saw a statistically significant increase on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, an assessment given to fourth- and eighth-graders across the country every two years. New York students’ scores in fourth-grade reading, eighth-grade reading, and eighth-grade math showed no significant changes from 2011.
That’s a better result than the scores two years ago, when New York was one of just two states to post significant declines. (New York City’s scores outpaced the rest of the state slightly.)
Across the country, Tennessee, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia saw the biggest gains across both grades and subjects, though scores for Washington, D.C. especially still rank among the nation’s lowest. (more…)
November 5, 2013
Eva Moskowitz, whose charter school network launched in Harlem, helped lead opposition to Democrat Bill de Blasio’s plan to charge rent to charter schools that use space in public school buildings, while Republican Joe Lhota chose a charter school in the area to remind voters that he would continue the Bloomberg administration’s policy of letting co-located charter schools operate rent-free.
But even though the neighborhood has one of the highest charter-school enrollment rates in the city, most voters there today — but not all — said they were casting their ballots for de Blasio. (more…)
November 4, 2013
If you’re like most New York City voters, you’ve already decided who you’re voting for in tomorrow’s mayoral election. (The latest poll puts support for frontrunner Bill de Blasio at 65 percent, and only 8 percent say they might change their minds before Election Day.) But if education is a top priority and you’re still on the fence, here’s the final rundown of what de Blasio and Republican candidate Joe Lhota say they would do as mayor and head of the nation’s largest school system.
Both don’t want their power diluted significantly: De Blasio and Lhota have said that the mayor should appoint the majority of the members of the Panel for Educational Policy. But they also agree on that PEP members should serve fixed terms and not at the will of the mayor, which would give the body somewhat more autonomy from City Hall. (more…)
November 1, 2013
- The state’s teacher pension fund missed long-term targets, which some say are too high. (LoHud)
- School suspensions have continued dropping, but data show disparities. (GothamSchools, NY1, WNYC)
- The shift to the Common Core means additional difficulties for students learning English. (Ed Week)
- The closing John F. Kennedy High School celebrated an emotional final homecoming. (Riverdale Press)
- Budget cuts killed renovation plans for a Queens schoolyard in 2010, and locals want a re-do. (DNAInfo)
- An Upper West Side yoga studio is teaching teachers how to reduce students’ test stress. (DNAInfo)
- Staten Island Tech is getting a new athletic field, replacing one that needed constant TLC. (DNAInfo)
- A preschool operator in Brooklyn spent $90,000 on car payments from organization funds. (Daily News)
- Wednesday’s PEP meeting saw more calls for policy changes under a new mayor. (GothamSchools)
- A community center in Red Hook is spending $5 million to help students plan their futures. (DNAInfo)
- In the Post, Explore Schools chief Morty Ballen says charter groups aren’t corporations in it for cash.
- Three top runners spoke at Manhattan’s New Design School ahead of this weekend’s marathon. (NY1)
October 30, 2013
The Department of Education is currently planning a six-year high school called iZone Academy that would open in 2014 without a space of its own. The school would operate out of multiple sites in “co-working space” with start-ups, according to internal flyers and Next Generation Learning, which has given the Department of Education’s private fundraising arm $100,000 to plan iZone Academy.
According to the grant announcement, a goal is to “disrupt the systemic structures of age-based cohorts, scheduling, space, grading policies, and more” with an emphasis on blended learning, which combines online and face-to-face teaching. The proposal indicates that the school would focus on outside work experience and business partnerships, like P-TECH’s with IBM.
“Removing the barrier of a single building and the standard use of time will open opportunities for authentic learning,” one document says.
Much about the model remains unclear, though. How would hundreds of students share space and projects with professionals? Who would the shared space belong to? What would happen to non-academic experiences high schools typically provide, such as sports or lunch periods? And, how (and how much) would students interact with teachers? (more…)