Posts tagged "bloomberg"
January 22, 2013
Addressing the collapse of teacher evaluation talks for the first time since state education officials criticized his role, Mayor Bloomberg today blamed the teachers union again.
Last week, Bloomberg said he could not accept a teacher evaluation deal because the union wanted only a temporary evaluation system — an objection that State Education Commissioner John King said city officials had not raised earlier in negotiations.
“That comment from the mayor was, from my perspective, a new issue that was raised after they walked away from the table,” King said on Friday.
Speaking this morning at an announcement about an affordable housing project, Bloomberg dialed back his emphasis on the “sunset” issue. The union “was just deliberately trying to throw as many procedural roadblocks up that it would be so impossible to remove a teacher, even if the deal didn’t expire,” he said. (more…)
December 21, 2012
Mayor Bloomberg has used his weekly radio appearance recently to charge the UFT with holding up teacher evaluation talks. Today, he didn’t mention the union at all.
Instead, it was Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who joined Bloomberg on the John Gambling Show, who cast blame on the union and its president, Michael Mulgrew, for blowing Walcott’s self-imposed deadline to make a deal.
“It’s really tough to negotiate when the UFT walks away from the table,” Walcott said. “Mr. Mulgrew has instructed his negotiators that they shouldn’t negotiate with us, at all — they shouldn’t even talk to us on other issues. … That’s tough to really operate from.”
He added, “We don’t have a clue what they want.”
That wasn’t quite true. Alarmed by a spate of reports from teachers about improper observations, Mulgrew did halt evaluation talks this week. But he set a clear condition for them to resume: an agreement on how new evaluations would be rolled out. He invited Walcott to negotiate about implementation, but no talks have yet taken place. (more…)
August 15, 2012
Later this week, when the Department of Education announces the number of teachers who received tenure last year, it’s likely that the tenure rate will be lower than ever.
It used to be that virtually all teachers who completed their third year were awarded tenure, which confers added rights. But ever since Mayor Bloomberg vowed to end “tenure as we know it” in 2010, fewer teachers have gotten tenure each year. Last year, fewer than 60 percent of teachers up for tenure received it; most of the rest had their probationary periods extended, sometimes for a second time.
But for a group of teachers who were told earlier this year that their tenure recommendations were being rescinded, there is better news. They’ll be receiving tenure after all.
In June, GothamSchools reported that tenure-eligible teachers working in some struggling schools were having their probationary periods extended, even when the superintendent, who is supposed to make the final call, agreed with their principal’s recommendation for tenure. (more…)
January 12, 2012
Mayor Bloomberg is attempting to breathe new life into his enervated education agenda today with an ambitious and startling list of proposals that include paying top teachers $20,000 bonuses and bypassing the union to overhaul struggling schools.
Perhaps most interesting is the way that he is outlining, in his 11th State of the City address right now in the Bronx, to resuscitate stalled efforts to transform 33 struggling schools — and still receive the $58 million in federal funds that were supposed to support them. The state cut off the city’s access to those funds last month, arguing that Bloomberg’s failure to reach a deal with the teachers union on evaluations of teachers made the city ineligible for them.
But today Bloomberg argued that the city could still get the federal support without a deal. His plan is to change the city’s approach to overhauling those schools, using the “turnaround” model. That model requires that at least 50 percent of a school’s teachers be removed.
“We believe that when we take this action, we will have fulfilled the state’s requirements and the schools will be eligible for the $58 million in funding,” he is set to say.
The city had originally wanted to use the turnaround model, one of four federally mandated options, to overhaul the 33 schools. But it turned to backup models, “transformation” and “restart,” because the union would not agree. Today, Bloomberg says he believes the union’s current contract permits turnaround, according to his prepared remarks.
In a telephone call before the address, a union official said immediately that that was not the case, auguring a fight that could drag on or even wind up in court. (more…)
July 28, 2011
The city teachers union will have to go to the State Education Department to protest rising class sizes in New York City, rather than skip straight to the courts, after an appeals court today dismissed a 2010 suit by the union.
The suit aimed at forcing New York City to dedicate a certain pot of state funds toward making class sizes smaller. The union charged that the city misused the funds, sending them to offset budget cuts rather than using them as they were intended — as a means of reducing class sizes. The NAACP also signed onto the suit.
But in a decision handed down today, an appeals court unanimously dismissed the union’s suit, saying that the union must take its complaints to the State Education Department before going to court. (Read the full decision below.)
The union president, Michael Mulgrew, vowed to continue protesting rising class sizes. “Lowering class size is a key issue for the parents and teachers of New York City and we intend to pursue it vigorously,” Mulgrew said in a statement this afternoon.
The appeals court did not address the heart of the disagreement: whether the city actually did, as the union charges, improperly fail to lower class sizes — and use Contracts for Excellence funds instead to stave off budget cuts. At issue is the state Contracts for Excellence funding stream, and in particular, a specific clause forcing New York City to write a plan to reduce class sizes.
What’s not disputed is that class sizes have creeped up for the last two years even as funds aimed at bringing them down have flooded into schools. Class sizes for the coming school year aren’t yet available, but all signs point to likely increases, which principals are preparing for. It’s not clear, however, that the Department of Education deliberately sought to prevent schools from lowering class sizes by sending funds elsewhere. (more…)
January 5, 2009
To some, it may seem that there’s no way this year can be more exciting than 2008, with its protracted campaigns and historic presidential election. But with questions about governance, leadership, and funding looming large, 2009 promises to be quite the year in the New York City education world.
Here are three big questions that will be answered, at least in part, in the next 12 months: (more…)
December 16, 2008
So much for insulating schools in the next round of budget cuts.
Mayor Bloomberg told reporters today that additional cuts, such as the $206 million reduction proposed this morning by Gov. David Paterson, are going “pretty much straight to the classroom,” in the form of larger classes and fewer teachers, according to Azi Paybarah of Politicker NY.
“We have as few administrators as our system can responsibly have,” said Bloomberg when I asked him about education aid during a press conference this afternoon at One Police Plaza. The reduced funding will result in “larger class sizes and fewer services,” he said.
When asked to elaborate on what he meant by “fewer services,” Bloomberg replied, “teachers,” and said, “I would love to keep class size down.” He thinks that will now be unlikely because of the funding cuts.
August 6, 2008
The internet has seen a flurry of activity recently over the DOE’s claim that it has reduced the achievement gap between black and Hispanic students and their white and Asian peers. Testing that claim, the New York Sun submitted the ELA and math scale score data for students in grades 3-8 to three independent analysts, who concluded that the gap has decreased in ELA, but has stayed flat since 2002 in mathematics, confirming much of Eduwonkette’s analysis.
The new analysis emphasizes the difference between closing the proficiency gap by comparing the percentage of students who score at a level 3 or 4 on state tests, and closing the achievement gap by comparing mean scale scores.
August 4, 2008
A $16.6 million federal grant will fund the development and support of new charter schools in New York State, the US Department of Education announced in July. The grant, from the Department’s Charter School Program, will be used primarily to create and support secondary-level charter schools. Today is the postmark deadline for the current round of applications for the planning and implementation of new charter schools.
Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein have long pushed for the creation of more charter schools, successfully convincing the state legislature to increase the number of charters granted from 100 to 200 in April, 2007. Half of the new charters are reserved for New York City. Even that limit may be short-lived; Governor Paterson reportedly told members of the Alliance for School Choice advocacy group that he supports lifting the cap on charters altogether.
Approximately 18,000 students attend New York City’s 60 charter schools, with thousands more students on waiting lists, according to the DOE.
In response to this demand, eighteen new charter schools will open across the city this fall, with seven in the Bronx, five in Brooklyn, five in Manhattan, and one in Queens. The schools have a wide variety of institutional partners, including Victory Schools, adding two new charters to their six existing schools throughout the city, and the Success Charter Network, expanding from one to four schools in Harlem.
The new charters, once they reach full capacity, will include six elementary schools, seven combined elementary-middle schools, one combined middle-high school, two high schools, and two K-12 schools. Most existing New York City charter schools serve elementary and middle school students.
August 1, 2008
I noted this in a June post, but since the revised Contracts for Excellence continue to peg the Leadership Academy as a “district-wide,” discretionary allocation, it’s worth repeating: Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein have long planned to use Campaign for Fiscal Equity money to pay for the controversial principal training program.
Back in 2005, the program was embattled and its three-year term of private funding was coming to an end. The Times reported then:
Mr. Bloomberg had originally planned on sustaining the Leadership Academy using money from a court order mandating billions of additional dollars in state education aid for the city schools. But the state has appealed the ruling. Absent that money, Mr. Klein said yesterday that he would most likely turn again to private donors but was intent on continuing the effort, suggesting that, if necessary, the city would pick up part of the tab.
Now that the Campaign for Fiscal Equity money is finally beginning to roll into the city — 15 years after the lawsuit was filed — Klein appears to be making good on his word. But the state has complicated his plans by requiring the money to be spent on new initiatives that benefit low-performing students and high-need schools. Members of the public, along with elected officials, are right when they say this particular spending line violates the intent of the law, as PS 41 parent Irene Kaufman alleged at the Contracts for Excellence hearing in Manhattan on Wednesday night.
Not convinced? Take a more detailed look at the Leadership Academy and the DOE’s creative approaches to funding it.