Posts tagged "breaking news"
January 17, 2013
Just in from UFT President Michael Mulgrew: There won’t be a deal on teacher evaluations today, and it’s Mayor Bloomberg’s fault.
In a statement that the union president said was “painful to make,” Mulgrew said UFT and Department of Education negotiators had reached a deal overnight on how to structure and execute new teacher evaluations. But when they presented their agreement to Mayor Bloomberg this morning, Mulgrew said, the mayor rejected it.
“Despite the involvement of state officials we could not put it back together,” Mulgrew said.
Just hours ago, Gov. Andrew Cuomo vowed again to withhold state aid from districts that did not adopt new evaluations today. For the city, $250 million was on the line.
Bloomberg is holding a press conference in just a few minutes to tell his side of the story. But he has said repeatedly — as recently as yesterday — that he would not sign off on a deal that “really evaluates,” or shows that some teachers are low-performing. And last year, he turned down an opportunity to finalize a teacher evaluation plan in favor of a different strategy aimed at removing teachers faster than evaluations would allow.
Our analysis of the costs and benefits of reaching a deal to every party to the evaluation talks foreshadowed the outcome that Mulgrew says has happened. (more…)
August 30, 2012
New York State’s No Child Left Behind waiver has spawned a new list of struggling schools that education officials could close if they don’t post dramatic improvements by 2015.
That list includes many schools that were identified as struggling by the state in the past and have undergone deep reform interventions or begun phasing out, but now labels them as “priority schools.” In New York City, there are 123 priority schools, nearly double the schools once identified as “persistently low achieving” because their students performed poorly on state tests and posted low graduation rates.
The schools are being called priority schools because their statistics are grim, officials said. The state determined which schools would be identified as priority based on four-year graduation rates (under 60 percent) in high schools and a student growth formula from state test scores in elementary and middle schools that places the schools in the bottom 5 percent of schools statewide, per guidelines set by the federal government.
The districts will have just three years to improve these data points, according to a release the State Education Department published late this afternoon, and must submit transitional plans for each priority school by October. And for the first time, State Education Commissioner John King will have the authority to require districts to close the schools that fail to make gains.
Districts generally have several options for funding reforms in these schools through federal School Improvement Grant and Race to the Top Innovation Funding programs. But New York City has fewer.
Because the city and the teachers union have yet to agree on a teacher evaluation plan, state officials said the city is only eligible to receive funding to implement the most stringent of interventions: school closure over a four-year period, through a process known as phase-out, or school “turnaround.” But turnaround is for now off the table because the city lost a lawsuit over its plans to use the turnaround model in 24 schools earlier this summer. It is appealing the decision, but is not likely to see a resolution soon. (more…)
April 26, 2012
When the Panel for Educational Policy meets tonight to consider dozens of proposals for school “turnaround,” two high schools with a host of a heavyweight supporters won’t be on the agenda.
Bushwick Community High School and Grover Cleveland High School were among 26 schools that the department had proposed to close and reopen — with new names and new teachers — in an attempt to win federal school reform funds.
Department officials had said the schools needed radical interventions to help them improve. But today the officials said they had determined after listening to public comment and reviewing performance data that Bushwick and Cleveland didn’t need major changes after all.
The schools “have demonstrated an ability to continue their improvements without the more comprehensive actions that are clearly needed at 24 other schools,” said Chancellor Dennis Walcott in a statement.
The about-face comes weeks after the department yanked seven top-rated schools from the turnaround list and just hours before the panel’s scheduled vote. It also comes after the schools received intense political and community support and, in the case of Bushwick, media attention. (more…)
April 2, 2012
Just days after telling the state that it wanted to “turn around” 33 schools, the city has knocked that number down to 26.
Department of Education officials notified principals at seven of the schools with top grades on the city’s internal assessment of school quality their schools would no longer be slated for turnaround.
Turnaround is a federally prescribed school reform process that requires half of teachers to be replaced. In the model the city is using in order to win federal funds, the schools would have been closed and reopened with new names and new staffs this summer. The department had been criticized roundly for proposing to turn around seven schools that had met the city’s own benchmarks by receiving A’s or B’s on their annual progress reports.
The city’s shocking about-face comes less than a week after the city submitted formal applications to the state for approval and just hours before one of the schools on the list, Brooklyn’s School for Global Studies, was set to have a public hearing about its closure. Another school on the list, Harlem Renaissance High School, had a closure hearing last week.
In addition to Global Studies and Harlem Renaissance, the five other schools no longer slated for turnaround are William E. Grady Career and Technical High School, Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School, I.S. 136, William Maxwell Career and Technical High School, and Cobble Hill School of American Studies.
Chancellor Dennis Walcott said in a statement that department officials had concluded the schools could improve without radically overhauling their staffs. (more…)
August 25, 2011
The city can release teacher ratings data to news organizations, the state’s second-highest court ruled today in another serious blow to the union’s effort to keep individual teachers’ scores out of the press.
The release won’t happen right away while the legal fight continues, Department of Education officials said.
But the union is running out of chances to stop the ratings from being published. In December, a State Supreme Court judge ruled that the city could release Teacher Data Reports for at least 12,000 teachers who have them. After the Appellate Court ruling today, the union’s last hope is the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.
The union is already working on its appeal, UFT President Michael Mulgrew announced moments after the Appellate Court ruling.
Because the four judges on the Appellate Court ruled unanimously against the union, there’s no guarantee that the Court of Appeals will hear the case. Instead, the Appellate Court has to give permission. Within days, the union will ask the appellate court for permission to have the case heard in the Court of Appeals. If permission isn’t granted, the union can also ask the Court of Appeals itself. If the Court of Appeals declines to hear the case, then the Appellate Court’s decision would stand and the union would be out of options. (more…)
May 16, 2011
John King is New York’s new state education commissioner, after a unanimous vote by the state Board of Regents this morning.
King, the deputy state education commissioner, replaces David Steiner, who announced he was planning to leave at the end of the academic year in April. The announcement was a surprise, but concerns that Steiner might leave the state in the lurch were tampered by the expectation that King, his close partner, would likely succeed Steiner as commissioner.
King and Steiner’s ambitious agenda has included changing the way teachers are prepared and certified, overhauling the state’s standards, curriculum, and assessments, and implementing a slew of other innovations laid out in New York’s winning Race to the Top application.
Part of that plan was an effort to change the way teachers are evaluated. Members of the Regents vote today on whether to approve the plan that state education officials are proposing. Under urging from Governor Cuomo, the plan increases the portion of a teacher’s evaluation that would depend on student test scores to 40%. Any actual teacher evaluation system, though, will have to be bargained in each local district by school officials and local teachers unions. (more…)
April 7, 2011
Reporter Kim Gittleson is inside City Hall for Mayor Bloomberg’s press conference to announce the surprise departure of Schools Chancellor Cathie Black and the appointment of Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott to replace her. Our coverage of the leadership change will go on all afternoon.
2:30 p.m. Walcott’s appearance at Tweed Courthouse has come to a close and so, too, will our live-blog. We’ll have continued coverage of the Department of Education’s leadership changes later today.
2:20 p.m. Walcott joked that he had worn a “Walcott path” between City Hall and Department of Education headquarters that he’ll now have to travel in reverse — and that he wants to start right away. “The passion of my soul is committed to the children of New York City,” he said.
Walcott said he already spoke to UFT President Michael Mulgrew by phone and left a message for principals union president Ernest Logan this morning. Next, he’ll turn his attention to advocating in Albany for city schools funding, he said.
Walcott would not say when Bloomberg first contacted him about taking the job. Asked if he was surprised to have been offered it, Walcott said, “I’m always surprised. I never take things for granted.”
On the question of whether the city’s school priorities would change, Walcott said, “We have a collective responsibility to continue reforms we’ve been implementing over the last nine years. … Policies will be basically the same.” He specified that he would not revisit school closure decisions also said, “I’m a believer in all types of schools,” including charter schools.
“I serve at the pleasure of the mayor,” he emphasized.
Summing up the day, Walcott told assembled education department staff members and reporters, “I”m a happy camper.” (more…)
April 7, 2011
After a rocky 100 days as chancellor, Cathie Black is leaving the job today, Mayor Bloomberg is set to announce in minutes at a press conference at City Hall.
Black is being replaced by Dennis Walcott, a deputy mayor who has long played a prominent role in education issues. At Black’s public appearances during most of her brief tenure as chancellor, Walcott could almost always be found at her side, managing her interactions with the press and others. Walcott is a graduate of the city’s public schools.
The leadership change came as a surprise as Bloomberg had as recently as yesterday defended Black against low public opinion. But the departure of two top deputies this week dealt a crucial blow to her leadership.
A Marist poll earlier this week found that just 17 percent of New Yorkers approved of Black’s job performance. The lowest approval rating ever posted by her predecessor, Joel Klein, who announced his resignation in November, was 33 percent. A different poll last month found that 27 percent of New Yorkers approved of Bloomberg’s school policies, down from 54 percent 18 months earlier.
April 6, 2011
New Orleans has picked John White, a top official in New York City’s education department, as its next superintendent, the Times-Picayune is reporting.
The report sends another blow to New York City Schools Chancellor Cathie Black, whose leadership team has been hemorrhaging members. But it also signals that cities continue to be eager to hire administrators who cut their teeth under her predecessor, former schools chancellor Joel Klein.
White would replace Paul Vallas, who is leaving the charter-school-rich Recovery School District at the end of the school year. The Times-Picayune reports that the decision could be finalized at a meeting of the state board of education on Friday.
The Recovery School District referred a request for comment to Louisiana’s state board of education, which did not immediately have a statement. White did not return a request for comment.
Currently the city’s deputy chancellor for talent, labor, and innovation, White began his career in education as a teacher with Teach for America, then ran the organization’s Chicago office. In New York, he has risen from an aide inside the office that creates new schools and shuts down failing ones to a leading official overseeing the city’s ambitious Innovation Zone project. (more…)
December 9, 2010
Hundreds of students at Murry Bergtraum High School rioted through the hallways today after the school’s principal told teachers not to give out bathroom passes.
Teachers at the lower Manhattan school said that the day began with a fight between two students on the building’s third floor. After the fight, Bergtraum principal Andrea Lewis reportedly announced over the school’s loud speaker that in the future, students who fought would be arrested. Lewis reportedly told students and staff that for the rest of the day, the school’s bathrooms would be closed and teachers should not issue bathroom passes.
In a school of over 2,600 students, this news did not sit well.
“She also said that in the case of emergency, kids could use the bathrooms in the nurse’s office, but by then, given the nature of adolescents, the message had been delivered that the bathrooms would be shut,” a teacher said. (more…)