Posts tagged "breaking"
June 19, 2013
Thompson spoke to teachers at a union meeting before meeting the press with UFT President Michael Mulgrew this afternoon at the union’s Lower Manhattan headquarters.
“As mayor, I’m not going to demonize teachers. We’ve had enough of that,” Thompson said, alluding to Mayor Bloomberg’s sometimes harsh comments about teachers. “I’m going to help them teach by giving them the resources they need and bringing them back into the decision-making process of how we run our schools.”
The endorsement caps several months of internal discussions within the union. Mulgrew was looking for a candidate who would advance teachers’ interests, inspire UFT members to get out the vote, and, most importantly, have a clear path to City Hall. The UFT has not picked a winning candidate since 1989, and Mulgrew is hoping that this year will break the bad luck.
“We need to make sure that this entire city school system is about helping teachers help children, and we now have the candidate we know will do that,” Mulgrew said. “And we will fight with him and for him — because he is the next mayor of New York City.”
June 17, 2013
New York City’s four-year graduation rate fell slightly last year, from 60.9 percent to 60.4 percent, State Education Commissioner John King announced this morning in Albany.
King’s announcement, to the Board of Regents during its monthly meeting, set the stage for a press conference that Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Dennis Walcott have called for this afternoon. The annual graduation rate announcement is typically a festive occasion for the mayor, who has staked his education legacy in large part on increased numbers of students finishing high school each year.
But last year, when the city’s graduation rate flattened (showing a 0.1 point decline) after several years of steady growth, Bloomberg acknowledged that tougher graduation requirements could put pressure on the city’s graduation rate.
Students who entered high school in 2008 were the first required to earn a Regents diploma by passing five Regents exams with a 65 or higher. The less rigorous local diploma option, which for years helped prop up the city’s overall graduation numbers, disappeared, a change that critics said would leave thousands of students at risk of dropping out. (more…)
June 29, 2012
An arbitrator has ruled that the city’s plans to reform 24 struggling schools by shaking up their staffs violated its collective bargaining agreements with the teachers and principals unions.
The arbitrator’s decision adds a new and abrupt twist to months of uncertainty at the schools. It also guarantees that the city cannot claim more than $40 million in federal funds that the overhaul process, known as “turnaround,” was aimed at securing.
The turnaround rules require the schools to replace half of their teachers, and the city was trying to use a clause in its contract with the teachers union, known as 18-D, to make that happen. In recent weeks, “18-D committees” told hundreds and possibly thousands of teachers and staff members at the schools they could not return next year.
Under the arbitrator’s ruling, all of those staff members are now free to take their jobs back.
The decision is a shocking blow to the Bloomberg administration, which turned to turnaround in January in a bid to win the federal funds without negotiating a new evaluation system with the United Federation of Teachers. (more…)
June 22, 2012
Three months after the city asked the state for federal funds to fuel school ‘turnaround’ efforts, the state has responded — with a resounding “maybe.”
In a letter released late Friday, State Education Commissioner John King said the way the city plans to overhaul 24 struggling schools meets the state’s requirements. But he said he would only hand over the federal funds, known as School Improvement Grants, if the city meets steep conditions.
To meet some of those conditions, the city would need to come out ahead in arbitration with the teachers union over collective bargaining rules at the 24 schools. It must also prove that community members were looped in on the city’s planning process.
The arbitration, which covers a dispute over whether the city may use a process outlined in the teachers union contract for schools that close and reopen (called 18-D), is set to end next week. If the union comes out ahead, hiring and firing decisions at the schools would be reversed and, according to King’s letter, the city would not be able to collect the SIG grants, which total nearly $60 million.
Earlier this year, King said he saw the city’s proposal as “approvable.” But he stayed quiet as the city signaled it would not force schools to adhere to a central requirement of turnaround set by the U.S. Department of Education: that they replace at least 50 percent of their teachers.
King’s letter today says the city must meet the federal government’s staffing requirements.
State turnaround advisors say “the percentage matters,” SED spokesman Dennis Tompkins said over email. “18-D is the mechanism to achieve the required percentage.” (more…)
December 30, 2011
The city and teachers union won’t meet this week’s deadline to hammer out a new teacher evaluation system — and it doesn’t look like they will reach an agreement any time soon.
State Education Commisioner John King this week issued a strict ultimatum to New York and nine other districts: Agree on new teacher evaluations in a subset of low-performing schools by Dec. 31 or lose special federal funds for those schools. The city is receiving about $60 million in the funds, called School Improvement Grants, for 33 schools.
In July, the city and union agreed to roll out new evaluations in the schools, but they still had some details to finalize. They were locked in negotiations until today but threw in the towel this morning, citing irreconcilable ideological differences, particularly around due process protections for teachers who receive low ratings.
The impasse has potentially far-ranging consequences. The first is that the 33 struggling schools will stop receiving funds midyear, leaving them in the lurch to pay for programs, personnel, and nonprofit partners that are already in place.
“I am left with no choice but to suspend SIG funding” to New York City, King said in a statement this afternoon, hours after city officials essentially petitioned him to consider awarding the funds despite the impasse. (more…)
December 27, 2011
The State Education Department will cut districts off from one pot of federal funds within days unless they settle on new teacher evaluations for some struggling schools.
In a move that the state teachers union called “an arbitrary exercise of brinksmanship,” State Education Commissioner John King issued the threat today to New York City and nine other school districts that are receiving School Improvement Grants to overhaul their lowest-performing schools.
King said all but two had not met the requirements to continue receiving the funds — most notably, the requirement to hammer out agreements on new teacher evaluation systems. Those agreements are supposed to be in place by Dec. 31.
In July, city and UFT officials reached an agreement to roll out new teacher evaluations in 33 of the schools, known as “persistently low-achieving” schools. That agreement came a week after the state turned up the pressure on the city and just in time for the schools to receive nearly $60 million in federal funds.
But city officials said today that the agreement was only a “framework” that must be formalized by the Dec. 31 deadline.
If that doesn’t happen, a funding freeze would not only prevent new reforms from being put in place but also could threaten changes that are already underway. Yonkers is warning that SIG-funded teaching positions at some of its schools would effectively be terminated. Some New York City schools have “master teachers” whose salaries are paid out of the federal grant money.
City and union officials say they remain locked in negotiations — which are sure to be tense after a semester when relations between the groups grew strained over the new evaluation system’s rollout. (more…)
July 21, 2011
A State Supreme Court judge has ruled that the city can move forward with its plans for 22 school closure and 15 co-locations.
In May, the UFT and NAACP filed a suit charging that the city had not adhered to the law and its own promises when planning the closures and charter school co-locations.
In a decision released late tonight, Judge Paul Feinman denied the UFT and NAACP’s request for a preliminary injunction that would have stopped the city from moving forward with its closure and co-location plans while those charges are considered. A temporary restraining order preventing the plans from advancing had been in place since early June.
Feinman’s decision came just hours after State Education Commissioner John King approved 12 of the closures, of schools on the state’s list of “persistently low-achieving” schools. The UFT and NAACP suit had argued that the city could not close schools on that list without state approval.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott applauded the decision, which he said validated the Bloomberg administration’s approach to fixing low-performing schools. (more…)
July 15, 2011
After months of negotiations, the city and teachers union announced a deal today on a set of reforms that will allow the state to claim millions of dollars promised to struggling schools.
The announcement comes a week after the state ramped up pressure on the city to finalize its plans for how to improve its lowest-performing schools. The state’s deadline to complete its application for federal School Improvement Grants is just two weeks away. New York City is eligible for up to $65 million to help 33 “persistently low-achieving” schools undergo one of four processes over the next two years.
The 33 schools will undergo one of two revamp options, “restart” and “transformation,” according to the agreement. Those models are the least aggressive and also the least objectionable for the teachers union: They do not involve removing teachers or asking them to reapply for their jobs. “Restart” assigns a new management organization, and “transformation” replaces the principal and brings in additional resources.
Decisions about which model each of the 33 schools on the list would undergo will be made “over the next week,” according to the city’s press release. Last year, 11 city schools underwent the “transformation” process, and nine schools are undergoing the restart process this fall.
The city’s press release is long on relief but short on specifics other than that the city and union have agreed to implement the state’s new teacher evaluation model — but only in the 33 struggling schools. (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…)
January 10, 2011
New York City’s teachers union lost its suit to block the city from releasing 12,000 teachers’ ratings and names that, for years, have been kept confidential.
State Supreme Court Justice Cynthia Kern ruled today to deny the United Federation of Teachers’ request that the city redact teachers’ names from the Teacher Data Reports. The reports measure a teacher’s effectiveness based on how good she is at improving her students’ test scores from the beginning of the year to the end.
Underpinning the union’s lawsuit was the claim that releasing teachers’ ratings with their names included constituted an unlawful invasion of privacy.
A spokesman for the union said that the union’s lawyers are reviewing the decision.