Posts tagged "david steiner"
May 10, 2013
On a night when education leaders offered a spirited defense of the policies they are trying to implement, an unusual voice emerged as the dissenter: Paul Vallas.
The Bridgeport, Conn. superintendent — who has served stints in Chicago, Philadelphia, and New Orleans and earned a reputation as a turnaround consultant for struggling districts with big budget gaps — said reforms he backed were at risk of collapsing “under the weight of how complicated we’re making it.”
“We’re working on the evaluation system right now,” Vallas said of Bridgeport. “And I’ll tell you, it is a nightmare.”
The peripatetic schools chief’s self-proclaimed “Nixon goes to China” moment came during the high-profile panel at the launch of the CUNY Institute for Education Policy, a think tank that former New York State Education Commissioner David Steiner is directing. (more…)
May 9, 2013
Two years removed from his post as New York State’s schools chief, David Steiner is back in his old office with his old job. But Albany gave Steiner, serving a second stint as dean of Hunter College’s School of Education, a vision for how education policy can and should be shaped.
That vision is coming into fruition today with the formal launch of the CUNY Institute for Education Policy, a nonpartisan think tank that Steiner is directing.
In an exclusive interview, Steiner described his vision for a one-stop shop for policy makers to seek guidance, education leaders to settle disputes, and reporters and members of the public to get the straight story about education policies. Speaking in his corner office at Hunter’s Lenox Hill campus, Steiner spoke carefully about the lessons he learned in Albany during a transformative tenure that included the overhaul of state tests, the adoption of Common Core Standards, and an ultimately successful bid for federal Race to the Top funding. And he shared insights about the craft of teaching and the challenge of being non-partisan in a highly polarized climate. (more…)
April 19, 2013
Principal Ramon Gonzalez has been a principal for ten years, but this week, he said, he’s experienced a lot of firsts.
“I’ve had my first experience of students vomiting on a test. After we cleaned off the test, we had to call testing security to make sure it was still valid,” he said. “I have to tell you, I was happy to submit that test to the testing authorities.” (more…)
November 30, 2011
The State Education Department official who has supervised the state’s testing program since 2004 — through skyrocketing scores, a brutal crash, and the dawn of an overhaul — has resigned.
David Abrams, the State Education Department’s assistant commissioner for standards, assessment, and reporting since 2004, announced his resignation today. His resignation is effective immediately, shocking some people who had expected to participate in meetings with him this week.
Abrams’s departure comes at a time of robust efforts to overhaul both state tests and how their scores are used — and of robust criticism of those efforts. Most recently, principals across the state have launched a rebellion against the state’s plan to use student test scores in teacher evaluations. This week, a plan to lengthen reading tests to four hours was released prematurely, then rescinded the next day amid backlash.
The department has yet to find a replacement for Abrams, according to SED spokesman Dennis Tompkins. He said other department officials would fill in for Abrams for now, as would members of a privately funded group that has been advising SED on implementing Race to the Top commitments, which include redesigning student assessments and teacher evaluations.
“Obviously [Abrams] will be missed, but we do have a really strong team that can fill in,” Tompkins said. He declined to comment on the reasons for Abrams’s departure.
Abrams supervised the state’s testing program during a period of controversy and change. (more…)
November 30, 2011
More than two-thirds of the audience, made up primarily of young teachers, said they didn’t think their masters degrees had made them better at their jobs, according to electronic votes that were tallied in real time.
With that context, a five-member panel of advocates for alternative certification and training dove into a 90-minute discussion about how traditional theory-driven teacher training had failed the profession, particularly in high-needs urban schools. Research has shown that having a masters degree does not make teachers more effective, and local, state, and federal efforts are underway to re-imagine how teachers are trained.
Panelists largely agreed that many traditional education schools lack accountability, aren’t willing to share performance data for their graduates, and have a detached relationship with the public schools where their graduates eventually work.
“For too long schools of [education] have sat back and spun out academic theories of what should work in the ideal school with the ideal conditions,” said a panelist, Bob Hughes, president of the nonprofit New Visions for Public Schools, which trains and certifies teachers and operates 99 schools in New York City. “And they’ve been divorced from the reality of what happens in schools .” (more…)
August 15, 2011
When David Steiner announced his resignation as commissioner of the State Education Department, people close to him speculated that he was burnt out by trying to push his agenda through.
In an interview posted today with Rick Hess, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Steiner describes the thoughts that led to his decision.
“There is an enormous investment in the status quo, even from those you would think have an incentive for change,” Steiner told Hess. “… Sometimes, I would look out from the offices in Albany and ask where the allies were.”
Steiner’s complaint reflects divisions among state education officials documented by Michael Winerip in today’s New York Times. Some officials — such as Steiner’s successor, John King, and Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch — favor speedy policy changes in line with federal priorities. Others are urging a more cautious pace.
Now returning to Hunter College’s School of Education, Steiner told Hess that his biggest accomplishment as commissioner was to change certification requirements for new teachers. And he also said he is not confident that plans to boost test quality will pay off. “It’s still an open question whether the next generation of assessments will really match our aspiration to encourage rigorous, deep thinking rather than the rote-like product from the testing regime,” Steiner said.
July 25, 2011
The movement to revolutionize teacher training by showing teachers video clips of themselves in action is losing its original tool: the Flip video camera.
As the dean of Hunter College’s education school, former State Education Commissioner David Steiner pioneered the use of Flip cameras as a teaching tool. Instructors coaching teachers-in-training could offer documentary evidence of what they did right and wrong.
Now, each student at Relay, a new education graduate school that grew out of Hunter’s program, receives a Flip camera to document their lessons, according to a long article about the movement to revamp teacher education in this Sunday’s New York Times Education Life supplement. The article’s main featured a Flip video camera atop a miniature tripod.
July 20, 2011
A legal challenge that prompted city education officials to rewrite all of its co-location plans was denied today.
Well before the co-location was approved in February, parents at Brooklyn’s PS 9 had battled against the city’s plan to move Brooklyn East Collegiate Charter School into the building. In April, then-State Education Commissioner David Steiner halted the co-location plan, agreeing with the parents that the city Department of Education’s space-sharing plan had many flaws. After the city revised the plan — along with all of the other co-location plans that had the same problems — parents appealed again.
Today, state officials rejected that appeal, clearing the way for Brooklyn East Collegiate to take over classrooms and some shared space in the Prospect Heights building this fall.
The decision comes as a blow not just to PS 9 parents but to others across the city who are trying to prevent co-location plans from moving forward. Steiner’s April ruling on PS 9, which has come to be known as the Espinet decision, emboldened groups of people at other schools facing co-locations this fall to file their own appeals with the state. In recent weeks, State Commissioner of Education John King dismissed two other appeals, allowing site plans for Coney Island Preparatory Charter School and Explore Charter School to move forward.
Today’s decision did not come from King, but from his deputy, Valerie Grey. (more…)
May 16, 2011
Introducing a new option for how to change teacher evaluation, the Board of Regents voted today to allow districts and unions to increase the weight of student test scores on those evaluations to 40 percent.
According to the law passed last summer, which changed how teachers in New York State are evaluated and introduced their students’ test scores as an element for consideration, state tests would count for 20 out of 100 points. Another 20 points would come from local assessments, which school districts could devise on their own. Yet the set of regulations approved in a vote this evening will allow school districts, with the approval of teachers unions, to count students’ progress on state tests for 40 points of a teacher’s evaluation score.
The board voted 14 to 3 to approve the regulations. Regents Betty Rosa, Roger Tilles, and the board’s newest member Kathleen Cashin, voted against the proposal.
The increased emphasis on students’ progress on standardized tests turned up in the final draft of regulations after Governor Andrew Cuomo stepped into the discussions last week. In a letter to Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, the governor said he believed that students’ scores on the annual math and reading tests should carry more weight in the evaluation of their teachers. Mayor Bloomberg agreed, saying that an earlier draft of the regulations did not place enough importance on the tests.
Yesterday, a group of 10 prominent education researchers sent the Regents a letter asking them not to place more weight on value-added scores, which measure students’ progress on tests against that of similar types of students. (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…)