Posts tagged "dennis walcott"
May 13, 2013
Teach For America used its annual New York City benefit last week to wade into the city’s political debate. Praising the Bloomberg administration’s education record, founder and board chair Wendy Kopp vowed that Teach For America and its supporters would fight to preserve the mayor’s education legacy after he leaves office at the end of the year.
“No matter who takes office,” Kopp said, “we are creating an unstoppable force.”
The remarks reflected Teach For America’s transition to playing a stronger role in public dialogue about education.
Kopp suggested that the organization would not throw its support behind a single candidate. “Progress isn’t a function of one leader,” Kopp said. Instead, she said, the educational change Teach For America supports requires “a constellation of committed souls.”
The strength of that constellation was on display at the nonprofit’s gala, held Wednesday at the glittering Waldorf Astoria hotel. In one night, the organization announced it raised $6.7 million, and speakers included Charlie Rose and Richard Parsons, the former CEO of Time Warner and Teach For America board member who also chairs Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Education Reform Commission. (more…)
April 29, 2013
For thousands of sixth-graders at 20 city middle schools, the school day is about to get a lot longer.
The schools will offer an hour of intensive literacy tutoring and 90 additional minutes of community-inspired programming such as yoga and gardening, as part of the city’s latest effort to spur improvements in the lowest-performing middle schools.
Chancellor Dennis Walcott and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced today that they are adding 40 schools to the city’s two-year-old Middle School Quality Initiative. Twenty of those schools will be randomly chosen for the three-year extended day pilot program.
Walcott made middle schools his priority when he took office, rebranding an initiative that Quinn had spearheaded as MSQI and expanding it to include focuses on literacy, teacher collaboration, and using data to drive instruction. Since then, MSQI has grown from 18 to 49 schools, and in the fall, it will include 89 schools. (more…)
April 22, 2013
ALBANY — State education officials expressed doubt today about whether the testing firm Pearson, which has several contracts in New York, can handle its expanding workload.
“Obviously, the public is starting to question, I think, very aggressively with us whether or not they’re able to manage all of the things they’ve taken on,” New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said of Pearson, whose subsidiary testing company NCS Pearson, Inc. has a five-year, $32 million contract to create tests for the state.
Tisch, who has criticized the testing company before, was responding to Pearson’s latest misstep in test administration. On Friday, the New York City Department of Education said nearly 5,000 students were told they were ineligible for the city’s Gifted & Talented programs when they actually should have made the cut. Three separate errors took place during test grading, which Pearson oversaw, department and company officials both said. (more…)
April 18, 2013
Unlike his boss three years ago, Chancellor Dennis Walcott stuck to Emily Dickinson’s original script today while reading to a crowd on national Poem in Your Pocket Day.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg brought the springtime literary event to New York City in 2002 in conjunction with National Poetry Month. He has made a tradition out of plastering his own verses all over the city in celebration of the event — at awards ceremonies (2011), on Times Square billboards (2012), and, this year, in the pages of Metro New York.
In 2010, Bloomberg again read a poem of his own creation, but drew inspiration from Dickinson’s “‘Hope’ is The Thing With Feathers.”
Reading to a crowd of students and other poetry fans in Bryant Park, Walcott picked the same poem — but stuck to the words as Dickinson intended. (more…)
April 17, 2013
Most students taking this week’s state reading test are doing so under the watchful eyes of their regular classroom teacher. Teachers proctor their own students’ exams in most schools, in an arrangement that is logistically simple and keeps students calm — but also represents a soft spot in the state’s efforts to prevent cheating.
As part of its recent efforts to safeguard against fraud, New York State has reduced educators’ access to tests before they are administered and increased scrutiny on tests after they are returned to see whether answers were changed unusually often. The latter measure, known as erasure analysis, helped investigators uncover adult cheating in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., in recent years.
But even as the state has taken steps to prevent improprieties at a time when ensuring that scores accurately reflect student performance is increasingly important, it has left proctoring relatively unregulated. Erasure analysis and pre-test security can’t reveal whether students were advised to check their work on specific questions or, more egregiously, were actually given the answers while they took the tests.
“Test administration with educators proctoring their own students is one of the weak links in the testing process,” said Greg Cizek, a professor at the University of North Carolina who specializes in educational measurement and test security. (more…)
April 15, 2013
The latest addition to the city’s public relations offensive about the year’s tougher-than-usual state tests is $240,000 in subway, ferry, and newspaper advertisements.
Chancellor Dennis Walcott and his deputies have used a variety of avenues to get out the message about the harder tests in recent weeks, visiting schools, editorial boards and, yesterday, a high-profile church. They have said repeatedly that they expect more students to receive low scores but that they will not penalize students or schools just because the state is raising its standards.
But that hasn’t calmed all fears, and Walcott said he hopes that the ad campaign reaches those who haven’t gotten the message yet. (more…)
April 15, 2013
Speaking to the congregation at Greater Allen AME Cathedral’s morning worship in Queens on Sunday, the state’s top education official summoned Martin Luther King, Jr. to respond to detractors who say he’s moving too fast on the Common Core standards.
“When it comes to the education of our children, we do not have as much time as the patient and the cautious would give us,” State Education Commissioner John King said. He was adapting a line from a draft of the speech that Martin Luther King delivered on the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.
John King made the appearance alongside New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who ducked out shortly after speaking to make it to the Sunday service at his own church, as part of a sweeping public relations push in the days before the first state tests tied to the new standards. (more…)
April 9, 2013
March 22, 2013
Principals who were in the final stages of a school-supplies spending spree might want to put their wallets away.
Back in January, Chancellor Dennis Walcott told principals that they would not be able to save any of their school’s funds from this year to use next year, a practice that allows schools to plan ahead in an uncertain budget climate. That gave the principals an incentive to spend down their last dollars this spring.
But hours after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a state budget deal earlier this week, bringing the Department of Education’s financial situation into clearer relief, Walcott announced that he had retracted the decree. (more…)
March 15, 2013
There is increasing confidence in Albany that much — though probably not all — of the state school aid forfeited by the city earlier this year will be restored when a final budget is submitted.
Whether any aid would be restored seemed less likely a week ago. Several key New York City Democrats didn’t immediately support the cause and the Bloomberg administration was not actively lobbying for it.
But that changed this week, as negotiations to adopt a $136.5 billion budget got underway. The city ramped up its presence in Albany, and State Sen. Diane Savino, whose support has been courted by other Democrats, said today she was more optimistic that some funding would be restored.
“There’s going to be a solution … that’s not going to overly punish New York City children,” said Savino, a Staten Island Democrat whose breakaway caucus controls the Senate along with Republicans. A source close to negotiations said that “at least some” of the $240 million lost by the city this year would be restored. (more…)