Posts tagged "exclusive"
October 19, 2012
The Success Academy Charter Schools network is jumping into a new market — higher education. Thanks to a new agreement with Touro College, this year Success Academies officials are teaching courses that will help the network’s newest teachers earn master’s degrees.
For the last four months, 42 teachers from the network’s 14 schools have been taking classes at Touro College’s Graduate School of Education, including some taught by members of the Success staff who have joined the Touro faculty as adjunct professors. The program is fully funded by Success Academies and will culminate in a master’s degree and teacher certification.
Full-time Touro professors will teach about half of the academic courses in the program, and Success-affiliated adjuncts will teach the other half, according to Alan Kadish, Touro’s president. He said the full-time and adjunct professors would also jointly supervise the practical training required for graduation.
The agreement positions Success one small step closer to a possibility founder and CEO Eva Moskowitz laid out in her recent book, “Mission Possible.”
“Our intensive, immersive, school-based teacher training program could eventually become a formal graduate school program,” she wrote. The book also lambasted traditional teacher preparation programs as “completely inadequate.” (more…)
August 22, 2012
Each spring, as part of its test monitoring program, the Department of Education disperses a small team to schools on testing days to scrutinize and enforce security guidelines. Some schools are picked randomly, but others were flagged by the department because allegations were lodged by school staff and test score data showed “anomalous” results in recent years, officials said.
During this year’s six-day elementary and middle school testing period in April, education department employees paid 41 visits to 37 schools, according to records obtained by GothamSchools in a Freedom of Information Law request.
The city would not specify which schools were the subject of a targeted monitoring visit, as opposed to a random one. But an analysis of test score data for the schools that had monitors visit showed that many had large increases in 2011, a year when the citywide pass rate barely budged. When monitors visited the schools for the 2012 tests, some of them saw sharp drops on its scores — even while the citywide average increased.
Not all monitored schools saw declines this year and, in fact, some saw large gains. But of the schools that made significant gains on either English or math in 2011, more than half regressed to some degree in 2012. One school’s math proficiency rate dropped by more than 40 percentage points.
The previously undisclosed details about the monitoring program comes at a time when state and federal education officials are increasingly focused on devising policies to improve the integrity of tests in the wake of cheating scandals that have erupted in other cities. The number of schools listed in the monitoring program also provides a limited glimpse into the scope of cheating allegations that the city education department receives and is able to deal with. (more…)
August 3, 2011
A high school that posted suspicious swings in graduation rates in recent years is under investigation for giving students credits they didn’t earn.
Teachers and other staff members at A. Philip Randolph High School said they blew the whistle after seeing administrators abuse a practice that allows students to quickly make up credits in classes that they previously failed.
Department of Education officials said the Office of Special Investigations began probing A. Philip Randolph last month after Chancellor Dennis Walcott received several emails earlier this summer alleging illicit use of the practice, known as “credit recovery,” to artificially improve the school’s graduation numbers. After years of mediocre performance, the school’s graduation rate increased nearly 30 points two years ago and was one of the city’s highest.
This year, with less than a week before graduation day, school administrators ordered guidance counselors to enroll all failing seniors into online credit recovery courses so that they could graduate on time, one of the counselors said. She said the courses were crammed into one or two days and often went unsupervised.
When she and the school’s programming coordinators protested to administrators, they were rebuffed, the guidance counselor said.
“I said to them, ‘That is not right,’” she said. “You’re asking us to do something unethical.” (more…)
May 19, 2011
A South Bronx charter school is screening children for admission based on their performance on academic tests, according to parents and several current and former employees of Academic Leadership Charter School.
As a charter school, Academic Leadership is required by New York state law to admit students through a random lottery. But multiple parents and staff members described a process designed by the school’s director to weed out low-performing students.
Four parents who tried to enroll their children at Academic Leadership, an elementary school, this year or last year said that school employees tested their children before deciding whether or not to accept them.
“They took my son to a class to watch him in the class and see if everything was okay. He was in the class an hour,” said Khalilur Munshi, describing his experience with the school this winter.
Dissatisfied with his neighborhood school, Munshi had taken his son, a second-grader, to Academic Leadership to try to enroll him in the middle of the school year. An employee told him that the second grade had open slots and no waiting list, and then his son was taken to sit in on the class, Munshi said.
When his son returned, a staff member told Munshi that there actually was a waiting list and that school officials would let him know if a spot opened up.
“I could tell they weren’t going to take my son,” he said. After the visit, he called the school three times to check on the status of the waiting list and never heard back.
Several former and current school employees said that the school’s director and founder, Norma Figueroa-Hurwitz, a long-time New York City educator, orders teachers to test applicants in order to admit the most advanced students. The employees all asked to remain anonymous out of concern that speaking on the record would jeopardize their careers in education.
Reached by phone, Figueroa-Hurwitz denied that students were tested before they were admitted and declined to answer further questions. The same day, her husband and the school’s co-founder, Ted Hurwitz, called GothamSchools to respond on Figueroa-Hurwitz’s behalf. He said that the school tests students only after they have been admitted through the lottery for the purpose of “placement.”
Asked why parents would say otherwise, he said, “I don’t know why. I don’t understand that. We do anything and everything we can. We might do that to get a head start, but I can’t understand that personally.” Hurwitz said that he now spends one day a week at the school. (more…)
June 12, 2009
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan confirmed today that he opposes fixed terms for school board members. “I think you have to serve at the mayor’s pleasure,” Duncan told me on the phone just now. “If you’re going to have mayoral control, you need to have mayoral control.”
The statement inserts President Obama’s top education official even deeper into New York City’s debate on school governance. Duncan first voiced his support for mayoral control in New York City to the New York Post editorial board in March. He argued that giving the mayor full control over urban public schools is the best way to turn them around.
Many education advocates here, including the teachers union, have pushed for fixed terms as a way to eliminate the mayor’s right to remove any school board member at his pleasure. But the issue is facing opposition from Bloomberg and, most recently, from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose latest proposal has school board members serving at the pleasure of the mayor. (more…)
April 22, 2009
A year after the Department of Education promised to get its schools recycling, a councilmember complains they are still woefully behind the curve. Bill de Blasio, a council member from Brooklyn, announced today (Earth Day) that the DOE has not followed through on its promise to implement recycling in its schools by naming a “recycling coordinator” to head up each school. Half of the 44 schools de Blasio contacted have yet to name a recycling coordinator.
“Almost one year ago the Department of Education promised us results but now, on Earth Day, they are still behind the curve,” de Blasio said in a statement.
The debate over recycling in public schools has been raging for quite a while. The City Council passed a mandatory recycling law in 1989, and five years later the public school system was found to be in violation of that law. The delay in recycling was attributed to “bureaucratic apathy,” a characterization that critics are echoing 15 years later. The DOE mandates that all schools recycle, but leaves enforcement up to each individual school. In 2007, the Department of Sanitation estimated a 9.5 percent recycling rate for public schools, which lagged behind the citywide rate of 16.5 percent, suggesting that some kids might be recycling at home but not at their school.
City council members have been championing efforts to green schools. This spring, de Blasio led a crusade to ban environmentally loathsome Styrofoam trays from school cafeterias. Fellow City Councilman Lew Fidler has been pushing for schools to use energy-efficient light bulbs.
UPDATE: The Department of Education released a statement saying 1,223 schools have recycling coordinators who will be receiving training this spring from the Department of Sanitation.