Posts tagged "how things work"
June 20, 2012
Under pressure from the for-profit tutoring industry, lawmakers in Albany are backing a bill that would subvert the state’s efforts to change the way extra help is delivered to needy students.
Last month, New York won permission from the Obama administration to give federal funds that had gone to the tutoring companies to a group of organizations that state officials would vet.
Under the legislation promoted by the tutoring companies and peddled to lawmakers, that change would be revoked. State lobbying records show that the legislation followed a spending spree of tens of thousands of dollars in the last six months by the tutoring industry.
The sponsor of the bill in the Assembly, Karim Camara, said in an interview today that he decided to introduce the legislation after a lobbyist hired by a Miami-based tutoring company brought it to him.
“I saw the bill, I read the bill. So I decided to introduce this bill,” Camara said.
Education committee chair John Flanagan sponsored a companion bill in the State Senate. (more…)
July 21, 2009
The city’s internal hiring system for teachers helped Ruben Brosbe find a new job after his position was cut this spring. But a closer look at the system “doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence,” Brosbe writes in the GothamSchools Community section.
In his newest post, Brosbe grades the Open Market Hiring System, which was created to allow teachers to hunt for open positions. The teachers contract mandates that positions be posted on the Open Market, but some have complained that principals don’t use the system, making it hard for teachers without personal connections to find out about jobs.
In his “Final (Unofficial) Report Card for the Open Market,” Brosbe writes:
• Results: Three interviews from 49 applications doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. It’s hard to tell if it’s because principals are being glutted with applicants or if they’re simply choosing to go through other channels, i.e. personal references, to make their hires. Then again, I did get a job. B
• Overall Grade: If the results speak for themselves, then the Open Market is a success. However, had I not found a good fit on my second interview, I would still be looking, and I haven’t gotten any responses from the Open Market since July 3rd. If I was still looking, I would have to ditch the Open Market and hit the pavement to look for a job the old fashioned way. B
Read all of Brosbe’s posts chronicling his successful job search.
April 7, 2009
At today’s education committee hearing, City Council members took turns questioning Department of Education officials on the rise of charters schools. Their questions were passionate, specific, and universally accusatory. They may have also been scripted.
Just before the hearing began, a representative of the city teachers union, which describes itself as in favor of charter schools, discreetly passed out a set of index cards to Council members, each printed with a pre-written question.
One batch of cards offered questions for the Department of Education, all of them challenging the proliferation of charter schools. “Doesn’t the Department have a clear legal and moral responsibility to provide every family in the city guaranteed seats for their children in a neighborhood elementary school?” one card suggested members ask school officials. “Isn’t the fundamental problem here the Department’s abdication of its most important responsibility to provide quality district public schools in all parts of the city?” another card said. (View more of the cards in a slideshow here.)
Several council members picked up on the line of thought. “Shouldn’t we aspire to have every school in the city good enough for parents to feel comfortable sending their children?” Melinda Katz, a Council member from Queens, said in questioning school officials. “I remember when Joel Klein became the chancellor,” the committee chair, Robert Jackson, said. “Back then, he used to talk about making every neighborhood school a good school where every parent would want to send their children. I don’t hear him talk about that anymore.”
Asked about the cards, union president Randi Weingarten provided a statement saying that she regretted the tactic. “We are often asked by the council for information and ideas about various issues. Additionally, when I am available, I often respond to what others testify to. In this instance, I was in Washington and couldn’t be at City Hall,” she said in the statement. “I am proud of the testimony we gave today, but I regret the manner in which our other concerns were shared.” (more…)
February 4, 2009
First some good news: The Department of Education just released data on how students performed on Advanced Placement exams last year. Participation is up slightly from last year, and it’s up more among black and Hispanic students, contrary to a national trend. The total number of New York City students who passed is also slightly up.
Here’s the bad part: A cursory glance makes me think that while participation is up, and the number of students passing is up, the proportion of students passing is down. For instance, among black students, 3,825 took tests last year compared to 3,390 in 2007. But the passing rate dropped to 27% from 28%. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If more students are taking the tests, it may be unfair to compare this year’s batch of test-takers to last year’s. But it’s not necessarily good, either.
Too bad only a very talented data analyst with no evening plans and no deadline would have time to write the full story. (Though the national numbers have been out for several hours, via the College Board, only the DOE can release New York City numbers. And the DOE only released the New York City numbers at 6:15. The press officer who did so compiled them into not an analyze-able Excel spreadsheet, but rather an upbeat list of talking points and a single Power Point slide.)
You can read more about national performance on AP’s here. I’ll try to have a better analysis by the morning.
UPDATE: I did call Andy Jacob at the press office to complain about the format of the release. He has not returned my call.