Posts tagged "john king"
October 15, 2013
A raucous Poughkeepsie parent crowd prompted Commissioner John King last week to cancel plans for future meetings with parents. But the disruption, in the video above, is just the latest instance of angry protesters derailing public events in recent years. In New York City, other meetings have long been the backdrop for battles over school closures, charter schools, overcrowding, teacher evaluations and testings have wages. Here are highlights caught on tape from event in recent years:
“Sex and the City” star gets jeered, then cheered
Nov. 12, 2008: Even the rich and famous don’t get a free pass to air grievances about the city’s public school system. “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon and noted education advocate spoke up at a Upper West Side meeting in opposition to an overcrowding plan that would move her son’s school to another building. Nixon was booed by the plan’s supporters as she stepped to the microphone. But her argument — that the plan exacerbated racial and socio-economic segregation — ended with applause. (more…)
October 8, 2013
At a panel geared toward current and potential education funders in New York City, city and state officials said they’d like to see some changes that philanthropy can’t produce. City Department of Education Deputy Chancellor Shael Polakow-Suransky and State Education Commissioner John King both said they want to see the city’s next mayor use contract negotiations with the teachers union to give educators time to work together.
“The next union contract needs more professional development time,” Polakow-Suransky said. “One of the biggest mistakes Randi and Klein made in the last contract was removing professional development time.”
He was referring to Randi Weingarten and Joel Klein, who as UFT president and chancellor in 2005 negotiated a contract that traded about two hours a week of teacher training time for more teacher time with struggling students.
The city’s contract with the teacher’s union has expired, as have the contracts of all labor unions in the city, and one of the new mayor’s first tasks will be to negotiate a new one. (more…)
October 2, 2013
When the next mayor takes office on January 1, one of his first acts will likely be to choose a schools chancellor. His choice will send a strong message and a lasting impression about his vision for education in New York City.
Right now, Democrat Bill de Blasio appears to be the clear favorite in next month’s mayoral election. He hasn’t said anything about whom he’s considering for chancellor, but we know he wants to hire a career educator — and someone who will steer the city’s schools away from the way they’ve been run under Mayor Bloomberg.
Recent history shows that predicting a chancellor is a guessing game for those outside the inner circle: Three of the last four schools chiefs — Harold Levy, Joel Klein, and Cathie Black — were plucked from outside the world of education and came as a surprise to education observers at the time.
Still, as the leadership transition nears, names have started circulating about likely candidates to be de Blasio’s chancellor pick. Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who has stated repeatedly he intends to leave with the administration, seems to have taken himself out of the running.
We’ve sorted through the rumors and political jockeying to handicap several strong contenders. (more…)
September 17, 2013
ALBANY — When Principal Alonta Wrighton wanted to open up P.S. 11 a week earlier than normal to prepare teachers for a year of big changes, red tape blocked her.
First, Wrighton said, she needed a permit and $2,200 to pay to keep the school open longer than normal.
And then she still couldn’t require her staff to show up, since the week before Labor Day was not among the training days listed in the city’s contract with the teachers union.
Both issues inhibited city schools’ ability to implement the Common Core standards, Wrighton said during a panel discussion of educators at Monday’s Board of Regents meeting in Albany.
“[Professional development] should be looked at as a given,” Wrighton said. “I should not have to use my budget to open up my building early and train my teachers.”
Wrighton’s concerns were among many raised by the five educators invited from around the state to speak about the challenges that continue to face schools in the second year of the standards’ rollout. Her request for more required training time reflected a contract issue between the city and the United Federation of Teachers, but it also illustrated the depth of support that educators say is needed to successfully transition to the Common Core. (more…)
September 11, 2013
A back-and-forth between State Education Commissioner John King and a Brooklyn high school principal today provided a window into the tensions at play when high-needs students are placed in city schools — at a moment when additional shifts in enrollment policies may be imminent.
As King toured the High School for Public Service, principal Sean Rice outlined his worries about serving 35 special education students, up from “almost none” two years ago, in a school with about 440 students. Five or six have been added to his rolls in just the past week, he said.
“It is a major concern,” Rice said. “It’s going to be challenging for us this year, because we have a teaching staff that has not had extensive experience with students with disabilities.”
But Rice’s situation is rare for how few special education students he has, since some high schools, like William E. Grady High, have more than 20 percent special education students. Figures like that have created a schism between the city and the state for years, as King has criticized the city’s school choice policies for allowing some schools to become overloaded with needy students.
“I think this is the balance, though, between our concern—which we’ve long expressed—of students being concentrated in isolated buildings, and attempts by the city, which I think is the right direction, to try and avoid those overconcentrations of students,” King said to Rice during a discussion with Chancellor Merryl Tisch and other state education officials. (more…)
August 1, 2013
The city submitted its proposal for a key piece of teacher evaluation this week — a list of ways to measure students’ learning that aren’t standardized tests. But one month before schools need to finalize their plans for evaluating teachers,
If approved by State Education Commissioner John King, the list of alternative assessment options is what principals and teachers will have to choose from by Sept. 9, the first day of school, when teacher evaluation plans must be finalized.
The alternative assessments’ measure of how much a teacher helps students learn represents 20 percent of each teacher’s evaluation. The measures are one of the details that weren’t finalized back in June, when State Education Commissioner John King imposed a system on the city.
King gave the city Department of Education two months to come up with the list of choices for the measures, which can include both assessments the city develops on its on and third-party assessments developed by outside vendors. (more…)
July 26, 2013
New York City is getting nearly $75 million in federal grants to help 16 struggling schools improve and support another six school buildings where schools are shuttering, the state announced today.
The grants are the second round of New York State’s disbursements from its share of the U.S. Department of Education’s $3.5 billion grant program known as School Improvement Grants, or SIG. The grants are designed to improve outcomes in schools with large numbers of students in poverty.
Two years ago, the city forfeited a large chunk of the first round of grants after failing to reach a deal with the teachers union on teacher evaluations, which was required to qualify for the majority of the funding. Officials said today that of $58 million awarded to the city, just $15 million was spent that year. The rest was returned back to the state. Those funds may be reallocated to future grant winners, a state spokesman said.
Now that evaluations are in place for the 2013-2014 school year, teachers union leaders endorsed this year’s grant applications. Union officials cited other reasons this year’s applications were an improvement over the previous round, too. They said that this year, individual schools had a more prominent role in determining how the grant money will be spent. In previous years, the city Department of Education applied centrally.
“It’s more targeted to the needs of the students versus the needs of the administration,” United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said of the new grants. Mulgrew said he was “very happy” with this year’s version. (more…)
July 24, 2013
Commissioner John King pledged this week to accept the “cut scores” recommended to him by a committee of educators, one of the final steps remaining before the state releases results from the state tests.
Cut scores determine the number of right answers students need on state English and math tests to be deemed proficient in the subjects.
The announcement at this month’s Board of Regents meeting came in the middle of a detailed 46-page slideshow presentation outlining how the “cut score” recommendations were made. But while the other slides were packed with numbers, graphs, and paragraphs, King’s 10-word acceptance of the standards got its own simple slide: “The Commissioner accepted recommendations from Day 5 with no changes.” (The full slideshow is below the jump.)
The flourish was a signal of the new transparency the department is trying to project around test scoring. In 2009, under then-Commissioner Richard Mills, dramatic improvements on state tests that had been seen as signs of academic progress across the state came under scrutiny for being inflated — not representing actual learning gains.
The inflation seems to have been the result of several factors, including focused test prep by teachers who became increasingly familiar with the tests. But at least one observer, Sol Stern, has reported that state officials might have deliberately inflated results by lowering cut scores so that more students would be deemed proficient. Commissioners do not have to accept the recommendations of the committee of educators that suggests where to set the scores. (more…)
June 21, 2013
The grading of high school Regents exams isn’t even over, but some city educators are already registering concern about the new state conversion charts for English tests.
Bronx Center for Science and Math Assistant Principal Stephen Seltzer sent a letter to State Education Commissioner John King expressing frustration about the new conversion chart that has made it more difficult for students to pass the English Regents exam.
Seltzer writes that “the rubrics and conversion charts must be aligned and consistent, and both should be made available when teachers are preparing students, not at the time of the exam.” (more…)
June 17, 2013
ALBANY — After listening to State Education Commissioner John King present the state’s latest graduation rate data today, members of the Board of Regents were divided on how to respond.
Some grumbled about the rates, pointing in particular to declines that the state’s five largest cities experienced. But others said they had expected far worse.
Though statewide graduation rates stayed steady at 74 percent, rates in the “Big Five” fell by 2.8 points on average, a dip that was largely weighted by a seven-point decline in Buffalo. In New York City, the four-year graduation rate dropped by half a point, to 60.4 percent.
Elsewhere in the state, districts considered “low-need” because many students come from relatively affluent families graduated students on time 94 percent of the time.
“Our affluent children do as well as anybody,” said Regent Kathleen Cashin, of Brooklyn. “Where we don’t do well is with the poor. This concerns me because of the fact that every single large city district has gone down.” (more…)