Posts tagged "NCLB waiver"
April 11, 2012
New York City schools are closed this week, but that didn’t stop students and teachers from showing up at their transfer school in Bushwick this afternoon.
The group was joined by U.S. Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez to protest the planned closure of Bushwick Community High School, a school they say was unfairly dragged into the city’s newest effort to reform low-rated schools.
BCHS landed on the state’s persistently lowest-achieving list because just 25 percent of its students graduate within six years, but supporters say graduation rates are a misguided way to measure the school’s performance.
The school exclusively enrolls students who have already dropped out of traditional high schools and spent long stints out of the school system. Since many of the students who enroll at BCHS are 17 or older, they are rarely in a position to graduate within six years of entering high school.
Today’s protest was not the first display of opposition that the school has mounted. In January, teachers at the school sent a letter to Mayor Bloomberg asking that he remove BCHS from his list of planned closures.
BCHS’s placement on the PLA list is the illogical conclusion of a crude, one-size-fits all accountability system. As a transfer school, BCHS is designed to be part of the solution for struggling students in the city, but the current accountability metrics punish us for working with our students while allowing the source of their failures to go undetected.
January 24, 2012
A transfer school that the city is planning to close is desperately trying to escape an accountability dragnet planted by No Child Left Behind.
Its plight could reshape how other transfer schools are assessed under a new accountability system the state is working to devise.
Bushwick Community High School is one of 33 schools that Mayor Bloomberg has said he wants to shut down and reopen after replacing half of the teachers. It landed on the list after its low graduation rate triggered penalties under city, state, and federal accountability systems.
BCHS teachers say the school is being penalized because it enrolls only students who have been unsuccessful in other high schools, making it unlikely for them to graduate on time. This week, the staff submitted a letter to Bloomberg arguing that he should remove BCHS from the list schools that the city is planning to “turn around.”
“BCHS’s placement on the PLA list is the illogical conclusion of a crude, one-size-fits all accountability system,” they wrote. “As a transfer school, BCHS is designed to be part of the solution for struggling students in the city, but the current accountability metrics punish us for working with our students while allowing the source of their failures to go undetected.”
It’s a position that state officials support and are even trying to turn into policy. (more…)
January 6, 2012
New York will get new terms for high- and low-performing schools — and new ways to define good and bad performance — under a proposed accountability plan designed to replace the requirements of No Child Left Behind.
The proposal, which was released in draft form late today and will be discussed by the Board of Regents on Monday, is the result of two months of planning in response to the Obama administration’s offer to waive some of the decade-old federal law’s requirements, including one that requires full proficiency by 2014. In exchange, states must to commit to prioritizing college readiness, setting guidelines for teacher and principal evaluations, and holding schools and districts accountable for their students’ performance on state tests.
Under the proposal, the bulk of the state’s testing program would remain unchanged. But elementary and middle school students would take science tests; the bar to be considered proficient on high school exams would be raised; and proficiency would be calculated not just by whether students met certain benchmarks, but by how much they improved.
Schools that fall short would not get extra funding to pay for tutoring services, an arrangement that has shown mixed results. Instead, they would get extra money to carry out more of the initiatives that the Regents themselves have endorsed, such as improving teacher training and revising curriculum standards.
Five percent of low-scoring schools would become Priority Schools and have to undergo federally mandated school overhaul approaches. Another 10 percent would become Focus Schools, and their districts would have to develop plans to improve them.
For the first time, school districts will be evaluated with the same scrutiny as schools were under NCLB.
“Since district policies often contribute to why schools have low performance for specific groups of students,” the proposal says, “districts must play a lead role in helping schools to address this issue.”
New York City, a district certain to house many Focus and Priority schools, will not be evaluated as one entire district, according to a provision. Instead, each of the city’s 32 districts would be evaluated based on state test scores for its schools. (more…)
October 26, 2011
The former principal of a now-closed city high school, a Columbia University economist, and a junior executive at the Department of Education are among the 32 people advising the state on how to apply for an exemption from No Child Left Behind’s requirements.
The officials represent 24 stakeholder organizations from around the state, including parent groups, unions, charter school advocates, and school districts. They form what’s being termed a “think tank” which is charged with coming up with a consensus of recommendations to submit to State Education Commissioner John King and Assistant Commissioner Ira Schwartz, who is overseeing the group.
The last time such a group was convened, for the teacher evaluation law passed last year, it ended in a lawsuit. According to the state teachers union, education officials rejected several key provisions proposed by a 63-member “task force” at the last minute.
The new group assigned to the NCLB waiver might not be as contentious, some members who served on both groups said. For one, state officials specifically renamed the group from a “task force” to a “think tank” — in part to remind the members of their advisory role. A spokesman for NYSED said King and Schwartz pass the task force’s recommendations – as well as their own – onto the state Board of Regents, which has final decision-making power. (more…)