Posts tagged "No Child Left Behind"
May 1, 2013
An escape route from the city’s most struggling schools that Department of Education officials touted as a significant innovation is unlikely to be an option for many eligible families, parents and advocates say.
When the city closes low-performing schools, new students aren’t allowed to enroll and current students stay on until they graduate. The arrangement has drawn criticism from state officials, families, and advocates who say high-need students see morale and support decline as their schools diminish in size.
This spring, just before finalizing plans to close 22 schools, department officials said they felt a “moral imperative” to help students who want to leave closing schools do so. They said they would mail transfer applications, including a list of possible destination schools, to all 16,000 students in the 61 schools that would be in the process of phasing out this fall.
“They presented it to families as an alternative to protect their children,” said Emma Hulse, a community organizer with New Settlement who has helped South Bronx families fill out transfer applications.
“But when the package actually hit people’s mailboxes, we realized it’s not a meaningful alternative,” she said. (more…)
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…)
May 29, 2012
New York State will be freed from the most onerous requirements of the decade-old No Child Left Behind law, under the terms of a waiver awarded today by the U.S. Department of Education.
In exchange, the state will begin assessing districts and schools on their students’ progress instead of simply their performance — and districts that fall short will get extra funding and support starting this fall.
Lists of lagging schools, which will now be known as “Focus” schools, will be released by the end of June, according to a State Education Department spokesman. The state will also publish lists of “Reward” schools that will merit extra funds because of their strong performance.
The Obama administration introduced the waiver program as a way around Congress, which so far has declined to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, renamed No Child Left Behind during George W. Bush’s presidency. NCLB required all students to be “proficient” by 2014 in a quixotic that goal left more schools labeled as failing each year without urging states to action.
“The waiver lets New York move away from NCLB requirements that were unproductive or unrealistic,” said State Education Commissioner King in a statement. “We can evaluate schools in terms of both student growth and proficiency and recognize schools in which students are making good progress toward meeting standards of college and career readiness.” (more…)
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…)
November 10, 2011
Last month, state education officials warned the Board of Regents in their monthly meeting that New York State was facing a “tsunami” of new schools that would be out of compliance with federal guidelines.
Today, the first wave hit.
The number of new schools that failed to show sufficient progress skyrocketed by more than 700 percent this year, state officials announced today. They identified 847 new schools statewide – compared with just 102 new schools last year – that need to improve in order to meet the state’s proficiency standards. The total number of schools on the list is now at 1325, up from 501 a year ago.
Just 23 schools showed enough progress to be removed from the list.
Schools that need more improvement won’t face immediate penalties. The list is considered a way to measure adequate yearly progress (AYP) as part of the federal No Child Left Behind law, which has a requirement of achieving 100 percent proficiency in 2014.
Those expectations have widely been acknowledged to be unreasonable, however. In October, President Obama announced that states could apply for a waiver from the 2014 proficiency goals as long as they agree to comply with new standards that are more in line with his reform agenda. New York State officials have quickly moved to apply for the waiver and plans to submit to the federal government next year. (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…)
October 17, 2011
ALBANY — New York is joining the vast majority of states seeking to escape some of the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law.
The Obama administration announced in August that it would offer states a chance to skirt some of NCLB’s strictest provisions, including the one that requires all students to score proficient on state tests by 2014. Last month, federal officials fleshed out the requirements and states lined up to apply — 39 so far, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. New York seemed to be a strong contender but officials here had not said until now whether the state would seek a waiver.
Today, state education officials announced that they plan to file a waiver application by the federal government’s second deadline, in mid-February.
Between now and then, a “think tank” of representatives from nearly two dozen education organizations will advise the State Education Department on its application, officials said today during a meeting of the Board of Regents. The think tank — whose members come from teachers unions, advocacy groups, reform organizations, and rural and urban school districts — have met twice already to plan and will discuss substantive issues for the first time when it convenes on Wednesday.
Ira Schwartz, the assistant commissioner in NYSED’s accountability office, will oversee the application process. (more…)
September 23, 2011
When the Obama administration first announced in August that it would offer states No Child Left Behind waivers, New York State said it would wait and see what the eligibility requirements were before deciding whether to apply. Today, President Obama announced the plan’s details, but the state still isn’t ready to commit.
The U.S. Department of Education is encouraging all states to apply for the waivers, and Race to the Top winners — which include New York — are seen as likely to win them. State and city education officials also expressed enthusiasm about the option.
“The president’s proposal to grant waivers to states that take steps to raise academic standards, address their lowest performing schools and measure the success of schools based on student progress — not just absolute proficiency — is commendable,” New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said in a statement.
But State Education Commissioner John King said the state wouldn’t decide whether to apply until October’s Board of Regents meeting. Before then, he said, state officials would reach out to “key stakeholder groups and accountability experts” to assess how the state could “best respond to this opportunity.” The first application deadline is in December. (more…)