Posts tagged "Try try again"
April 18, 2012
Carol Burris, the principal of a Long Island high school, isn’t done fighting. Even after her statewide principals petition failed to sway lawmakers from passing a teacher evaluation bill last month, she’s hoping her newest effort — a poll — will do the trick.
Beginning today, Burris is sending out surveys to principals, teachers, and parents about New York State’s high-stakes testing policy “to give voice to the concerns that we are hearing from all three groups,” she said. ”We have no intention of not continuing our fight.”
She said she expects that the results from the surveys will reflect her own concerns about the testing role in teacher evaluations. “We hope that policymakers and the public will be interested in our findings,” said Burris.
Burris discussed the strategy Tuesday evening at a forum about high-stakes testing held at Murry Bergtraum High School in Manhattan. She sat on a panel alongside Class Size Matters’ Leonie Haimson; Gary Rubinstein, a math teacher known for crunching the city school data on his blog; and Khalilah Brann, a teacher at Bushwick Community High School, which is facing closure because of its student performance data.
The forum, which attracted about 50 people, was organized by Change the Stakes, a group that grew out of a committee formed by a teacher activist group, the Grassroots Education Movement, last year. (more…)
March 5, 2012
This weekend, thousands of eighth-graders and their families descended on the Upper West Side’s Martin Luther King Campus to confront the bad news they received just days earlier: Unlike the majority of their classmates across the city, they still didn’t have a high school to attend next year.
That’s because these students — about 7,700 in all, according to city data — weren’t matched to any of their top high school choices through the Department of Education’s main admissions process. To help them find a school, the city recruited 270 high schools that are still trying to fill seats to a “Round 2 High School Fair.”
About 4,500 people attended on Saturday, according to officials in the Office of Student Enrollment, which organized the event. GothamSchools attended as well and spoke to dozens of families about their plight. We found there were a variety of reasons for why students ended up without a matched school. Some applied to only the most competitive schools; others didn’t fill out the applications properly; and some families suspected that schools turned away students with special needs. Other students were just unlucky.
Jaqueline Benitez’s son Joshua wasn’t matched to any of his twelve choices, which included top schools like Manhattan Village Academy and Museum High School. Jaqueline said she specifically singled out programs that a guidance counselor told her would have been able to accommodate her son’s Individualized Education Program and his need for Integrated Co-Teaching, speech therapy, and testing modifications.
“The thing that got me upset is that some of the same schools we chose are here for Round 2,” she said pointing to Museum High School and Baruch, which are among the many selective schools that are opening their doors only for students with special needs. (more…)
September 20, 2011
To shake middle schools from mediocrity, the city is turning to school reform strategies it considers tried and true.
In the next two years, the Department of Education will close low-performing middle schools, open brand-new ones, add more charter schools, and push more teachers and principals through in-house leadership programs, Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced today in a 30-minute policy speech, the first of his six-month tenure.
For 10 schools, the city will ask for $30 million in federal funds to try a new reform strategy set out by the federal government, “turnaround,” in which at least half of staff members are replaced, Walcott said.
The efforts — which the city plans to pay for with a mixture of state and federal funds — are meant to boost middle school scores that are low and, in the case of reading, actually falling.
“People have tried and struggled with the complicated nature of middle schools for decades,” he said. “But the plan I’ve laid out is bolder and more focused than anything we’ve tried here in New York City before.”
Experts and advocates who helped engineer the last major effort to overhaul middle schools, a City Council task force that produced recommendations but short-lived changes at the DOE in 2007, disputed Walcott’s characterization. They said Walcott’s announcement reflects a change in style but not substance.
“Much of what he said is not new,” said Carol Boyd, a parent leader with the Coalition for Educational Justice, which has long urged more attention for middle schools. ”There is a definite party line, except Joel [Klein] wasn’t able to deliver it with the same believability that Chancellor Walcott does,” she said. Boyd sat on the task force.
“There’s nothing new [or] interesting about this plan,” said Pedro Noguera, the New York University professor who chaired the council’s task force and has spoken out against school closures. “It sounds like more of what they’ve been doing, shutting down failing schools.” (more…)