Posts tagged "U.S. Department of Education"
January 24, 2013
As the new year began, J.H.S. 302 in Brooklyn thought it was on the right track.
Principal Lisa Linder had worked with a local nonprofit to apply for a federal grant to flood the low-performing school and the surrounding neighborhood with extra help for students and their families. In late December, the nonprofit, Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, found out it would get $371,000 from the U.S. Department of Education to move forward with the project.
Then the other shoe dropped: The city Department of Education announced on Jan. 7 that it planned to close J.H.S. 302.
The news has thrown the nonprofit partnership into question — and it has also put J.H.S. 302 at the center of a tug-of-war between two competing visions about how to improve struggling schools. (more…)
November 14, 2012
Pitting itself against school districts across the country, the city has asked the U.S. Department of Education for $40 million to expand and augment its existing education technology programs.
The city’s biggest commitment in its application for Race to the Top-District, which city education officials filed last week, is to add as many as 100 schools to its three-year-old “Innovation Zone.” The application also promises to build innovative schools from the ground up and train teachers on how to use technology to improve instruction.
Race to the Top-District is the latest effort by the Obama administration to entice state and local education officials to adopt its preferred policies. In the first Race to the Top grant competition, in 2010, New York State netted $700 million to overhaul teacher evaluations, add more charter schools, bulk up teacher preparation programs, and develop a statewide data system. Last year, the state fell short in its bid to win Race to the Top funds earmarked just for early childhood education. The current round — the first open to individual districts — is focused on “personalized education.”
City Department of Education officials say the Innovation Zone, which this year contains nearly 250 schools, makes the department uniquely positioned to turn federal funds into higher student achievement.
“It’s something that we’ve been doing for three years,” said David Weiner, the Department of Education deputy chancellor in charge of innovation. “We really believe that that puts us in a great place to capitalize on what we’ve learned.” (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…)
January 27, 2012
Two weeks after Mayor Bloomberg announced a plan to to replace half of all teachers at 33 struggling schools, efforts are underway to soften the threat.
Department of Education officials said today that the city is exploring the option of replacing fewer teachers at the schools under an allowance included in federal guidelines for the school improvement strategy known as “turnaround.”
The turnaround process, which Bloomberg announced two weeks ago to sidestep a requirement of other school improvement strategies to negotiate new teacher evaluations with the teachers union, mandates that 50 percent of teachers be replaced. But the U.S. Department of Education makes special allowances for some teachers who have been hired in the last two years.
Now the city is looking to take advantage of that flexibility when it files formal turnaround applications with the state next month.
The catch is that not every teacher hired in the last two years is automatically eligible for the exemption.The federal guidelines make an allowance only for teachers who were selected “according to locally adopted competencies as part of a school reform effort” headed by a principal handpicked to lead it. That means, according to the guidelines, the teachers should have been screened for an ability to “be effective in a turnaround situation.”
It’s not clear how many of the roughly 3,400 teachers at the 33 schools would fall into this category. As recently as Monday, Chancellor Dennis Walcott told state legislators that there would be “possibly up to 1,500, 1,700 teachers” cut loose from the schools. (more…)
January 10, 2012
The Obama administration is warning New York State that it could lose hundreds of millions of federal dollars if it doesn’t stick to its Race to the Top promises.
The stern warning comes in conjunction with a set of U.S. Department of Education progress reports summarizing implementation successes and setbacks in each of the states that won federal Race to the Top funds in 2010. Eleven states and Washington, D.C., shared a $4.3 billion pot of prize money.
Department officials said New York was doing better than Hawaii, which last month was deemed as being at “high risk” of losing its Race to the Top funding. But they said the state was falling behind after making progress in Race to the Top’s first year.
“New York has a chance to be a national leader or a laggard and we are only interested in supporting real courage and bold leadership,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement. ”Backtracking on reform commitments could cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars for improving New York schools.” (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…)
June 23, 2010
The city’s Department of Education, Teach for America and several city charter school management companies are angling for federal money designed to encourage cutting-edge educational strategies.
They’re among 145 New York State-based entities that applied for grants under a new federal program known as the Investing in Innovation Fund, or “i3.” Details about the 1,698 applications submitted last month went online yesterday.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the ways local groups are hoping to cash in:
- The city is asking for $40 million to open 150 new small middle and high schools in the next five years.
- The city also asked for $5 million to grow the School of One technology program and $4.5 million to boost the arts in special education schools.
- Other groups angling to open new schools include Eva Moskowitz’s Harlem Success charter network, which is seeking $25 million to open 13 in the next five years, and New Visions for Public Schools, which wants $26 million to create charter schools that serve 10,000 city students. (more…)
Maybe we’ll have a charter cap deal after all.
We’re hearing that the mayor’s top political aide, Howard Wolfson, is in Albany right now meeting with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and representatives of the city and state teachers unions. They’re all trying to hammer out a deal that would allow 260 more charter schools to open in New York State. And they’re racing against a super-tight deadline: June 1, next Tuesday, when the state’s second application to the federal Race to the Top competition must be delivered to the U.S. Education Department headquarters in D.C.
Sticking points in today’s negotiations, we hear, include a continued effort to push against allowing SUNY to act as an authorizer of charter schools. Charter school supporters, led by the Bloomberg administration, say that snatching SUNY’s power is a poison pill that would force them to drop out of negotiations. They say the same thing about a proposal on the table that would mean charters could only open through an RFP-like process.
But our source says that the mayor’s side has given in on at least two key issues: a ban on for-profit companies managing charter schools and permission for the state comptroller to audit charter schools.
We’ll keep you posted as we hear more., at 5:53 pm
August 6, 2009
A New York City high school teacher is one of three fellowship winners who, come Monday morning, will begin new jobs in Washington, D.C., as full-time employees of the Obama administration’s Department of Education.
In the middle of June, Jason Raymond, who has taught English and journalism at the High School for Law and Public Service for seven years, learned that he had been chosen for the department’s Teaching Ambassador Fellowship. He quickly packed up and moved to D.C., where he will be part of a program created by the previous secretary of education, Margaret Spellings, to bring teachers into the rooms where education policy is crafted.
Raymond, 38, whose expertise is in adolescent literacy, college readiness, and urban schools, said he will be working in the office of elementary and secondary education.
“I’m going to be bringing my teacher voice to policy,” he said, explaining that he would sit in on conversations about certain grants the DOE planned to distribute. As a Washington fellow, it will be Raymond’s job to point out proposed ideas that may not work well in the classroom and suggest alternatives, but the scope of his influence will be limited.
“It won’t be that I’m sitting in a room with other policy experts and saying you know here’s what I think we should do,” he said, noting that the details of what he’d be focusing on were still be worked out. (more…)
July 13, 2009
President Obama’s Department of Education has vowed to invest federal money in building better tests, but the dollars may be held up until the country can hash out some “common standards.” The new Board of Regents chancellor, Merryl Tisch, is also zeroing in on state tests, but it’s not yet clear exactly how that will happen.
Meanwhile, in England, they’re off and running. Computerized assessments staggered throughout the year will replace written end-of-course exams within the next 15 years, a senior testing official, Simon Lebus, told The Guardian over the weekend:
Exam boards are investing millions of pounds in developing the technology – and, Lebus claimed, it’s not “science fiction”.
He said: “The likelihood is that in the next 10 to 15 years it will change almost out of recognition in that by the end of that period of time you’ll be able to do exams more or less on demand, on screen.
“You can make the learning more valid and the technology can enhance the way people engage in the subject. It’s very expensive, complex stuff to do. But it is achievable. It’s not a vision based on a sort of science-fiction type fantasy.”
This Education Sector report, “Beyond the Bubble,” explains how technology can innovate testing.