BETWEEN THE LINES: With possibly the worst storm of the season, packed with heavy snow, sleet and rain racing up the East Coast, flights were grounded and government offices to the south of the city closed, but late last Wednesday Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Department of Education (DOE) decided that public schools would open the following day. Hours earlier, severe winter storm warnings and advisories had been issued from Georgia to Maine, with thousands of school districts closed ahead of the storm’s leading edge. But New York City parents went to bed dazed and confused, because public school students were expected to be in school Thursday morning.
Archive for the tag 'department of education'
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this week that he hopes to create an advisory board for the implementation of the controversial Common Core curriculum and stop standardized testing for children below third grade, drawing sighs of relief from local education activists who have been critical of the rollout.
“Any progress is great progress,” said Heather Ann Fiorica, the president of the District 21′s Community Education Council. “Now more people are talking about it because of Cuomo.”
Fiorica and CEC21 challenged the curriculum’s implementation during a meeting last week, passing a resolution asking the state to slow down the rollout, relieve the testing burden on special needs students and provide more training to teachers and faculty.
In response to the news, Fiorica, who is a parent herself, also said the idea of an advisory panel was promising since it would “bring more awareness” to legislators and politicians and convince them that Common Core needs a few speed bumps.
Common Core is a new curriculum being adopted across the nation, drawing criticism from parents and teachers. It relies on more rigorous standardized testing, and teachers in New York say they have not received proper training or been informed of materials on the test.
“I support the Common Core agenda,” Cuomo said during his budget presentation on Tuesday. “But the way the Common Core has been managed by the Board of Regents is flawed. There’s too much uncertainty, confusion and anxiety.”
A panel of advisers as Cuomo is now promoting would, presumably, take these things into consideration and recommend “corrective action,” as Cuomo put it, for the new curriculum.
State Senator Marty Golden is also applauding the governor’s plan to change the way Common Core is implemented, and adds that he wants to see an end to standardized testing of children below the third grade.
“I applaud and agree with the Governor’s decision to suspend testing from Kindergarten to 2nd grade, and I am glad to see the Board of Regents concurs,” Golden said in a press release. “The entirety of the Common Core Curriculum must be reviewed, but nevertheless, standardized testing for Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd graders is unnecessary.”
Cuomo said the advisory panel will issue a report before the end of Albany’s legislative session in June.
The Community Education Council of School District 21 (CEC21) is challenging the state’s testing and educational policies, voting this week to request the Department of Education ”re-evaluate and slow the implementation” of Common Core testing standards.
The council’s resolution argues that the tougher standardized testing requirements of the Common Core curriculum do not meet the individualized needs of students, and leave many students – especially those with special needs – in the dust.
“Each child is different and this approach is very cookie-cutter like,” said Heather Ann Fiorica, the president of CEC21.
They also say that the state bungled implementation, pushing it through too quickly without soliciting feedback or providing training.
Sheepshead Bay High School, which the city decided to “phase out” at the end of last semester due to poor performance, had the deck stacked against them by Department of Education policies that overloaded them with difficult students.
A new study by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform confirms the departments policies of dumping high-needs kids in struggling schools, worsening their chances at success.
The New York Post reports:
The students who don’t participate in the regular high-school selection process — known as “over the counter,” or OTC, students — are likelier to be new immigrants, have special needs, be homeless or have a prior history of behavioral issues.
Yet the DOE knowingly assigned huge numbers of them to dozens of schools that were either already being shuttered for poor performance or that were subsequently approved for closure, the study found.
“Compelling evidence suggests that the DOE’s inequitable assignment of OTC students to struggling high schools reduces the opportunities for success for both the students and their schools,” said Norm Fruchter, an Annenberg associate and one of the study’s authors.
At Sheepshead Bay HS in Brooklyn, the percentage of OTC kids assigned each year grew from 18 percent in 2008 to 25 percent in 2011 — well above the average for large high schools. After the school’s performance began to suffer, it was approved for closure earlier this year.
The report confirms claims made by Sheepshead Bay High School (3000 Avenue X) supporters that gains they had made in recent years were rapidly undermined by a growing student body of high-needs students, a claim the fell on deaf ears at public hearings over the school closure.
Even with the high rate of OTC students, Sheepshead Bay High School administrators had claimed they had a tremendous success rate at converting those low-performers into achievers, through less traditional means like extra-curricular activities and special programs.
Still, their graduation rates weighed on the rest of the student body, leading to the closure of Sheepshead Bay High School.
A sweeping City Council candidates’ forum hosted by the Manhattan Beach Community Group last Wednesday touched on topics including stop-and-frisk, discretionary funding, and the overhaul of the Riegelmann Boardwalk. But the audience, which included active civic association leaders from around the district, was eager to question the candidates on their plans to wrestle some local control back from City Hall and back into the community.
The Democratic candidates vying to replace term-limited Michael Nelson in the 48th District fielded a volley of wonkish questions about Community Board reforms, community-based planning, and a potential dismantling of a city agency that many civic boards fault with turning a blind eye to over-development in the area.
For decades a battle has raged between parents, religious leaders and politicians over the question of allowing prayer in schools. Councilman Lew Fidler may have come up with a solution that attempts to bridge the gap between those who believe and those who don’t.
According to CBS New York, Fidler has put forward a resolution that calls for students to observe a mandatory, albeit non-denominational moment of silence, either before or after the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Like most attempts to legislate the behavior of children, Fidler’s idea has split critics and divided parents.
TriBeCa resident Christi Wood spoke to the seemingly benign nature of the proposed resolution. She told CBS New York that she thinks “it’s a good idea. They can kind of think about whatever they want. We live in a crazy, fast-paced city, so a moment of silence, I think it is a good idea. I’d like to have one.”
Julie Antoinette thought the measure was a waste of time.
“I disagree with it. I just think that if they need to have a moment of silence [do it] at their own time. How many hours in a school day? They have 12 other hours to do it on their own private time.”
While a resolution from the City Council can’t force the Department of Education to enact a mandatory moment of silence, Fidler hopes that a near-unanimous council resolution puts pressure on them to do so.
“Hopefully, if it passes the council and it passes unanimously, or close to unanimously, the Department of Education will understand that there is a school of thought out there that believes that this should be policy,” Fidler told CBS.
We were wondering what our readers think of making children observe a mandatory moment of silence everyday at school.
Do you think it’s good for children to have a moment to silently meditate, pray or just relax quietly? Do you think the idea is too rooted in a religious mind-frame and has no place in public schools? Or do you think the idea is just dumb and a waste of time?
Let us know.
The Panel for Educational Policy, which has the final say on closing schools in New York City, voted last night to approve plans to phase out and ultimately shutter Sheepshead Bay High School and 21 other schools at the end of this semester.
Much like the closure hearing held earlier this month at Sheepshead Bay High School, opposition at last night’s meeting was thin compared to previous years.
The New York Post notes:
While hundreds of parents and teachers came to protest the move, the meeting wasn’t nearly as volatile as in past years, when thousands packed the auditorium and raucously taunted education officials.
… Before last night’s vote, far fewer elected officials spoke out than usual, the crowd thinned within hours, and even the head of the UFT sent his No. 2.
NY 1 reports that some of that scale down in opposition is because the UFT has “given up” on challenging Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s policies, and is now looking ahead to the new mayor. NY 1 reports:
This is the fourth year since a state law was revised to require that the panel votes on school closures, but since the majority of the panel is appointed by the mayor, the panel has approved every single one of the DOE’s proposals to date.
Of all of the DOE’s controversial policies, closing schools consistently generates the most vocal push back. Even if the outcome of the final vote is almost certainly assured, thousands of people show up to the meeting every year. Most are teachers, students or parents at the schools that are being closed, but the teachers’ union has also traditionally brought in hundreds of other members to speak out against the policy.
This year, the United Federation of Teachers has not organized a large protest for the first time. The union president said that he has given up trying to work with the current mayor to get anything done and is focused on the next mayor.
As many as 142 schools have been closed of phased out since Bloomberg took office in 2002.
In addition to closing Sheepshead Bay High School, the panel voted to approve the co-location of four new schools, including two charters, on the 3000 Avenue X premises. A “phase out” period in which no new ninth graders would be accepted to the school begins immediately. Current students would be allowed to graduate or transfer out over the next three years, and, beginning this September, a new public high school, two new charter high schools, and a district transfer high school would all be co-located in the same facility.
The charter high schools will both be managed by New Visions for Public Schools, a nonprofit that manages more than 70 schools across the five boroughs.
- Eligibility: All children who turn five years old in 2013 and who live in New York City are eligible to attend kindergarten in September 2013.
- Applications: You must submit an application in order for your child to attend kindergarten. If you would like to apply to multiple schools, you must submit an application to each school. You must bring two proof of residence documents.
- Choice Districts: District 1 (Lower East Side), District 7 (South Bronx), and District 23 (Brownsville) are “choice districts.” This means there are no zoned schools in these districts. You can apply to schools in District 1, District 7, and District 23 online, by phone (at 718-935-2009), or in person at an Enrollment Office. For more information about these districts, visit the Kindergarten Admissions website.
Elementary School Directories
Don’t forget to take a look at the 2013-2014 Elementary School Directories to get a better understanding of your options. Available online, each borough’s directory contains information about the kindergarten admissions process, schools located in that borough, district maps, a list of charter schools, and a summary of all public kindergarten programs in New York City.
Maisel Blasts Plan To Close Sheepshead Bay High School, Says Department Of Education Failed Students
The Department of Education held a required hearing to “phase out” Sheepshead Bay High School (3000 Avenue X) last week, but the event drew a smaller crowd of about 80 students and faculty, as compared to hundreds in the previous attempts to shut it down.
It’s the third year in the row the city is trying to shutter the school – this time by replacing it with two public schools and two charter schools – and some school supporters say the teachers, students and parents have simply been beaten, broken and demoralized by the process.
If the plan to close Sheepshead Bay High School is approved, a “phase out” period would begin in which no new ninth graders would be accepted to the school. Current students would be allowed to graduate or transfer out, and, beginning this September, a new public high school, two new charter high schools, and a district transfer high school would all be co-located in the same facility.
We received the following announcement from the New York City Department of Education’s Elementary School Admissions Team:
Welcome to Kindergarten Admissions! If you live in New York City and your child is turning five years old in 2013, your child is eligible to attend kindergarten in September 2013. We understand the registration process can be challenging at times, so please know that we’re always here to offer a hand should you need one. To help you get started, below you will find important dates and other resources meant to guide you throughout the application period.
March 1, 2013: Deadline to submit application
Early April, 2013: Placement offers distributed to families
April 8 – April 26, 2013: Pre-registration at schools
You must submit an application in order for your child to attend kindergarten. If you would like to apply to multiple schools, you must submit an application to each school.
Elementary School Directories
The 2013-14 Elementary School Directories are available on the Elementary School Publications website. Directories will be available at all public elementary schools later this month.
Each borough’s Directory contains information about the kindergarten admissions process, schools located in that borough, district maps, a list of charter schools, and a chart that provides a summary of all public kindergarten programs in the city. Use the Directories as a resource to help you decide where you would like to submit a kindergarten application.
Districts 1, 7, and 23 are choice districts
There are no zoned schools in District 1 (Lower East Side), District 7 (South Bronx) and District 23 (Brownsville). You can apply to schools in these districts online, by phone, and in person at an Enrollment Office. For more information about these districts, visit the Kindergarten Admissions website.