School budget proposal would cut 250 positions
By Akilah Johnson
February 3, 2011
Boston public schools would close a $63 million shortfall by cutting about 250 positions and restructuring class-size averages, and will also use an infusion of city and federal funds, according to a proposed budget presented to the School Committee last night.
"It's not perfect yet,'' Superintendent Carol R. Johnson told the committee. "But, I think this budget is trying to begin a really intense effort to really focus on students. Not programs. Not schools. Not fancy logos."
Bloomberg's Budget to Include Teacher Layoffs
By JAVIER C. HERNANDEZ
February 16, 2011
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, escalating his battle with Albany over cuts to city programs, will announce plans to lay off nearly 4,700 teachers as part of a bleak budget to be released on Thursday.
Mr. Bloomberg will portray the reductions as necessary to make up for a loss of $2.1 billion in state aid. But his austere forecast will also serve a political purpose, given the mayor's desire to wring more money out of the Legislature and to abolish a law that protects veteran teachers.
Bloomberg Calls Behavior of Black's Critics an Embarrassment
By JAVIER C. HERNANDEZ
February 4, 2011
To the thousands of parents who yelled and screamed this week about the city's plan to close nearly two dozen schools, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has a message: You are an embarrassment.
Mr. Bloomberg on Friday bluntly rejected the tactics on display at two hearings this week, in which protesters blew whistles and hurled insults in hopes of drowning out the new schools chancellor, Cathleen P. Black.
Most New York Students Are Not College-Ready
By SHARON OTTERMAN
February 7, 2011
New York State education officials released a new set of graduation statistics on Monday that show fewer than half of students in the state are leaving high school prepared for college and well-paying careers.
The new statistics, part of a push to realign state standards with college performance, show that only 23 percent of students in New York City graduated ready for college or careers in 2009, not counting special-education students. That is well under half the current graduation rate of 64 percent, a number often promoted by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg as evidence that his education policies are working.
New York's school testing con
By SUSAN EDELMAN
February 19, 2011
In a stunningly short time, from 2006 to 2009, New York schools celebrated what was presented as a tremendous turnaround. The number of city students passing statewide math tests in the third through eighth grades surged from 58% to 82%. At the same time, the Big Apple graduation rate rose from 49% to an all-time high of 63% last year.
The figures were miraculous.
They were also, for the most part, a lie.
Adding Up The Spending: Fiscal Disparities and Philanthropy Among New York City Charter Schools
by Bruce D. Baker, Richard Ferris
January 26, 2011
In prominent Hollywood movies and even in some research studies, New York City (NYC) charter schools have been held up as unusually successful. This research brief presents a new study that analyzes the resources available to those charter schools, and it also looks at their performance on state standardized tests. The study reaches some surprising conclusions, some of which include the following:
Spending by NYC charter schools varies widely, and these differences in spending per pupil appear to be driven primarily by differences in access to private donors. The most well-endowed charters receive additional private funds exceeding $10,000 per pupil more than traditional public schools receive. Other charters receive almost no private donations. (The study's analysis is based on data from 2006 to 2008 contained in audited annual financial reports, IRS tax filings of non-profit boards overseeing charter schools and charter management organizations.)
Report: Most city charter schools receive more per-pupil funds
by Anna Phillips
February 15, 2011
Reversing its earlier findings, the city's Independent Budget Office has concluded in a new study that most New York City charter schools receive more funding per student than their district school peers.
A year ago, an IBO study found that charter schools housed in public school buildings received $305 less per student than district schools for the 2008-09 school year. Now, the office has revised its methodology and has reached a very different conclusion.
Analysis Finds Dramatic Spike in NYC Suspensions: Black Children and Students with Special Needs Most Affected
January 27, 2011
The number of student suspensions in New York City public schools spiked dramatically over the past decade while the length of suspensions grew longer – a phenomenon disproportionally affecting black students and students with disabilities, according to a report released today by the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Student Safety Coalition that analyzes 10 years of previously undisclosed suspension data.
"Education is a child's right, not a reward for good behavior," NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said. "Sadly, the growing reliance on suspensions in New York City schools all too often denies children – often the most vulnerable and in need of support – their right to an education. This harsh approach to discipline, combined with aggressive policing in schools, pushes kids from the classroom into the criminal justice system."
Top Public High Schools Admit Fewer Blacks and Hispanics
By SHARON OTTERMAN
February 11, 2011
The percentage of black and Hispanic students offered admission to the city's elite public high schools inched lower this year, continuing a decade-long slide, according to the results of the city's admissions process released Friday.
Just 4 percent of the students offered admission to the seven specialized high schools were black. Notifications were made on Friday. Six percent were Hispanic, 35 percent Asian, and 30 percent white.
Issues of Race Bubble Up as Republicans Assert New Power in Albany
By THOMAS KAPLAN
January 30, 2011
An otherwise routine session last Monday in the New York State Senate erupted into an argument over seating arrangements and office space that hinted at issues of race and gender that are percolating as Republicans assert their authority as the majority party.
One Democratic senator, Eric Adams, was indignant about how two Democratic colleagues, Velmanette Montgomery of Brooklyn and Suzi Oppenheimer of Westchester County, had been treated by Republicans.
Glass Ceiling Persists in New York Government
by Rachael Fauss
On Nov. 2, 2010, New Yorkers elected candidates for state government and in doing so, probably unbeknownst to themselves, they reduced the number of female state legislators. Women hold no major leadership posts in the legislature and none of the four statewide offices, although one of New York's U.S. senators -- Kirsten Gillibrand -- is a woman.
New York State gave women the right to vote in 1917 -- three years before the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was enacted -- and has had many leaders for women's suffrage such as Susan B. Anthony and the organizers of the Seneca Falls Convention. Today, however, New York lags behind other states in terms of the representation of women in government, both in elected and appointed positions.
State Democrats absent for vote as Wisconsin budget protests swell
By the CNN Wire Staff
February 17, 2011
The nation's most visible budget battle was heavy on passion and light on legislative attendance Thursday as Wisconsin wrangled over a bill that would strip teachers and other public employees of most of their collective bargaining rights and cut their benefits.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker called for 16 senators -- 14 of them Democrats -- to appear at the Capitol in Wisconsin for a vote on his bill. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said the chamber will reconvene Friday.
Class warfare on urban preschools
By Star-Ledger Editorial Board
February 1, 2011
The fight to improve urban schools in New Jersey has had its ups and downs. At steep expense, we have seen only modest gains in most districts.
But there is one undoubted success: full-day preschools. Kids who graduate from those programs are making solid and measurable gains in reading and math. As a result, poor minority kids are closing the gap with their peers in the suburbs on fourth-grade tests. That's no small achievement.
Competition in education funding hurts students
By Dennis Van Roekel
February 1, 2011
Many Americans, including President Obama, weren't even born when the Soviet Union launched the first satellite into outer space in October 1957. Yet everyone knew exactly what the President meant when he said during his State of the Union address, "This is our Sputnik moment." Today the U.S. faces economic and innovative competition around the world. If we want to win the future in the same way that we won the Space Race, we must do what we did then – invest in education.
The President shined a spotlight on the importance of a long-term investment in education and recognized the critical role that teachers play in student success, calling for more respect for the teaching profession. His strong message of support for education and his call to fix No Child Left Behind is sorely welcome. However, as with many good things, the devil is in the details.
Ruling: Fired D.C. teachers must be offered jobs, back wages
By: Lisa Gartner
The first 75 teachers who former Chancellor Michelle Rhee fired must be given about $7.5 million in back wages and offered positions with D.C. Public Schools, an arbitrator ruled.
"The [termination] process used in this case was so devoid of due process as to be arbitrary and capricious," arbitrator Charles Feigenbaum said in his verdict favoring the Washington Teachers' Union, which has been fighting D.C. Public Schools officials over the July 2008 dismissals for more than two years."
A Terrible Divide
By BOB HERBERT
February 7, 2011
The Ronald Reagan crowd loved to talk about morning in America. For millions of individuals and families, perhaps the majority, it's more like twilight — with nighttime coming on fast.
Look out the window. More and more Americans are being left behind in an economy that is being divided ever more starkly between the haves and the have-nots. Not only are millions of people jobless and millions more underemployed, but more and more of the so-called fringe benefits and public services that help make life livable, or even bearable, in a modern society are being put to the torch.
Obama Seeks to Shelter Education in 2012 Budget
By Alyson Klein
February 14, 2011
Education was a bright spot in the Obama administration's otherwise austere fiscal year 2012 budget proposal, which seeks a modest boost for the U.S. Department of Education from the current fiscal year; new money for teacher training, research, and early-childhood education; and a continuation of the Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation grant programs.
But Monday's $77.4 billion Education Department proposal came just three days after Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives released a plan that would slice nearly $5 billion from the budget now funding the department. The GOP reductions—which could be voted on by the House later this week—would include cuts to programs long considered untouchable, such as special education and Pell Grants to help low- and moderate-income students attend college.
Obama Administration's 'Disparate Impact' Policy Draws Criticism
By Mary Ann Zehr
February 15, 2011
The Obama administration's new efforts to reduce the overrepresentation of some racial and ethnic groups in school discipline cases came in for criticism at a public briefing before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
Obama officials announced last spring that as well as looking for evidence of "different treatment," or intentional discrimination against students in civil rights enforcement, federal officials also would examine "disparate impact," disproportionate effects on a particular group by a policy though no intention of discrimination may exist. Federal officials have said that even with the new focus, an education agency would be found out of compliance only if an equally sound policy would have less of a disparate impact.
House GOP Presses for Deep Cuts to Education
By Alyson Klein
February 18, 2011
A measure that would slash the U.S. Department of Education's current budget by more than $5 billion—-one of the most significant cuts in the department's history—was lurching toward passage in the U.S. House of Representatives early Friday.
Approval would set up a fiscal face-off in the Democratic-controlled Senate. And, should a bill with severe cuts make it through that chamber, President Obama has pledged to veto it. The current temporary measure expires March 4, and failure to reach agreement on a new one could mean the first federal government shutdown in more than a decade.
Christie Proposes Ending Tenure for Poor Teachers
By WINNIE HU
February 16, 2011
One month after Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey used his annual state address to call for an end to tenure for teachers, his administration unveiled a plan on Wednesday that would take away tenure from ineffective teachers but stopped short of eliminating it.
The acting state education commissioner, Christopher D. Cerf, in an address at Princeton University, said Mr. Christie would propose that tenure continue to be awarded to teachers who are rated highly effective or effective for three consecutive years. Those who are rated ineffective for one year, or partially effective for two consecutive years, would lose their tenure protections, though not necessarily their jobs, he said.
Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline: A Survey from the Field
By Matt Cregor and Damon Hewitt
January 29th, 2011
Our nation's school discipline rates have reached all-time highs. As suspension, expulsion and school-based arrests rates grow, racial disparities in discipline continue to widen. Despite a wealth of research on the harms of these exclusionary discipline practices and their ties to school pushouts, media outlets are filled with stories of ever younger students being suspended, expelled or arrested for matters that, prior to "zero tolerance" disciplinary policies, were once handled by a call home. As the "School-to-Prison Pipeline" reaches a crisis stage, both new and familiar voices are emerging to reform school discipline. Here we review recent research on school discipline and highlight promising efforts to eliminate racial disciplinary disparities and dismantle the School-to-Prison Pipeline.
Youth and the community successfully push back proposed graduation requirements
February 18, 2011
We want to express our deepest thanks to our youth and supporters who heard our call for action and joined the movement against the proposed graduation requirements. Together with many community partners, including the ACLU, The Met School and the Youth 4 Change Alliance, we showed that sustained community effort can make a difference in pushing for fair and equitable systems change in our schools.
More than 20 Young Voices youth spoke at two different Regents hearings as part of this movement.
We would like to commend Commissioner Gist and the Board of Regents for their careful consideration of all the public testimony and their willingness to revisit their proposal. The proposed changes have been put off until 2014. We need to work with the Commissioner and Regents to make sure these changes are fair and support real systems change.
State formula puts more than a third of N.J. school districts below ‘adequate’ spending levels
BY LESLIE BRODY
February 25, 2011
Three quarters of at-risk students in New Jersey live in districts that spend less than state law says is necessary to provide a thorough education, a school finance expert testified in Hackensack on Friday.
Melvin Wyns, former finance director for the state education department, said that 205 of 560 regular districts are spending less this year than the sum called for by the state’s 2008 funding formula, which defines what each district should spend to provide an adequate education to its students.
"Closing Opportunity Gaps is Key to Closing School Achievement Gaps"; Groups Ask Congress to Address Equity Issues in ESEA Reauthorization
February 22, 2011
The Forum on Educational Accountability (FEA) today called on U.S. policymakers to address Opportunity to Learn concerns, such as directing federal funds to enhance school equity, in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. In a statement titled "All Children Deserve the Opportunity to Learn," the education, civil rights and other leaders also called on the new National Commission on Education Equity and Excellence, announced by Education Secretary Arne Duncan and beginning its deliberations today, to adopt FEA's recommendations.
Preparing to fight school cuts
By Scott Waldman
January 26, 2011
Poor and minority students stand to suffer the most from the expected school aid cuts Gov. Andrew Cuomo has promised, according to a new report.
In its study "Unequal Opportunity = Unequal Results," the Alliance for Quality Education claims there is an education funding gap of $788 million between schools with a high percentage of poor students and the wealthiest districts. Higher income schools also spend $37,664 more per classroom each year, the report said.
Gov. Cuomo wields ax in 2011-12 state budget
February 1, 2011
By Associated Press
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday did what no New York governor has tried in 15 years: He unveiled a budget plan that would reduce overall spending - including up to 9,800 layoffs and what education advocates say a historic cut in aid to public schools - as the state tries to get out from under crippling deficits.
The budget is being watched closely nationwide. Other states with fiscal years that begin after New York's April 1 start will also have to grapple with historic deficits, unsustainable spending and unaffordable work force levels without slowing already sluggish economic recoveries.
Education Advocates Call for Videos Questioning Cuomo's Cuts
By Jeremy B. White
February 8, 2011
Statewide education coalition the Alliance for Quality Education has launched a contest that recruits New Yorkers to make videos protesting Andrew Cuomo's proposed cuts to education.
Contestants will compete for prizes that include an iPad or $1,000 in funding for education or local youth programs. In a video on AQE's website, communications director Nikki Jones suggested that people talk about their favorite teachers or subjects.
Gov. Cuomo is short-changing city schools, coalition of education groups claims
BY Kenneth Lovett
February 14th 2011
A coalition of education groups accused Gov. Cuomo on Sunday of walking away from a court order designed to pump more money into New York City schools.
In a letter to the governor, they rail that a plan to cut school aid by $1.5 billion flies in the face of a 2006 Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit decision that found the state shortchanged city schools.
READ THE LETTER
Equity leader David Sciarra named to National Equity Commission
February 18, 2011
The Obama administration has announced the selection of David Sciarra, Executive Director of Education Law Center, to serve on the Equity and Excellence Commission, newly established by the U.S. Department of Education as instructed by Congress. Sciarra directs ELC's legal and policy advocacy on behalf of public school children and serves as lead counsel in the landmark Abbott v. Burke litigation.
The 28-member national commission, which was proposed by Congressmen Michael Honda and Chaka Fattah, will meet for the first time on Tuesday, February 22, at the Department of Education in Washington, D.C.
Early learning leaves lasting impression
By Dana Friedman
January 21, 2011
Ninety percent of brain development happens during a child's first five years. But, surprisingly, only 16 percent of Long Islanders believe that these early years should get top priority in education funding. Shouldn't we be providing more resources to parents of preschoolers and early childhood programs?
The 16 percent statistic comes from a poll conducted this past fall for The Early Years Institute by the Stony Brook University Center for Survey Research. The majority of 807 residents surveyed--60 percent--believe that priority should be given to kids already in school. But after 30 years of reforming K-12, our world rankings have dropped to never-before seen levels: America's 15-year-olds are 17th in the world in reading, 23rd in science and 31st in math, according to the Programme for International Student Assessment.
Jackson Analyzes Education Disparity
By MAYA BEECHAM
18 FEBRUARY 2011
Fifty-nine percent of Black males in Minnesota graduate from high school. Two-thirds of Minnesota Black male students read below the fourth grade level. Three times as many Black male students, in comparison to white male students were expelled. Black male students were admitted to district Gifted and/or Talented programs at less than half the rate of white male students, while nearly three times as many were classified as mentally retarded.
Statistics for Minnesota are representative of a national tragedy while the United States wrestles with the embarrassment of our students ranking low in education globally. On Monday, Feb. 28, 6-7 pm, Dr. John Jackson, Ed. D., J.D. President of the Schott Foundation, will give a keynote address at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, on the future of public education and its impact on the academic achievement of Black males. Jackson will provide an overview of Minnesota’s statistics on racial disparities in public education and offer practical solutions for educational reform based on the Schott Foundation’s fourth biennial report, Yes We Can: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education & Black Males.