News

Latest News

StudentsFirstNY Weekly Education News Roundup: June 3-7, 2013

In this week's education news: a state-imposed teacher evaluation system for NYC is announced, StudentsFirstNY Acting Executive Director Glen Weiner comments on the idea of the UFT electing NYC’s next mayor, and mayoral candidates weigh-in on education.

StudentsFirstNY Acting Executive Director Glen Weiner Comments on UFT Influence in Mayoral Race
Politicker // June 5, 2013

The president of the United Federation of Teachers, Michael Mulgrew, believes that the union’s endorsement will be so influential in the mayoral race that the group can essentially pick the city’s next mayor.

In a recent New York Observer article StudentsFirstNY Acting Executive Director Glen Weiner expressed concern at the prospect of a UFT-endorsed mayor turning back the clock on education reform for New York students:

[Weiner] said that the UFT would be “a formidable force” during the primary, but warned that it is “a scary proposition to think of them electing the next mayor.” He argued that rolling back Mr. Bloomberg’s policies would set back progress in outcomes such as graduation rates.

StudentsFirstNY Acting Executive Director Glen Weiner Praises New Teacher Evaluation System
New York Post // June 5, 2013

State Education Commissioner John King announced a landmark teacher-evaluation system that holds teachers accountable to the highest standards and removes ineffective ones from the classroom.

In an opinion piece of the New York Post, StudentsFirstNY Acting Executive Director Glen Weiner writes:

Until now, most New York City teachers have been rewarded based on seniority or quantity of graduate education; neither has been shown to improve student achievement. Effective and ineffective teachers leave our schools at the same rate, because we had no means to differentiate one from another.

Now, we do. We can identify 1) the best teachers, who should be rewarded, 2) developing teachers, who should be supported, and 3) failing teachers, who should be removed from the classroom. We have the chance to foster a culture of excellence in our schools so our children have the best chance for educational success.

State Education Commissioner John King Sides with Students over Teachers Union
NY Daily News // June 4, 2013

State Education Commissioner John King has announced a new teacher evaluation plan that put the educational interests of the students ahead of the employment interests of the teachers union. King’s plan will give New York’s next mayor a better chance at evaluating teacher performances, with the goals of helping them improve and removing ineffective teachers from the classroom.

According to the Daily News:

In September, principals will begin rating teachers using yardsticks that include standardized English and math test score gains, demonstrated progress in other subjects, classroom observations and pupil surveys.

Grades will be highly effective, effective, developing and ineffective, with two ineffective ratings in a row presumptive grounds for termination. According to some estimates, several thousand teachers a year could eventually face dismissal.

NYC Mayoral Candidates Weigh in on Teacher Evaluation System
GothamSchools // June 4, 2013

Following State Education Commissioner John King's announcement of a new teacher evaluation system mayoral candidates are giving their opinion on the requirements.

According to Gotham Schools, it's clear that some candidates are trying to walk a fine line between appeasing the teacher's union and actually considering the implementation of the plan:

...whether or not they’re angling aggressively for the union’s support, candidates know that whoever becomes mayor will actually have to implement the system that is in place — and, quite possibly, renegotiate it with the teachers union as part of contract talks.

Bloomberg's Education Legacy a Key Issue in Mayoral Race
Associated Press // June 3, 2013

Over his three terms as mayor, Michael Bloomberg's education policies in New York City have become a model for reform around the country. While the city's mayoral candidates are criticizing the policies to score political points, StudentsFirst Founder and CEO Michelle Rhee offered her perspective on the race and the mayor's education legacy to the Associated Press

"I think that people are watching the race pretty carefully," Rhee said. "Mayor Bloomberg was really I think the mayor that put school reform on the map and really was the first mayor who was involved in driving reform in the city."

Share

Mike Mulgrew: UFT Will Shape Next NYC Mayor

United Federation of Teachers (UFT) President Mike Mulgrew gave an honest assessment of the union's role in the upcoming New York City mayoral election, according to the New York Post:

"'We're not about picking a mayor,' the union boss told the New York Observer. 'We're about making a mayor, making the winner. And that's what we're gonna do.'

"'We' being the United Federation of Teachers. To most New Yorkers, the UFT is a teachers union. But Mulgrew presides over one of the city's most powerful political machines.

"And one of the best-financed, too. Mulgrew reportedly plans on spending in the high seven figures (close to $10 million, in other words) to crown the next mayor. He won't yet say who that candidate might be. But he notes ominously: 'They all get that things have to change dramatically.'"

Mulgrew's demands in backing a mayoral candidate are steep. According to the New York Post, the union's demands in a candidate will include stopping the charter school movement, renegotiating the teacher evaluation system, seeking back pay and possibly ending mayoral control of the City's public schools.

Read the full opinion article here.

Share

Harlem Children's Zone Opens Charter School

On Thursday, June 6, Harlem Children's Zone and the New York City Department of Education opened a new charter school at the St. Nicholas Houses on 129th St. According to DNAinfo.com, the new school is already helping a troubled neighborhood turn things around:

"We had this crazy idea that we could build an institution inside a housing project that would not just save the children, but transform the area," [Harlem Children's Zone President and CEO Geoffrey] Canada said.

The building will be the home of Promise Academy I, a k-12 school that now has 900 students at three different locations. The school will eventually enroll 1,300 students, with residents of St. Nicholas Houses getting priority for admission.

According to DNAinfo.com, the new five-story charter school has 52 classrooms, three science labs, two libraries and two outdoor playgrounds.

Read the full news article.

Share

StudentsFirstNY Acting Executive Director Glen Weiner Comments on UFT Influence in Mayoral Race

Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, has claimed that the group’s endorsement will have great influence on the NYC mayoral primary. According to a recent article in the New York Observer, he thinks the UFT can essentially pick the city's next mayor.

StudentsFirstNY Acting Executive Director Glen Weiner expressed concern at the prospect of a UFT-endorsed mayor turning back the clock on education reform for New York students:

[Weiner] said that the UFT would be “a formidable force” during the primary, but warned that it is “a scary proposition to think of them electing the next mayor.” He argued that rolling back Mr. Bloomberg’s policies would set back progress in outcomes such as graduation rates.

Read the full article

Share

Department of Education Discusses Dezoning District 6 with Parents

A Department of Education spokeswoman attended meetings at District 6 Community Education Council headquarters and at P.S. 8 Luis Belliard to speak to parents about what would happen if children in Washington Heights and Inwood were no longer zoned to neighborhood schools. 

The spokeswoman, Yael Kalban, insisted that there was no firm proposal for dezoning the district on the table and that she was merely in attendance to clarify the meaning of unzoning. The Department of Education has claimed that non-zoned school districts level the playing field when it comes to race and socio-economics status while providing other benefits.

According to DNAInfo:

Smaller class sizes could also result, as schools would no longer have to guarantee a seat to students based on their zone, Kalban said. In addition, families would have only have to fill out one application, as opposed to the current system where families must file multiple.

Read the full article

Share

StudentsFirstNY Acting Executive Director Glen Weiner Praises New Teacher Evaluation System

State Education Commissioner John King announced a landmark teacher-evaluation system by refusing to negotiate the educational benefits of students with special interests and the teachers union. King’s new plan includes student surveys in teacher evaluations and principal empowerment by minimizing bureaucratic hurdles. With King’s plan, teachers in every classroom can be held accountable to the highest standard and ineffective ones can be removed.

In an opinion piece of the New York Post, StudentsFirstNY Acting Executive Director Glen Weiner writes:

Until now, most New York City teachers have been rewarded based on seniority or quantity of graduate education; neither has been shown to improve student achievement. Effective and ineffective teachers leave our schools at the same rate, because we had no means to differentiate one from another.

Now, we do. We can identify 1) the best teachers, who should be rewarded, 2) developing teachers, who should be supported, and 3) failing teachers, who should be removed from the classroom. We have the chance to foster a culture of excellence in our schools so our children have the best chance for educational success.

Read the full article. 

Share

State Education Commissioner King Sides with Students over Teachers Union

State Education Commissioner John King has announced a new teacher evaluation plan that was designed to benefit the educational interests of the students, not the employment interests of the teachers union. King announced his plan after negotiations between Mayor Bloomberg and United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew reached a stalemate.

According to the Daily News:

In September, principals will begin rating teachers using yardsticks that include standardized English and math test score gains, demonstrated progress in other subjects, classroom observations and pupil surveys.

Grades will be highly effective, effective, developing and ineffective, with two ineffective ratings in a row presumptive grounds for termination. According to some estimates, several thousand teachers a year could eventually face dismissal.

King’s plan will give New York’s next mayor a better chance at evaluating the performance of the city’s 80,000 teachers, with the goals of helping them improve and removing ineffective teachers from the classroom.

Read the full news article.

Share

In New Teacher Evaluation System, City and Unions Can Claim Victories

After State Education Commissioner John King issued his teacher evaluation system for the New York City public school system, both the City Department of Education and the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) were quick to claim that their side had won. The Bloomberg administration publicly rolled out a chart that outlined how King had sided with their side on every major issue. The UFT also sent out an email that highlighted their own successes and argued that the City had compiled a cherry-picked list. As Gotham Schools reported, neither side won an outright victory:

"The teacher evaluation plan that State Education Commissioner John King set for the city over the weekend has prompted both city and union officials to claim victories.

"But a point-by-point analysis of some of the major areas of dispute shows that the truth is more complex than either side has proclaimed. We've rounded up some of the biggest disputes and how King settled them."

Gotham Schools put together a two-part story on each major sticking point between the City and the UFT (Part 1, Part 2). On nine different aspects of the teacher evaluation system, Gotham Schools found that the City Department of Education and the UFT each won three (with the two parties sharing another victory for one aspect), and Governor Andrew Cuomo and King each won one.

Read part one of the analysis here.

Read part two of the analysis here.

Share

NYC Mayoral Candidates Weigh in on Teacher Evaluation System

Mayoral candidates are giving their opinion on State Education Commissioner John King's teacher evaluation requirements for New York City.

According to Gotham Schools, it's clear that some candidates are trying to walk a fine line between appeasing the teacher's union and actually considering the implementation of the plan:

...whether or not they’re angling aggressively for the union’s support, candidates know that whoever becomes mayor will actually have to implement the system that is in place — and, quite possibly, renegotiate it with the teachers union as part of contract talks.

Read the full article.

Share

NYC Mayoral Candidates' Views Informed by Experiences as Students and Parents

As NYC's mayoral candidates debate the future of the city's school system, the New York Times takes a look at how their personal experiences have informed their views on education. 

As reported in the Times: 

In the race to be New York’s next mayor, no issue seems to invite more red-hot oratory than education. As the candidates crisscross the city, they riff on charter schools, parent engagement, teacher pay — even cellphones in the classroom.

Their views, in many cases, have been shaped by years in public life, working with parents, teachers and advocates on the many challenges facing the nation’s largest public school system.

But the candidates have also been deeply influenced by their personal experiences, as children and as parents.

Read the full article.

Share

Join StudentsFirstNY

Connect With Us

New Report