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StudentsFirstNY Weekly Education News Roundup: May 19-24, 2013

In this week's education news: Anthony Weiner enters the mayoral race with no education platform, a new lawsuit claims NYC high school admissions decisions are based on race, and charter school demand continues to increase.

Little Known About Anthony Weiner's Education Platform
Gotham Schools // May 22, 2013

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner officially entered New York City's mayoral race this week. In an article by Gotham Schools, Weiner has said little about his education platform, including major issues such as charter schools and standardized testing:

"A booklet of policy ideas that Weiner released last month and cites in the video released today skirts the major issues that are dividing candidates this year on education, including charter schools, school governance, and the role of testing. Weiner's top priority, according to the book, which was a refreshed version of a similar document from 2009, is to 'streamline the process for removing troublesome students from the classroom.'

"That position could score points with families and educators who see school discipline as a major issue. But it also drew a protest outside of Weiner's Park Avenue apartment building last month by students who said the approach to discipline would unfairly penalize students of color."

Lawsuit Claims NYC High School Admissions Decisions Are Based on Race
New York Daily News // May 20, 2013

According to the New York Daily News, the federal Office of Civil Rights received a lawsuit claiming the admissions standards for New York City's high schools place minorities into underperforming schools:

"In 2011, 59% of Hispanic students and 60% of black students graduated from city high schools in four years, compared with 79% of white students and 83% of Asian students. That year, the latest for which complete data is available, 13% of black students and 15% of Hispanic students met college readiness standards, compared with 29% of students overall.

"The federal complaint — the second such civil rights case filed against city schools in the last year — cites city statistics that show high schools with more black and Hispanic students had graduation rates of 48% in 2010, compared with an average city graduation rate of 65%."

Demand for Charter Schools Reaches New Heights
New York Daily News // May 19, 2013

This coming fall, 24 new public charter schools will open in New York City, bringing the total number of charter school seats up to 18,600. But as the New York Daily News reports in an editorial, there are still an overwhelming number of applicants for each open charter school seat:

"Yet even at this breakneck pace, New York can barely make a dent in the overwhelming demand from families hoping to attend one of these schools. A record 69,000 applicants submitted 181,600 applications to one or more of the 183 schools that will be operating this fall, according to careful estimates.

"This leaves a total of more than 50,000 kids on wait-lists, without a seat in a great public school of their choice. That’s enough students to fill Yankee Stadium."

Read the full summary of the article.

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StudentsFirstNY Weekly Education News Roundup: May 19-24, 2013

In this week's education news: Anthony Weiner enters the mayoral race with no education platform, a new lawsuit claims NYC high school admissions decisions are based on race, and charter school demand continues to increase.

Little Known About Anthony Weiner's Education Platform
Gotham Schools // May 22, 2013

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner officially entered New York City's mayoral race this week. In an article by Gotham Schools, Weiner has said little about his education platform, including major issues such as charter schools and standardized testing:

"A booklet of policy ideas that Weiner released last month and cites in the video released today skirts the major issues that are dividing candidates this year on education, including charter schools, school governance, and the role of testing. Weiner's top priority, according to the book, which was a refreshed version of a similar document from 2009, is to 'streamline the process for removing troublesome students from the classroom.'

"That position could score points with families and educators who see school discipline as a major issue. But it also drew a protest outside of Weiner's Park Avenue apartment building last month by students who said the approach to discipline would unfairly penalize students of color."

Lawsuit Claims NYC High School Admissions Decisions Are Based on Race
New York Daily News // May 20, 2013

According to the New York Daily News, the federal Office of Civil Rights received a lawsuit claiming the admissions standards for New York City's high schools place minorities into underperforming schools:

"In 2011, 59% of Hispanic students and 60% of black students graduated from city high schools in four years, compared with 79% of white students and 83% of Asian students. That year, the latest for which complete data is available, 13% of black students and 15% of Hispanic students met college readiness standards, compared with 29% of students overall.

"The federal complaint — the second such civil rights case filed against city schools in the last year — cites city statistics that show high schools with more black and Hispanic students had graduation rates of 48% in 2010, compared with an average city graduation rate of 65%."

Demand for Charter Schools Reaches New Heights
New York Daily News // May 19, 2013

This coming fall, 24 new public charter schools will open in New York City, bringing the total number of charter school seats up to 18,600. But as the New York Daily News reports in an editorial, there are still an overwhelming number of applicants for each open charter school seat:

"Yet even at this breakneck pace, New York can barely make a dent in the overwhelming demand from families hoping to attend one of these schools. A record 69,000 applicants submitted 181,600 applications to one or more of the 183 schools that will be operating this fall, according to careful estimates.

"This leaves a total of more than 50,000 kids on wait-lists, without a seat in a great public school of their choice. That’s enough students to fill Yankee Stadium."

Read the full summary of the article.

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NYC Mayoral Candidates Want to Slow Charter School Growth

The demand for charter school seats in NYC has reached a record high, with more than 50,000 students on wait lists. Instead of explaining how they'll help meet that demand, NYC mayoral candidates are seeking to slow charter school growth.

In an opinion piece in the New York Daily News, New York City Charter School Center CEO James Merriman argues the candidates should listen to their constituency and support charter schools: 

With such a strong constituency clamoring for more options, you’d think the candidates running for mayor would be jockeying to explain how they will meet demand. Every single parent of those 50,000 students wants a quality education — and they don’t have the luxury of waiting for a long-term solution that will eliminate poverty or fix all schools.

Sadly, most of the campaign rhetoric to date has been aimed at vilifying charter schools — deriding their success as somehow unfair and suggesting that their growth should be slowed or turned back, as if reducing the number of quality public school seats in the name of equity will help anyone.

Read the full article.

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Op-Ed: StudentsFirstNY's Glen Weiner Discusses the Need for Meaningful Teacher Evaluations

StudentsFirstNY’s Acting Executive Director Glen Weiner recently discussed the great need for meaningful teacher evaluations in The Buffalo News. Earlier this year, most of New York’s school districts we’re able to reach an agreement with local teachers’ unions on a new system for evaluating teachers.

It has recently become clear that some of those school districts engaged in “side deals” with local teachers’ unions to work around actual implementation of new evaluation system. Weiner calls the side deals “unconscionable” and highlights the importance of implementing a stronger system for evaluating teachers:

These “side deals,” meant to strip the new systems of accountability, are deeply troubling. They not only subvert the hard work of the governor and the Legislature, they dash any hope of replacing ineffective teachers with great ones who will improve our schools. That means already struggling school systems like Buffalo’s only stand to get worse.

Inside our schools, there is no greater indicator of a child’s future success than the quality of his or her teacher – not class size, facilities or curriculum. Boosting teacher quality will increase students’ likelihood of attending college and improve their future earning potential. Most important, it is our best chance to ensure that all kids – regardless of family income – graduate with the skills they need to succeed in life.

Meaningful evaluations are a critical first step toward improving teacher quality. Until now, most New York teachers have been rewarded based on seniority or quantity of graduate education, neither of which has been shown to drive student achievement. Effective and ineffective teachers have left our schools at the same rate because there is nothing to differentiate between them. Now we have the opportunity to foster a culture of excellence so our children have the best we can provide.

Read the full op-ed.

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Demand Is Growing for New York City Charter Schools

Eva Moskowitz, the founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools, wrote a column in the New York Daily News about the growing popularity of charter schools in New York City. Last month, Moskowitz says, Success Academy had 12,000 students apply to fill only 2,500 seats in its various charter schools. Moskowitz says the reason for the increasing demand is seen in the results:

"Yet, even though education is a route out of poverty, the traditional public schools in the [Bronx] hold little hope of reversing this trend anytime soon. Last year, just a third of Bronx students in grades 3-8 could read at grade level.

"Compare that to the 88% of Success Academy students who are reading at grade level (97% in math), and you begin to understand why parents are clamoring for a seat."

Moskowitz is critical of current mayoral candidates who aim to slow the growth of charter schools despite overwhelming demand. As published in the New York Daily News, Moskowitz writes:

"The 20,000 families on charter waitlists in the Bronx — and 50,000 citywide — deserve to know how their leaders will help their children attend a great public school. They've made it clear that charters are an option they need and want."

Read the full article here.

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Schools Chancellor Walcott Demands a Plan for Education Reform From Mayoral Candidates

According to the New York Times, the Democratic mayoral candidates plan to undo much of the progress made in City schools as a result of Mayor Bloomberg's signature policies. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott is starting a campaign that will demand a solid plan for education reform from the mayoral candidates:

Mr. Walcott will begin his effort on Saturday, in a speech before nearly 2,000 school administrators. He will warn that the school system could fall into disarray if the policies endorsed by the Democratic candidates are put into effect.

“What these promises have in common is that they would hurt children in the service of political interests,” Mr. Walcott will say, according to a copy of his prepared remarks. “I find that disgraceful.”

Mr. Walcott said he was proud of what the Education Department had accomplished. “This is not about the mayor and me,” he said. “This is about what is in the best interest of our students.”

Read the full article.

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Democratic Mayoral Candidates' New Approach to the Charter-School Issue: Exploiting Parents

Right now, 50,000 students are on waiting lists to attend charter schools in New York City. Instead of advocating for an increased number of charter schools, most Democratic mayoral candidates oppose the founding of new charter schools.

In a recent New York Post op-ed, Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of the Success Academy Charter Schools, discusses how many candidates are “exploiting parents’ envy” as a new approach to the charter-school issue:

Sadly, many children, including those who ended up on waiting lists, are trapped in failing district schools. It’s heart wrenching for these children’s parents to know that other kids are getting opportunities that are denied to their own. And this leaves these parents subject to manipulation by conniving politicians.

To fan the flames of these parents’ envy, the politicians have come up with the phrase “separate and unequal” to describe charters.

These politicians are telling parents with children in failing district schools not only that it’s unfair but also that charters are causing their schools to fail.

The idea that charters are to blame for the problems of district schools makes utterly no sense, since these problems existed long before we came along. But envy is a powerful emotion that causes irrational thinking, and the politicians know this.

Read the full article.

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Democratic Mayoral Candidates Back Union Opposition of Charter Schools

This year, 69,000 parents entered their children into the lotteries for admission to New York City’s charter schools. The schools only have 18,600 seats to offer, leaving many children on the wait list.

The New York Daily News explains that much of the political opposition to founding new charter schools is led by the teachers’ union:

While there’s still some legal room for founding new charters, political opposition, led by teachers unions, has capped how many can eventually open in the city.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Controller John Liu and former Controller Bill Thompson, all Democrats, oppose lifting the charter cap to give more children the opportunity to escape failing neighborhood schools, as their parents desperately want.

Read the full article.

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StudentsFirstNY Weekly Education News Roundup: May 13-17, 2013

In this week's education news: NYC mayoral candidates seek an endorsement from the teachers union, one candidate lays out his full education platform, and the demand for charter schools is on the rise. 

NYC Mayoral Candidates Denounce Education Reform at Teachers Union Forum

The New York Daily News // May 14, 2013

At a forum hosted by the United Federation of Teachers, NYC mayoral candidates sought the union's endorsement by promising to roll back important reforms that have improved city schools.

From the New York Daily News

Six mayoral wanna-bes called for stripping the schools of accountability and returning to United Federation of Teachers domination at a disastrous candidates' forum.

Union boss Michael Mulgrew hosted the program and was pleased with the answers delivered by the six participants as they pursued the UFT’s support in the coming election.

Bill Thompson Outlines Education Platform

The New York Times // May 15, 2013

Democratic NYC mayoral candidate Bill Thompson outlined his education platform in a speech this week.

From the New York Times

One of Mr. Thompson’s more distinct ideas is to allow the mayor to appoint only six of the 13 members of the Panel for Educational Policy. Since the mayor now appoints eight, it is effectively a rubber stamp for his policies. But Mr. Thompson said that the mayor should have to convince one of those he does not appoint that his ideas are sound.

Acting Executive Director of StudentsFirstNY Glen Weiner reacted to the plan, saying: "The education policies Bill Thompson outlined today failed to make the grade."

Read Weiner's full statement here

NYC Sees High Demand for Charter School Seats

The New York Post // May 15, 2013

Charter school applications in NYC have reached a record high, but there are not enough seats for every student.

From the New York Post:

Despite opening 24 new schools this coming fall, the city’s charter sector still has at least 50,000 more applicants than available seats — a record-high number that could fill Yankee Stadium, officials said yesterday.

There will be 183 charter schools operating in the city come September, with a collective 18,600 seats to offer parents who applied for spots earlier this year.

Charter officials said the schools, which are publicly-funded but privately-run, received a flood of 181,600 applications — including an estimated 69,000 from unique applicants.

Share

StudentsFirstNY Weekly Education News Roundup: May 13-17, 2013

In this week's education news: NYC mayoral candidates seek an endorsement from the teachers union, one candidate lays out his full education platform, and the demand for charter schools is on the rise. 

NYC Mayoral Candidates Denounce Education Reform at Teachers Union Forum

The New York Daily News // May 14, 2013

At a forum hosted by the United Federation of Teachers, NYC mayoral candidates sought the union's endorsement by promising to roll back important reforms that have improved city schools.

From the New York Daily News

Six mayoral wanna-bes called for stripping the schools of accountability and returning to United Federation of Teachers domination at a disastrous candidates' forum.

Union boss Michael Mulgrew hosted the program and was pleased with the answers delivered by the six participants as they pursued the UFT’s support in the coming election.

Bill Thompson Outlines Education Platform

The New York Times // May 15, 2013

Democratic NYC mayoral candidate Bill Thompson outlined his education platform in a speech this week.

From the New York Times

One of Mr. Thompson’s more distinct ideas is to allow the mayor to appoint only six of the 13 members of the Panel for Educational Policy. Since the mayor now appoints eight, it is effectively a rubber stamp for his policies. But Mr. Thompson said that the mayor should have to convince one of those he does not appoint that his ideas are sound.

Acting Executive Director of StudentsFirstNY Glen Weiner reacted to the plan, saying: "The education policies Bill Thompson outlined today failed to make the grade."

Read Weiner's full statement here

NYC Sees High Demand for Charter School Seats

The New York Post // May 15, 2013

Charter school applications in NYC have reached a record high, but there are not enough seats for every student.

From the New York Post:

Despite opening 24 new schools this coming fall, the city’s charter sector still has at least 50,000 more applicants than available seats — a record-high number that could fill Yankee Stadium, officials said yesterday.

There will be 183 charter schools operating in the city come September, with a collective 18,600 seats to offer parents who applied for spots earlier this year.

Charter officials said the schools, which are publicly-funded but privately-run, received a flood of 181,600 applications — including an estimated 69,000 from unique applicants.

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