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StudentsFirstNY Weekly Education News Roundup: June 24-28, 2013

In this week's education news: a call for better teacher training, NYC Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson is concerned that the UFT and NYC mayoral candidate Bill Thompson will turn back the clock on education reform, and NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott calls out the UFT for defending teachers accused of sexual misconduct.

A Call for Better Teacher Training

NY Daily News // June 24, 2013

According to a recent evaluation of education schools by the National Council on Teacher Quality, the low assessment scores of public school children in the United States can be attributed to a lack of teacher preparation and standards in the process of recruiting teaching candidates.

In an opinion piece in the Daily News, former NYC Schools Chancellor and StudentsFirstNY Board Chair Joel Klein writes: 

Only one in four programs limits admissions to even the top half of the college-going population, and less than half of all programs adequately prepare teachers in the subjects they will teach.

These are ominous findings, but not especially surprising, given years of national and international assessments showing American students trailing their international peers. Among the 1,200 programs evaluated, few won high marks and most were rated mediocre or worse.

UFT and Bill Thompson Want to Turn Back the Clock on Education Reform

NY Daily News // June 24, 2013

Howard Wolfson, a deputy mayor for government affairs and communications in the Bloomberg administration, describes the transformation of NYC schools since Mike Bloomberg became mayor in 2001 and how the UFT and its candidate Bill Thompson could turn back the clock on progress.

In an opinion piece in the New York Daily News, Wolfson writes:

What the UFT and its choice for mayor are offering is nothing more than a union wish list of measures to roll back the reforms that have benefited our kids during the last decade.

That risks returning to the days when our schools were a national disgrace.

Since there are no more school board members he can hand-pick — the mayor abolished the corrupt school board system — the UFT leader has set his sights far higher, promising millions of dollars to Thompson’s campaign and forming a sophisticated polling and get-out-the-vote operation.

What kind of mayor will the UFT make? With Thompson’s selection, the central question in the campaign has become: Who will run the school system — the union or the mayor? And will it be run for the children it serves or the adults who work in it?

UFT to Blame for Teachers in Classroom Accused of Sexual Misconduct

NY Daily News // June 26, 2013

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott blames the teachers union for making it difficult for the city to fire teachers who have been accused of sexual misconduct. Teachers can only  be fired by an independent hearing officers chosen by the city and union.

According to the Daily News:

“It’s appalling to me that a union representing teachers is the biggest obstacle to getting those accused of sexual misconduct out of our classrooms,” said Walcott, who has fought for legislation to grant firing power to education officials instead of independent hearing officers paid by the state.

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