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StudentsFirstNY Weekly Education News Roundup: May 6-10, 2013

In this week's education news: StudentsFirstNY-supported candidates win seats on the Buffalo School Board, teacher evaluation plans for New York City are being submitted to the state, Quinn proposes a plan for expanding the gifted and talented program, and the City announces progress on creating the first public school electronic bookstore in the nation.

StudentsFirstNY Candidates Win School Board Races in Buffalo
The Buffalo News // May 9, 2013

On Tuesday, May 7, Buffalo residents voted two StudentsFirstNY-supported candidates to the Buffalo School Board. The two candidates, James Sampson and Jason McCarthy, won despite strong opposition from the Buffalo Teachers Federation. StudentsFirstNY's Acting Executive Director Glen Weiner explained to The Buffalo News how much the organization contributed to Sampson and McCarthy, and why StudentsFirstNY chose to support these two candidates:

"The leader of StudentsFirstNY, the state chapter of a national school reform group headed by former Washington, D.C., School Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, said Wednesday that his group gave $10,000 to Sampson and $2,500 to McCarthy."

"The group identified Sampson and McCarthy as 'like-minded,' [Weiner] said, based on their positions on several issues. He cited charter schools and issues related to teacher evaluations as two of them.

Read the full summary of the article.

City, Teachers Union to Submit Plans on Teacher Evaluations 
New York Daily News // May 8, 2013

Today, New York City officials and the United Federation of Teachers will submit plans to state officials that will detail on each side's plan for evaluating teachers.

From the New York Daily News:

Neither side has released its plan for evaluations, which was a source of bitter controversy this year when the city lost $260 million in state funds because the sides could not come to an agreement over how to measure instructor performance.

Gov. Cuomo will impose an evaluation system on city schools on June 1 if Mayor Bloomberg and union president Michael Mulgrew still have not reached an agreement.

Quinn Wants to Expand Gifted Program
The New York Times // May 7, 2013

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a candidate for Mayor of New York City, has proposed expanding the City's gifted and talented programs with 8,700 new spots over the next nine years.

From The New York Times:

Ms. Quinn said the city's elite academic programs had become havens of privilege that for too long have shut out such students. She said she hopes to persuade the Department of Education to make the changes by September.

"Our gifted and talented programs in no way, shape or form reflect the diversity of our city," Ms. Quinn said in an interview.

Education Department Explores E-Textbooks
New York Post // May 6, 2013

The New York City Department of Education is assembling the first electronic bookstore for schools in the nation. Each year, the City purchases more than 1.5 million books, costing over $100 million dollars.

From the New York Post:

Among the flexibility education officials are looking for in the new venture would be the ability for schools to cherry-pick certain chapters from books, rather than springing for entire titles they don't need.

Schools would also be able to transfer licenses of electronic books from one year to the next, so that — like hardcover books — the digital texts could be handed out to new classes of students each year.\

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