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StudentsFirstNY Weekly Education News Roundup: August 11-16, 2013

In this week's news roundup: data from the Common Core testing shows NYC's education policies are improving student outcomes, Quinn wants to raise the dropout age to 18 and NYC's mayoral candidates visit Cincinnati schools for ideas.

22 of the Top 25 Performing Schools on Common Core are in NYC
New York Daily News // August 14, 2013

While only about 30 percent of New York City students passed the Common Core, the vast majority of the top performing schools were located in NYC. Of the 25 top performing schools for the test, 22 were in New York City. According to the New York Daily News, there were no schools among the top 25 performing schools on tests just 10 years ago:

"Of the 25 top-performing schools statewide, 22 are in the city, the Education Department found.

"'Ten years ago, there were no New York City schools in the top 25 schools in the state; today, the city has 22,' said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott in a statement, adding that's up from 19 last year."

Common Core Results Show Choice is Driving NYC School Improvement
New York Daily News // August 14, 2013

In an editorial, the New York Daily News called on NYC's mayoral candidates to stop the negative rhetoric around the Common Core and examine how the City has built a charter school network and allowed parents to choose schools for their children. These two factors are both driving student success:

"An astonishing 22 of the top 25 performing schools from Montauk to Buffalo were in the five boroughs. And they were at the top of the top.

"Only four were traditional grade schools that accept students from geographic zones. The rest were charter schools, gifted-and-talented programs and middle schools that are sought out and require admissions. Their students have benefited from one of the hallmarks of the Bloomberg years - a dramatic boost in parental ability to take advantage of top programs. The lesson for would-be mayors is that choice drives achievement."

UFT Charter School Shows Poor Results on State Tests
New York Post // August 12, 2013

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew has said the lower NYC student scores on state tests reflect poorly on recent education policies. When making these comments, he neglects to mention that a charter school run by the UFT was among NYC schools with the worst results.

As noted in an editorial from the New York Post:

"...among the New York City students who fared the worst on these new tests are those who are being taught in Mulgrew’s own glass house — the UFT charter school. Whether scored against the city average or the charter average, a school that was supposed to showcase the union’s professionalism has only highlighted its failures.

"In English, only 9.7 percent of the UFT charter’s third to eighth graders are proficient, and only 12.6 percent in math. That’s worse than district public schools, where the average is 26.4 percent in English and 29.6 percent in math. It also falls far short of the average for charters, which is 34.8 percent proficient in math and 25.1 percent in English."

Quinn Proposes Raising Legal Dropout Age to 18
New York Post // August 11, 2013

New York City mayoral candidate and current City Council Speaker Christine Quinn wants to raise the legal dropout age in NYC to 18 years of age. The current dropout age is 17, which was raised from 16 in 2005. According to the New York Post, high school dropouts on average earn $8,000 less per year than a high school graudate:

"'Anything less than 100 percent graduation rate is unacceptable, and we, as a city, must strive to change this and take measures to correct it,' Quinn said."

NYC's Mayoral Candidates Look to Cincinnati Schools for Guidance
The New York Times // August 11, 2013

Several candidates for Mayor of New York City have recently traveled to Cincinnati to visit the city's "community learning centers," an alternative schooling model that deemphasizes testing and values school as more than just a place to learn. According to The New York Times, these schools have had moderate success in helping Cincinnati students raise their standards, although the district still lags well behind the rest of the state:

"Despite its relatively small size, Cincinnati, with roughly 30,000 students, has become a lodestar for big-city school systems across the country. Superintendents and union leaders looking for an alternative to a high-stakes, data-driven movement in education have showered the community schools model with praise, noting that it has expanded access to health care and social services, tackling problems thought to be causes of academic failure.

First Ratings of NYC Teacher Colleges Will Be Released Next Week
The New York Times // August 14, 2013

On August 21st, New York City will release scorecard data on all the teacher-preparation programs in the city. According to The New York Times, the data-driven Bloomberg Administration will, for the first time ever, evaluate all public and private education programs within the five boroughs:

"The release of the scorecards places the city at the forefront of a national effort, backed by the Obama administration, to use data to upend the teaching profession and the pathways to it."

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