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StudentsFirstNY Weekly Education News Roundup: July 22-26, 2013

In this week's education news: UFT politics costs the city a $15 million grant, Buffalo’s “failing schools” had most students with special needs, language barriers and dropout indicators, KIPP's partnerships with universities prepares students for college and more Hometown Heroes in Education nominees.

Data’s Role in Education Policy
SchoolBook // July 23, 2013

Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky reviewed the Bloomberg administration’s legacy of using data when implementing education policy with Beth Fertig of WNYC’s SchoolBook. Suransky discussed how the Department of Education is finding a balance between quantitative and qualitative information when evaluating schools:

“And so when we evaluate school quality, we now never make any decision to close a school, to change the structure of the school, to remove a leader, without first looking at both our quantitative and our qualitative information. And the quality review is a big piece of that. The surveys [of parents, teachers and students] are another piece that.”

UFT Politics Costs NYC $15 Million Grant
SchoolBook // July 23, 2013

The city failed to meet a deadline set by state officials for a grant proposal from the Department of Education by only receiving approval from the Council of Supervisors and Administrators, which represents principals, and not the United Federation of Teachers. According to WNYC’s SchoolBook, the $15 million grant which was supposed to help school staff implement the new teacher evaluation system will now be redistributed to other regions.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott commented on the UFT’s refusal to sign the proposal:

“The latest obstructionist positions of Mr. Mulgrew will cost the City and his own members $15 million in grant money that would provide teachers and principals additional training and resources in the new teacher evaluation system. By refusing to sign the grant and inserting unrelated issues at the eleventh hour, the UFT is once again hurting the students and schools of New York City.”

Teacher Engages Autistic Students in Creative Ways
NY Daily News // July 24, 2013

Trained by the Manhattan Music Project, Rachel Goeler works to bring art, music, and dance activities to her autistic students to enhance their communication skills. Goeler has been nominated for a Hometown Heroes in Education award for her work in bringing out the best in her students at P233Q.

Goeler spoke to the NY Daily News about teaching and her students:

“It’s my life. There’s something so pure about this population. When they’re happy, you know it’s not disingenuous. And to be that person to make them laugh or smile has always been unbelievably motivating.”

Buffalo’s “Failing Schools” Had Most Students with Special Needs, Language Barriers and Dropout Indicators
The Buffalo News // July 25, 2013

Buffalo’s Bennett, Burgard, East, International Prep, Lafayette and Riversides registered graduation rates lower than forty percent. The Buffalo News found that these “failing schools” had the highest placement of students with special needs, the most language barriers and the greatest dropout indicators.

According to the Buffalo News all six “failing schools” share common factors:

“They have all seen alarming drops in their graduation rates from 2010 to 2012 while their populations of special education, immigrant and impoverished students have swelled over the same period.

"And they don’t have admissions requirements that prevent kids with serious academic problems from walking through their front doors.”

KIPP Partners with Universities to Prepare Students for College
Washington Post // July 26, 2013

The Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) entered into written agreements with colleges to assist disadvantaged students by creating recruiting pipelines and support systems at college.

KIPP co-founder Mike Feinberg spoke with the Washington Post about the program's success with written agreements:

“KIPP students are applying, getting accepted, and matriculating to our partner colleges and universities. Next steps will be to figure out how to increase not just acceptances but matriculation, and also how to ensure we are maximizing our partnerships to help our alumni stay in college and graduate.”

Charter School Prepares Students to Become Responsible Citizens
NY Daily News // July 26, 2013

Democracy Prep Charter School founder Seth Andrew has been nominated for a Daily News Hometown Heroes in Education Award for his work with his charter school network which posts higher math and reading scores than comparable schools.

Andrew spoke to the NY Daily News about the Democracy Prep Charter Schools’ curriculum’s heavy focus on civic engagement and government participation:

“The goal is to prepare students to become responsible citizens. We want them to go to college and change the world.”

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