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StudentsFirstNY Weekly Education News Roundup: July 8-12, 2013

In this week's education news: We demand an end to the unfair distribution of teacher quality in NYC, the New York Times reviews education issues for the mayoral campaign, Campbell Brown of the Parents’ Transparency Project gives an interview, and more:

StudentsFirstNY will File a Complaint Over Unsatisfactory Teacher Distribution 
GothamSchools // July 10, 2013

StudentsFirstNY will file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights and ask the office to investigate the distribution of teacher quality in NYC schools. StudentsFirstNY found that only three percent of teachers were rated “unsatisfactory” last year and that those rated as “unsatisfactory” worked disproportionately in schools with many poor and minority students. The complaint will allege that the unequal distribution of teacher quality is the result of discriminatory policies according to Gotham Schools.

While attending a protest outside the Department of Education’s headquarters at Tweed Courthouse, StudentsFirstNY Acting Executive Director Glen Weiner commented on teachers rated as "unsatisfactory" under the old evaluation system:

"The problem was that everybody is rated satisfactory. If you think about what it takes for a teacher to be rated unsatisfactory in the old model, it has to say something about those teachers”

Biggest Education Issues in NYC Mayoral Campaign
New York Times // July 8, 2013

According to the New York Times’ Editorial Board all the candidates have commented on the city's education policies:

"But emotional flash points in this campaign have centered on three issues: mayoral control, specifically whether the State Legislature gave Mayor Michael Bloomberg too much power when it consolidated authority over the schools in City Hall in 2002; failing schools and when to close them; and the role of charter schools, which receive public money but are exempt from some state regulations."

Co-Founder of the Parents' Transparency Project Talks with City & State
StudentsFirstNY // July 11, 2013

Campbell Brown, co-founder of the Parents’ Transparency Project, talks with City & State’s Morgan Pehme about her new organization whose members are working to shine light on issues affecting education – particularly teachers committing sexual misconduct against students, but are still in the classroom because they are protected by the teachers’ union.

Brown, a former CNN anchor, said eliminating sexual predators in the classroom can be easily addressed by changing the state law with legislation that’s already been introduced, but the United Federation of Teachers is fighting the change.

A Timeline of the NYC School System Under Mayor Bloomberg
StudentsFirstNY // July 12, 2013

New York City's school system has been completely remade in the 12 years under Mayor Mike Bloomberg. In 2002, Mayor Bloomberg's first step was to take control of the City Department of Education in 2002. Since then, his administration has opened hundreds of new schools, closed dozens of failing schools, fostered charter school growth, raised achievement standards and implemented meaningful teacher evaluations.

Training Series Held on New Teacher Evaluation System
StudentsFirstNY // July 12, 2013

The Department of Education held a series of training seminars for teachers and school administrators on the new teacher evaluation. According to WNYC's SchoolBook, the new system called “Advance” will take effect in September and evaluate teachers based on classroom observations, student performance and state test scores.

Shael Polakow-Suransky, the city's Chief Academic Officer, commented on the launch of the new evaluation system:

"We can't shy away from the fact that it's to be a big lift to implement this. What we're trying to do is figure out how to make it as manageable as possible."

State Orders Buffalo to Send Students From Failing Schools to BOCES
StudentsFirstNY // July 12, 2013

State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. is forcing Buffalo to send students from two high schools to take classes outside of the district. The state has recently directed the district to have some students take classes out of the district and be educated by Erie 1 Board of Cooperative Educational Services, a regional education service provider.

According to The Buffalo News, King has directed Buffalo to either:

• Enter into an agreement with Erie 1 BOCES to provide career and vocational programs to any student from East or Lafayette who wishes to enroll in such programs this coming school year.

• Enter into an agreement with a BOCES program to serve as the lead administrators of Lafayette and East, similar to the role that Johns Hopkins originally was supposed to serve.

A plan must be submitted by August 12th.

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