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StudentsFirstNY Weekly Education News Roundup: May 27-31, 2013

In this week's education news: awaiting a state-imposed teacher evaluation system for NYC, summer school comes up short, charter school myths, high-needs students succeed in math, and school choice helps all NYC students.

State Education Commissioner Should Impose City-Endorsed Teacher Evaluation Plan
New York Daily News // May 31, 2013

State Education Commissioner John King must side with the students and demand a teacher evaluation system that raises the bar for New York City public school teachers, the New York Daily News writes in an op-ed:

"In keeping with his reputation as a reformer dedicated to getting far better results out of a hidebound education establishment, King must deliver a national model for identifying the best and the worst and helping those in the middle improve.

"King has championed introduction of the Common Core standards, which will raise the education bar. Teachers will be expected to inspire greater achievement than they ever have. His drive will fail without accountability. He will fail because the kids will fail. He must reach for success."

City Summer School Plan Comes Up Short
New York Post // May 31, 2013

Students enrolling in summer school can only earn up to two credits this summer instead of the usual three credits. According to the New York Post, this change will leave many students one credit short for graduation:

"Sloppy math by city education officials has left this year's summer-school calendar four days shorter than needed — making each high-school course six hours short of a full credit, leaders say.

"The abbreviated summer-school calendar has just 26 days for high-school students — down from the normal 30 — because of a later-than-usual starting date of July 8."

Charter School Myths Spread Before New York City Election
New York Daily News // May 30, 2013

Success Academy Charter Schools Founder and CEO Eva Moskowitz feels that many myths and falsehoods about charter schools are being circulated before the New York City mayoral election. In her New York Daily News op-ed, Moskowitz blames the teachers union for spreading misinformation as a means to influence the candidates:

No wonder, with Bloomberg's departure at hand, the union is making a desperate last-ditch effort to slow down the creation of charter schools. Seizing upon an untrue charge of favoritism, the union has asked the state Education Department to prohibit any more renovation of facilities at the schools I run. It also has demanded that officials institute new procedures that would allow the teachers union to tie up our renovations in red tape.

Perhaps the union will succeed in stopping some of our schools from opening. If so, that will be sad for the many students we had hoped to serve. But it's too late to stop the parent choice revolution that the Bloomberg administration has nurtured for 12 years.

For High-Needs Students, Easier to Raise Math Scores Than Reading Scores
The New York Times // May 29, 2013

According to The New York Times, evidence from across the country shows that high-needs students can catch up on math skills quickly while reading skills will still lag behind:

Students entering the fifth grade here [at Troy Prep Middle School in Albany] are often several years behind in both subjects, but last year, 100 percent of seventh graders scored at a level of proficient or advanced on state standardized math tests. In reading, by contrast, just over half of the seventh graders met comparable standards.

The results are similar across the 31 other schools in the Uncommon Schools network, which enrolls low-income students in Boston, New York City, Rochester and Newark. After attending an Uncommon school for two years, said Brett Peiser, the network’s chief executive, 86 percent of students score at a proficient or advanced level in math, while only about two thirds reach those levels in reading over the same period.

Expanding School Choice Will Help All New York City Students
SchoolBook // May 28, 2013

In an op-ed published in SchoolBook, former teacher Marc Sternberg discusses how hopeless his K-8 school was for students since the local high school was terrible. Now that New York City allows students to choose their high school, graduation rates have soared across the city:

"It was once a foregone conclusion that in America's largest city, graduation rates would never break 50 percent. Today, it's reached 65 percent, a record level. Among under-served populations, drop-out rates have been halved, while graduation rates have seen double-digit jumps. In 2005, only 40 percent of Black students and 37 percent of Hispanic students graduated in four years. Today, it's 60 percent and 59 percent respectively."

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