Tuesday, February 7, 2017

de Blasio Fake News Inflated Grad Rates Education 2017

de Blasio Fake News Inflated Grad Rates

Teacher who exposed alleged grade-fixing back at war with DOE (NYP)

De Blasio’s $400 million Renewal program aimed at improving nearly 100 struggling schools has been heavily criticized, but leaders of troubled school districts across the state are looking to the program as a model, Politico New York reports.

* A report released by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found the median per pupil spending in New York schools stood at $22,658, though the average cost of educating a student varies by region, State of Politics writes.

* A total of 92 Democratic state Senators and Assembly members backed an effort by education advocates to add another $4.3 billion to school aid in an attempt to satisfy the terms of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, State of Politics reports.
* New York education officials are poised to scrap a test designed to measure the reading and writing skills of people trying to become teachers, in part because an outsized percentage of black and Hispanic candidates were failing it, the Times Union reports.
* The state Board of Regents made the wrong call to eliminate as a requirement for teacher certification an exam designed to assess educators’ literacy, as teachers entrusted to improve reading and writing skills should be able to demonstrate those skills themselves, the Daily News writes.

Fresh signs that de Blasio's discipline 'reforms' endanger kids, teachers (NYP Ed)

Principal in grade-fixing scandal loses gig — but spared ax (NYP)

* With standardized student testing starting this week, the powerful New York State United Teachers union is aggressively reminding parents that kids can opt out, using billboards, bus shelter ads and a fact sheet for parents, the Daily News writes.  * The NY teachers union's neverending war on tests (NYP)

de Blasio Refusal to Close Failing Schools Has Hurt Kids and Wasted Millions in Education Funding
Slow learner Bill: Yes, shutting bad schools is the bestoption (NYDN) de Blasio is learning from painful experience what careful study of the evidence should have taught him from the get-go: that Mike Bloomberg’s approach to chronically failing schools — closing them and letting kids get a better education elsewhere — made a hell of a lot of sense.  As de Blasio slowly awakens, finally announcing plans to shutter six woefully underperforming schools, thousands of kids remain stuck in classrooms where real teaching and learning may never happen.  In November 2014, the mayor stood before the city exuding moral conviction that a humane new approach to the city’s worst schools, now christened Renewal Schools, would yield dividends that mean old Mayor Mike failed to deliver. As de Blasio caricatured it, under Bloomberg “teachers were hamstrung,” parents and students were “written-off” and “put down,” and schools were summarily shut down long before they had a chance to change.  In fact, the Bloomberg strategy — phasing out chronically failing schools with rock-bottom academic results and corrosive cultures, and opening new schools, both district and charter, in their place — helped kids.  Reams of research confirms it.  Under de Blasio’s watch, Chancellor Carmen Fariña began pouring upwards of $180 million a year into nearly 100 schools, layering on community programs, additional instructional time, teacher training and more. The money would buy progress, they promised, and no excuses. “We will demand fast and intense improvement — and we will see that it happens,” said de Blasio. That bold pronouncement proceeded to slam into the brick wall of reality. Enrollment in the schools has fallen, from 44,000 in 2014 to 37,000 this school year. And though results are uneven, by many indicators progress has been halting. Surely there have been some successes. But even granting those results, it’s hard to see how they add up to sufficient bang for the buck in what works out, in rough math, to nearly an extra $4,800 per enrolled kid per year.And despite all that focused attention and funding, at slated-for-closure Leadership Institute in the Bronx, enrollment is plummeting. At Monroe Academy for Visual Arts and Design, the graduation rate is now an abysmal 38%.  At JHS 162 Lola Rodriguez De Tio, just 3% of students are doing math at grade level, and just 9% are passing state English tests.

de Blasio sharply criticized former Mayor Michael Bloomberg for closing schools Before He Became Mayor

City to Close or Merge 9 Schools That Were in Support Program (NYT) The institutions that will no longer be operating as before are part of the de Blasio administration’s Renewal program for low-performing schools.  The Bloomberginitiative was nixed by Mayor de Blasio, who instead decided to pump money andresources into what he called “renewal” schools.  * Bloomberg’s policy of closing failing schools helped students (NYP) * “If he does whathe promised, he will be the most important national leader against the movementto close down and privatize public education,” said Diane Ravitch, theeducation historian and blogger who opposes the kinds of changes Bloombergchampioned. (Wash Post)  * State education officials are eyeing a plan that could “recalibrate” – and presumably lower – passing scores on a challenging new teacher licensing exam that has produced a failure rate of more than 20 percent since it was introduced statewide in 2015, Newsday writes. * NYC toalter disliked Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (NYDN)

Fake News About High School Grad Rates Only 4% Prepped for College 
High school with 76% grad rate only prepped 4% for college (NYP) Bronxdale HS graduated 76 percent of its students last year — but just 4 percent met CUNY college-readiness standards, The Post has learned. Critics blasted the discrepancy, arguing that administrators are sacrificing instruction quality for attractive graduation rates.  CUNY assesses a variety of student test scores to determine if kids are ready for basic math and English collegiate course work.  Grads are deemed prepared if they post minimum scores on their SAT, ACT or Regents.  But at Bronxdale — home to 430 students — just 4 percent of its sizeable graduating class managed to post qualifying scores on those exams. The rest would have to complete remedial course work at CUNY to catch up with their peers.  Bronxdale’s graduation rate was higher than the borough average of 66 percent and comfortably beat the city average of 72 percent.   “There’s a sharp disconnect in results based on graduation, proficiency and rigor,” CUNY Graduate Center Professor David Bloomfield said of the school.

A total 25 percent of Bronx kids and 37 percent of city students met the CUNY standards, according to DOE data 
“No wonder the public gets dizzy with spin. Until these match up, accountability will be lacking.”  Despite the troubling college- readiness numbers, Bronxdale managed to score an “excellent” rating in the DOE’s “rigorous instruction” category. The school received a perfect 4 out of 4 score, which even surpassed Bronx Science’s grade in the same category, which was 3 out of 4 — even though the elite school had 100 percent of its kids college-ready last year, according to the DOE.  Bronxdale’s curious “rigorous instruction” score was determined by “an experienced educator who visited and evaluated the school on April 12, 2016,” as well as internal school surveys, according to the DOE’s School Quality Snapshot report.  A DOE rep said the school was making strides and cautioned that the CUNY readiness measure was only one of many collegiate-preparedness metrics.* De Blasio has left my daughter in a school ‘desert’ (NYP) I came to the United States from Cuba nearly 20 years ago to be part of the American dream. It was a dream that I thought would provide me and my family with better opportunities and give my children a brighter future. Sadly, for me and my daughter, who is in seventh grade, my dream seems more out of reach than ever.  That’s because we live in a school district in The Bronx where no middle schools — none — come even close to meeting basic standards. In other words, my daughter and I live in what StudentsFirstNY rightly calls a middle-school “desert.”  It truly breaks my heart to think my daughter, Emanuela, must deal with the reality of this every single day.  She loves to learn, but she consistently tells me that her teachers just don’t seem to care if she succeeds or fails. Just 11 percent of kids in her middle school are on grade level for math. In our district overall, only 17 percent of middle-school kids passed state reading tests and 14 percent passed math tests.* Seeking justice for all New York’s gifted kids (NYP) Kudos to Bronx and Brooklyn Borough Presidents Ruben Diaz Jr. and Eric Adams for pushing to expand the city schools’ Gifted and Talented programs. They’re right: Boosting access to G&T is one right way to increase opportunity to enter the city’s elite high schools. We look forward to hearing their task force’s recommendations on enlarging G&T. We have no real problem with the test that lets kids enter these programs in grades K-3. But too many districts have no G&T programs — which inevitably means plenty of parents never try to get their children in.* Harlem Schools Are Left to Fail as Those Not Far Away Thrive (NYT) Community School District 3, on Manhattan’s West Side, is home to some of the best public elementary schools, but the district is sharply divided by race, income and academic achievement.* Harlem Schools Are Left to Fail as Those Not Far Away Thrive (NYT)

Empty Grad Rates PR Spin  
The emptiness behind NYC’s rising high-school-graduation rates (NYP Ed) For years, The Post has run exposés on “credit recovery” and grade- and test-fixing scams that boost graduation rates without the high school having to teach. Just last year, a Post investigation forced the ouster of DeWitt Clinton HS Principal Santiago Taveras for doctoring grades.  Yet Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña hasn’t done much to punish principals and staff caught cheating. Indeed, she rewarded another alleged grade-fixer, Kathleen Elvin, the former principal at “Easy Pass” John Dewey HS, with a top DOE job.  Teens who graduate without acquiring the skills they need get stuck floundering in college, or wasting a year or two in remedial classes. Those who try to go to work after high school face their own rude awakening.  Rising graduation rates aren’t much of an achievement if you’re only handing out worthless diplomas to get them.

The State Spending Debate on School Spending 
The sham debate on school spending: Stop holding Gov. Cuomo, who's invested well in K-12 education, to a made-up target (NYDN) Providing education funding for New York ’s children is one of the most important and expensive functions of state government. However, the supreme irony of Albany is that the policy surrounding school funding is based on misinformation and distortions that would be laughed out of any competent classroom. Education is a $60 billion business in our state, and the lobbying and public relations teams spin quite a tale. For years, “education advocates” have spun the fiction that the 2006 decision in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case and a 2007 “foundation aid” plan by former Gov. Eliot Spitzer require the state to increase education spending. The Campaign for Fiscal Equity decision had no bearing on Spitzer’s decision in 2007 to create a formula for operating aid for education called “foundation aid.” When making this change, he also proposed aspirational funding increases that would increase statewide funding by $4.8 billion by 2011, with New York City receiving $2.3 billion of that increase.  However, due to the fiscal crisis, the Spitzer (and later Paterson) administration walked away from these benchmarks the very next year. As we all know, budget appropriations are in effect for one year only.  Despite these clear facts, advocates continue to wrongly insist Spitzer’s goal was binding — even though the courts as recently as September unequivocally rejected that argument. New York spends more per pupil that any other state in the nation and roughly double the national average. At the same time, the share of local contributions to school funding has actually gone down in some districts. Over the past four years, state funding to New York City schools has increased at a rate 33% faster than the city’s own contribution.

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