Chicago school buses by ##http://flickr.com/photos/good_day##Today is a Good Day## With only the long weekend separating them from the first day of school, religious, political, and education leaders in Chicago are gearing up for a major protest in which more than 100 busloads of Chicago students will roll into a middle-class suburb and try to enroll in schools there to highlight unequal school funding between the two districts. Although organizers briefly offered to drop the boycott plan if the state's top Democrats agreed to back a $120 million reform initiative to benefit Illinois' lowest-performing schools, yesterday they announced that "the window has expired" and the boycott would go on. The Committee for Concerned Clergy, led by state senator Rev. James Meeks, has been developing plans all summer to bus Chicago students to Winnetka, an upper-middle-class suburb 20 miles north of the city that's home to New Trier Township High School, one of the nation's top-rated high schools. Once there, the students will try to enroll in Winnetka schools, although the district's residency requirements and state laws prohibit them from being admitted. For their part, Winnetka officials are cooperating with protest leaders and are planning to make it easy for the busloads of students to fill out registration forms. Back in Chicago, school officials are nervous about a funding formula that will cost schools $110 a day for each student who is absent during the first week of school.
Painting McDonough HS by ##http://flickr.com/people/jodyanderic/##Beurremanie## Three years ago today, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans. Since then, the city has struggled — valiantly at times, less so at others — to rebuild. As Paul Tough's New York Times Magazine cover story from two weeks ago reminds us, nowhere has the rebuilding meant such a "radical experiment in reform" as in the city's school system, where currently half of students attend charter schools, many of which are being run in the KIPP model, and many teachers come straight from college with far more energy than teaching experience.
Links to state standards, the city's scope and sequence, professional development opportunities help with DOE email, and HR information all in one place, plus news and a calendar: the city's new Teacher Page looks like a useful resource for teachers. You can use it to subscribe to newsletters from the DOE, although it looks like everyone in the system will be automatically subscribed to the Teachers' Weekly through their department email. The teaching resources section, divided by subject area, could use a little work; at the moment, it's just long lists of links, without much indication of what you might find there or how it might fit in to the city's programs. Special education includes no links to anything about Collaborative Team Teaching (CTT), Gifted and Talented doesn't include anything about the Schoolwide Enrichment Model, and in Science, the FOSS, Harcourt, and Glencoe sites, which relate directly to the city's curriculum, are mixed in with resources like Bill Nye the Science Guy. Increased communication of this kind will help teachers solve HR problems and connect to resources for themselves and their students, but it's just a small step.
PHOTO: Tajuana Cheshier/Chalkbeat TNFrancesca Martinez, left, and Alexis Noa While many teens spent their summer vacations relaxing, Francesca Martinez and Alexis Noa manned the phones and filed purchase orders at the employment office of the Henry Street Settlement, a comprehensive service provider on the Lower East Side. Noa, a senior at Manhattan's High School for Leadership and Public Service, and Martinez, a junior at Millennium High School in Tribeca, were among the 43,000 young people who this spring won an annual lottery: a job through the city's Department of Youth and Community Development's Summer Youth Employment Program. Nearly three decades old, SYEP is more popular than ever — this year receiving more than 100,000 applications for 43,000 positions — and a model for summer employment programs in cities around the country, even as DYCD officials refine the program’s structure here in New York.
The Gothamschools Time Machine The city announced today that it will open 18 "new" school buildings next week with the start of the school year. A few are brand new construction. Others are adapted from use as government offices or Catholic schools; the two high schools moving into a renovated building on Adams Street in Downtown Brooklyn, for example, occupy an old family court building. And still others are annexes to existing schools: the buildings may be new, but the schools themselves are not. Despite their different provenances, however, all of the new schools are likely to provide suitable physical conditions for teaching and learning. But what about the days when schools were disgusting? Not trash-in-the-halls gross, but diphtheria-inducing, reeking-of-dead-animals gross? Back in the late 1800s, that's how Charles Wehrum, a member of the Board of Education, characterized the city's 140 schools after surveying their conditions:
Four-Year Outcomes for the Class of 2007 When the state released graduation figures earlier this month, I wondered what the city's old formula for determining graduation rates would have said about the class of 2007. Yesterday, Edwize pointed us to a 276-page report available on the DOE's website that includes the answer to that question and much, much more. Although the state's graduation figure of 52 percent is the official one thanks to an agreement between the city and state last year, the DOE still calculated the graduation rate for the class of 2007 using its old formula, which gave credit for students graduating in August and for students completing a GED or IEP diploma rather than a local or Regents diploma. According to this formula, 62 percent of students entering the city's high schools in the fall of 2003 graduated on time, an improvement of 2.3 percentage points over the class of 2006.
Monday night, I stopped by the Teachers Unite kick-off and orientation event, interested in learning more about ways that teachers and community based organizations are working together across the city. "Public schools should and will reflect the communities they are in," said organizer Sally Lee. "The role of teachers is to work with members of the community to create an educational space that reflects the values of that community." To that end, Teachers Unite plans to partner with community based organizations to use teachers' unique knowledge and skills to strengthen the work of these organizations.
<em>Photo from ##http://biden.senate.gov/issues/issue/?id=05ff8333-5c0c-40d7-96d6-c76dca96224a##Biden's Senate webpage##.</em> "I sleep with a teacher every night," said Barack Obama's running mate Joe Biden in a Democratic primary debate in February 2007. He was talking about his wife, Jill Biden, a former high school English teacher. Has this relationship provided Biden with intimate knowledge of education issues? You be the judge. At OnTheIssues, a quick look at excerpts from speeches and debates shows Biden consistently in support of increasing teacher pay to make the profession more appealing to top undergrads. In considering merit pay, he seems to understand teachers' concerns about being evaluated fairly by administrators. And he thinks the solution to the racial and economic achievement gap is to improve early childhood education, lower class sizes and provide the best teachers to disadvantaged students. His voting record shows yes votes for many education spending measures,