Rise & Shine: NYC’s education department wants to hear from students
It was a busy weekend for news, so let's get right to it.
A new report finds that getting into middle school in New York City is often a matter of tough competition: 37 percent of programs screen their students based on factors like test scores. Advocates are calling for an end to screening in middle schools, arguing it exacerbates segregation. Though that would be sure to stoke outrage from many parents, there could be momentum for such a move. An education department spokesman told Chalkbeat: "The chancellor’s made clear he’s taking a close look at how schools utilize academic screens and whether they serve as barriers to access and equity."
A veteran in education policy will be missing when the state legislature kicks off this month. Sen. John Flanagan, who had long helmed the education committee, is seeking treatment for alcohol addition after a relapse.
Plus: Mayor Bill de Blasio raised eyebrows on Friday when he seemed to downplay the challenge of getting universal pre-K started. He was facing questions about why the city missed its deadline to offer reduced-price Metro cards to low-income residents.
Have a great week!
— Christina Veiga, reporter
BARRIERS TO ENTRY A new report finds that 37 percent of middle school programs screen their students based on factors such as attendance and report card grades. Critics say the practice exacerbate segregation and would like to see screening eliminated. The education department has signaled the issue is on the school chancellor’s radar. Chalkbeat
HUH? Launching universal pre-K in New York City was a monumental effort, but the mayor seemed to downplay the challenges when he faced questions about why a program to offer reduced-price Metro cards to low-income New Yorkers was late getting off the ground. Chalkbeat
ON HIATUS This year’s legislative session will kick off without a veteran in education policy. Sen. John Flanagan announced he’ll miss some of the session to seek treatment for an alcohol addiction relapse. Chalkbeat, New York Times
RENT’S TOO HIGH Teachers often struggle to pay rent in Silicon Valley, but voters have pushed against a plan to provide affordable housing. “Families trust us with their kids from 8 to 3 every day. I don’t know why it wouldn’t be the case that they would trust us in their communities,” one middle school counselor said. New York Times
EAR TO THE GROUND The education department is hiring a new liaison to gather student input on issues impacting the school system. New York Daily News
SIGN OF THE TIMES To earn their Eagle Scout rank, some Boy Scouts are focusing on projects that help schools and students respond to a mass shooting. Wall Street Journal
ALARMING A 5-year-old boy with autism managed to leave his Manhattan school and ended up at a nearby subway station. NY1, New York Post
PLAYING DEFENSE Amazon released a letter listing all the benefits the company says it will bring to its new Queens location. Among the touted perks: a real estate donation to build a school (which had already been planned.) NY1, New York Post
TRAGEDY STRIKES A funeral was held this weekend for Lenny Pierre, a 16-year-old Queens student who died suddenly during basketball practice. NY1, New York Post
FACT VS. FICTION Opinion: President Trump’s behavior poses a challenge for teachers when it comes to lessons on character and the truth. New York Daily News
BIG PICTURE Opinion: Though the mayor and chancellor have talked about the need for more diverse schools, they “have yet to offer any plan for radically improving educational options for all.” New York Post
TAX BILL DUE The New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators has failed to pay more than $12,000 in school taxes. The group has been under fire for failing to give out scholarships but hosting expensive galas. New York Post
KA-CHING! Private schools are pulling in huge endowment checks. One upper East Side school recently broke the $100 million mark for the first time. New York Post
RICOCHET A state report on the Parkland, Fla. school shooting recommends arming teachers. NPR
TESTING, TESTING Here’s how Staten Island students fared on the SAT. Staten Island Advance