Rise & Shine: State audit finds multiple NYC preschools contain hazards to children

Good morning and happy Monday! Reema has a report on a modest initiative to diversify some of the city's gifted and talented programs that nonetheless failed to meet its targets. She also wrote about city council leaders vowing a budget showdown if the city doesn't agree to pay some pre-K teachers more.

Alex has a Q&A with the teen who has dogged the mayor with questions about how he plans to better address segregation in city schools.

And a state audit shows that multiple pre-K sites contain serious hazards for children, such as peeling paint, toxic chemicals, and an absence of window guards. (In case you missed it,  Christina wrote in February about the pre-K centers inside deteriorating public housing that have gone without crucial repairs.)

And finally, we have a favor to ask: For an upcoming Q&A series, we want to feature retiring teachers but could use your help finding them. If you’re retiring this year after a long career in education, we’d love to hear from you. Just leave your contact information here, and we’ll reach out to you. Or if you know someone else who fits this bill, please forward our newsletter to them so they can respond. Thanks!

— Sara Mosle, New York bureau chief

FALLING SHORT Few schools in an initiative designed to bring greater student diversity to a small number of gifted and talented programs met their targets in 2019, new city data shows. Chalkbeat

MONEY TALKS City Council leaders say they will not approve a city budget unless the city agrees to bring the salaries of community-based pre-K teachers in line with those at public schools. Chalkbeat

Those who support pay parity for the city’s pre-K teachers participated in a rally late last week. The Brooklyn Reporter

PERSISTENT A 16-year-old junior at Pace High School explains why she keeps seeking out Bill de Blasio to press him on school segregation, prompting a sometimes testy response from the mayor. Chalkbeat

Her comments came a day after a rally calling for bolder steps to increase school integration. Gothamist

PRE-K HAZARDS An audit by the state comptroller’s office has found safety hazards such as peeling paint, toxic cleaning supplies, and missing window guards at multiple pre-K sites. Crain’s New York, The New York Daily News

LETTING LOOSE A controversial appointee to the U.S. Department of Education is overhauling regulations governing for-profit colleges, which in the past, critics say, shortchanged students and taxpayers. The New York Times

QUESTIONING QUESTAR Utah’s top education officials abruptly canceled a $44 million contract with testing company Questar amid a flurry of technological glitches, which also plagued the company’s tests in New York earlier this year. KUTV

NO MORE Students and teachers walked out of a central Brooklyn middle school school on Friday to call for action against gun violence. The Bklyner

FINAL STEP? State legislation that would allow school districts to impose mandatory attendance in kindergarten is awaiting action by Gov. Cuomo. Daily Freeman

AWARDS SEASON Teachers who inspired students to pursue a career in the theatrical arts were among those who recognized at Sunday’s Tony Awards. Broadway World, WTVR

Two New York City teachers also received recognition and $20,000 each from Math for America to honor their contributions to the teaching profession. The Patch

PUSHBACK The education department’s communications office has promoted positive stories about the school system to reportedly counter more negative coverage. The New York Post  

ON THE OUTS A Bronx middle school principal accused of racism has been demoted and assigned to another school, as the education department conducts its investigation. The New York Daily News, Business Insider

GETTING OUT OF DODGE A team of Canadian researchers has determined that dodgeball, a staple of many gym classes, is widely disliked by students, teaches aggression, and dehumanizes players. The New York Daily News

OPINION: CHARTER HALT Bernie Sanders is right to call for a moratorium on opening new charter schools, which have seen repeated cases of corruption and profiteering, an education scholar and former principal argue. The New York Daily News

OPINION: RECOGNIZING THE PROBLEM The parent of a student at a school that is the first in the state to introduce facial recognition technology argues that its use and potential abuse is chilling. The New York Times

OPINION: THE BIGGER ISSUE A veteran teacher and research director argues that system-wide inequities in the city’s schools are responsible for the low number of black and Hispanic students at the specialized high schools and that its these broader inequities that demand a response. The New York Post