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May 12, 2017
Community schools are expanding — but are they working? New study shows mixed results
New York City’s announcement this week that it is doubling down on community schools indicates a firm belief that the program is working. But…
March 30, 2012
Debate continues about how to offer services to needy students
Poor students and their families should get the health care, counseling, and other services they need. That idea sparked little dissent at a panel discussion Tuesday about students' non-academic needs. But exactly how to deliver those services was up for debate. Advocates of the "Broader, Bolder Approach" — a coalition that formed in 2008 to counter the "no excuses" message of former chancellor Joel Klein's Education Equality Project — said responsibility for providing and paying for the services should fall to the city. But a top city official said it should be up to individual schools to assess their students' needs and find ways to meet them. The panel discussion took place at the Salomé Ureña de Henríquez Campus, a Washington Heights campus that works with the Children's Aid Society, the social services provider that is launching its own school this fall to model a setting with "wraparound" services, and it was moderated by the CAS president, Rich Buery. It was hosted by the Campaign for Educational Equity, a think tank aimed at influencing policy, whose director, Michael Rebell, was one of four panelists. Rebell stuck to an argument he has outlined before in policy papers and court documents as part of the landmark Campaign for Fiscal Equity case that resulted in new funds for city schools. Students have a constitutional right to receive access to more resources in schools, and it is the state and city's responsibilities to provide them, he said.
June 23, 2010
Dozens of city groups applied for federal innovation funding
The city's Department of Education, Teach for America and several city charter school management companies are angling for federal money designed to encourage cutting-edge educational strategies. They're among 145 New York State-based entities that applied for grants under a new federal program known as the Investing in Innovation Fund, or "i3." Details about the 1,698 applications submitted last month went online yesterday. Here's a snapshot of some of the ways local groups are hoping to cash in: The city is asking for $40 million to open 150 new small middle and high schools in the next five years. The city also asked for $5 million to grow the School of One technology program and $4.5 million to boost the arts in special education schools. Other groups angling to open new schools include Eva Moskowitz's Harlem Success charter network, which is seeking $25 million to open 13 in the next five years, and New Visions for Public Schools, which wants $26 million to create charter schools that serve 10,000 city students.
May 15, 2009
Noguera: David Brooks drew the wrong conclusion in Harlem
We’ve said in the past that our long-term plan is to expand our Community section to include more voices. Today we’re taking a step…
April 29, 2009
What Pedro Noguera told Joel Klein — and what Joel Klein heard
Pedro Noguera and Joel Klein appeared at a panel together last month about the achievement gap, sponsored by Channel 13. (GothamSchools) Pedro Noguera, the NYU professor and all-around authority on urban schools, had lunch with Chancellor Joel Klein the other day. The two aren't natural candidates for a lunch date: Noguera is a co-founder of the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education, a national effort to rival Klein's Education Equality Project. But they had recently spoken on a panel together and found that they agreed about a lot. So they decided to have lunch. There, Noguera urged Klein to visit an elementary school in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, PS 28, which Noguera said epitomized his thoughts on what makes a strong urban school. Noguera said that its extended school day (some children stay until 5:45 p.m.), social services, professional development for teachers, and focus on emotional as well as academic growth have helped it become an impressive school, despite being challenged by serving a large number of homeless students. Klein visited the school "the very next day," Noguera told me in a telephone interview. It made an impression on him, too, and soon he wrote a memo to all principals in the city urging them to visit PS 28 (The memo was included in the April 7 Principals' Weekly newsletter, and is reproduced below.) But Noguera told me on the telephone that he was struck by what Klein's memo emphasized about the school — and what it did not say. Namely, Klein talked about the importance of a strong principal and of analyzing students' test scores, but not about addressing children's non-academic needs, the focus of the other programs Noguera admired.
February 12, 2009
Rhee: Bloomberg asked Klein to bring her red/green plan to NYC
Michelle Rhee touted her red-track/green-track teacher pay proposal last night at Pace University, saying it's made such a splash that Mayor Bloomberg asked Chancellor Joel Klein if they could bring a similar model to New York. The proposal, which is being negotiated with the D.C. teachers union right now, would award some first-year teachers nearly $40,000 raises in exchange for giving up their tenure rights — while others could choose a "red" path where they retain tenure but are paid less. Rhee said the model came up in a recent chat with Klein, who she said she speaks to regularly to share "best practices" and to commiserate. Klein told her that Mayor Bloomberg had asked if they could bring the red/green plan to New York. "Apparently Klein said to him, 'Not even you have enough money to do all of that in New York City,'" she said. Rhee's plan, if passed, will be financed by private philanthropy for the first five years, she said. A spokesman for the Department of Education, David Cantor, said the story is true. Rhee spent part of her talk referencing the divide within the Democratic Party, where some education experts argue focus should be on improving schools and schools alone and others push for a broader focus. Rhee, who is firmly in the first camp, along with Klein, explained her objections to the second group by describing her experience as a second-year teacher.
December 4, 2008
Chicago's Arne Duncan: Education's one-man team of rivals?
I spent all of last week in Hyde Park, Chicago, currently the epicenter of American political activity because of its most prominent resident, President-elect Barack Obama. Technically, I was on vacation, but I couldn’t help asking folks I met what they think about Arne Duncan, CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, one of Obama’s basketball buddies and a man who is increasingly looking like the president-elect's choice for education secretary. Unlike other candidates mentioned for education secretary, who wear their ideologies strongly on their sleeves, Duncan has (like Obama) walked a finer line, signing onto both of the dueling petitions on where Obama should take his policy. So it seems more important, in his case, to figure out what exactly he has done. The results of my completely non-rigorous reporting were not too encouraging. One parent at the private school attended by Obama's daughters — which Duncan himself attended and where his wife now teaches — said the scuttlebutt was that Duncan lacks the political savvy to cut it on the national stage. And when I popped into a neighborhood clothing store, I spoke with several public school mothers who were adamant that there hasn't been widespread improvement under Duncan's leadership. (Catalyst-Chicago, which provides independent reporting about the city's schools, says some of Duncan's major initiatives haven't had the impact he'd hoped.)
September 24, 2008
New coalition lobbies for schools as community centers
When Randi Weingarten was elected president of the American Federation of Teachers, the country's largest teachers union, back in July, she proposed creating "school-based community centers" to serve needy students and their families. Now, she's behind a coalition to promote her vision. The Community Agenda for America's Public Schools calls for strong partnerships between schools and communities as a strategy to "close the opportunity gap" by increasing the quality and diversity of services that schools offer. Backers say their goal is to outline an agenda that is politically and practically feasible, rather than purely ideologically driven, in contrast with two other coalitions currently dominating debate in education circles: the "no excuses," accountability-based Education Equality Project and the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education, which holds that schools alone cannot close the achievement gap. The group seeks a broad range of outcomes for children, from academic success to physical and emotional health, arguing: Every institution that influences positive outcomes for children and youth must be part of the agenda — schools, families, government, youth development organizations, health, mental health and family support agencies, higher education and faith-based institutions, community organizing and community development groups, unions, and business. Weingarten joined a handful of other education leaders in Washington, D.C., this morning for the campaign's inaugural press conference. The Community Agenda has already been endorsed by dozens of national education and community organizations, as well as by a number of local school districts, including those in Baltimore, Chicago, and Portland, Ore. The New York City Schools are not on the list of endorsers. The Community Agenda for America's Public Schools is administered by the Coalition for Community Schools. A full list of the agenda's policy recommendations is after the jump.
September 10, 2008
In major speech, Obama forges a third path in education policy
In a major address about education yesterday in Ohio, Barack Obama provided more detail about his nearly year-old education platform and took aim at his opponent's education policies, saying, "John McCain doesn't get it. He doesn't understand that our success as a nation depends on our success in education. I do." In the course of the lengthy speech, Obama promised to double federal funding for charter schools; invest in early-childhood education; give low-income students access to college-level courses; fund "innovative schools"; increase access to after school, summer school, and extended day programs; recruit and train high-quality teachers; and create a "parent report card" to update families about their children's progress. He also swore to replace weak teachers, send teams to improve "bad programs," and shut down unsuccessful charters. All this sounds like an expensive proposition — but Obama notes that it will come at "the cost of just a few days in Iraq." On Monday, I said I thought Obama had tipped his hand in favor of the "Bolder, Broader" crowd, but several of the policies he discussed yesterday — support for charter schools, differentiated teacher pay, stringent consequences for weak teachers and failing schools — sounded like they came straight from the Education Equality Project playbook.
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