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November 19, 2018
New York City charters burn through principals faster than district schools, report finds
Last school year, 25 percent of the city’s charter school principals were new, more than double the turnover rate as district schools.
October 18, 2017
Three years in, some signs of (slight) academic growth at struggling ‘Renewal’ schools
“The reality is it’s hard to get large increases in struggling schools.”
July 11, 2017
Conservative think tank finds ‘meaningful’ academic progress at New York City’s Renewal schools
The report estimates Renewal boosted student achievement by the equivalent of about 93 days of extra instruction in reading and 65 days in math.
March 14, 2017
Report: Students and educators say school climate has worsened under de Blasio after sweeping discipline reforms
"What this evidence suggests is that we need to do more than just reduce suspensions."
July 25, 2016
Report: Summer jobs should be rebranded as “internships” and spread nationwide
A new report argues the city’s program and others across the nation should offer paid internships that improve job skills and connect to a student’s course of study.
June 9, 2015
In limited survey, principals say they’re happy with new Common Core materials
Seventy-two percent of the principals said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their math curriculum.
By the numbers
March 12, 2015
District and charter schools post similar attrition rates, as enrollment debate presses on
New research shows that low-performing students leave charter and district at similar rates. But a debate about what that means for charters is growing increasingly feisty.
June 16, 2014
Panel of union critics say de Blasio lost big on the UFT contract
What the city and the United Federation of Teachers have hailed as a historically collaborative agreement adds up to little more than giveaways for the teachers union, critics argued at a panel event on Monday morning. As a result, panelists said, a new $18 billion contract for teachers reflects plenty of missed opportunities for the de Blasio administration.
January 24, 2014
Think tank: De Blasio should end automatic pay raises for city workers
As Mayor de Blasio considers whether to offer teachers retroactive pay raises, the conservative Manhattan Institute would like him to know that, in…
October 1, 2013
Report: District-charter special ed gap not from "counseling out"
Stories of charter school officials telling — or hinting to — high-needs students that they should look elsewhere for their educational needs have long fueled criticism of the charter sector. But a new report from the Center on Reinventing Public Education argues that "counseling out" is not the cause of the special education gap between the city's district and charter elementary schools. In New York City, 13.1 percent of charter school students receive special education services, compared to 16.5 percent of district school students. Using lottery data from 25 charter elementary schools and information from the city, researcher Marcus Winters found two main reasons for the gap: that fewer students with disabilities apply for kindergarten spots at charter schools, and charters classify fewer students as needing special education services once they start school. The report was not mean to "fully explain away what is a well-documented disparity," New York City Charter School Center CEO James Merriman said at a discussion at the center on Monday. "What it does do, importantly, is demonstrate conclusively that a significant number of charter schools in New York City are having success in keeping children from inappropriately being classified in the first place as needing special education services and at the same time, hopefully giving them a far better chance at success in their school careers," Merriman said.
July 9, 2013
Charter advocates say candidates' rhetoric isn't cause for panic
City Journal editor Brian Anderson speaks at a breakfast panel discussion today about the future of education in New York City hosted by the Manhattan Institute. Some Democratic mayoral candidates are calling for a moratorium on charter school co-locations and at least two have said they would require charter schools to pay rent. But charter school advocates say they remain not too concerned. "We should be worried ... [but] I don't think we should be panicked," said James Merriman, CEO of the New York City Charter School Center, this morning at a panel discussion about the future of education in New York City hosted by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a right-wing think tank. Merriman joined Marcus Winters, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and Joe Williams, executive director for Democrats for Education Reform, on the panel. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott also made an appearance to warn against moving away from the Bloomberg administration's school policies, which include helping the charter sector to flourish. Republican mayoral candidate George McDonald and Independent mayoral candidate Adolfo Carrión, who have each expressed support for charter schools, sat in the audience.
December 13, 2011
To one panel, unions are both moribund and living obstacles
Chris Cerf, Evan Stone and Seth Andrew at a Manhattan Institute panel this morning. Even though he received 6,000 applications to fill 60 teacher positions last years, charter school operator Seth Andrew said he still has trouble hiring the right people for the job. Andrew, who runs four Democracy Prep Charter Schools in Harlem said even the promise of a $65,000 starting salary – 50 percent above that of a city teacher's – did not attract the kind of teaching talent he wants for his schools. The reason, he said this morning, was that state laws — he called them "barriers" — require most prospective teachers to earn an education degree before they can to teach in a classroom. He said those degrees did not assure that a teacher would be effective, echoing an argument frequently made by advocates of non-traditional teacher training programs. "It doesn't matter how you enter the classroom," Andrew said. Andrew was one of four panelists at a breakfast sponsored by the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, that was held to celebrate the release of "Teachers Matter," a new book authored by senior fellow Marcus Winters. Ex-Schools Chancellor Joel Klein delivered a keynote address lauding the role school choice plays in school reform.
May 13, 2009
Mayoral control supporter says effects hard to quantify
A vocal supporter of mayoral control says that though he’s an economist, it’s tough for him to base his belief in the school governance structure on numbers. Marcus Winters, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research who has touted Mayor Bloomberg's school reforms in newspaper op/eds and academic papers, says mayoral control is the best way to govern schools because it provides more accountability for education reforms — but he can't prove that using test scores. “It makes me a little queasy to talk about researching positive effects of mayoral control,” Winters said today in a meeting with reporters about the governance structure. He said it’s “inappropriate” to draw a correlation between student performance and mayoral control because mayoral control is a broad governance structure, not a specific reform. “It’s really difficult to study because there’s a period before mayoral control and a period after, but other things have changed in the world besides mayoral control in that time,” he said.
November 11, 2008
For most students, no benefit to a school's F grade, study finds
A study examining whether getting poor grades on city progress reports prompted schools to improve their students' test scores found little evidence of such a boost. The study, released today by the conservative-leaning Manhattan Institute, asked the question by comparing schools with progress report raw scores that were roughly the same, but just different enough to get different letter grades. In fact the two groups showed about the same amount of progress — except in fifth-grade math, where students in failing schools made "significant and substantial improvement" compared to their peers in schools that had been assigned a grade of D, according to the study. The progress reports assign letter grades to schools based primarily on improvements in students' test scores. Since the first reports were released a year ago, the program has been the subject of sustained criticism: Parents and teachers have complained about unfair stigmatization of good schools, and statisticians have charged that the reports are driven as much by error as by actual school improvement. The study's architect, Manhattan Institute senior fellow Marcus Winters, called his findings "mixed-positive" in favor of the progress reports. Those findings were the subject this morning of a panel discussion sponsored by the Manhattan Institute featuring Winters, Columbia University economist Jonah Rockoff, and two officials from the Department of Education's accountability office, including its CEO, James Liebman.
July 10, 2008
Do better readers do better on tests of reading?
Yesterday, I took an initial look at the Manhattan Institute's study, "Building on the Basics." Today, I want to look at Florida's state science exam, the focus of the study. A common criticism of standardized tests is that they all, to some degree, test reading ability. What does the Science FCAT look like? What skills would you need to perform well on it? I've only seen the NYS Science exams, so I decided to download a Florida sample test and take a look. The first thing that surprised me about this test was the reading level, which seemed high. Many of New York City's fifth graders would (for better or for worse) stumble over sentences like, "Florida has many limestone caves containing formations called stalactites." I tracked down a site of readability analyzers and entered text from test items. Question 1: Melissa’s school rings a bell to alert students that it is time to start class. When the bell rings, it vibrates. The use of vibrations to send messages is an example of which type of energy? This one ranged from 4.72 to 10.07 in estimated US grade level required to understand it, which certainly calls into question the reliability of the readability analyzers, but also the ability of average 5th graders to understand this question.
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