Education news. In context.
Diversity & Equity
Politics & Policy
Teaching & Classroom
Student & School Performance
Leadership & Management
Charters & Choice
Find a Job
How to be a Chalkbeat source
Republish Our Stories
Code of Ethics
Our News Partners
Work with Us
Politics & Policy
March 9, 2011
Wednesday Churn: Metro name change
Updated - Metro State trustees voted 5-2 today to change the college name to Denver State University.
March 6, 2011
Monday Churn: The next budget step
The Joint Budget Committee turns this week to the tough issue of K-12 and higher education spending in 2011-12.
March 3, 2011
Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp
Wendy Kopp, who launched Teach for America in 1990, spoke in Denver this week about lessons learned over the past 20 years
February 25, 2011
Video: Q & A on Douglas County vouchers
In Douglas County, a district proposal to pilot vouchers for up to 500 students this fall sparked questions from many hungry for details
February 17, 2011
Remainders: From senator to ed reform consultant
Former State Senator Craig Johnson is now a consultant for Democrats for Education Reform. (Newsday) All over the country, fights are increasing between states…
February 10, 2011
City slow to ensure compliance with PTA law for charter schools
Nearly nine months after Albany passed legislation requiring all charter schools in New York City to form parent groups, the city does not yet know exactly how many city charters are in compliance with the law. Speaking to a meeting of the New York Charter Parents Association on January 20, the director of the Department of Education's charter school office, Recy Dunn, told parents that the city was just beginning to monitor schools' compliance. "I don't have the answer on how many charters currently have PTAs," Dunn said. "Would I like to find out? Absolutely." In September, the DOE directed all city charter schools to launch parent groups by October to comply with the law, and report back to the city with their progress by that time. City officials said today that many of the schools did not respond to that directive and that they had not since followed up with many of the schools. Officials said that going forward they would check if schools have parent groups when they make their annual site visits to each school they authorized. They're also including the question on a survey that it sends to each school in the city. “We’ve informed charters of the legal requirement and asked them to confirm that they have a parents association," said DOE spokesman Jack Zarin-Rosenfeld. "We’re now in the process of following up with them, and expect that they’ll all make the necessary arrangements.”
January 18, 2011
As state testing nears, city directs $10 million to tutoring
Nearly six months after the city saw students' failure rates spike thanks to new, tougher state tests, Mayor Bloomberg is directing extra funding to ready those students for another round of exams. The mayor announced today that the Department of Education will distribute $10 million to 532 schools where more than two-thirds of students failed the state's math and English tests last year. The funding will target nearly half of the more than 100,000 students who did not meet the state's newly heightened proficiency bar. Bloomberg said he expected 48,000 students to receive extra tutoring and in-school help as a result of the new funding. DOE officials said schools should receive the money by February 8. Principals will be able to spend it on weekend classes, lessons after school, tutoring during the school day, and online programs that will help students cram for the upcoming exams. They will have to race to spend it in time for it to have an effect, as the English and math exams will be administered in early May.
December 7, 2010
Tuesday Churn: Vouchers up again
Residents in Douglas County get a second chance to be heard on whether they would support vouchers in the affluent district.
November 17, 2010
Douglas County: Venting on vouchers
More than 40 speakers and others pack a school board meeting room to mostly oppose, but also praise, a voucher proposal. Video
November 16, 2010
Tuesday churn: Weighing in on vouchers
Douglas County parents and community members get their first chance tonight to weigh in on a voucher proposal.
June 15, 2010
A charter school incubator grows mom-and-pop schools
Seated before an audience of people hoping to become charter school founders, Dirk Tillotson delivered a piece of advice: "You've got to be crazy to do this." It was early spring, and Tillotson, who founded a program to help mom-and-pop charter schools open, was offering this line as both a warning and a challenge. His audience didn't hail from the KIPPs or Harlem Success Academies of the charter world and they didn't have millionaires in their corners, which is why they'd come to him. Charter schools were created as a way to test out new educational ideas, but the barriers to opening an experimental school are formidable. Some schools open as franchises of charter school networks, which often help principals through the application process by providing support and greasing political wheels as needed. Others find wealthy supporters who can pay for education consultants. And yet a third class of charters exists: known as mom-and-pops or community charter schools, they're typically opened by teachers or parents with few connections and big ambition.
May 10, 2010
City and union have two weeks to strike turnaround deal
New York City has two weeks to convince the teachers union to sign onto its plans to turnaround 34 low-performing schools. The feds have given the state $308 million to distribute to local school districts to "turn around" their lowest performing schools. Districts have until May 24 to apply for a portion of those funds, and the applications must include which of four federally-approved methods the districts plan to use to turn around each school. And in most cases, districts will need to negotiate side deals with their unions outside of their regular contract to accommodate individual schools' turnaround plans, State Deputy Education Commissioner John King said over the weekend. Each district must negotiate those changes before it submits its application for funds, King said.
April 29, 2009
In KIPP annual report, school performance data is laid bare
Test results from Harlem's KIPP STAR College Prep Charter School, where students on average outperformed their district but not always the state. Graph from 2008…
April 9, 2009
Two efforts to improve a school, with two different sets of tools
I have a story in this week's Village Voice about the fight over how to improve struggling public schools. Should the schools be rescued from the inside or replaced? I focus on P.S. 194 in Harlem, which school officials favor replacing with the fledgling Harlem Success Academy 2. Both the principal at HSA 2, Jim Manly, and the principal at P.S. 194, Charyn Koppelson Cleary, are trying to give Harlem's children a radically different experience of school. Yet they have very different tools to work with. Cleary's world: Before the school year began, staffers recall, she gathered her whole faculty, from the teachers to the security officer to the secretary, in what she called a "circle of change." Each person talked about what needed changing at the school. "The good news," Cleary told them, according to people who were there, "is that 94 or 95 percent of the stuff you guys are talking about, we can change." In some ways, Cleary was constrained in her efforts. She could not hire a staff of her own, since the bulk of the teachers were inherited from the school's previous years. She could not ask the custodian to repaint the entire building, since his contract only permitted a certain percentage. But she did the best she could, asking for the neediest rooms to get fresh paint and finagling a handful of other educators she trusted onto the payroll. She also only had last three months to prepare for her turnaround: She began the job last July. Now, here's Manly's world:
April 7, 2009
A unionized charter school says it was betrayed by the unions
Renaissance students organized a protest against the freeze in their budget. Staff at a Queens charter school that is represented by several city labor unions are growing frustrated with the unions, which they worry sat quietly by while state lawmakers slashed charter school budgets two weeks ago. The school, Renaissance Charter School in Jackson Heights, is expecting a cut of between $500,000 and $600,000 from what was projected for next year after state lawmakers froze planned funding increases to charter schools two weeks ago. Charter school activists have said that they're hopeful that Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, who founded another unionized charter school in Queens, will yet restore the extra funds to charter schools, but no deal has been struck yet. That leaves teachers at Renaissance planning for possible teacher layoffs and big program cuts. (The $500,000 cut from the increase the school was expecting is especially hard to shoulder given that pension costs are skyrocketing by $300,000 next year and teacher salaries are slated to go up.) A main frustration, a Renaissance administrator said, is that the unions to which Renaissance's staff belong did not give them a heads up about the cuts — even though staff repeatedly asked union leaders if they should expect a cut. "Our members here feel shafted," Nicholas Tishuk, Renaissance's director of programs and accountability, said. "We were told that this charter school cut was mentioned two months ago, and it hasn’t been on anyone’s lips. And then we find out the Sunday night before the vote on Tuesday that not only was it on everyone’s lips; it’s actually happening." Most charter schools in New York City are not represented by teachers unions, since the schools operate outside of the Department of Education and therefore do not see their staffs unionize automatically. But the union has fought to bring charter schools teachers into its fold. Their slow but steady inclusion has put the union in the tricky position of on the one hand lobbying for limits on charter schools, while, on the other hand, representing some charter school staff.
In your inbox.
Chalkbeat New York
How I Teach
Ready or Not
Rise & Shine Colorado
Rise & Shine Detroit
Rise & Shine Indiana
Rise & Shine Tennessee
The Starting Line