Tag Archives: NYC public schools

Close ’em Down!

Sometimes it’s easy to tell a story. Here are the first two items in the October 29th “Rise & Shine” story listing on the education blog GothamSchools.org.

* SUNY wants to try fixing failing charter schools instead of shutting them down. (Post)

* The city says it is considering closing up to 47 schools this year. (GS, Times, PostWSJ, NY1)

And they say that Albany is dysfunctional?

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Lipstick on a Pig

Source: NYC DOE

We like standardized tests almost as much as Bloomberg and Klein do, so we’ll give you a multiple choice quiz:

Question 1: Which of the following headlines — all triggered by the same Department of Education school ratings press release — is the most attention-grabbing?

(a) “Schools Get Report Cards From City Education Dept.”
(b) “With Standards Tightened, Far Fewer New York City Schools Receive a Grade of ‘A’”
(c) “Just 5% of city’s elementary/middle schools got Ds and Fs this year in new progress reports”
(d) “Progress Absent at Most Schools”
(e) “Grade shock: Regular schools top charters” Continue reading

NY Media Ignore Major Charter School Study

For reasons we can’t explain, a June 29, 2010 study that showed “on average, charter schools had no significant impacts on student achievement in math and reading” drew zero attention from New York media — including education blogs.

The 15-state, 36-school study, funded by the U.S. Department of Education and conducted by the prestigious Princeton-based Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., was announced one day after the New York State Senate passed legislation raising the state’s charter school cap from 200 to 460 — a result of a months-long lobbying campaign by charter advocates.

Until the legislature’s approval, New Yorkers had been bombarded by TV commercials, print ads, and editorials and op-ed pieces in the Daily News, the Post, and the NY Times — all urging legislators to lift the charter cap to improve New York’s chance to win Federal funding in Round 2 of Race to the Top, the Obama administration’s school reform incentive program.

But critics suggested that the RttT eligibility goal was just cover for a well-funded opinion campaign aimed at pressuring legislators to increase the number of charter schools. Ultimately, the legislation incorporated several limitations, including a stipulation that new charters may not be operated by for-profit companies. Continue reading

Bargemusic Comes to Ditmas Park

Bargemusic Ensemble photo: Jan Price

Tuesday’s rain didn’t prevent Ditmas Park from coming alive with the sounds of spring (and winter, summer, and fall) as Mark Peskanov, executive and artistic director of Bargemusic, Brooklyn’s floating concert hall, brought Bach and Vivaldi to P.S. 217. The 5:30 PM performance by Peskanov, with the Voxare String Quartet and bassist Paul Cinque, was the latest musical offering at the Flatbush elementary school, where former Ditmas Park resident Jodi Redhage had inaugurated her own Ditmas Park Concerts three years earlier. Continue reading

311: A Political Tool

The News and the Post report that Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggested to parishioners at Brooklyn’s Christian Cultural Center that they should use 311 to help them lobby to raise the state’s charter school cap. “Just pick up the phone, call 311, ask for the name and the phone number of your state senator or state assemblyman, call them up and say, ‘This is an outrage!'”

Strictly speaking, anyone can call 311 to learn an elected official’s phone number. But the mayor’s suggestion that 311 should be used in support of a specific political initiative — one that he favors — skirts the edge of propriety — and, maybe, the law. Continue reading

When Schools Battle for Parents’ Hearts and Minds

P.S. 217 Odyssey photo courtesy Matthew Septimus

Rick Hess, education guru at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, says that the whole point of giving parents a choice between charters and traditional public schools is to create competition, which forces both to improve. One form this competition takes is in how they recruit new students. Charters don’t seem to have to jump through the same hoops as TPSs do. We witnessed this recently in Flatbush. Continue reading

What Happens When a Charter School Arrives

Do charter schools raise educational standards? The schools’ proponents say that charters educate more effectively than traditional public schools, and even those that don’t, still create a competitive environment in which traditional public schools are “incentivized” to improve their own teaching methods. Can this logic be disputed?

The pro-charter school argument ignores that charters can hurt overall educational progress by undermining nearby traditional public schools. Charters’ aggressive marketing efforts can force TPSs to expand their own publicity campaigns, diverting money and time that otherwise would have gone to support instruction. A charter’s arrival in a neighborhood also can demoralize a public school’s leadership and parents, who view the interloper as a competitor for space and dollar resources and community support. But it is outside the schoolhouse walls that charters may do their most lasting damage, if they create or exacerbate social divisions in the community. How this plays out depends on the neighborhood, and the quality of its traditional public school. Continue reading