Faithful readers (and intrepid beta-testers) know that Insideschools' long-anticipated website redesign will launch later this week. We're aiming to get everything up and running ahead of the new school year -- eight days and counting!
As a preview, the blog is migrating to the new site today, Monday, August 25th. Here's a quick link to our new e-home, please pay us a visit. And you can always access the blog from the Insideschools home page.
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Monday, August 25
Friday, August 22
As parents and students begin gearing up for the new school year, the news this week was dominated by the standard – yet colossal and complicated – contemporary education debates, including charter schools, standardized testing, and incentives.
Mayor Bloomberg kicked off the week by announcing that 18 new charter schools would open in the city this fall. The Times opened a Q and A between readers and James D. Merriman IV, the chief executive of the
A Newsday reporter who set out to prove that the Regents exams were easy by taking the U.S. History test unprepared scored a 97 and made his point. Meanwhile, students’ scores on the Advanced Placement tests were released, and the apparently mixed results of pay-for-scores programs vaulted the issue of monetary incentives back into the papers. Employees of the Princeton Review, a high-profile national testing company, made a serious computer error that resulted in 34,000
Several disheartening stories involved special education students: allegations of abuse in one city school, asbestos in another, and concerns over special education bus service for the fall. A disabled teacher sued, claiming his epilepsy cost him his job, and a national story about corporal punishment (legal in schools in 21 states but not
And a couple of journalists used the end of the summer to ask key questions about the future. What will happen to No Child Left Behind, now that Bush is on his way out and a new president is on his way in? Will mayoral control be renewed by the state legislature, especially since Klein and Bloomberg have largely ignored politicians’ education opinions? And where does Obama really stand on education, as supporters of several different – and sometimes competing – initiatives claim to be in alignment with the candidate? Education mysteries abound.
Thursday, August 21
The good news, from the DOE and the State, is that crime in the city's schools is on the wane: Of 25 city schools described as persistently dangerous by the State last year, 15 were removed from the list in light of improved safety and lower crime. The downside is that 11 city schools remain on the danger list. New York City also added more schools (six) to the state's list than any other area of the state.
In counterpoint, Comptroller William Thomson asserts that as many as one in five violent/criminal/safety incidents that occur in schools go improperly or incompletely reported. City leaders hope that a proposed amendment to the City Charter will improve school security by directing complaints of police misconduct to the Civilian Complaint Review Board (not the current norm) and requiring regular reporting on school violence to the DOE and NYPD.
In an article today, the Post documents a number of District 75 schools on the state's list -- D 75 schools enroll special need students with the most acute needs. Reports of persistent violence in D 75 schools, where staff ratios are far smaller than mainstream schools, raise difficult questions on all sides. And an AP story from am New York sets New York's improvements against a national canvas, noting without irony that the other 49 states document a total of 21 persistently dangerous schools compared to New York State's 19 (although reporting criteria vary from state to state).
Notably, despite pop-media visions of metal-detectors and box-cutter-wielding teens, "persistently dangerous" schools include elementary and middle schools, too. Under the provisions of NCLB, parents can request safety transfers for students enrolled at "dangerous" schools. But time is short before the start of school; those interested in seeking transfers should contact their school this week to explore the process.
Families who applied for pre-K seats in the second application round should have news by the end of this week; letters went out by mail yesterday afternoon, according to an email from the DOE's Andy Jacob.