Friday, June 20

Weekly news round-up: Arabic classes, laxative cakes and Klein's sweet dreams

Too busy worrying if you still have a job, your fifth grader got into middle school or the commute to Manhattan for a G&T program is plausible to read the paper? Don’t worry - we’ve flipped through the pages for you. Welcome to the first installment of our education and school news round-up. Look for it every Friday!

This week, while Margaret Spellings, Chancellor Klein and Mayor Bloomberg were in Disney World speaking at Jeb Bush’s national education reform summit, a paroled felon ran from the cops ran straight into a Brooklyn elementary school, brandishing his loaded handgun. Luckily, everyone at PS 108 was okay, but some older Brooklyn students found themselves behind bars after serving a laxative laced cake that left two teachers hospitalized.

While in the Magic Kingdom, Chancellor Klein wished upon a star for the ability to certify teachers and principals without a university. The College Board might wish that the new SAT had proven to be a better indicator of college success; they sure tried to spin their study results that way. At least veterans had one dream come true when Congress greatly expanded their educational grants and permitted the transfer of aid to family members.

In Albany, Gov. Paterson has successfully pushed through legislation that will push sex offenders out of the classroom, but he has been less successful in convincing fellow lawmakers to cap local school property taxes, although a poll shows that 74 percent of voters support the cap.

But in "America's first suburb," the property tax debate has been overshadowed. Town officials in Levittown complain of psychological damage to 8th graders, who came across their town name as an answer choice on the state social studies exam and were so upset to see their community associated with Hoovervilles and tenements that they were unable to complete their tests. A high school in Massachusetts, however, has a real problem. Some students supposedly made a pact to become pregnant, and now 17 girls under 17 years-old are expecting.

Wendy Kopp and Richard Barth, the Upper West Side-based education power-couple who is devoted to closing the achievement gap through Teach for America and the KIPP charter school network, might wonder why European countries are looking to the US schools as a model of desegregation. Local columnists, meanwhile, muse on Obama’s father’s day speech, and the effect of home life on school achievement.

All New York public school students might soon learn more about how to be nice to each other, and a few New York private school students will study Arabic next year. Language skills, however, continue to bar many immigrants from accessing the city’s childcare offerings.

And, of course, the topics covered in our blog were also covered in the papers: flaws in the new G&T admissions policy, which left the program even less diverse than in years past; the Robin Hood effect of No Child Left Behind, which has potentially created a boost in low-performing students scores while stagnating high performing students’ academic growth; the middle school placement mess; and the interview with Chancellor Klein, which focuses on Brooklyn schools but is illuminating in general.

Thoughts? Reactions? Opinions?

UPDATE (6/25/08): The story about the teen pregnancy pact has gotten a lot of follow-up ink. Was it a pact or not? Regardless, there are still 17 pregnant teenagers in one high school, several of whom have confirmed that their pregnancy was intentional.


Anonymous said...

Wow, that's way too much for one post, in the future, can you please break it up into more digestable bits?

Anonymous said...

Oh get a grip!! If you need to, read it SLOWLY. I thought it was really good and got alot of info out there with minimal space.

Anonymous said...

5:18 - It's a round up! You aren't supposed to understand all of it, but instead you are supposed to click on the articles you want to know more about. I like it.

Anonymous said...

I thought the post was great. It gave a wonderful snapshot of the week's events. I look forward to reading this post in the future.

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