Archive for October, 2010

Cuomo gives Times more School Aid specifics, vows offensive against unions

October 26th, 2010 by Robert Lowry

On back-to-back days, the New York Times published articles based on 90 minute interviews with the two major party nominees for Governor in next Tuesday’s election — Democrat Andrew Cuomo and Republican Carl Paladino.

Monday’s article carried the title, “Cuomo Vows Offensive Against Labor Unions.”

Paladino Threatens Shutdown if Budget Is Late” is the title of today’s article.

The Times also presents audio clips from each interview, including their thoughts on education

As recited below, Mr. Cuomo offers some specific ideas on a new approach to education funding.  He expresses enthusiasm for the incentive approach in the federal Race to the Top program. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Finance, Politics | Comments Off on Cuomo gives Times more School Aid specifics, vows offensive against unions

Update on NYC teacher rating controversy

October 25th, 2010 by Robert Lowry

Last week I wrote about the controversy over releasing individual value-added performance ratings for New York City teachers, with names attached.

Writing in Saturday’s new York Post, City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein argues in favor of releasing the data.

In today’s New York Daily News, scholar Diane Ravitch says the idea “makes no sense at all.”

In a statement released on Friday, New York State United Teachers President Richard Iannuzzi said, “”Media misuse of unreliable student data to unfairly label or scapegoat teachers would undermine the good-faith initiatives now under way to strengthen teacher evaluations in New York state.”

As I explained last week, the New York City Department of Education agreed to hold off on releasing individual teacher data until at least late November. A State Supreme Court Judge will hear arguments on November 24 on the teacher union’s lawsuit seeking to prevent the release.

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Racing to the Top: Time Lines

October 22nd, 2010 by Robert Lowry

Here is an interesting and/or intimidating item — a set of detailed time lines for projects to be undertaken by the State Education Department and various partners (including school districts) under the state’s Race to the Top grant. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Guidance and Announcements, National Policy | 1 Comment »

SED seeking input on learning standards for English language arts and math

October 21st, 2010 by Robert Lowry

As part of the successful effort to win Race to the Top funding, the Board of Regents voted to adopt the national “Common Core” Standards for mathematics and English language arts and literacy.

States are permitted to add to the Common Core Standards.

Over the past summer, the State Education Department assembled work groups to recommend additions for new York.

Now SED is seeking reactions to the recommended additions through online surveys.

You may review the recommendations and complete the surveys here:

The SED website explains,

The State Education Department will be gathering input from October 20th, 2010 to November 29th, 2010. After the survey data and comments are compiled, there will be a revision period in December prior to the submission of the final materials for Board action in January 2011.

Category: Guidance and Announcements, Standards & Assessments | Comments Off on SED seeking input on learning standards for English language arts and math

Contesting the value of value-added in NYC (UPDATED)

October 21st, 2010 by Robert Lowry

Over the summer, the Los Angeles Times stirred up a lot of controversy by compiling value-added performance ratings for teachers based on state test results, then making findings available in a searchable database, including the names of teachers and their individual ratings.

The New York City Department of Education computes value-added scores for its teachers and a group of news organizations made a freedom of information law request for release the ratings for individual teachers.  The Wall Street Journal was one of the news outlets making the request.

The City DOE was prepared release the information on Wednesday but the City teacher union threatened a lawsuit to block release.

Now the DOE is saying it will release the data tomorrow (Friday), unless the courts intercede.

The union filed suit this morning.

UPDATE:  The City DOE agreed to hold off on releasing individual teacher data until at least late November.  A State Supreme Court Judge will hear arguments on November 24 on the teacher union’s lawsuit seeking to prevent the release.

Andrew Rotherham had a wise piece on the place of value-added analysis in Time magazine last month.

Mr. Rotherham once worked for our national affiliate, the American Association of School Administrators.

Category: Standards & Assessments, Teachers | Comments Off on Contesting the value of value-added in NYC (UPDATED)

NYS near bottom in school funding equity — and probably getting worse

October 19th, 2010 by Robert Lowry

A report by Rutgers University and the New Jersey Education Law Center ranks New York near the bottom of all states in school funding equity.  Only four states had a wider gap in per pupil spending between high and low poverty districts.

This finding is based on old data — from the 2006-07 school year.

New York’s ranking may have improved in the two years that the state’s Foundation Aid formula was operating –2007-08 and 2008-09.

That reform was enacted to resolve the Campaign for Fiscal Equity’s challenge to constitutionality of the state’s school finance system.

In both years, the poorest 20 percent of districts in the state were able to propose the largest percentage increases in spending, while proposing lower than average tax increases.  (See slide 6 here for example).

But with austerity in state aid to schools the last two years, equity has  suffered.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Courage and the Superintendency

October 12th, 2010 by Robert Lowry

Each year, a new President takes over the leadership of the New York State Council of School Superintendents.  Last month, Oliver Robinson, superintendent of Shenendehowa (Capital Region), was succeeded by Robert Christmann, superintendent of Grand Island (Western New York).

I have been with the Council since 2002 and have listened to nine new Presidents deliver “inaugural remarks.”  I don’t recall any whose message was better matched to its times than Bob’s.  He spoke of the need for superintendents to make courageous decisions on behalf of schoolchildren.

You can read it here.

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Times tracks test troubles

October 12th, 2010 by Robert Lowry

Sunday’s New York Times included a lengthy article on the problems in New York State’s testing program which led to this summer’s “cut score” adjustment.

The article begins noting that although the adjustments were justified based on new analysis, “…evidence had been mounting for some time that the state’s tests, which have formed the basis of almost every school reform effort of the past decade, had serious flaws.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Cuomo and Paladino on education and budget issues

October 10th, 2010 by Robert Lowry

Education has not been getting much attention in the race for Governor this year, except for the fixation on capping property taxes.

Here is a document which recites what the two major party candidates have said about education and related fiscal issues on their websites – paladinoforthepeople.com and andrewcuomo.com.

Democrat Cuomo’s passages are excerpted from his 252-page “New NY Agenda” which can be downloaded here.

Republican Paladino’s items are pulled from the Issues section of his website.

Because Mr. Cuomo’s proposals are more extensive and more detailed, the summary below gives more space to his platform. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Politics | 1 Comment »