Larry Miller's Blog: Educate All Students!

January 3, 2013

Mayoral Control Stopped in Bridgeport Connecticut

Filed under: Elections,Mayoral Control — millerlf @ 10:39 am

“Elections shouldn’t exist”: The new war on school boards

The new education “reform” fight is over who chooses school boards: the mayor or the people. One city fought back

By Josh Eidelson Salon Monday, Dec 31, 2012

On Election Day 2012, as voters around the country chose between two presidential candidates who both touted policies that would make it easier to fire teachers, voters in Bridgeport, Conn., rebuffed a referendum backed by Michelle Rhee, Michael Bloomberg and the local Democratic Party. By a seven-point margin, Bridgeport rejected city charter changes that would have ended school board elections. It’s the latest round in Bridgeport’s multi-year battle over a below-the-radar front in America’s reform wars: Who should pick school board members – mayors or voters?

“Nobody thinks that a bunch of hedge fund managers from Greenwich are going to make their schools any better,” said Lindsay Farrell, the executive director of the Connecticut Working Families Party, one of the groups that spearheaded the opposition effort. “And the right to vote has been a hard-fought right. So people were reluctant to give it up and didn’t trust who they were being asked to give it up to.”

2012 has been a tough year for critics of the bipartisan education reform consensus. In the statehouses, legislators passed bills narrowing teachers’ collective bargaining rights. Big-city mayors and Hollywood celebrities linked arms to tout bills paving the way for a new wave of privately-managed, non-union charter schools. There were bright spots for the left: The Chicago Teachers Union, by building deep ties in the community, offering a left-wing alternative vision for reform and mounting a spirited strike, beat back concessions demanded by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. But the CTU’s aggressive opposition to the education reform consensus remains a minority approach within the country’s teachers unions – let alone within the Democratic Party.

The current struggle over Bridgeport’s school board stretches back to 2009. That was the year that the Working Families Party, a union-backed third party focused on economic issues, seized three board seats previously held by Republicans. (Bridgeport is an overwhelmingly Democratic city, but by law, no single party can hold more than six of the board’s nine seats.)

Sparks flew right away. According to Farrell, immediately after congratulating the new WFP school board members on election night, Mayor Bill Finch told them that he believed Bridgeport should become more like New York City, which has an appointed school board. “He was basically telling people who had just won an election, on election night, that elections shouldn’t exist,” said Farrell.

While the new WFP members took only a third of the board’s seats, “they were very effective at questioning the status quo and the powers that be about what they were doing or not doing for the children of Bridgeport,” said Bridgeport teacher Rob Traber, the vice president of the Bridgeport Education Association. By 2011, with the city’s then-superintendent proposing unpopular budget cuts, Traber said the city’s political and business leaders became “afraid that they might lose control of the board” in that year’s November elections.

Those elections didn’t happen. In a July 2011 move supported by Finch and Gov. Dan Malloy, majorities of the Bridgeport school board and the Connecticut state board of education voted for the state to replace the Bridgeport board with its own appointees. Those included business leaders from outside the city. In February 2012, the Connecticut Supreme Court overrode the takeover, restoring Bridgeport school board elections and forcing a September 2012 special election to replace the replacements. Last summer, Mayor Finch and his allies launched a push to pass a November 2012 charter referendum that would once again end school board elections.

Joshua Thompson, Finch’s director of education and youth, defended the unsuccessful effort, saying the mayor was following the recommendations of “a report handed back to him” by a charter commission that was based on testimony by academics and “major reformers” like former New York City schools chief Joel Klein. “It seemed to be the best way to move school reform that’s deserving of our children,” Thompson told Salon. He said that maintaining an elected school board “would almost be perpetuating the definition of insanity” because it has shown an “inability to carry out what’s necessary for our children.” Thompson added that “taking the politics out” was “a catalyst” for reforms elsewhere.

Many critics of such reforms agree that they’re more likely to advance in the absence of elected school boards. “The reason people want mayoral control is they want more privatization faster,” former assistant U.S. secretary of education Diane Ravitch told Salon. “And the best way to get more privatization is to have only one person to deal with and to not have to listen to a board of education.”

“What we’ve seen in the past few years,” said Ravitch, “is that where there’s mayoral control, the mayor turns to the business community, and the business community wants privatization.”

In the weeks before the election, “the mayor and the corporate community pulled out every stop,” said Jonathan Pelto, a former Connecticut state legislator who’s consulted for unions. Pelto noted that the referendum effort received support from Michael Bloomberg, major businesses and former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee’s Students First. Sacramento Mayor (and Rhee’s husband) Kevin Johnson came to Bridgeport to stump for the measure. (Students First did not respond to Salon’s request for comment.)

So why, in a year rife with setbacks, did progressives beat Rhee in Bridgeport? Advocates credit years of coalition-building and weeks of door-to-door canvassing. “I think one lesson is that there are no shortcuts,” said Farrell. “You have to do the organizing.” But she said the victory also showed that “when we talk about it in terms of democracy … we get farther than the old frames we’ve been using.”

Traber, whose union was a top funder of the anti-referendum effort, said the coalition made a pragmatic decision to focus its message on voter disenfranchisement rather than education policy. “We determined that if we allowed them to define the question on the basis of fixing the schools – even though we don’t think their solution is going to fix the schools – that they would win,” he told Salon. “But if we argued the case on the question of, ‘Under what circumstances does a citizen have the right to vote?,’ we would win.”

“I think there’s a large misnomer,” countered Thompson. “It was turned into, however people want to characterize it, as a ‘voter rights’ issue or what have you … Did you get to vote for Secretary of State? No.” Thompson noted that the school board issue was only one of many aspects of the charter referendum question, and said that the September election victories of some school board members who had originally been appointed was a sign of “people saying, ‘We like what’s been going on.’”

Pelto said that the mayor’s referendum campaign was also hurt by the perception that the city’s “white establishment” was trying to curtail voting rights in a majority non-white city whose public school students are overwhelmingly African-American or Latino. “It really came across as, ‘Don’t elect the board, let the white mayor elect the board,’” said Pelto. It didn’t help, he added, that “three of the last four or five mayors of Bridgeport have either gone to federal prison or resigned under the threat of going to prison.”

Having won the battle, said Traber, progressives now need to win the debate over charter expansion and high-stakes testing – beginning with citizens who voted to keep their right to elect the school board but might not oppose such “reforms.” He said that corporate-backed education reform efforts have gained support in part due to austerity and inequality: “The problem is there is a lack of resources devoted to the education of our children … The public sector is not in a position to address that problem, even though that’s where the solution should come from.” And so when private-sector players offer to fund projects in line with their ideology or interests, “that gives them great traction.”

Bridgeport has more education battles ahead. The school board is expected to vote within months on whether interim superintendent Paul Vallas, who’s clashed with reform critics during his tenures in Chicago, New Orleans and Philadelphia, will become Bridgeport’s permanent schools chief. Thompson told Salon that the Mayor’s upcoming priorities include expanding high school options, creating a military first-responder academy and raising “external funds” for increased early childhood programming. Asked about charters, he said “we can learn from anyone that’s getting success” and that whether their ranks grow will be in the hands of the superintendent and the legislature.

Meanwhile, battles over who chooses school board members could spread elsewhere in 2013. Traber said that his side’s referendum victory has already piqued interest in pushing for elected school boards in other major cities in Connecticut. And in non-binding referenda held in some Chicago precincts on election day, most voters expressed support for taking back the power to choose school board members from Mayor Emanuel.

While his side was routed on Election Day, Thompson said, “For me, the victory is that 30,000 people showed up and voted on an education issue.” Asked whether he was concerned that ending school board elections would have reduced such civic engagement in the future, he answered, “Absolutely not. There was no concern about that … We need to have folks that are just focused on our children.”

 

April 7, 2011

Corporate “Super Star” Out As Head of New York Public Schools

Filed under: Mayoral Control,New York — millerlf @ 1:04 pm

Cathleen Black Is Out as New York City Schools Chancellor

By ELISSA GOOTMAN and MICHAEL BARBARO NY Times4/7

Cathleen P. Black, a magazine executive with no educational experience who was named New York City schools chancellor last fall, stepped down Thursday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced.

Mr. Bloomberg called Ms. Black into his office Thursday morning and urged her to resign, officials said, ending a tumultuous and brief tenure for the longtime publisher. Mr. Bloomberg said at a news conference that he and Ms. Black had agreed that a change was required.

(more…)

January 13, 2011

The Milwaukee Journal Does The Usual Bi-Weekly Attack On the School Board and Democracy, While Using a Self-Congratulatory Voucher Comparison as Evidence

Filed under: Mayoral Control,MPS Governance Debate,Vouchers — millerlf @ 12:00 pm

I ask, where’s the journalism? Where’s the critique of the business community and city government’s failure to create family sustaining jobs and economic development?

Jan. 11, 2011 Editorial MJS

Where’s the leadership?

Milwaukee School Board members wanted the community to give them a chance to lead. Recent decisions show the board is not up to the challenge.

The dearth of candidates for the Milwaukee School Board is another sign of how little democracy there really is in the current governance structure.

How little, you ask?

Five of the nine seats are up for election, but only one race will have a primary in February because three candidates are running. In three races, there will be only two candidates on the April ballot, and no one challenged School Board President Michael Bonds.

The lack of interest in School Board elections is nothing new in Milwaukee, of course, but it’s still troubling. And here’s something else that’s troubling: A new study shows voucher school kids are 17% more likely to graduate than Milwaukee Public Schools students.

MPS disputes the numbers. What cannot be disputed are the financial and academic problems looming over the district. And effective leadership is critical to turning MPS around.

A 70% graduation rate is not good enough. The 82,000 students who attend MPS deserve better, and the community as a whole depends on the district’s success because MPS is, essentially, the region’s biggest workforce development agency.

Financially, the School Board has shown it is not ready to make big decisions.

Milwaukee Common Council President Willie L. Hines Jr. and state Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) questioned why the School Board refused to sell empty buildings to its competition when the district is paying about $1 million a year to maintain those buildings.

Bonds’ response: Mind your own business.

“You are focusing on MPS issues while neglecting the problems that you were elected to solve,” Bonds said in a letter to Hines.

Not exactly the sort of leadership that inspires confidence.

That’s why we still believe a governance change is required. We have no confidence that this board will be able to address the mounting financial and academic crises.

A change in governance alone won’t fix MPS. Schools need to be safe; parents need to be involved. Each school needs effective, top-to-bottom leadership.

Superintendent Gregory Thornton is trying, but an ineffective board stymies effective leadership.

It’s time for better leadership.

December 29, 2010

Joe Klein Exit Interview: Gives Self High Ratings

Filed under: Mayoral Control,New York — millerlf @ 3:40 pm

Klein, like many “leaders” in education, thinks democracy is over-rated. He knows better than parents what is good for their kids. He now works for Rupert Murdock.

Departing Schools Chief: ‘We Weren’t Bold Enough’

By JAVIER C. HERNANDEZ Published: December 24, 2010

JOEL I. KLEIN invited me to breakfast last year at an Upper East Side haunt, one of those places where a bowl of yogurt goes for $23 and waiters circle the room sweeping up crumbs like pigeons at a feast.

was covering the New York City school system at the time and thought maybe Mr. Klein, the chancellor since 2002, planned to resign and was giving a little notice. We had come to know each other via e-mail, bantering about the news media’s coverage of education, his refusal to join Twitter (“I truly do have a day job,” he said) and which A-through-F grade he would give the latest production of “Tosca” at the Metropolitan Opera.

But when I asked Mr. Klein about his future on that summer morning, he said he was enjoying the job too much to leave. Instead, he wanted to talk about the city’s rising test scores, about his belief that reporters had not done enough to highlight the success of charter schools and about another favorite topic: love.

“I couldn’t survive if I didn’t have someone to go home to when I got beat up,” he said.

Last month, Mr. Klein, 64, did announce his resignation. After more than eight years in the job, he is one of the city’s longest-serving chancellors; his last day is Friday. Mr. Klein is joining Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation as an executive vice president in charge of educational ventures.

Before leaving, Mr. Klein sat for an exit interview of sorts, after a visit to the Urban AssemblySchool for Applied Math and Science in the Bronx.

Some parents and teachers have derided Mr. Klein as a tyrant, a political opportunist and a tone-deaf bureaucrat. When I asked if he had neglected them, he seemed insulted. He pulled a stack of greeting cards from his briefcase: “Thank you for being my advocate,” wrote a third grader at a charter school in Harlem.

(more…)

December 9, 2010

Bloomberg Revives Mayoral Control Debate

Filed under: Mayoral Control,New York — millerlf @ 7:32 am

Mayor Bloomberg under fire for choice of N.Y. schools chancellor

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s pick to oversee New York’s public schools lacks education experience. The ensuing firestorm has revived debate over whether mayoral control is a remedy for ailing schools.

By Geraldine Baum, Los Angeles Times, 12/7/10

Reporting from New York —

At first, Cathie Black, the newly appointed chancellor of New York’s public schools, stuck out like a homecoming queen who’d been assigned to take over the math club.

She appeared as glossy as the Hearst magazine empire she long ran — camera-ready, exquisitely dressed and well-spoken. She was just what New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg thought he needed to further repair the nation’s largest public school system. The only problem: She hasn’t a whiff of education experience.
That has blown up into an unexpected firestorm not just over the quality of this city’s schools — which aren’t as repaired as many had hoped they would be by now — but over the essence of Bloomberg’s style after taking command of the 1.1-million-student system eight years ago. It also has revived debate on whether mayors and other non-educators can be a remedy for ailing schools.

“It’s the culmination and apotheosis of all the worst parts of mayoral control,” said Leonie Haimson, a longtime activist for smaller class size who is part of a movement to stop Black’s appointment. “In the end it’s one man who doesn’t listen to anybody and makes decision based on whim. Would Bloomberg put a non-doctor to head the health department or someone with no experience to run the police? I don’t think so.”

Black succeeds another non-educator, Joel Klein, an aggressive Washington prosecutor the mayor handpicked in 2002 as his first chancellor.

At her first public appearance last week, at two schools in Queens, Black, 66, showed up in a high-style camel coat more fitting for a fashion show than discussing a purple dog with schoolchildren. She also gave her first post-appointment interview to a tabloid newspaper gossip columnist, to whom she gushed, “I’ve already had an hour-and-a-half meeting with Joel Klein. He and I may be different people, but with eight deputies in the department, I’ll get up to speed quickly.”

On Sunday she granted a second interview, firing back at her and the mayor’s critics.
(more…)

November 29, 2010

NY State Education Commissioner Caves to Bloomberg Pressure: Billionaires Win and Our Kids Lose Again

Filed under: Mayoral Control,New York — millerlf @ 1:28 pm

(Below are comments by Bob Herbert on class warfare.)

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire mayor of New York,  chose Cathleen Black  as Chancellor of NY public schools without any public search — in fact, until minutes before the announcement, even some of his aides did not know that Mr. Klein was leaving or that she was being named to replace her.

The choice was met with skepticism and opposition from City Council members and some parent groups, who argued that the system needed an experienced educator. Because Ms. Black lacks the credentials required by state law, Mr. Bloomberg was required to seek a waiver from the state’s education commissioner, David M. Steiner.

In a deal between Mr. Steiner and the mayor to save Ms. Black’s faltering candidacy, Shael Polakow-Suransky, a career educator, was named chief academic officer to serve as Ms. Black’s No. 2. Mr. Polakow-Suransky was the school system’s deputy chancellor of performance and accountability before his appointment.

Mr. Steiner had expressed skepticism about Ms. Black’s ability to master the intricacies of the nation’s largest school system. Her cause was further undermined in November 2010 when six of the eight members of a panel Dr. Steiner appointed to evaluate Ms. Black’s background voted to deny granting an exemption.

Ms. Black is scheduled to take office on Jan. 1, 2011. She would be the first woman to head the nation’s largest school system, with about 1.1 million children, 80,000 teachers and more than 1,400 schools. She was the first woman to lead the Hearst Corporation’s magazine division and, way back in 1979, the first female publisher of a weekly consumer magazine, New York.

Mr. Bloomberg has argued that Ms. Black is a “superstar manager” whose expertise in cost-cutting and dealing with customers would be a boon to a school system in financial straits. The mayor contended that under the 2002 law that gave him control of the city schools, he should be able to appoint whomever he pleased.

(Read the truth about Bloomberg and his obscene choice for New York City’s public school chancellor.)

Winning the Class War By BOB HERBERT Published: November 26, 2010

A stark example of the potential for real (class) conflict is being played out in New York City, where the multibillionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has selected a glittering example of the American aristocracy to be the city’s schools chancellor. Cathleen Black, chairwoman of Hearst Magazines, has a reputation as a crackerjack corporate executive but absolutely no background in education.

Ms. Black travels in the rarefied environs of the very rich. Her own children went to private boarding schools. She owns a penthouse on Park Avenue and a $4 million home in Southampton. She was able to loan a $47,600 Bulgari bracelet to a museum for an exhibit showing off the baubles of the city’s most successful women.

Ms. Black will be peering across an almost unbridgeable gap between her and the largely poor and working-class parents and students she will be expected to serve. Worse, Mr. Bloomberg, heralding Ms. Black as a “superstar manager,” has made it clear that because of budget shortfalls she will be focused on managing cutbacks to the school system.

So here we have the billionaire and the millionaire telling the poor and the struggling — the little people — that they will just have to make do with less. You can almost feel the bitterness rising.

Extreme inequality is already contributing mightily to political and other forms of polarization in the U.S. And it is a major force undermining the idea that as citizens we should try to face the nation’s problems, economic and otherwise, in a reasonably united fashion. When so many people are tumbling toward the bottom, the tendency is to fight among each other for increasingly scarce resources.

What’s really needed is for working Americans to form alliances and try, in a spirit of good will, to work out equitable solutions to the myriad problems facing so many ordinary individuals and families. Strong leaders are needed to develop such alliances and fight back against the forces that nearly destroyed the economy and have left working Americans in the lurch.

Aristocrats were supposed to be anathema to Americans. Now, while much of the rest of the nation is suffering, they are the only ones who can afford to smile.

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on November 27, 2010, on page A19 of the New York edition.


November 11, 2010

Joe Klein Out in New York; Bloomberg Picks a Jet-Setter to Replace Him

Filed under: Mayoral Control,New York — millerlf @ 10:48 am

Bloomberg errs again with NYC public schools

By Valerie Strauss

There is unfortunate symmetry to today’s news that Joel Klein had resigned as New York City Schools Chancellor today to join Rupert Murdoch’s outfit, and that he was being succeeded by Cathie Black, chair of Hearst Magazines.Klein, who is becoming an executive vice president for News Corp., had taken the job as chancellor without any experience in education.

Now, Black, a former USA Today publisher who has been serving as chairwoman of Hearst Magazines, is becoming chancellor with no educational experience. The woman responsible for publications including Esquire; Good Housekeeping; O, the Oprah magazine ;and Popular Mechanics will run New York City’s public schools.

That’s twice that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has deluded himself into thinking that success in business management is easily transferable to success in the public education system.

Klein had worked as head of the publishing giant Bertelsmann and as a federal anti-trust prosecutor when he took the job as head of the 1.1 million student-system in 2002. (He had to get a waiver from the state government to take the job because he hadn’t been trained as a professional educator. Black will need one too). Accustomed to breaking up monopolies, he apparently viewed the public school system as a monopoly and he worked to bust it up — attacking teachers unions and pushing for the expansion of charters, publicly funded schools that are not part of the traditional school bureaucracy.

It didn’t really work out so well for Klein.

Though he and Bloomberg talk about the Klein tenure as a success, the chancellor did nothing to narrow the gaping achievement gap, and it was recently learned that standardized test score improvements that the mayor and the schools boss had touted for years were phony. State officials recently revealed that scores had been inflated, and thousands of parents who thought their children were performing on grade level learned that they weren’t.

Bloomberg had the chance with Klein’s resignation to seek community input into the selection of a new chancellor but instead he chose, again, to ignore the people who elected him.

American schools today need better-trained teachers, principals who themselves have been exceptional teachers, and superintendents who understand that public education isn’t a business but a civic responsibility, and who know that great teaching can’t always be reduced to data points.

At a press conference with Black and Klein on Tuesday, Bloomberg said of his new chancellor: “There is no one who knows more about the skills our children will need to succeed in the 21st century economy.”

I’d bet a nice dinner that even Black knows that isn’t true. Bloomberg shouldn’t get away with such nonsense.
Follow my blog every day by bookmarking washingtonpost.com/answersheet.By Valerie Strauss  | November 9, 2010

 

October 14, 2010

New Study on Mayoral Control of Schools

Filed under: Mayoral Control — millerlf @ 10:53 am

New study out of Rutgers showing that mayoral control does not necessarily lead to improvements and often cuts out parent and community voices.

Governance and Urban School

Improvement: Lessons for New Jersey

From Nine Cities

http://ielp.rutgers.edu/docs/MC%20Final.pdf

 

Excerpts:

 

New York a group comprised of multiple advocacy groups within the city, the Parent Commission on School Governance and Mayoral Control, convened in June 2008 to make recommendations over whether to extend mayoral control upon its sunset in June 2009 and weighed in on a variety of issues, including increasing community involvement in decisions affecting neighborhood schools.525 While aspects of their recommendations were adopted in new legislation, the level of parent and community involvement so far has not increased to their desired level…., among the many recommendations to the New York legislature of the Parent Commission on School Governance and Mayoral Control, were recommendations to grant specific powers to the Community District Education Schools in the process over closing and opening schools and opening new charter schools.

 

…In Chicago, where Mayor Daley has touted his “Renaissance 2010” plan to close 100

poorly performing schools and replace them with new schools by 2010, parent activists,

including Parents United for Responsible Education, sponsored legislation that would

create an independent panel to design a new process for school closings.528 PURE

identified eight major problems with Renaissance 2010: 1) decisions are driven by real

estate development priorities; 2) students are displaced, which increases detrimental

mobility; 3) violence has increased in and around affected schools; 4) board members do

not attend hearings, yet vote unanimously for all recommendations; 5) teachers are not

being fairly evaluated; highly qualified, certified teachers are being displaced and the

percentage of African-American teachers is declining; 6) the newly-created schools do

not have Local School Councils, the subject of a current lawsuit; 7) new schools get an

unfair share of resources; and 8) the new schools and charter schools are not performing

better than other schools.

 

The most recent report evaluating strong mayoral involvement in

New York City raises serious questions about the claims of the Bloomberg

administration—and others—that the mayor’s leadership has resulted in significant

achievement gains in the New York City Public Schools. Although supporters of

strong mayoral involvement in New York City may argue that the authors of this report

have been consistent critics of mayoral control, the authors comprise a range of political

perspectives. For example, Diane Ravitch and Sol Stern originally had supported

mayoral control; sociologists Aaron Pallas and Jennifer Jennings have been analyzing

New York City achievement data for a number of years and generally have argued that

the Department of Education data often disguise problems in student achievement; and

Deborah Meier, one of the early progressive small school pioneers in New York City and

the founder of Central Park East Secondary School, has long been a critic of the negative

effects of standardized testing on teaching and learning. In August 2010, New York State

Commissioner of Education increased the cut scores for the 2010 state achievement tests

in response to charges that the low cut scores for proficiency gave an inaccurate portrait

of student abilities. These changes resulted in a significant reduction in proficiency rates

across the state, including New York City, casting doubt on the validity of the dramatic

increases claimed by the mayor and chancellor; and most importantly in the reemergence

of the race based achievement gap in New York City.309

 

Leonie Haimson
Executive Director
Class Size Matters
124 Waverly Pl.
New York, NY 10011
212-674-7320
classsizematters@gmail.com

October 11, 2010

New York City Schools’ Testing Under Fire

Filed under: Mayoral Control,New York — millerlf @ 7:25 am

On New York School Tests, Warning Signs Ignored

By JENNIFER MEDINA Published: October 10, 2010 NY Times

When New York State made its standardized English and math tests tougher to pass this year, causing proficiency rates to plummet, it said it was relying on a new analysis showing that the tests had become too easy and that score inflation was rampant.

Daniel Koretz, a Harvard professor, oversaw the study of New York’s tests that led to the state’s conclusion that the exams had become too easy to pass.

Betty Rosa, a member of the Board of Regents, said the unprecedented high scores had seemed unbelievable.

But 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.

The fast rise and even faster fall of New York’s passing rates resulted from the effect of policies, decisions and missed red flags that stretched back more than 10 years and were laid out in correspondence and in interviews with city and state education officials, administrators and testing experts.

The process involved direct warnings from experts that went unheeded by the state, and a city administration that trumpeted gains in student performance despite its own reservations about how reliably the test gauged future student success.

(more…)

October 1, 2010

New York Success Charter Network: Bad Behavior and Out. Where are the Special Ed Students? Where are the ELL students?

Filed under: Charter Schools,Mayoral Control,Waiting for Superman — millerlf @ 1:22 pm

This is an excerpt from a New York magazine article on Success Charter Network represented in the documentary Waiting for Superman.

“…when the schools are vexed by behavioral problems: “They don’t provide the counseling these kids need.”If students are deemed bad “fits” and theirparents refuse to move them, the staffer says, the administration “makes it a nightmare” with repeated suspensions and midday summonses. After a 5-year-old was suspended for two days for allegedly running out of the building, the child’s mother says the school began calling her every day “saying he’s doing this, he’s doing that. Maybe they’re just trying to get rid of me and my child, but I’m not going to give them that satisfaction.”

To read the full article go to the following link:

Patron Saint (and Scourge) of Lost Schools

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