Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Disappearing Black & Latino Teachers Reach Severe Levels in NYC Public Schools
Thanks to the decade-long dogged work of CPE member Sean Ahern and the research of the NYC Independent Budget Office's Raymond Domanico, we have the latest stats (above) about how deeply institutionalized is the "disappearing" of Black & Latino teachers.

What's hidden in these stats is the fact that Teach for America (TFA) now supplies 60% of New York City's new teachers! And more than 75% of TFA teachers are white. Their average tenure within our schools is 18-20 months. Hence, they are not only highly inexperienced instant teachers, but cannot relate to most of our children and use their stay in our schools as mere career stepping stones to hire salaries in teaching elsewhere or in other occupations.

Our demand should be a very simple one: The NYC Board of Education should set up a 10-year program that guarantees Black, Latino and Asian teacher parity with the racial demographics of the student population. Several years ago, Black New Yorkers for Educational Excellence (BNYEE) offered a comprehensive outline on how this could be achieved:

Solving this Crisis of Vanishing Black/Latino Educators

Black New Yorkers for Educational Excellence is advocating that we demand that the current Dept of Education immediately take the at least $60+ million annual teacher recruitment budget as well as other parts of its bloated and misdirected budget and redirect that money to launch a community-based recruitment and education campaign that is structured around a two-year, four-year and eight-year strategy of reaching Black & Latino teacher parity that matches the demographics of the student population. This campaign would include:
1.    Free tuition through graduate school for all those Black & Latino parents, college-bound High School grads and other adults who want to earn an education degree and commit to teaching at least five years within the NYC school system. CUNY, SUNY and private schools will be the participating colleges and universities.

2.    The Board of Ed will pay for 50% of the fulltime in good standing Ed major’s rent or mortgage and 30% of their rent or mortgage for the first 3 years of their fulltime teaching status.

3.    The Board of Ed have at least 10 fulltime Community Teacher Recruiters in each Boro spending the next 4 years actively recruiting and enrolling potential educators from the Black and Latino communities.

4.    Over the next 10 years, annually bring at least 100 retired Black & Latino educators out of retirement thru various financial incentive programs and enhanced new retirement policies including comprehensive FREE family medical (including full dentistry) coverage.

5.    Institutionalize a Black & Latino Recruitment & Retention Commission and Program to help seek and keep the Black & Latino educators.

SOURCE: http://www.bnyee.org/edvisionstofightfor.htm

Of course, this broad outline will need more discussion and details. CPE and BNYEE welcome your ideas, visions and constructive criticisms.

Friday, April 4, 2014


Black Brooklyn School Teacher Opt Out Her Son
Takiema Bunche-Smith, the director of curriculum and instruction at Brooklyn Kindergarten Society, allowed her 8-year-old son to opt out of standardized tests based on new Common Core standards. Bunche-Smith joins Aljazeera's Consider This host Anotnio Mora to discuss why her family opposes the tests.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Refuse the TEST!! Parents Opting Out Is RISING!

Parents all across the US are getting it: Corporate sponsored hi stakes testing if profitable for them while it is killing the education soul of their children and replacing it with fear and loathing.

Now is the time for all concerned Parents, Students and Educators to unite and join the Opt Out Movement: http://unitedoptout.com... and stay tiuned to: http://www.fairtest.org/get-involved/opting-out.

This is one struggle for quality education we can win as more and more students and parents and educators JUST SAY NO!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

New York State’s Extreme School Segregation: Inequality, Inaction and a Damaged Future


<<New York has the most segregated schools in the country: in 2009, black and Latino students in the state had the highest concentration in intensely-segregated public schools (less than 10% white enrollment), the lowest exposure to white students, and the most uneven distribution with white students across schools. Heavily impacting these state rankings is New York City, home to the largest and one of the most segregated public school systems in the nation.

Forty years ago, school desegregation was a serious component of the state’s education policy, as a result of community pressure and legal cases. Key desegregation cases arose throughout a number of segregated communities. The U.S. Justice Department case in Yonkers was the first in history to combine housing desegregation and school desegregation claims simultaneously. The remedy for the school desegregation case in Rochester led to one of the country’s eight existing voluntary interdistrict programs. The magnet school plan for the school desegregation case in Buffalo was hailed as a model for other similar cities across the country. In  New York City, a citywide desegregation case was never brought but community control of local schools sometimes helped integration efforts, as many school officials and community members challenged practices and policies that perpetuated racial imbalance and educational inequity across schools.

In light of these efforts, local and political resistance influenced New York’s history of school desegregation. Around the time of Reagan’s administration, the state moved away from desegregation efforts and instead focused on other practices and policies like accountability systems, school choice, and charter schools. By the early twenty-first century, most desegregation orders in key metropolitan areas were small and short-lived due to unitary status, and many programs designed to voluntary improve racial integration levels, like magnet schools, are now failing to achieve racial balance levels due to residential patterns, a lack of commitment, market-oriented framework, and school policy reversals. In New York City, the area has been experiencing significant school choice programs and policies that are exacerbating racial isolation as demographics continue to change.

In this report, we provide a synthesis of over 60 years of research showing that school integration is still a goal worth pursuing. From the benefits of greater academic achievement, future earnings, and even better health outcomes for minority students, and the social benefits resulting from intergroup contact for all students – like the possible reduction in prejudice and greater interracial communication skills – we found that “real integration” is indeed an invaluable goal worth undertaking in growing multiracial societies. Can separate be equal, yes. If measured by test scores, a few resegregated schools show high performance. But even if equality can be reached between racially isolated schools, students may never achieve the skills and abilities required to navigate an increasingly diverse nation.

Due to such benefits of racial integration, we next explore the demographic and segregation patterns across New York over the last 20 years in a variety of geographical areas. A number of findings resulted from this analysis.

For one, we found a growing diversity of student enrollment in schools and school districts across the state and main metropolitan areas, particularly in urban schools. This changing demography, accompanied by a lack of diversity-focused policies over the last two decades, has inevitably been linked to another main finding: persisting segregation patterns, and in some contexts, an increase. With school poverty so closely linked to so many harmful social and educational conditions and outcomes, we then explored a number of associations between race and class, leading to another main finding: the overexposure to low-income students for black and Latinos across geographical levels. Next, we found high racial isolation for the average charter school and lower segregation for the average magnet school across New York City.

However, we did find substantial variation within magnets with close to 20% enrolling less than 1% of white students. Finally, due to the lack of voluntary metropolitan or other large interdistrict policies across upstate New York, as well as the proliferation of numerous small, fragmented school districts, we found that the majority (close to 90% or above) of segregation is occurring among rather than within upstate districts.>>

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Great Keynotes From the NYCORE2014 Radical Possibilities Conference

Chicago 4th Grade Activist-Scholar, Asean Johnson, and his mother, Shoenice Reynolds, Give the Moving and Informative Keynote at the NYCORE-Organized Radical Possibilities Conference held on March 15, 2014 in Brooklyn, NY.

NYCORE 2014 Conf Keynote from Grassroots Education Movement on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

12 Excellent Reasons to Opt Out of Relentless Hi Stakes Testing



CPE Mis-Education Index

70- Percentage of NYC public school students who are Black and/or Latino.

11- Percentage of acceptance to NYC's elite public high schools who were Black and/or Latino in 2013-14.

7- the number of Black Students out of the 952 Freshmen at Stuyvesant High School in 2013-14.

21- the number of Latino Students out of the 952 Freshmen at Stuyvesant High School in 2013-14.

5- the number of Black students accepted to Staten Island Tech in 2012-13.

0- the number of Black students at High School of American Studies at Lehman College in 2013-14.

0- the number of Black students accepted to Staten Island Tech in 2013-14.

Source: NYC Dept of Education

Monday, March 17, 2014

Is High Stakes Testing the Best Way to Improve Educational Performance Among Students of Color and Students Living in Poverty?

By: Dr. Mark Naison
 March 17, 2014 
    Since the passage of No Child Left Behind, there has been a concerted effort to reduce gaps in educational  performance  by race and class by promoting regular testing in all grades and subjects and rating schools and teachers on the basis those tests.  As a consequence of such policies, thousands of  public schools in low income neighborhoods and communities of color have been closed, tens of thousands of teachers removed from their jobs, and charter schools promoted  as the best strategy to combat educational inequality.
   Given the failure of these policies to achieve their stated goal- namely, to  reduce the Black/White and Latino/White Achievement Gap as measured by test scores or college completion rates- and the many other consequences of such policies which have been largely negative, we would like to call for a reconsideration  of High Stakes Testing by elected officials and educators in Low Income Communities and Communities of Color, along with a search for alternative strategies which might produce better results.
   Before we provide a critical examination of some of the negative consequences of High Stakes Testing- we would like to call attention to another approach, put forward more than twenty years ago, which has been neglected in the years since No Child Left Behind- namely community schooling and culturally appropriate pedagogy. In the 1980’s and early 90’s, many educators of color were urging that public schools in Black and Latino neighborhoods develop curricula centered on Black and Latino history and culture, that schools be transformed into round the clock community centers, and that schools should be involved in social justice organizing in communities under stress.  These measures were fiercely resisted on the state and local level and for the most part were not implemented;  however, the few schools created with this model were highly successful. They were rejected not because they failed- but because they could not attract sufficient funding in the public and private sector
   Enter No Child Left Behind. All of a sudden, leaders of both parties get behind an initiative which appears to make a national commitment to reducing educational inequality by race and class especially since there is unprecedented private sector support for educational initiatives which follow the models this effort puts forward.  
  However, the model systematically rejects key features of the approach Black and Latino Educators were putting forward in the 80’s and 90’s
1. It throws culturally appropriate pedagogy out the window.  Schools in Black and Latino neighborhoods, and students in those communities, are to be rated strictly on the basis of standardized tests developed for all schools in the country. Not only is there no incentive to teach Black and Latino history; but putting an emphasis on such subjects, to the exclusion of materials on the test, would be to commit professional and pedagogical suicide
2. It treats public schools in low income communities and communities of color as disposable, to be closed and replaced if they don’t perform on the tests described above, rather than as vital community institutions to be strengthened, nurtured and opened to new constituencies
3. It pushes any kind of social justice organizing to the side as a diversion from the mission of schools which is to reduce gaps in test performance as determined by a national pool of schools and students
   Despite these significant departures from strategies once widely accepted in Black and Latino communities, strategies employing high stakes testing and school and teacher accountability targeted to results on national and international tests  have, over the past 13 years, commanded wide support in Black and Latino communities, especially among Civil Rights Leaders and elected officials, and have been institutionalized in the Race to the Top policies of the Obama Administration.
   This, we would suggest, has produced some truly tragic consequences, so much so that we think it is time to revisit the policies put forward for schools in Black and Latino Communities 20 years ago....