Friday, October 29, 2010

Making More Room for the CHARTERITES: City adds 16 schools to possible-closure list, bringing total to 47
by Maura Walz--

The city is eyeing 47 schools for possible closure next year, including 16 that have not previously been targeted by the city or the state.  

(for some, you may have to click on image to make bigger)

On the watch-list, which education officials released today, are 19 schools that the city tried to close last year but were saved by a successful union lawsuit. It also includes most of the 23 schools currently on the state’s list of lowest-performing schools that did not begin federally-mandated interventions this year. All 16 of the newly-identified schools are elementary and middle schools.
City officials said today they had learned lessons from last year’s thwarted closure process and are re-strategizing for this year.

The city is hoping to avoid some of the confusion and shock that marred their efforts to close schools last year by announcing their plans early and by clarifying their rationale for shuttering schools, officials said. Last year a state appeals court ruled that the city failed to meet legal requirements for notifying the community about its closure plans.

Officials have already posted their criteria for adding schools to their watch-list to the Department of Education’s website: schools were tagged if they received two consecutive C’s, or a single D or F, on their progress reports, or if they received anything below a proficient rating on their last Quality Review.

Some schools met this criteria but are not on the city’s list: elementary schools that outperform their districts on state tests; high schools with higher graduation rates than the citywide average; schools that received high marks on their Quality Review; and new schools that received a report card for the first time this year.

Three schools that are on the state’s list of lowest-achieving schools are notably absent from the city’s list of schools targeted for possible closure: Washington Irving High School, Boys and Girls High School and P.S. 65 (Mother Hale Academy). Officials said today that they have decided not to close these three because of strides the schools have made under new leadership.

City officials stressed today that their list is not definitive. More schools could be added to the list once the state releases this year’s update to its “persistently lowest achieving” schools list and after high school progress reports are released in several weeks.

Decisions about which elementary and middle schools the city plans to close will be handed down by the end of next month; decisions about high schools will follow by mid-December. The city will then begin its formal public approval process, which involves hearings at the schools and eventual votes by the citywide school board.

If the city eventually decides to close all or most of the schools identified today, it would be a drastic jump in the number of schools it has closed under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The city has phased out — or is in the process of phasing out — 91 schools since Bloomberg took office.

Last year, the mayor promised to turn around the lowest-performing 10 percent of city schools over the next four years, double the number federal officials have required the state to identify.
Teachers union chief Michael Mulgrew sharply criticized the city for the potential surge in closures. ”If Joel Klein and Michael Bloomberg want their legacy to be closing every school in New York City, they should be ashamed,” Mulgrew said. “They should be focused on fixing schools, not shuttering them.”

City officials also said they are changing their strategy of communicating with the schools marked for possible closure as it evaluates them. Last year, teachers and parents protested that the first time they had heard from the DOE was when the city announced its plans to close the school.

This year, the city is planning early meetings with principals, school leadership teams, parent associations and community groups before they finalize plans for the school. City officials characterized those meetings both as attempts to learn more about the school beyond what is captured in their data and to prepare the schools for whatever final decision is announced.

Those meetings have already begun or have been scheduled for 33 of the schools; officials said today they are waiting to schedule meetings at the schools slated for closure last year until this year’s high school progress reports have been released.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Akinlabi Mackall Speaks on Public Education as a Human Right in NYC


This was a Brooklyn Public Forum held on Sunday 17 October 2010 sponsored by The Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (CBID) 

 2010 Education Forum

- Chris Owens, Facilitator -
District Leader,  52nd Assembly District

DOE Test Score Scam
*Leonie Haimson*, Class Size Matters,

Under Receivers, Not Under Achievers
*Akinlabi Mackall*, Black New Yorkers for Educational Excellence,

Charter School Idea Hijacked
*Mona Davids*, New York Charter School Parents Association

Corporate Big-Bucks Takeover
*John Tarleton*, The Indypendent Newspaper

Misguided Federal, State & City Policies
*Martha Foote*, Time Out From Testing

Sunday, October 17th
 3:00 to 5:00 pm
 Union Temple
 17 Eastern Parkway

*Co-Sponsors: • Brooklyn Soc. For Ethical Culture’s (EA Comm.), *
*• Central Brooklyn Martin Luther King Commission, • Coalition for Public
Education (Brooklyn Chapter)*
*•Independent Commission on Public Education (iCOPE),  *
***• The MANY** (Mothers' Agenda, New York),*
***•Olaniki Alibi, 57th AD Leader ,** *
*• Assemblywoman Inez Barron, 40th AD, • Councilperson Tish James, 52nd CD,
* *• Senator Velmanette Montgomery, 18th SD*

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Resolution to Stop and Reverse the Disappearing of Black and Latino Educators
(Click on chart for lager view)

Whereas  the hiring of Black and Latino educators has declined steadily from 41.5% of new hires in 2002 to 25.8% in 2008, and
Whereas  the hiring of white educators has risen steadily from 53.3% of the total of new hires in 2002 to 66% in 2008 and
Whereas  tenured teachers, including a large percentage of Black and Latino educators have been excessed, and
Whereas the DOE’s hiring of white over Black and Latino educators, combined with their excessing of tenured educators is an about face on racial justice and labor solidarity
Therefore be it resolved,
That the UFT take on the role of whistleblower to stop and reverse the disappearing of Black and Latino educators and publish complete and up to date hiring data disaggregated by race in the NY Teacher to raise awareness among the membership and public at large, and
That the officers and staff of the UFT not serve on the boards of or as consultants to agencies and contractors working under the direction of the Mayor including Teach for America and Teaching Fellows, until the Mayor and Chancellor implement credible affirmative measures to increase the percentage of Black and Latino educators actually hired to teach in NYC public schools and cease their attacks on the tenure system and contractual protections for senior educators and 
That Chapter Leaders, Delegates, Parent’s Associations, Community Education Councils, School Leadership Teams and C-30 members, be encouraged and supported by the UFT officers and staff to attract and retain a racially diverse and  highly qualified pedagogical staff that reflects the composition of the city’s student population and
That the UFT officers and staff take the lead and identify obstacles to the training, recruitment and retention of Black and Latino educators: propose corrective action; provide legal, legislative and other logistical supports to accomplish these goals and raise awareness and unity among the membership and with the school community at large and
That President Mulgrew assign staff to review the NYSED teacher certification exam to determine the exam’s effects on; a) staff diversity, b) student achievement, c) teacher retention, d) teacher quality according to parents, peers and school based administrators, and e) to make appropriate recommendations after consulting with the membership based on these findings.

School Staff Caucus/Coalition for Public Education (CPE) 
P.O Box 24086

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ernestine Augustus: 

Harlem Public School Teacher Gives a 

Lesson to Parents and Teachers


THE COALITION FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION IS LEADING THE WAY FOR TEACHER AND PARENT UNITY AND COLLABORATION.  CPE Member, Sister Ernestine Augustus is a teacher at PS 123 in Harlem, NY and the parent of 4 children. It is our belief that we can improve public education is a greater communication and collaboration between parents and teachers.


Charter Parent Sees thru Charter Hype

Many Charter School Parents are beginning to see thru the BloomKlein mega hype about the "Wonders" of Charter Schools and the myth of "School Choice."

CPE-CEP is here to help them not only to see thru the BloomKlein Privatizing/Criminalizing, but also to replace this Subprime Educational System with one that is democratic, antiracist and in the CONTROL of parents, educators, students and community. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Real Facts About Waiting for Superman

The Real Facts About Waiting for Superman, prepared by Mass. Citizens for Public
Schools and FairTest - available as a flyer in pdf and in text below so you can adapt
it for your own use.

The Real Facts About Waiting for Superman 

Waiting for Superman may be good melodrama, but the movie fails the test of accuracy, and its purported solutions will not improve education.

We agree: Too many young people, mostly low-income, do not graduate from high school or get a strong education. The questions are why, and what can be done about it. Waiting for Superman and its unprecedented hype risk leading us dangerously astray from real solutions to real problems by making a number of misleading or factually incorrect claims in a number of important areas:

Public school quality: The most recent Phi Delta Kappan/Gallup poll found that 77% of Americans would give the public school their oldest child attends an A or a B. Does this suggest our public schools are failing across the board, as WFS says? In international comparisons, most of our middle class schools do well. Under resourced schools that serve low-income kids who are disproportionately African American, Latino, or recent immigrants, do far less well. However, they face challenges that schools, alone, can never address adequately.  Improving schools is part of the solution - but the changes must help all children obtain a high-quality education.

Poverty matters a lot – and the movie shows that it does, even while trying to tell us it does not. The Harlem Children’s Zone spends heavily to provide services to needy children and their families, services the government does not provide. Two-thirds of HCZ funding is private, not public – making it like a well-funded private school. Who will pay for these services for all the children who need them?

Unions: States with the most unionized teachers do better than states with weaker or fewer unions, and countries with strong educational systems mostly have strong teacher unions. WSF’s demonization of unions ignores the real evidence.

Tenure says you cannot be fired without due process and a good reason: you can’t be fired because the boss wants to hire his cousin, or because you are gay (or black or…), or because you take an unpopular position on a public issue outside of school. A recent survey found that most principals agreed they could fire if they needed to. While WSF may have its own opinions on the value of tenure, it may not have its own facts.

Charter schools: Charter schools get public money but are run by private groups, which means there is less public oversight. The most extensive national study found that 46% of charters did about the same as regular public schools, 37% did worse, and only 17% did better. Meanwhile, charters routinely accept fewer students with disabilities and fewer English language learners. Since charters only serve 4% of the nation’s K-12 students, they represent a distraction and a drain from the focused work needed to renew quality schools for all children. They are not a solution.

Using standardized tests like MCAS to evaluate teachers: The National Research Council and many other researchers say that evaluating teachers based on student test scores is inaccurate and unfair. Several reports found that some 20-25% of teachers in the bottom groups one year are in the top groups the next - and vice versa. This is because many more things affect student learning or teacher's rankings than just the teacher's own efforts.

Using standardized tests to tell us if schools are successful: Most test score differences are not due to what schools do, but to the kids’ ZIP codes. As opportunity, health and family wealth increase, so do test scores. When schools focus on boosting scores on tests like MCAS, they ignore important subject areas and teach to the test, leaving children less prepared for the future.

We need a lot more than test scores to know if schools are doing well and to help schools improve.

How students learn: Most people know what science confirmed years ago: learning is an active process. Pouring disconnected information into kids’ heads, as the movie shows, has no lasting value, and it does not educate students for citizenship, college, lifelong learning or employment. Why didn’t the movie show us what excellent teaching looks like?

Competition: There is no evidence for the claim that competition will improve education. Teachers competing against each other will endanger cooperation among teachers and reduce their ability to help children most in need.

Since No Child Left Behind, the rate of school improvement has declined!  This film pushes for another generation of failed reforms.

Don’t wait for Superman. Take the time to inform yourself, to find out the real stories from teachers, parents and principals.  Get the real facts on which to base your opinion, and consider how you can make a difference by doing what is right and good for children, not what “Superman” tells you to do.

Citizens for Public Schools and FairTest

For more information and genuine ways to improve schools, see and