Rise & Shine: Hundreds of city schools checking for plagiarism

News from New York City:

  • More than 150 city schools are using software and online services to detect students’ plagiarism. (Post)
  • A teacher evaluation deal seems to be nearing at the state level. (GothamSchools, Daily News, WSJ)
  • An explainer of the teacher evaluation situation and why a state deal won’t solve things in the city. (WSJ)
  • At the state level, the dispute has been about the weight of test scores in teacher evaluations. (NY1)
  • Gina Bellafante: All of the fighting hides the fact that unions and officials pretty much agree. (Times)
  • Many people at Satellite III blame a short-term principal for the city’s closure plan. (GothamSchools)
  • A Boys & Girls HS basketball star made a rare choice to play for a city rather than Catholic school. (WSJ)
  • The city is withholding a month’s rent for a rundown Bronx building that houses P.S. 315. (Daily News)
  • An online tutoring program is a boon for schools in the Bronx and other hard-to-get-to places. (Times)
  • Arthur Goldstein: Teachers aren’t in it for the money, so merit pay increases are an offense. (Daily News)
  • The Post says the city’s low college readiness rate is proof that more teachers should be fired.
  • Gabe Pressman: Bloomberg’s decade in charge of schools means he’s to blame for poor results. (NBC NY)
  • Michael Goodwin: The city and state should be more aggressive about firing weak teachers. (Daily News)

And beyond:

  • Michael Winerip: The state won Race to the Top, but local districts must shoulder implementation. (Times)
  • Chicago’s push to extend the school day is costing the city lots of money it hadn’t set aside. (Times)
  • Gov. Cuomo lambasted a Long Island special education consultant’s very high income. (Daily News)
  • Connecticut’s largest teachers union kicked off an ad campaign during the New York Giants game. (WSJ)
  • Nicholas Kristof: A 1950’s teacher’s impact proves teachers need higher pay and accountability. (Times)
  • The Washington Post endorses Cuomo’s efforts at “shaking up an educational bureaucracy” in New York.

Rise & Shine

While you were waking up, the U.S. Senate took a big step toward confirming Betsy DeVos as education secretary

Betsy DeVos’s confirmation as education secretary is all but assured after an unusual and contentious early-morning vote by the U.S. Senate.

The Senate convened at 6:30 a.m. Friday to “invoke cloture” on DeVos’s embattled nomination, a move meant to end a debate that has grown unusually pitched both within the lawmaking body and in the wider public.

They voted 52-48 to advance her nomination, teeing up a final confirmation vote by the end of the day Monday.

Two Republican senators who said earlier this week that they would not vote to confirm DeVos joined their colleagues in voting to allow a final vote on Monday. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska cited DeVos’s lack of experience in public education and the knowledge gaps she displayed during her confirmation hearing last month when announcing their decisions and each said feedback from constituents had informed their decisions.

Americans across the country have been flooding their senators with phone calls, faxes, and in-person visits to share opposition to DeVos, a Michigan philanthropist who has been a leading advocate for school vouchers but who has never worked in public education.

They are likely to keep up the pressure over the weekend and through the final vote, which could be decided by a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence.

Two senators commented on the debate after the vote. Republican Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who has been a leading cheerleader for DeVos, said he “couldn’t understand” criticism of programs that let families choose their schools.

But Democrat Patty Murray of Washington repeated the many critiques of DeVos that she has heard from constituents. She also said she was “extremely disappointed” in the confirmation process, including the early-morning debate-ending vote.

“Right from the start it was very clear that Republicans intended to jam this nomination through … Corners were cut, precedents were ignored, debate was cut off, and reasonable requests and questions were blocked,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Week In Review

Week In Review: A new board takes on ‘awesome responsibility’ as Detroit school lawsuits advance

PHOTO: Erin Einhorn
The new Detroit school board took the oath and took on the 'awesome responsibility' of Detroit's children

It’s been a busy week for local education news with a settlement in one Detroit schools lawsuit, a combative new filing in another, a push by a lawmaker to overhaul school closings, a new ranking of state high schools, and the swearing in of the first empowered school board in Detroit has 2009.

“And with that, you are imbued with the awesome responsibility of the children of the city of Detroit.”

—    Judge Cynthia Diane Stephens, after administering the oath to the seven new members of the new Detroit school board

Read on for details on these stories plus the latest on the sparring over Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos. Here’s the headlines:


The board

The first meeting of the new Detroit school board had a celebratory air to it, with little of the raucous heckling that was common during school meetings in the emergency manager era. The board, which put in “significant time and effort” preparing to take office, is focused on building trust with Detroiters. But the meeting was not without controversy.

One of the board’s first acts was to settle a lawsuit that was filed by teachers last year over the conditions of school buildings. The settlement calls for the creation of a five-person board that will oversee school repairs.

The lawyers behind another Detroit schools lawsuit, meanwhile, filed a motion in federal court blasting Gov. Rick Snyder for evading responsibility for the condition of Detroit schools. That suit alleges that deplorable conditions in Detroit schools have compromised childrens’ constitutional right to literacy — a notion Snyder has rejected.


In Lansing

On DeVos

In other news