Rise & Shine: Some call Common Core too tough in kindergarten

  • The Common Core standards’ tougher tasks for kindergarteners are inducing anxiety in some. (Post)
  • A man who was removed from the classroom in the late 1990s is still in the rubber room today. (Post)
  • High school decision letters, delayed by Sandy, won’t come until private school tuition is due. (WSJNY1)
  • Even as they are under pressure to serve healthier food, schools are buying more pizza than ever. (Post)
  • The city plans to open new schools inside two large Queens high schools it failed to close. (Daily News)
  • Parents and children are still under pressure as the city’s school bus strike enters its third week. (WSJ)
  • Mayor Bloomberg brokered a bus strike talk for today that he won’t attend. (Post, WSJ, SchoolBook)
  • A plan to have students with disabilities ride buses with other students is raising concern. (Daily News)
  • Seniority rights, whose intended end prompted the strike, are important in bus drivers’ culture. (Times)
  • In court, a 9-year-old confronted the former P.S. 87 teacher’s aide charged with abusing him. (Post)
  • A Memphis educator accused of running a teacher certification fraud ring rejected a plea deal. (Times)
  • Manhattan’s private Ideal School is set to launch a student-created Civil Rights Museum. (Daily News)

Betsy DeVos

‘Underperformer,’ ‘bully,’ and a ‘mermaid with legs’: NYMag story slams Betsy DeVos

PHOTO: New York Magazine
A drawing of DeVos commissioned by an 8-year-old starts the New York Magazine article.

A new article detailing Betsy DeVos’s first six months as U.S. education secretary concludes that she’s “a mermaid with legs: clumsy, conspicuous, and unable to move forward.”

That’s just one of several brutal critiques of DeVos’s leadership and effectiveness in the New York Magazine story, by Lisa Miller, who has previously covered efforts to overhaul high schools, New York City’s pre-kindergarten push, and the apocalypse. Here are some highlights:

  • Bipartisan befuddlement: The story summarizes the left’s well known opposition to DeVos’s school choice agenda. But her political allies also say she’s making unnecessary mistakes: “Most mystifying to those invested in her success is why DeVos hasn’t found herself some better help.”
  • A friend’s defense: DeVos is “muzzled” by the Trump administration, said her friend and frequent defender Kevin Chavous, a school choice activist.
  • The department reacts: “More often than not press statements are being written by career staff,” a spokesperson told Miller, rejecting claims that politics are trumping policy concerns.
  • D.C. colleagues speak: “When you talk to her, it’s a blank stare,” said Charles Doolittle, who quit the Department of Education in June. A current education department employee says: “It’s not clear that the secretary is making decisions or really capable of understanding the elements of a good decision.”
  • Kids critique: The magazine commissioned six portraits of DeVos drawn by grade-schoolers.
  • Special Olympics flip-flop: DeVos started out saying she was proud to partner with the athletics competition for people with disabilities — and quickly turned to defending a budget that cuts the program’s funding.
  • In conclusion: DeVos is an underperformer,” a “bully” and “ineffective,” Miller found based on her reporting.

We’ve reached out for reaction from DeVos’s team and will update when we hear back.

home sweet home

‘Finally! Something useful’ or a dangerous mistake? Detroiters respond to city’s housing deal for teachers

PHOTO: Detroit Land Bank Authority
This home on Harvard Road was up for auction the week after Detroit announced a half-off-on-city-owned housing deal for teachers.

Friday’s announcement that all Detroit school employees — whether they work for district, charter, or parochial schools — will get a 50 percent discount on houses auctioned through the Detroit Land Bank Authority stirred a lot of discussion.

Some of our commenters on Facebook had high hopes for the deal:

But one commenter wondered if it’s the city of Detroit that’s actually getting the best deal, not the employees — or other people seeking to buy homes in the city:

And others argued that people who already live in Detroit won’t benefit from this deal:

Still, some readers appear to be ready to move — and have even picked homes to bid on (though not necessarily from the Land Bank Authority)!