Headlines

Rise & Shine: Proposal to remove charter cap coming today

News from New York City:

  • School aides are reporting to school today after a judge rejected the city’s bid to fire them. (Daily News)
  • An Assemblyman is calling today for ditching the charter school cap so the state can get RttT funds. (Post)
  • A Bronx charter school chain, Carl C. Icahn, wants to keep copying its original successful school. (Post)
  • A new report has found that schools with arts also have highest graduation rates. (TimesDaily News)
  • Principals and advocates say the schools just can’t handle any more budget cuts. (NY1)
  • A school nurse in Queens highlights the challenges nurses face in the H1N1 era. (Times)
  • At a parent rally yesterday, Bill Thompson accused Bloomberg of lying about schools. (Daily News)
  • The principal of Luperon HS says Bill Thompson is unfairly blaming school failure on principals. (Post)
  • The Post says both Bloomberg and Thompson have education pros and cons, but Bloomberg is better.
  • A new private school on the Upper West Side caters to children who are shut out of G&T. (Times)
  • The Daily News argues that last week’s NAEP scores don’t say anything about New York City schools.
  • The Post, on the other hand, says the NAEP-state test score discrepancy is a cause for concern.
  • A Brooklyn 8th-grader has been out of school for a month to avoid bullying, a columnist writes. (Post)
  • New York Cares sent thousands of volunteers into 117 schools this weekend to beautify them. (NY1)

And beyond:

  • Randi Weingarten: The new, tougher teachers contract in New Haven is a model. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Readers respond to Nicholas Kristof’s column about the problem posed by teachers unions. (Times)
  • Jay Mathews explains why the international math test doesn’t reflect school learning. (Washington Post)
  • The future of D.C.’s school voucher program is suddenly looking brighter. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The D.C. Council heard testimony about Michelle Rhee’s teacher layoffs until 4 a.m. (Washington Post)
  • An Atlanta lawyer for death row inmates joined TFA and now works in a middle school. (Times)

that was weird

The D.C. school system had a pitch-perfect response after John Oliver made #DCPublicSchools trend on Twitter

Public education got some unexpected attention Sunday night when John Oliver asked viewers watching the Emmys to make #DCPublicSchools trend on Twitter.

Oliver had been inspired by comedian Dave Chappelle, who shouted out the school system he attended before he announced an award winner. Within a minute of Oliver’s request, the hashtag was officially trending.

Most of the tweets had nothing to do with schools in Washington, D.C.

Here are a few that did, starting with this pitch-perfect one from the official D.C. Public Schools account:

Oliver’s surreal challenge was far from the first time that the late-show host has made education a centerpiece of his comedy — over time, he has pilloried standardized testing, school segregation, and charter schools.

Nor was it the first education hashtag to take center stage at an awards show: #PublicSchoolProud, which emerged as a response to new U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, got a shoutout during the Oscars in February.

And it also is not the first time this year that D.C. schools have gotten a surprise burst of attention. The Oscars were just a week after DeVos drew fire for criticizing the teachers she met during her first school visit as secretary — to a D.C. public school.

Startup Support

Diverse charter schools in New York City to get boost from Walton money

PHOTO: John Bartelstone
Students at Brooklyn Prospect Charter School in 2012. The school is one of several New York City charters that aim to enroll diverse student bodies.

The Walton Family Foundation, the philanthropy governed by the family behind Walmart, pledged Tuesday to invest $2.2 million over the next two years in new charter schools in New York City that aim to be socioeconomically diverse.

Officials from the foundation expect the initiative to support the start of about seven mixed-income charter schools, which will be able to use the money to pay for anything from building space to teachers to technology.

The effort reflects a growing interest in New York and beyond in establishing charter schools that enroll students from a mix of backgrounds, which research suggests can benefit students and is considered one remedy to school segregation.

“We are excited to help educators and leaders on the front lines of solving one of today’s most pressing education challenges,” Marc Sternberg, the foundation’s K-12 education director and a former New York City education department official, said in a statement.

Walton has been a major charter school backer, pouring more than $407 million into hundreds of those schools over the past two decades. In New York, the foundation has helped fund more than 100 new charter schools. (Walton also supports Chalkbeat; read about our funding here.)

Some studies have found that black and Hispanic students in charter schools are more likely to attend predominantly nonwhite schools than their peers in traditional schools, partly because charter schools tend to be located in urban areas and are often established specifically to serve low-income students of color. In New York City, one report found that 90 percent of charter schools in 2010 were “intensely segregated,” meaning fewer than 10 percent of their students were white.

However, more recently, a small but rising number of charter schools has started to take steps to recruit and enroll a more diverse student body. Often, they do this by drawing in applicants from larger geographic areas than traditional schools can and by adjusting their admissions lotteries to reserve seats for particular groups, such as low-income students or residents of nearby housing projects.

Founded in 2014, the national Diverse Charter Schools Coalition now includes more than 100 schools in more than a dozen states. Nine New York City charter groups are part of the coalition, ranging from individual schools like Community Roots Charter School in Brooklyn to larger networks, including six Success Academy schools.

“There’s been a real shift in the charter school movement to think about how they address the issue of segregation,” said Halley Potter, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, a think tank that promotes socioeconomic diversity.

The Century Foundation and researchers at Teachers College at Columbia University and Temple University will receive additional funding from Walton to study diverse charter schools, with the universities’ researchers conducting what Walton says is the first peer-reviewed study of those schools’ impact on student learning.