Headlines

Rise & Shine: Mayor focused on ending 'last-in, first-out' rules

Today:

  • Ending “last-in first-out” teacher hiring rules is at the top of the mayor’s agenda in Albany. (WSJ)
  • Participation in a prestigious science competition has fallen 75 percent since 1998. (Post)
  • The state agency that supervises higher ed schools isn’t shutting down unlicensed ones. (Daily News)
  • The Archdiocese of New York is closing 13 city schools, six of them in the Bronx. (Daily News)
  • Mayor Bloomberg’s school comments earned him boos at an MLK Day celebration. (CBS)
  • Bloomberg is still trying to put Cathie Black’s recent birth control comments behind him. (Post)
  • State assemblyman: The public jumped on Black’s birth control quip, but ignores the abortion rate. (Post)
  • Readers say Black needs to have more control when talking to the public. (Post)
  • As we reported last week, Explore Excel Charter School is planning to replace P.S. 114. (Post)
  • Readers respond to a piece about the New American Academy’s rough beginnings. (Times)
  • A New Jersey schoolteacher debated reforms with Gov. Chris Christie via Twitter. (Post)

Here:

  • Leadership failure appears to have caused Columbia Secondary School its recent troubles. (Times)
  • The new English Regents exam is shorter and requires less writing. (Post)
  • Fallout continues over Cathie Black’s birth control quip. (NY1, Post, Daily News)
  • Bloomberg says Black’s comment came out of inexperience with the public sector. (Post, Daily News)
  • The Post says Black has little room for error and must watch her words in the future.
  • Michael Daly: Black is a true chancellor, in the Latin sense of the word. (Daily News)
  • The Post says Randi Weingarten’s departure benefits from the UFT were excessive and unusual.
  • The Beacon HS teacher who resigned after taking students to Cuba now works in New Orleans. (Times)
  • Families worked together to open a new play space for children with special needs. (Daily News)
  • The city is planning to build a new school in Kensington, but some think it should go elsewhere. (Post)
  • A city philanthropist has stepped in to save Chess-in-the-Schools. (WSJ)
  • The briefly banned student play that criticizes Joel Klein’s leadership was staged Friday. (Daily News)
  • Wall Street’s Finance Museum offers students the chance to practice real-life budgeting. (NY1)
  • The Post says Gov. Cuomo should start his push to reinvent government by ending “last in, first out” rules.

Elsewhere:

  • Implementing the California law that lets parents revamp schools is proving complicated. (L.A. Times)
  • A Gates Foundation analyst says budget cuts are an opportunity to computerize instruction. (NPR)
  • Newark is using a teacher training model that uses students as instructors. (Times)
  • N.J. Gov. Chris Christie wants school districts to open special schools for autistic students. (Times)
  • Miami-Dade schools are following a class size reduction law by operating virtual classrooms. (Times)
  • In Miami, Haitian students who enrolled after the earthquake were wealthy and high-performing. (Times)
  • The Times comes out against Arizona’s new law banning Latino ethnic studies classes.
  • Nick Kristoff: Chinese are less impressed by their school system than Americans are. (Times)
  • D.C.’s mayor says the teacher evaluation system is unfair to teachers in high-poverty schools. (WaPo)
  • A Maryland father robocalls the school board that robocalled him at 4:30 a.m. (WaPo)
  • Texas’s senior teachers are protected from layoffs by “continuing contracts,” like tenure. (Times)
  • An upstate math teacher’s lessons on making math physical have gone viral. (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.