research says

Schools with mainly black and Latino students have less-qualified teachers, report says

As New York City officials weigh options to boost school diversity, a new report shows that elementary schools that serve mostly and black and Latino students have less-qualified teachers than city schools that primarily serve white students.

Teachers are less likely to hold a master’s degree, have certifications in core subject areas, and stay long-term at schools where most students are black and Hispanic, according to the report, released Thursday by the advocacy group New York Appleseed. For instance, 42 percent of teachers in those schools have a master’s degree and some additional training, compared to 57 percent in schools where most students are white.

“The resource disparities are always going to run in one direction,” said David Tipson, New York Appleseed’s executive director. “In other words, these disparities are running against students of color.”

Tipson’s team found two exceptions to this rule. Schools where black and Hispanic students — who make up 70 percent of New York City’s public-school students — were the majority tended to have smaller class sizes and smaller student-to-teacher ratios.

The findings about disparities in teacher quality are in line with other recent studies focused on teacher-evaluation data, which that have found that high-rated New York City teachers are less likely to serve black and Hispanic students. The State Education Department made that point in a 2015 analysis of evaluations from the 2012-13 school year.

Another 2015 report prepared by the state for federal education officials found that poor and nonwhite students across New York state were more likely to be taught by educators with no experience or who have little expertise in the subjects they are assigned to teach.

That report urged districts to help schools with their neediest students recruit top teachers.
New York City has made some moves to do so, including offering higher-paid teacher leadership positions through its new teachers contract.

The city has also encouraged principals of low-performing schools in its “Renewal” program to counsel low-performing teachers out of the system where possible, and in a few cases worked with the teachers union to re-interview and selectively re-hire staffers. Still, a Chalkbeat analysis found that students who attend one of those schools were twice as likely to have a low-rated teacher as their peers in an another city school.

The city also provides Teachers of Tomorrow grants, which give bonuses to new hires that earn a rating on their teacher evaluation of effective or above.

“Recruiting, training and retaining high-quality teachers for all our neighborhoods is a top priority for the Department of Education,” said education department spokeswoman Devora Kaye.

list list

Here are the 50 New York City schools with kindergarten waitlists in 2018

PHOTO: Christina Veiga
Kindergarten students at the Brooklyn School of Inquiry.

It’s the most anxiety-inducing season of all: Kindergarten placement letters are out in New York City.

All kindergartners are guaranteed a spot in a city school, and almost all families that prefer their zoned school ultimately get to enroll there.

But the city’s admissions process yields waitlists at dozens of schools for a period of time every year — and this year, there are 50 schools where not all local families who applied by the January deadline could be given a spot. In all, 590 applicants were placed on waitlists, compared to 1,083 a year ago, according to the city’s admissions tally.

Here are the New York City schools with kindergarten waitlists right now:

Waitlists typically clear over the spring and summer, as families opt for schools outside of their zone, including private or charter schools, or relocate out of the city. But each year, some kindergartners are assigned to schools outside of their zone — an issue that typically affects a few crowded neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn.

Half of the schools with waitlists had five or fewer children on them. Three schools had waitlists with more than 60 children: PS 196 and P.S. 78 in Queens and P.S. 160 in Brooklyn.

In a sign of just how volatile the admissions picture can be, just 23 of the 50 schools with waitlists this year also had them last year.

Some schools with large waitlists had none last year, according to a comparison of education department data from the two years. P.S. 78 in Queens has 73 children on the kindergarten waitlist this year, for example, but last year all zoned students who applied by the deadline were admitted right away.

On the other hand, some schools that placed many students on the waitlist last year were able to take all applicants this year. Last year, 43 children landed on the waitlist at P.S. 176 in Brooklyn, but this year, the school has no waitlist at all.

back to court

Nashville appeals judge’s order to share student information with state charters

The battle over student contact information will continue between Tennessee’s charter schools and its second largest school district.

Attorneys for Metro Nashville Public Schools on Friday appealed Chancellor Bill Young’s order to provide state-run charter schools with the names, phone numbers, and addresses of students.

The appeal came on the same day that Young originally set for Nashville’s district to comply with a new state law requiring sharing such information if charter operators request it. But a recent court extension assured Nashville leaders that they could exhaust the appeals process first.

The disagreement — which also touches on student privacy, school choice, and enrollment — has vexed state officials and lawmakers as they’ve sought to mitigate skirmishes between the state’s growing charter sector and its two largest districts, in Nashville and Memphis. Last month, Gov. Bill Haslam brought all parties to the table to seek a solution outside the courts. The State Department of Education was tasked with developing a way forward, but has not yet submitted a proposal.

While the state has urged local districts to comply with the year-old charter law, Nashville leaders argue it runs afoul of a federal law that gives districts discretion over who gets student contact information. For instance, school systems routinely share such information with companies that sell yearbooks and class rings.

The tussle has implications for the state’s largest school system, Shelby County Schools, in Memphis. Leaders there also have refused to hand over the information to charters in the state’s Achievement School District, which seeks to turn around Tennessee’s lowest-performing schools.

What Memphis parents should know about how schools share student information

Parents are divided on the issue. Some say the information exchange is an invasion of privacy, including when a Nashville charter school sent a barrage of text messages to parents, resulting in a $2.2 million settlement last year. Others say allowing charters to contact prospective students allows them to better explore their options.