The city's presentation about new Teacher Preparation Program Reports shows what proportion of training programs' graduates went to work in high-need schools.
City officials said they were "pleasantly surprised" by what they learned from their inaugural effort to analyze data about teachers by the programs that trained them.
Just one in five of the 10,135 recent graduates of teacher preparation programs hired by the city between 2008 and 2012 left the school system within three years. In contrast, about one in three teachers left their jobs nationally during the same period, according to city Department of Education officials.
"New York City is really bucking the trend," Deputy Chancellor David Weiner said today during a press conference to unveil "Teacher Preparation Program Reports" for 12 colleges and universities that together supplied about half of the city's new teachers who came through traditional training pathways.
The reports represent a new frontier in the department's accountability efforts. They analyze the teacher preparation programs' graduates by six characteristics, including how long they stay in the classroom, how often they receive poor evaluations, where they work, and how they have fared on measures of their students' growth.
City officials warned against making strong conclusions about the preparation programs' quality. Next year, after the city implements a new evaluation system, the training programs will be rated by their graduates' scores, they said, but for now, the reports are meant to spur collaboration with local colleges and universities.
CUNY Institute of Education Policy head David Steiner spoke with mayoral candidate Sal Albanese this morning.
Long-shot mayoral candidate Sal Albanese has a proposition for the city’s labor unions: Let me change your pension plans, and I’ll give you retroactive raises.
“What I would propose in exchange for retroactive pay is reforming our pension system,” Albanese said today at a forum at Hunter College. “I want the unions to allow me to reform the pension system. We have a clunker of a system. It’s not modern.”
One of the next mayor’s first responsibilities will be to negotiate new contracts with the city’s municipal unions, including the United Federation of Teachers. Mayor Bloomberg has allowed the contracts to expire, and many unions say they plan to push for back pay for their members once they get to the negotiating table.
Albanese said offering the back pay, which Bloomberg says the city cannot afford, is possible if the unions agree to other changes to their benefits. Albanese cited a Toronto pension system as a model for reform, saying that it outperforms New York City’s. If New York City’s system functioned as well, he said, “we would save about $2.5 billion a year.”
Albanese made the comments at the latest forum held by the CUNY Institute of Education Policy this morning at Hunter College. David Steiner, New York State’s former education chief, is hosting mayoral candidates to let them explain how they would run the city’s schools.
David Steiner, Dean of Hunter College's School of Education, answers a question from state Senator John Flanagan, a member of Cuomo's education commission.
For the second summer in a row, the body that's helping Gov. Andrew Cuomo form his education agenda visited New York City. But unlike last year, which drew a crowd and Campbell Brown, Tuesday's meeting happened with little fanfare and much more focus.
It's been a little more than a year since Cuomo assembled the Education Reform Commission, a 25-member body made up of businessmen, government officials, union leaders, researchers, lawmakers and nonprofit executives. The commission was created to recommend wholesale reforms to improve the state's expensive school system.
It's too soon to measure the commission's impact, but the handful of first-year recommendations that Cuomo adopted — the commission recommended 12 — will only affect a small percentage of schools. Cuomo used an allocated $75 million in the budget to create competitive grants, available by design to limited number of districts, to launch longer school days, expand prekindergarten and create schools that offer more nonacademic services to low-income students.
Cuomo also allocated $11 million in stipends for "master teachers," to fulfill another recommendation, which aims to recruit and retain top teachers for in-demand subjects. Cuomo announced that teachers can begin applying for the program this week.
It's unclear what the commission will recommend in its second year, but the possibilities seem more narrow. Last summer's meeting resembled more of a City Council hearing, with 17 speaker testimonies and a public comment period that covered a spectrum of education policies. It was also the place where Campbell Brown first launched her cause célèbre, to make it easier to fire teachers who've acted inappropriately in school.
By contrast, Tuesday's event, held in a dimly lit performance arts theater inside the Borough of Manhattan Community College, featured lengthy PowerPoint presentations from five people who honed in on a few issues.
Two years removed from his post as New York State’s schools chief, David Steiner is back in his old office with his old job. But Albany gave Steiner, serving a second stint as dean of Hunter College’s School of Education, a vision for how education policy can and should be shaped.
That vision is coming into fruition today with the formal launch of the CUNY Institute for Education Policy, a nonpartisan think tank that Steiner is directing.
In an exclusive interview, Steiner described his vision for a one-stop shop for policy makers to seek guidance, education leaders to settle disputes, and reporters and members of the public to get the straight story about education policies. Speaking in his corner office at Hunter’s Lenox Hill campus, Steiner spoke carefully about the lessons he learned in Albany during a transformative tenure that included the overhaul of state tests, the adoption of Common Core Standards, and an ultimately successful bid for federal Race to the Top funding. And he shared insights about the craft of teaching and the challenge of being non-partisan in a highly polarized climate.
The State Education Department official who has supervised the state's testing program since 2004 — through skyrocketing scores, a brutal crash, and the dawn of an overhaul — has resigned.
David Abrams, the State Education Department's assistant commissioner for standards, assessment, and reporting since 2004, announced his resignation today. His resignation is effective immediately, shocking some people who had expected to participate in meetings with him this week.
Abrams's departure comes at a time of robust efforts to overhaul both state tests and how their scores are used — and of robust criticism of those efforts. Most recently, principals across the state have launched a rebellion against the state's plan to use student test scores in teacher evaluations. This week, a plan to lengthen reading tests to four hours was released prematurely, then rescinded the next day amid backlash.
The department has yet to find a replacement for Abrams, according to SED spokesman Dennis Tompkins. He said other department officials would fill in for Abrams for now, as would members of a privately funded group that has been advising SED on implementing Race to the Top commitments, which include redesigning student assessments and teacher evaluations.
“Obviously [Abrams] will be missed, but we do have a really strong team that can fill in,” Tompkins said. He declined to comment on the reasons for Abrams's departure.
Abrams supervised the state's testing program during a period of controversy and change.
If the people on a panel Tuesday about teacher preparation didn't convey the urgency they felt about improving teacher training, then a flash poll of the audience surely did.
More than two-thirds of the audience, made up primarily of young teachers, said they didn't think their masters degrees had made them better at their jobs, according to electronic votes that were tallied in real time.
With that context, a five-member panel of advocates for alternative certification and training dove into a 90-minute discussion about how traditional theory-driven teacher training had failed the profession, particularly in high-needs urban schools. Research has shown that having a masters degree does not make teachers more effective, and local, state, and federal efforts are underway to re-imagine how teachers are trained.
Panelists largely agreed that many traditional education schools lack accountability, aren't willing to share performance data for their graduates, and have a detached relationship with the public schools where their graduates eventually work.
"For too long schools of [education] have sat back and spun out academic theories of what should work in the ideal school with the ideal conditions," said a panelist, Bob Hughes, president of the nonprofit New Visions for Public Schools, which trains and certifies teachers and operates 99 schools in New York City. "And they've been divorced from the reality of what happens in schools ."
A legal challenge that prompted city education officials to rewrite all of its co-location plans was denied today.
Well before the co-location was approved in February, parents at Brooklyn's PS 9 had battled against the city's plan to move Brooklyn East Collegiate Charter School into the building. In April, then-State Education Commissioner David Steiner halted the co-location plan, agreeing with the parents that the city Department of Education's space-sharing plan had many flaws. After the city revised the plan — along with all of the other co-location plans that had the same problems — parents appealed again.
Today, state officials rejected that appeal, clearing the way for Brooklyn East Collegiate to take over classrooms and some shared space in the Prospect Heights building this fall.
The decision comes as a blow not just to PS 9 parents but to others across the city who are trying to prevent co-location plans from moving forward. Steiner's April ruling on PS 9, which has come to be known as the Espinet decision, emboldened groups of people at other schools facing co-locations this fall to file their own appeals with the state. In recent weeks, State Commissioner of Education John King dismissed two other appeals, allowing site plans for Coney Island Preparatory Charter School and Explore Charter School to move forward.
Today's decision did not come from King, but from his deputy, Valerie Grey.
Deputy Commissioner John King, who will soon become commissioner, said that for a teacher to earn a rating of developing, effective, or highly effective, there should be some evidence of student progress on state tests.
Introducing a new option for how to change teacher evaluation, the Board of Regents voted today to allow districts and unions to increase the weight of student test scores on those evaluations to 40 percent.
According to the law passed last summer, which changed how teachers in New York State are evaluated and introduced their students' test scores as an element for consideration, state tests would count for 20 out of 100 points. Another 20 points would come from local assessments, which school districts could devise on their own. Yet the set of regulations approved in a vote this evening will allow school districts, with the approval of teachers unions, to count students' progress on state tests for 40 points of a teacher's evaluation score.
The board voted 14 to 3 to approve the regulations. Regents Betty Rosa, Roger Tilles, and the board's newest member Kathleen Cashin, voted against the proposal.
The increased emphasis on students' progress on standardized tests turned up in the final draft of regulations after Governor Andrew Cuomo stepped into the discussions last week. In a letter to Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, the governor said he believed that students' scores on the annual math and reading tests should carry more weight in the evaluation of their teachers. Mayor Bloomberg agreed, saying that an earlier draft of the regulations did not place enough importance on the tests.
Yesterday, a group of 10 prominent education researchers sent the Regents a letter asking them not to place more weight on value-added scores, which measure students' progress on tests against that of similar types of students.
The city's official request that Dennis Walcott be allowed to become schools chancellor even though he doesn't meet all of the state's requirements is now in Albany. Bloomberg sent the waiver request letter to outgoing State Education Commissioner David Steiner last night, city officials said.
Until the waiver is approved, Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky is legally the city's chancellor, according to city officials.
State law requires district leaders to fulfill a host of requirements, including holding a superintendent's license, which Walcott does not have. But the law also allows state officials to grant exceptions to the requirements for prospective district leaders who have "exceptional training and experience" in education.
Bloomberg's letter to Steiner emphasizes Walcott's training and experience. The deputy mayor has a master's degree in education and significant experience in city education policy, as well as a year and half of experience as a kindergarten teacher in the mid-1970s. Former Schools Chancellor Joel Klein received a waiver based, in part, on teaching experience that was shorter. Steiner approved a waiver for ex-Chancellor Cathie Black only after she agreed to make Polakow-Suransky, a longtime teacher and principal, her second-in-command.
Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch told GothamSchools yesterday that the state had not yet received a waiver request for Walcott, but that she had promised Bloomberg quick approval once it did.
David Steiner. Photo courtesy of State Education Department.
Yet another top education official is making plans to vacate his position — this time at the State Education Department.
SED Commissioner David Steiner will leave the department at the end of the school year, he announced today.
Steiner appears to be leaving entirely of his own accord. People close to him described him as less interested in the "nuts and bolts" work of implementing the vision he helped the state set out for education. They said that Steiner, a former education school dean, is considering returning to the quieter and less political territory of academia.
The news outdid Mayor Bloomberg's announcement this morning that his deputy mayor, Dennis Walcott, will replace Chancellor Cathie Black — at least in the department of rattling surprises. Even Steiner himself did not know that he would be announcing his departure today, according to people close to him.
"The only reason the announcement came today is because there clearly were rumors, and then after the Susan Arbetter show, and she raised those rumors, it felt like we needed to address them because we didn’t want to have rumors continue to percolate and circulate over the next few days," a source at the state education department said.
Asked about rumors that Steiner might resign on that show, Capital Pressroom, Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said that Steiner was "exploring other options" after less than two years in Albany. Tisch appeared on the show to discuss teacher evaluations but also addressed the resignation of Cathie Black as New York City schools chancellor.
Steiner became commissioner in July 2009, replacing 14-year veteran Richard Mills. Steiner had been chair of the School of Education at Hunter College, where he pioneered the practice of videotaping teachers as they worked and then critiquing their performance.
Improving teacher evaluation emerged as one of the main themes of Steiner's tenure as commissioner, with the state reaching an agreement with teachers unions on a plan to change how teachers are assessed. That plan has yet to go into action because it requires individual school districts to develop their own assessments and have those assessments approved by local unions. Recommended guidelines for the local assessments were released only this week.
"With the anticipated approval of a final teacher evaluation program in the coming months, I have informed Chancellor Tisch and members of the Board of Regents that I intend to leave the State Education Department later this year," Steiner said this afternoon in a statement. "Together we will begin to plan for a seamless transition."
People close to Steiner said he had grown disinterested in the job of commissioner.
As expected, State Education Commissioner David Steiner has granted publishing executive Cathleen Black the waiver she needs to become the city's next schools chancellor.
Steiner's decision follows a deal struck between city and state officials, the details of which emerged late last week. The agreement called for Black to promote Deputy Chancellor Shael Polakow-Suransky to a new position of Chief Academic Officer and was designed to ameliorate Steiner's concerns about Black's lack of experience in the education field.
Under state law, the commissioner is allow to waive the requirements for education experience and certification if the chancellor candidate's experience is "substantially equivalent."
In his letter today, Steiner cites the waiver that his predecessor, Richard Mills, gave former Chancellor Harold Levy 2000. In that case, Mills wrote that the chancellor's experience did not need to mirror the required credentials, but rather that the candidate's experience has prepared her for the chancellor's job.
"After careful review of the record before me it is my judgment that, when viewed in its entirety, Ms. Black's training, background and experience are substantially equivalent to the certification requirements set forth in law," Steiner writes.
Cathleen Black will receive the state waiver that lets her become the next New York City schools chancellor, following a Thanksgiving deal between the city and the state, an official familiar with the deal confirmed today.
PHOTO: GreenleeShael Polakow-Suransky, the man whose promotion allowed Cathie Black to become chancellor
The deal calls for Black to give a major promotion to Shael Polakow-Suransky, an education official who has sparred with Chancellor Joel Klein's top deputies, even while working alongside them. Suransky, currently deputy chancellor for "performance and accountability," will now hold two titles: senior deputy chancellor and chief academic officer.
Suransky engaged in especially vigorous debates with James Leibman, the official who created Klein's controversial school report cards, according to department officials. He successfully lobbied to give schools the opportunity to create their own assessments rather than follow state tests.
The disagreements didn't stop the two men from respecting each other. When Leibman left the Department of Education to return to Columbia University, Klein promoted Suransky to succeed him as head of the accountability office. An official said that Leibman promoted Suransky to the position.
Suransky is also one of a small number of top Department of Education officials who regularly refers to "instruction" as the part of education he would like to change — a trait he holds in common with Steiner and his top deputy, John King. Like King, Suransky is also a former teacher and principal. He has worked closely with state education officials on their main project, the reforms they are creating with their federal Race to the Top funding. Suransky has taken an especially prominent role in creating new assessments designed to make it harder for teachers to "teach to the test."
Update: Maura sends this picture of the assembled panel. From second man on the left they are: Bernard Pierorazio, Kenneth Slentz, Louise Mirrer, Susan Fuhrman, Commissioner David Steiner, SED staff member Erin O'Grady-Parent, Jean-Claude Brizard, Andres Alonso, and Michele Cahill. Not pictured: Ronald Ferguson. And because high school never really ends, all of the panel members who worked for Chancellor Joel Klein are sitting at the same table.
Update 5:20 PM: The panel has voted to deny Cathie Black a waiver. Two members voted in favor, but four voted against it and two voted "not at this time."
The final decision rests with Education Commissioner David Steiner, who has not made a call yet.
In just a few minutes, the panel selected to advise Education Commissioner David Steiner on Cathie Black's suitability as chancellor will convene for the first time.
But its eight members won't be pausing to field questions about their stances on Black's appointment or on their possible conflicts of interest.
State Education Commissioner David Steiner is the person who has the final word over whether Cathie Black is permitted as Schools Chancellor Joel Klein's successor. But the group of people who effectively oversee Steiner are trying to have their say, too.
A number of lawmakers — including Assembly members Marcos Crespo and Deborah Glick, as well as State Senator-elect Tony Avella — have already sent Steiner letters urging him to block Black's appointment. Others have not gone that far, but are expressing deep misgivings both about Black's lack of education credentials and the mayor's abrupt and secretive selection process.
In making their stance, state lawmakers walk a fine line.
On the one hand, the legislature appoints the Board of Regents, who in turn appoint Steiner. And Steiner frequently needs to negotiate with lawmakers, as he has done this year over the charter cap and state budget. Lawmakers' stances on Black's appointment therefore matter.
"I think it should [matter]," said Queens Assemblyman David Weprin. "[Steiner is] going to have to deal with the legislature on a myriad of issues, as he has already."
But at the same time, these are the same lawmakers who extended sole authority over the city schools to Bloomberg last year.
Education Commissioner David Steiner and Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch at yesterday's press conference in the governor's office.
Why should the Race to the Top grant have a greater effect than previous federal money? And why make New York City's data system statewide if it's not exactly beloved in the city?
WNYC reporter Beth Fertig put these questions and others to State Education Commissioner David Steiner and Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch yesterday. Clips from the interview ran on WNYC yesterday, but you can listen to the full conversation below.
And here's the complete transcript:
WNYC: This money is not supposed to be plugging the gap that we hear about in the state's education expenses.
STEINER: That's correct. This money is dedicated to specific education reforms. Primarily the following areas. First, turning around lowest performing schools. Absolutely critical, it's a moral dilemma that we face and we've got to solve for our students. Second, the preparation and support of outstanding teachers and principals, from the moment that they enter their training programs in preparation, to their entire professional careers. Third, providing our teachers and principals and parents and districts with world-class data systems so that we know in real time what is being done in the classroom, what's working, what isn't working, what needs to be changed. And, beyond that, working on our assessments and curriculum, so that the materials that teachers share with children really do prepare them for further education for university, college, and the workplace, and the assessments give us an accurate reading of how those students are doing.
Source: New York State Education Department
The day of reckoning has arrived.
After weeks of warning that adjusted standards would mean far fewer students passing state exams this year, state education officials released the exact numbers today.
Average raw scores on the state third through eighth grade math and reading exams remained flat. But because the state decided to raise the scores required for a student to be deemed proficient, the number of students passing fell sharply.
In New York City and other big cities, the number of students passing reading exams dropped by more than a quarter — from 68.8 percent of city students passing last year to 42.4 percent this year in reading, for example.
Just over 53 percent of third through eighth-grade students statewide passed the reading exam, compared to 77 percent last year. Around 61 percent of students passed their math exams, compared with more than 86 percent last year.
Pass rates of students learning English, students with disabilities, and poor students fell the farthest. The percentage of students learning English who passed the reading exam fell by more than half, from 36 percent to under 15 percent. Just 15 percent of students with disabilities passed the reading exam, compared to 39 percent last year.
David Steiner. Photo courtesy of state education department.
For years, one pesky paper has stalked David Steiner, the man elected New York's education commissioner this morning. The paper, published in 2003, while he was a professor at Boston University, attacked education graduate schools as intellectually weak and ideologically slanted, marking Steiner as a brave "maverick" among those critical of traditional teacher education — and enemy no. 1 among those who defend it.
Steiner, who was raised in England but was born in America and spent one year at P.S. 41 on West 11th Street, has shrugged off the to-do in the years since. He kept a reasonably modest profile as dean of CUNY's Hunter College School of Education for the last four years. In conversations, he calmly insists that there is a middle ground in the fierce debate about how to improve public schools.
But the paper that marked him also foreshadows some of the innovations he has tested out at Hunter and the thinking he might bring to the state Education Department, where he is set to become commissioner Oct. 1, replacing Richard Mills, who announced his intention to retire last year. Mills had served in the position since 1995.
The position means Steiner will run the state Education Department, the large bureaucratic organization that enacts education policy set by the state Board of Regents and oversees both universities and public primary schools.