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September 26, 2018
Amid calls to apologize, Adams 14 board pledges better handling of public criticism
The ACLU of Colorado and the Colorado Association of Bilingual Education had asked the board to apologize for removing Jorge Garcia from public comment.
September 24, 2018
Criticism mounts for Adams 14 school board for asking police to escort critic out of meeting
An ACLU letter requests an apology, and a response from the Adams 14 school board by Oct. 1.
September 6, 2018
Shrinking here, expanding there, Aurora district wants to hear your thoughts on how to handle growing pains
The Aurora district launched an online survey and is hosting public meetings to talk about the future of schools.
July 18, 2018
Denver community has lots of advice on picking a new superintendent – who will the board heed?
In the wake of news that Tom Boasberg will step down as Denver's superintendent, community members have begun to weigh in on what they want in the district's next leader.
January 31, 2013
Poll: NYers don't see Cuomo's ed proposals as top priorities
New York state voters said they aren't crazy about the idea of a longer school day, a new poll shows. Fewer than four in 10 voters responding to a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University’s survey center said they believe Gov. Andrew Cuomo's extended learning day proposal should be a priority for Cuomo and state legislators. The poll focused on five of the proposals Cuomo floated during his ambitious State of the State speech three weeks ago, three of which are education-related. New York voters were more open to his proposals to improve teacher quality, including a tougher "bar exam" and merit pay.
May 10, 2012
Poll: Few NYers see school closures as sound education policy
Fewer than four in 10 New Yorkers think closing schools makes for sound education policy, according to the results of a new poll released today. And approval is lowest in the borough most hard-hit by school closures under the Bloomberg administration. The poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University's survey center, focused largely on 2013 mayoral race and found that City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is a clear frontrunner among the Democratic candidates. But it also asked a raft of questions about education policy in the city. Several of the questions had been asked before and yielded consistent results. New Yorkers still want the next mayor to share school control with an independent board, disapprove in large numbers of how Mayor Bloomberg is handling the city's schools, and are divided about whether the teachers union exerts a positive force. But one question had never appeared on a Quinnipiac poll before. It asked, "Mayor Bloomberg wants to close a number of low performing public schools and replace them. Which comes closer to your point of view; this is good educational policy, or this is an attack on the teacher's union?"
March 15, 2012
Merryl Tisch: Turnaround plan "has nothing to do with the kids"
Tisch spoke on a GothamSchools panel in 2011. Breaking her silence on the city's plan to overhaul 33 struggling schools, Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said late Wednesday that she believes "turnaround" is a political strategy, not an educational one. "There's a fight going on here that has nothing to do with what's going on at the school," she said. "It's a labor dispute between labor and management and has nothing to do with the kids." Tisch was referring to the stalemate between the Bloomberg administration and the teachers union that gave rise to the city's turnaround plans. Bloomberg announced the plans in January as a way to get federal funds for the schools even though the city and union had not been able to agree on new teacher evaluations, a requirement of less aggressive strategies already in place. The turnaround strategy, which require the schools to be closed and reopened after changing their names and half of their teachers, has only deepened enmity between the city and UFT. On Wednesday, Tisch visited one of the schools, William E. Grady Career and Technical Education High School, and said she was impressed by the changes underway, which she attributed to its principal, Geraldine Maione. The school received millions of federal dollars in the last two years while undergoing "transformation," which funded extra tutoring, additional programs, and new technology. "This is a school that is moving in a really fine direction," Tisch said of Grady, which received a B on its most recent city progress report. "This is the wrong message to this school at this time. Don't be so dismissive of the efforts going on in that building." It was Tisch's second visit to the school. Last week, she brought fellow Regent Kathleen Cashin for a visit that was scheduled after she met Maione in February at a principals union event featuring Diane Ravitch. On Wednesday, Maione said, Tisch and Cashin brought State Education Commissioner John King along with them.
March 14, 2012
Poll: Voters don't trust city's teacher ratings but do back release
New York City voters by and large do not trust the teacher ratings released late last month. But most wouldn't mind if future assessments of teachers' quality were also made public, according to a poll whose results were released this morning. The poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University last week, asked 964 New Yorkers about teacher evaluations both in theory and in practice. It found that just 20 percent of voters said they trusted the city's "recently released teacher evaluations" known as Teacher Data Reports, and nearly half said the results were flawed. (The ratings, which had massive margins of error, were not actually used to evaluate teachers.) But 58 percent said they approved in theory of releasing the results of teacher evaluations to the public. The poll's findings suggest voters simply haven't made up their minds about the role that teacher evaluations should play even as battles over new evaluations have dominated the headlines in recent months. Just a third of poll respondents said they thought teachers who score low on evaluations should be fired, a use that advocates of new evaluations have championed. But 54 percent said they thought top-rated teachers should be rewarded with additional pay, something Mayor Bloomberg has suggested and the UFT has opposed. And 84 percent said they thought performance should trump seniority if the city needed to lay off teachers, a policy position that Bloomberg made his priority last spring, to no avail.
February 8, 2012
Poll: NYers don't trust Bloomberg to protect students' interests
New York City residents won't be appointing Mayor Bloomberg as students' chief lobbyist any time soon. Nearly twice as many New Yorkers trust the teachers union to protect students' interests than they do Bloomberg, according to a new poll out of Quinnipiac University. Bloomberg's approval rating on schools has hovered around 25 percent since early 2011, according to the poll. The poll, conducted Jan. 30-Feb. 5, found that 56 percent of registered voters in New York City say they trust the union more to go to bat for students. Less than a third, 31 percent, said they trust Bloomberg more. (The poll of 1,222 registered voters had a margin of error of 2.8 percent.) Among households containing public school students, the split was even more pronounced. Just 21 percent of those voters picked Bloomberg, and 69 percent chose the teachers union. Parents' backed the union more often than even households with union members. The news comes in an education-packed poll conducted after a month in which in a showdown over new teacher evaluations led Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo each to ratchet up rhetoric against teachers and their unions. The poll found that the percentage of New Yorkers with favorable opinions of teachers had fallen, from 54 percent last March to 47 percent now. But while a different poll earlier this week found high approval for Cuomo's school policies, a set of questions designed to assess New Yorkers' feelings about a slate of policy initiatives Bloomberg proposed during his State of the City address last month elicited mixed results.
January 9, 2012
UFT appeals directly to parents in teacher evaluation showdown
UFT President Michael Mulgrew wants parents to know that he doesn't mind if new teacher evaluations cause some teachers to leave their jobs. Ever since negotiations over teacher evaluations fell apart during winter break, Mulgrew has taken fire for costing the city federal funding and opposing changes that could make teachers easier to fire. But in a full-page advertisement that appears in today's New York Daily News, titled "An Open Letter to New York City Parents," Mulgrew argues that evaluations that are conceived and executed according to the union's specifications would indeed usher teachers "who cannot succeed" out of the profession. More than that, he argues, better evaluations would help struggling teachers get the support they need to stay in the classroom. An exodus of teachers from city schools stands at 66,000 teachers in the last decade, he said — equivalent to more than three quarters of the city's teaching corps.
December 15, 2011
Parents demand stronger role at council hearing on engagement
As today's City Council hearing on parent engagement wore into its third hour, parents grew agitated that they had yet to deliver their testimony. After listening to chancellor Dennis Walcott and executive director for family and community engagement, Jesse Mojica, discuss parent engagement with council members for hours, the parents were ready to contribute, but the meeting was scheduled to end at one. "It's really unfair that this wasn't mostly parent voices," Michelle Lipkin, P.S. 199's PTA president, said when she took the mic. "There's a real disconnect between the definition of parent engagement for parents and the definition of parent engagement for the department of education." That disconnect was made clear as parents and council members agreed that the Department of Education can engage parents all they want, but without power, the engagement is all for naught. “There’s no big secret in what gets parents involved," Councilman Charles Barron said. "It’s when parents actually have power.” He suggested giving parents a say over curriculum, principal hiring, and budget. Others agreed and noted that the Panel for Education Policy, the Community Education Councils, and the school closure procedures give only the guise of engagement. “The parents need power through legislation. Not engagement, not feedback, not any of those pretty words. We need a vote on the PEP,” Christine Annechino, president of CEC 3, testified. “We have no voice. We have no power.” Concerns raised by council members and parents during the meeting included the cut of 57 parent coordinators earlier this year, the accountability and assessment of parent coordinators, the lack of communication about toxic school environments, and the relocation of last night's PEP meeting. While the tone was civil throughout, the issues always came back to the fact that parents don't just want to be kept abreast of issues in their child's school, they want to have the power to effect change.
December 14, 2011
Poll: As NYers get to know Walcott more, they like him less
Eight months on the job has done little to boost Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott's image in the eye of New Yorkers. A Quinnipiac poll released today shows Walcott's approval rating as essentially unchanged since he became chancellor in April. But his disapproval rating is way up. According to the poll, 33 percent of New Yorkers approve of Walcott's handling of his job. That's up just 2 points from a similar poll in May, a month after he became chancellor. During the same period, his disapproval rating swung from from 21 percent to 34 percent. His disapproval rating among public school parents rose from 32 percent to 45 percent. It appears that many of the people who have made up their minds about Walcott since April have decided they do not approve of his job performance.
December 9, 2011
The principal of a school newly slated for closure speaks out
Margaret McAuley, principal at Chappie D. James Elementary School of Science, questions the extent of support provided by the Department of Education to her struggling school. Just hours after learning that Chappie D. James Elementary School of Science would be phased out, Principal Margaret McAuley publicly registered her concerns about the process that had brought the school to the point of closure. McAuley testified Thursday evening at a meeting of the Citywide Council on Special Education, an elected parent group, which had been set aside to discuss closures well before the city announced yesterday that it would shutter 12 schools. After the Department of Education's director of engagement strategy, Meg Barboza, narrated a PowerPoint presentation about the city's closure strategy, fielding challenges from council members along the way, McAuley took the microphone. As music from a principals union event wafted into the second-floor meeting room at Brooklyn Borough Hall, McAuley described her efforts to serve students at her Brownsville school, which she started in 2008 after a previous school in the building had been closed because of poor performance. She said she had chased down resources and partnerships, sought out extra training for teachers, brought in computers and programming for parents, and put new expectations in place for students. McAuley said she wasn't surprised by the school's first progress report grade last year, a D — scores remained very low. But she said they were improving, slowly but surely and unfortunately not in a way that this year's report card grade, an F, could capture. Most of all, she said, she hadn't been informed that her school's performance wasn't up to par until October, when the city added it to the shortlist of potential closures.
April 4, 2011
Black approval rating stuck at 17%, says NY1-Marist poll
A month's more time in the public eye has done nothing to lift Chancellor Cathie Black's approval rating. The number of New Yorkers who approve of her work remains at 17%, according to a NY1-Marist poll released tonight. That's the same place last month's Quinnipiac poll put Black and a drop from her 21% approval rating measured by Marist last February. And for context, the 17% figure is two percentage points below Governor Paterson's approval rating at its lowest, a number Marist described as historically low. Approval for the public school system's performance overall is higher, but not by very much. Only 38% of respondents said they approved of the school system's performance, and 20% rated the schools' performance as poor. School performance reports divided along racial lines. While 45% of white residents polled by Marist rated the schools highly, only 36% of Latino respondents and 25% of African-Americans did the same. Approval was higher among households with children who attend public schools. A little more than half, or 53%, said they approve of the system's performance.
February 3, 2011
Poll: Chancellor Black has far to go to win back public
A Marist College poll released this evening shows that new Schools Chancellor Cathie Black has less public support than her predecessor, Joel Klein, did when he took the job eight years ago. Current poll results show that 21 percent of registered New York City voters think that Black has done a good or excellent job of handling of the public schools. When Quinnipiac University first surveyed the public on Klein in 2003, a month after he took office, its results showed that 46 percent of New Yorkers approved of him. The two sets of poll numbers aren't a perfect comparison, as the Marist poll found that 35 percent of New Yorkers think Black has done a "fair" job, while the Quinnipiac poll only allowed respondents to approve or disapprove of the chancellor. Because of this difference, Klein had more detractors than Black does. In 2003, 27 percent of people disapproved of him, while the Marist poll has 19 percent of respondents rating Black's performance as "poor." Though she has garnered plenty of headlines in the month she's been in office, Black is about as unknown as she is liked. The poll shows that 26 percent of respondents don't have an opinion of her yet, or haven't heard of her. In 2003, roughly the same number — 28 percent — of people didn't have an impression of Klein. Klein's early approval rating of 46 percent was the highest he earned over the eight years he as in office. When Mayor Bloomberg named Black to the post in November, a Quinnipiac poll found that 51 percent of voter surveyed didn't think she was fit for the job. That number rose when the pool was whittled down to just public school parents: 62 percent of whom disapproved of her selection.
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