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New York

City crunches teacher prep data in early bid to assess programs

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.
New York

With less fanfare, Cuomo's education commission revisits NYC

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.
New York

Teaching prep pilots on the rise in SIG and high-needs schools

A new recruitment program designed to keep teachers in high-needs schools for the long-term is ramping up its presence in schools where the city is preparing to replace large swaths of teachers. The city's $1.3 million teacher apprenticeship program, called the NYC Teaching Residency for School Turnaround, embeds teachers-in-training in high-needs schools and pairs them in classrooms taught by experienced teachers to ease the learning curve. The program launched last summer with 26 residents in two schools and was funded in part with money from federal School Improvement Grants. Next year, the Department of Education aims to double the number of residents and expand into more schools eligible for SIG funding. Currently the only schools in line to receive SIG funding are the 33 the city has proposed for a "turnaround" at the end of the year, meaning one of the schools that hosted residents this year — Queens Vocational and Technical High School — is likely to close its program at the end of the school year. Queens Vocational was one of six schools that had been receiving SIG funds that the city determined in January should no longer be eligible for them. An education department spokeswoman said no decision has been made about the residency program, but the school's website is already promoting a different residency starting next year. The residency is part of a series of recruitment models that the department's Office of Teacher Recruitment and Quality is piloting to better prepare new teachers for classrooms in high-needs communities. One hundred and thirty-six new NYC Teaching Fellows — up from 25 a year ago — were paired with a mentor teacher this month and will work in classrooms for the remainder of the school year as part of an apprenticeship program to supplement the 10-week training they will receive this summer. The fellows will earn a $3,500 stipend for the remainder of the school year. The DOE is busy staffing up for the expansion of both programs.
New York

NYU is building an accountability system to measure its teachers

Robert Tobias The former testing czar at the old Board of Education, Robert Tobias, sometimes offers criticism of the accountability programs being produced these days at Tweed Courthouse. He's also been hatching an accountability system of his own — this one to study the effectiveness of teachers produced by New York University's school of education, where he now works. Preliminary results suggest that teachers trained at NYU are getting above-average results in English, but they give students no extra boost on math tests, Tobias said last week at the educational research conference Philissa and I attended in San Diego. He also found that NYU-trained elementary-school teachers produced significantly greater results for students than middle-school teachers, and that the teachers get better as they become more experienced. The effect tapers off at between five and nine years into the job, he said. Tobias's results could provide one clue about what's being found in an ongoing research project about teacher training programs in New York City. So far, that project has found that different programs produced different student results but has not named the programs that had the largest effects. The results could also be important as alternative teacher training programs like Teach For America increasingly bring into question the need for traditional programs based entirely at universities. "As a dean I want to say I want to steal these three and have them do it at my school," said Rick Ginsberg, who runs the education school at the University of Kansas, referring to the professors working with Tobias. “We’re fighting this battle all the time.”