In one city classroom this summer, a computer algorithm is telling students what to do.
The classroom is actually a library at a Chinatown middle school with just 80 students, but school officials are hoping that it offers a glimpse into the future of the school system, one in which every student's individual strengths and weaknesses are calculated before each day is planned.
Students in the new pilot program, a $1 million effort that officials are calling the School of One, take a quiz every afternoon, and then receive a computer-generated schedule each morning, called a "playlist." A student's playlist might tell him to begin the day by meeting with a tutor, then to complete a set of online tasks, and then to work on a project with his classmates. The program, which focuses only on math instruction, will expand to three sites in January.
Schools Chancellor Joel Klein will roll out the program today, along with its mastermind, Joel Rose, who previously worked for Edison Schools, the for-profit education management company now known as EdisonLearning. The announcement will mark one of the first initiatives of Klein's administration that focuses on what happens inside classrooms since he unveiled citywide math and reading programs six years ago. That effort scripted moves down to how teachers should arrange their classrooms and the size of rugs.
Marcia Lyles, the deputy chancellor for teaching and learning, testifying at an Assembly hearing earlier this year.
Marcia Lyles, the head of the city's teaching and learning department and one of only a handful of veteran educators who reports directly to Chancellor Joel Klein, could be on the brink of leaving the school system. The answer hinges on an announcement tonight by a school board in Delaware, where Lyles and one other candidate are vying for the job of superintendent.
The board of the Christina School District, a semi-urban, 17,000-student district comprising parts of two of Delaware's three largest cities as well as some suburbs, has narrowed down a cast of contenders to two finalists: a longtime Delaware educator who is now serving as acting superintendent and Lyles, a Harlem native who has worked in the city's public school system since the 1970s.
Lyles would not confirm that she has been offered the job, but a member of the Christina teachers union, Harrie Ellen Minnehan, told me that rumors are flying in Delaware that Lyles will be announced as the new superintendent tonight — against the desires of teachers and principals, many of whom favor the Delaware candidate.