The New York Times reported about the elementary school P.S. 9 in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn that, even though is not in the best of locations, is really fulfilling peoples’ needs.  The PTO, parent teacher organization, is extremely successful and the co-presidents Nelly Heredia and Penelope Mahot explain that they are also extremely happy with the way the children are actually learning, as well as many other things.  Their biggest worry is the public school which is attached to P.S. 9, M.S. 571.  It is a low-performing, and on December 6, the Department of Education announced plans to phase it out.  What the parents want to do is expand P.S. 9 all the way through eighth grade with the empty space that M.S. 571 is leaving behind.  The education department has a different plan.  It has made plans to move a middle-grade charter school, Brooklyn East Collegiate, into the now empty space.

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What happens after you lay down the ax?  A bill has been passed in the New York State senate that ends the seniority rule, no longer is it “last in, first out”.  The seniority rule was that the longer you are at a school, the more privileges you receive. (One privilege being that you are the last to be laid off.)  Mayor Bloomberg says: “We need a merit-based system for determining layoffs this spring, and anything short of that is just not a solution to the problem we face.” This is very promising for the education reformers who have been arguing that seniority doesn’t necessarily mean effective teaching, and have been arguing that the seniority system specifically seems problematic in low income schools which need new teachers to fix past problems.  Now that the determining factor for layoffs is gone, how will the state decide what makes a teacher “good” and what makes one “bad”?  There is talk about a point system that will rank teachers based on evaluations but it may take months or years to set regulations for such a process.  In reality, there is no sign of a concrete plan regarding who will get cut first now.  Is this really because there is no plan?  Or is there a plan already out there that is hidden (for now) from the public to alleviate further commotion about the topic all together?


Further Reading:


It’s been three months into her new job as the New York City schools chancellor an Cathleen Black has yet to get public approval. According to the NY1 Marist poll released this week, it was found that the new chancellor is not very popular throughout the city. In fact the poll revealed that the public was not very fond of the new chancellor.

The poll was taken by telephone in March and included 772 adults. The results were the following; 23 percent of adults had either never heard of her or were not certain of ever hearing of her, only 17 percent of adults approved of her.Back in February, the same poll was taken to ask New York City adults what they thought of the chancellor’s performance, those results were the following  only 21 percent approved of her performance, while 35 percent did not even know who she was. As told by Dr. Miringoff director of  the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, “She’s getting slightly better known, but not better received”.

Chancellor Cathleen Black is certainly liked  and known less than the previous chancellor, but there are various reasons for this. The first reason being is that she lacks Education experience. As it is known Mr. Shael Polakow-Suransky had been appointed as chief academic officer to work side by side with Ms. Black  because of her lack of experience. The second reason being that she has not made many public appearances. Not only does the public not approve of her position because of lack of experience,she also does not seem to connect with them. Could the reason for this be that most of the time she had made appearances she had committed a couple of blunders her first weeks in office? Such as her remark that a resolution to over crowded schools in Lower Manhattan would be birth control. Although it was all in good humor, it seems like people took offense to it, clearly resulting in low approval rates.

There is certainly a lot left for this chancellor to do. She has already been in office for 100 days and New Yorkers still don’t seem to like her. Because she has experience as a business woman and not an education official, it is no wonder why the public doubts her potential. People need action and proof  that this new chancellor will do her best to repair the state of New York City schools. There is only one advice she needs to take as result of these polls, that one being SHAPE UP CHANCELLOR!

for further readings and poll listings:

New York City High Schools have claimed a higher graduation rate than there actually was. The schools inflated the numbers by counting the students who dropped out as students who were discharged. Students who are discharged are those who transfer to a private school or a school out of the city and are not counted against a school’s dropout rates. The schools were audited by the state comptroller’s office. Looking at the new numbers for 2008, the graduation rate is 62.9 and not the 65.5 that was originally calculated. You can read more about it in the New York Times.

Schools have gone over several student records to determine whether or not the students were actually discharged or dropped out. It makes sense for the schools to obsess over this because it effects how much money the schools receive from the government. With low graduation rates, some schools are forced to close because they are not meeting the standards. Especially in this economy,  hey will do things like this in order to keep funding for their school. Budget cuts are not in education’s favor and I don’t particularly blame them for inflating graduation numbers.

Y is for Yummy!

March 27, 2011

As many of us that have attended a New York City Public school know, the food has always been anything but tasty. But now things have changed for the best. In an effort to join Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity many city school shave completely changes their lunchroom menus. In doing so, New York City schools have completely kicked candy and soda machines to the curb, and have embraced color into their cafeteria! Colors-being green, reds, and oranges from fresh fruits and vegetables. The school cafeterias are now fully equipped with whole grain pasta, salad bars, fresh fruit,and low fat-low sodium recipes; most importantly NO FRIED FOOD, NO ARTIFICIAL INGREDIENTS and NO TRANS FAT. The fact of the matter is that the schools are now considered as restaurants, and the students as customers. As Jorge Collazo, the Department’s executive chief mentions, “If you have a restaurant, you don’t keep offering dishes your customers don’t buy”. That is very thoughtful of them if you ask me! Being that the school system operates on such a large scale, 860,00 meals per day, the switch from unhealthy food to healthy foods will force vendors to cut the unhealthy elements out of prepared foods. In doing so, vendors will be providing tasty foods to students as well as lowering the price of cost to maintain the prepared foods. Students will finally leave their cafeterias saying “YUMM!” instead of “Yuck!” Although it is a swell idea, we have to look at the reality of things. With the current state of public schools in the city, will this plan be able to soar? If there isn’t enough money to maintain teachers and schools open, is there enough money to provide students with well balanced meals that they deserve? Only time will tell.

Further reading:

They say creativity is everything, but how is a pre-recorded message supposed to motivate the youth to go to school? New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has instilled a new campaign “WakeUp! NYC” that will provide wake up phone calls from celebrities- including Magic Johnson, Jose Reyes, Big Boi, Trey Songz, and others- to kids who are consistently missing school. So what is the purpose of these messages? The calls will initially go out to 6,500 students in 25 public schools who have missed ten or more days of school this year. The point: to say GET TO SCHOOL!

Mayor Bloomberg says “It’s the next step in our efforts to cut absenteeism and put more students on the road to success, in school and in life.” I am totally for putting more students on the “road to success,” but will this tactic work? Apparently so! There have been some important improvements as the absentee rate is down 24% at 10 elementary schools, and 16% at 8 middle schools. PROGRESS! If it works, it works. Good for Mayor Bloomberg for thinking outside the box and finding a way for kids to relate to going to school. Now if only Mark Wahlberg was making those calls, EVERY girl would be going to school…think about it Mayor Bloomberg!

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