Education News Roundup #44: Ending Mask Mandates, School Board Takeover, Middle School Lottery, Extending Mayoral Control

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Top Story
NY school mask mandate could be ending, state COVID positivity under 10%
ABC7NY, 1/21/2022

Governor Kathy Hochul says she expects school districts will no longer enforce mask wearing in classes once the statewide mask mandate ends.
“That’s actually what we expect,” she said. “When the state mandate lapses, I expect all school districts will say, ‘We don’t have to do this anymore.'”
Other Top Headlines
Parent-activists, seeking control over education, are taking over school boards
Washington Post, 1/19/2022

Strong movements have sprung up in bastions of liberalism such as New York City, where a parent group dissatisfied with attempts to reform gifted tracking programs placed more than 60 candidates onto school boards this past fall,…”

And in New York City, a parent advocacy group called PLACE NYC, which formed in 2019 to advocate for advanced academics, identified and supported 94 candidates for 16 community education councils across the city, said PLACE NYC co-founder Yiatin Chu…The election saw a record number of parents campaign for council positions, according to New York government data reported by Chalkbeat — up from about 1,000 in 2019 to 1,785 candidates in 2021.

Middle School Lottery
Middle School Admissions: How to Get Your Lottery Number and What Does It Mean
PLACE NYC, 1/19/2022

Last year, many parents asked the DOE for their child’s lottery number before they submitted their middle school application; the DOE did not provide the number until AFTER applications were closed. This year, parents began making the same request in early January and the DOE responded within a week.

PLACE NYC and this newsletter are the efforts of parent volunteers who contribute our time and skills to advance the advocacy for high quality education. While this is our passion, we incur inevitable expenses on email, website, advertising and promotion of our research, rallies and information seminars. If you are able to, please consider donating to our GoFundMe; even a $5 donation would help our efforts. Thank you. ———-

Other Headlines

Mayoral Control Moves
Hochul looks to extend mayoral control of city schools, but legislators want changes
Spectrum News, 1/21/2022

“I don’t foresee it being done in the budget, primarily because this is the first time we have an actual normal governor participating in the process,” said Democratic Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell. “So I’m hoping that we get through the budget without the contention that we’ve gotten in the past.”

New York statewide teachers labor group backs Democratic incumbents
Spectrum News, 1/21/2022

New data shows racial disparities in special education services for NYC preschoolers
NY Daily News, 1/20/2022

New Council Committees
Speaker Adams Names City Council Leadership, New Committee Chairs and Members
Gotham Gazette, 1/20/2022

The Committee on Education is, as usual, the largest committee in the Council. It includes 21 members and will be chaired by Brooklyn Council Member Rita Joseph, who was an educator before she took office this year. The Committee on Higher Education, which has oversight of the City University of New York, will be led by Council Member Eric Dinowitz of the Bronx, also a former educator.

List of NYC City Council Education Committee Members
NYC City Council, 1/21/2022

Defining Remote
School chief Banks, Mayor Adams offer at-home learning expansion, are pressed on remote learning
NY Post, 1/18/2022

“What we’re doing is we’re trying to bring more and more of our students back,” Banks told reporters during a press conference at City Hall.

Eric Adams’s Charter School Opportunity
Wall Street Journal Editorial, 1/17/2022

A Queens school social worker pleads: Don’t go remote, NYC schools
NY Post Op-Ed by Justin Spiro, 1/17/2022

A Reckoning
School Closures Were a Catastrophic Error. Progressives Still Haven’t Reckoned With It.
NY Magazine, 1/17/2022

It is now indisputable, and almost undisputed, that the year and a quarter of virtual school imposed devastating consequences on the students who endured it…It is nearly as clear that these measures did little to contain the pandemic. Children face little risk of adverse health effects from contracting COVID, and there’s almost no evidence that towns that kept schools open had more community spread.

The parents were right: Documents show discrimination against Asian American students
The Hill, 1/17/2022

Ed Tech Dominance
The Pain of Online School Remains, Even When Kids Are in Classrooms
Wall Street Journal, 1/15/2022

The return to in-person school brought joy to parents and students alike, who were sick of dealing with Zoom calls, educational games, online homework and all the technical glitches that came with jamming education into the tabs of a web browser.

Yet when kids did make it back to classrooms, they discovered that many of those digital tools weren’t going away.

Survivor993 Is Not Alone: Lawsuits Show Abuse at School for At-Risk Teens
NY Times, 1/14/2022

‘Attempted Security Threat’ Disables Software at Some New York Schools
NY Times, 1/14/2022

Kids On Edge 
Threats of Student Violence and Misbehavior Are Rising, Many School Leaders Report
EdWeek, 1/14/2022

As the pandemic drags on toward the end of its second year, many educators say they are facing an uptick in student misbehavior that appears to be associated with challenges related to the return to in-person learning after extended periods of remote or hybrid instruction.

Go back to school and ditch weekly testing: The advice from one children’s hospital
NPR, 1/13/2022

The New York State Summer School of the Arts to Offer a Scholarship Program for Students to Attend Regional Arts Programs for Summer 2022
NYSED, 1/13/2022