Education News Roundup #52: SF Detracking Fail, Masks Stay on Toddlers, Asians Want Charters, GPAs Up But Test Scores Fall

Top Story
San Francisco’s Detracking Experiment
Tom Loveless Blog, 3/13/2022

Implementing Common Core was provided as the impetus for the change. When first proposed, district officials summed up the reform as, “There would no longer be honors or gifted mathematics classes, and there would no longer be Algebra I in 8th grade due to the Common Core State Standards in 8th grade.” Parents received a flyer from the district reinforcing this message, explaining, “The Common Core State Standards in Math (CCSS-M) require a change in the course sequence for mathematics in grades 6-12.” 

…Contrary to the district’s spin, the trend towards greater equity is not headed in the right direction. Gaps are widening. Perhaps this trend is statewide and not just a SFUSD phenomenon.

…Finally, as bad as the preceding data look, the reality of the district’s poor math achievement is probably worse.  SFUSD has exceptionally low rates of test participation on the state test, especially among Black and Hispanic students. Don’t forget: this is the test that state and district officials use for accountability purposes.  Participation is mandated by both federal and state law. If the students who don’t take the test tend to be low achievers—usually a fair assumption–the district’s test score performance could fall even lower once those students are included.
Campaign News

Former NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Not Ruling Out Running Again
NBC NY, 3/17/2022

Poll finds Cuomo can still challenge Hochul
NY Post, 3/11/2022

The Question Hanging Over the New York GOP Convention: Who Can Win in November?
Gothamist, 3/7/2022

Policy Watch

Bill A361 – High School Diploma Requirements
Directs the commissioner of education to require prior to awarding of a high school diploma either a free application for federal student aid (FAFSA) to be filed or…

Bill A3192 – Dropping the Vaccination Age of Consent
Permits any child who is at least fourteen years of age to have administered to himself or herself certain immunizations required or recommended by law.

Bill A66 – Live Regents Meetings
Requires the board of regents to provide a live webcast of their meetings

Other Top Stories

Parents rally against NYC mask mandates for kids under 4
NY Post, 3/20/2022

Asian parents—fed up with public education—want more charter schools
NY Post, 3/19/2022

Shock at return of NYC teacher who sucked man’s nipple in Zoom class
NY Post, 3/19/2022

Stuck on Tech
YouTube Is a Huge Classroom Distraction. Teachers Are Reluctant to Banish It.
WSJ, 3/19/2022

“I was a huge advocate of keeping learning going during Covid by having Chromebooks for kids. It was a Band-Aid when schools were closed,” said Karen Swindells, a mother of two in Chesterfield, Mo. “Two years later my kids are back in person 100%, so why are we still relying heavily on online resources to teach?”

Schools of Rock: Punk-rock Councilman demands music classes for all
NY Post, 3/19/2022

Indefinite Mandate
NYC’s new health czar says young kids should continue wearing masks
NY Post, 3/19/2022

The city’s new health commissioner believes mask mandates for young children should be indefinitely maintained – a position in direct conflict with Mayor Eric Adams, who recently claimed kids wouldn’t have to wear them much longer.

Public Advocate lays out ways to re-imagine NYC’s public school system in new report
amNY, 3/18/2022

Uproar Over Botched Update
An Outdated Website, an Atlantic Article & an Instagram Story: How the CDC Botched Revising Its Mask Guidance for Preschoolers
The 74 Million, 3/17/2022

In a Thursday email to The 74, the CDC confirmed that “recommendations for masks in K-12 schools and early care and education (ECE) programs are consistent with recommendations for other community settings.” 

Queens high school is one of 12 in U.S. teaching about cybersecurity and the military
Chalkbeat, 3/17/2022

New president for CEC 24
Queens Chronicle, 3/17/2022

After City Education Council 24 voted to remove its president, Ferdielynn Lee, ahead of her term set to end in June, it held a special election on Tuesday for a new president, voting in Michael Conigliaro 8-1. The no vote came from Lee.

For Some Teens, as Masks Come Off, Anxiety Sets In
NY Times, 3/17/2022

Quality Matters
12th Graders Took Harder Courses and Got Higher GPAs, But Test Scores Fell. What Gives?
EdWeek, 3/16/2022

While the transcript study did not look at what could be causing the gap between students’ grades and performance, Carr noted that an earlier NCES study found gaps in course content. “We took a look at what was actually being taught in these courses labeled as Algebra II or Algebra I or Geometry,” Carr said, “and what we found is that the titles and what was being advertised by the schools as an advanced course in these areas really did not pan out when we actually looked at what was being taught.”

Charter schools, advocates push lawmakers to expand seats in city
NY Post, 3/16/2022

School Board Defies Court Ruling of Discrimination Against Asian Students
Newsweek, 3/15/2022

…[S]chool officials walked out of their own meeting on Thursday after parents protested the board’s refusal to comply with the federal ruling that they had violated the law by changing the school’s admissions to limit the number of Asian American students enrolled.

To reduce stigma, New York moves to change ‘emotional disturbance’ label to ‘emotional disability’
Chalkbeat, 3/14/2022

Disparate Impact?
These schools did less to contain covid. Their students flourished.
Washington Post, 3/14/2022

Debate continues over which approach was the right one, and the circumstances in homogenous suburban districts differ from those in big cities. But the experience of systems like Lewis-Palmer offers evidence for those who say schools could have avoided some of the prolonged closures — and the serious academic and social impacts that came from them.

The pandemic has made school discipline more complicated
Times Union, 3/14/2022

NYS Board of Regents is no place for anti-white racist Shino Tanikawa
NY Post Editorial, 3/13/2022

With Speaker Carl Heastie’s Assembly Democrats firmly in control, the Legislature in joint session this month appointed Shino Tanikawa to a five-year term on the board as of April 1.

Heastie’s been shifting the Regents to the far left — anti-standards, anti-choice, anti-accountability — ever since he took over as speaker, but Tanikawa is his most radical pick yet.

She has a clear record of being anti-testing, arguing that standardized tests are racist and even seeming to suggest that academic success is an indicator of white privilege. Critics call her not just anti-white, but even anti-Asian — at least, anti-Asians-who-support-excellence. (Chinese language WeChat groups erupted in an uproar when news of her appointment broke.)

Bronx parents and teachers fed up with principal who created “toxic” environment
NY Daily News, 3/13/2022