Education News roundup #53NYC Student Data Hacked, Shooting Near Cardozo HS, New PEP Members, Universal “Mosaic” Curriculum Stalled

Top Story
Personal data of 820,000 NYC students compromised in hack
NY Post, 3/26/2022

The personal data of about 820,000 current and former New York City public school students was compromised in a January hack.

The breach of Illuminate Education, a taxpayer-funded software company the city’s Department of Education uses to track grades and attendance, resulted in a hacker gaining access to students’ names, birthdays, ethnicities and English-speaking, special-education and free-lunch statuses, sources said.

…Illuminate has raked in more than $16 million from DOE schools in the last three years, records show.

The company was also linked to a scandal over ex-Chancellor Richard Carranza’s hiring of a former vice president of Illuminate who had failed to divest from his former company when he took a $205,000-a-year city job in 2018.

Election News

Democrats Are in for a Tough Midterms. For Progressives, It’s an Even Steeper Hill To Climb
Vanity Fair, 3/25/2022

Where are your old council members now?
City and State, 3/23/2022

Two Latinas set their sights on Lieutenant Governor in New York
Al Dia, 3/22/2022

Policy Watch

Bill A8927 – SAT Administration
Requires all public secondary schools to provide the annual administration of the SAT during a school day

Bill A9452 – Asian American History
Relates to requiring instruction in Asian American and Pacific Islander history for grades K through 12

Bill S400 – Mandatory Study of Child Sex Abuse
Requires courses of study in private schools in the prevention of child sexual exploitation and child sexual abuse

Other Top Stories

Majority Against Masking
POLITICO-Harvard poll: 40 percent of parents believe masks at school harmed their kids
Politico, 3/25/2022

“Even if I’m in a Democratic state or district, I’d pay attention because there are a substantial number of independent parents who think the policy is hurting their children,” said Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis, emeritus, at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “If you say something hurts my children, you’re going to feel strongly about it. … Anything that has an impact on your family has a disproportionate impact on how you think of things.”

Queens Shooting Near Cardozo HS
Teen shot by fellow student near Queens high school
NY Post, 3/25/2022

A teen was shot in the arm by one of his fellow students blocks from a Queens high school, causing it to lockdown, according to officials and sources.
The shooting erupted just after 3 p.m. at the intersection of Springfield Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway, two blocks from Benjamin N. Cardozo High School, according to cops.
NYC education panel breaks with city to reject $82M contract

PEP Votes No
NYC education panel breaks with city to reject $82M contract
NY Post, 3/24/2022

The Panel for Education Policy, which is notoriously amenable to City Hall’s school directives, rejected an $82 million contract on Wednesday night, which watchdogs believe has only happened once before in its history. 

The unusual referendum on a temporary staffing agreement included some of Mayor Eric Adams’ own appointees and suggested the new panel could break with its soft reputation. 

Meet the PEP
Adams appoints 9 members to PEP
Queens Chronicle, 3/24/2022

Ong said he hopes the voices and parental concerns will “be a little bit louder” on the PEP and says education equality for all kids and challenging those that need to be challenged are priorities for him.

He said that he will help amplify issues important to CEC 26, such as bringing back the gifted and talented program, reforming high school admissions and bringing more specialized high schools to Queens.

School Test Scores Start to Rise With Return of In-Person Classes
Wall Street Journal, 3/23/2022

PLACE NYC Demands G&T Clarity
New York City parents advocate for reinstatement of gifted and talented program
amNY, 3/23/2022

In their March 23 announcement, PLACE NYC alleged that the NYC public school system is experiencing an unprecedented decline in enrollment, with the uncertainty of G&T programs further exacerbating this decline particularly for many Pre-K and prospective G&T families.

Covid Vaccination Rates Lag for N.Y.C. Kids. Will Shots at School Help?
NY Times, 3/23/2022

CEC 26 Town Hall Recap
Schools Chancellor David Banks talks goals for District 26 in Queens
QNS, 3/23/2022

Banks discussed necessary improvements in areas including security workers, admissions for gifted programs, superintendents, overcrowding schools and virtual learning.

The meeting began with comments from District 26 Community Education Council (CEC) President Al Suha, who said that the CEC 26 was the best performing district in New York City, but one that is also chronically underfunded.

Manhattan PTA treasurer stole $185K from school fund: prosecutors
NY Post, 3/23/2022

Masks to be optional for kids 2-4 in schools and daycare, Eric Adams says
NY Post, 3/22/2022

Charter Schools Rep on the PEP
Eric Adams names appointees with charter ties to schools governance panel
NY Post, 3/22/2022

Mayor Eric Adams appointed a top charter school administrator and a slew of close allies to the Department of Education’s oversight board Tuesday to a mixed response.

City schools bracing for budget realities of 120K enrollment drop-off
NY Post, 3/22/2022

Legal Wokes
The Takeover of America’s Legal System
Bari Weiss Substack, 3/21/2022

Professors say it is harder to lecture about cases in which accused rapists are acquitted, or a police officer is found not guilty of abusing his authority. One criminal law professor at a top law school told me he’s even stopped teaching theories of punishment because of how negatively students react to retributivism—the view that punishment is justified because criminals deserve to suffer.

“I got into this job because I liked to play devil’s advocate,” said the tenured professor, who identifies as a liberal. “I can’t do that anymore. I have a family.”

…Nadine Strossen, the first woman to head the American Civil Liberties Union and a professor at New York Law School, told me: “I massively self-censor. I assume that every single thing that is said, every facial gesture, is going to be recorded and potentially disseminated to the entire world. I feel as if I am operating in a panopticon.”

Liberal Flashpoint?
Democrats Must Defeat the Left’s War on Educational Achievement
NY Magazine, Intelligencer, 3/21/222

The authors concede that “a sense that the focus on race and social justice in Virginia’s schools had gone too far, eclipsing core academic subjects” produced a “furious backlash” in that state, as well as in San Francisco and New York, where voters also rebelled against progressive efforts to deemphasize calculus in California and scale back magnet schools and tracked courses elsewhere.

But after acknowledging that voters are furious with left-wing education policies, Berkshire and Schneider argue that the problem isn’t the policy but the voters. Or, more specifically, they blame Democrats for making voters care too much about educational achievement. 

The Big Three: Trio of Heralded Reformers Take Top Posts at Nation’s Largest School Districts, to Great Expectations … and Headaches
The 74 Million, 3/21/2022 

Disqualifying Censors
Yale Law Students for Censorship
Wall Street Journal, 3/20/2022

“The latest events at Yale Law School in which students attempted to shout down speakers participating in a panel discussion on free speech prompts me to suggest that students who are identified as those willing to disrupt any such panel discussion should be noted. All federal judges—and all federal judges are presumably committed to free speech—should carefully consider whether any student so identified should be disqualified for potential clerkships.”

Some Colorado high schools are doing away with ‘valedictorian’
Fox News, 3/20/2022

Mosaic Uncertainty
Slow progress on NYC’s $200 million “universal curriculum” frustrates educators
NY Daily News, 3/20/2022

…[E]ight months and a new mayoral administration later, the Education Department has offered little public information on how the “Mosaic” curriculum is progressing, and educators involved behind the scenes say it’s way behind schedule and lacks clear direction. That’s causing frustration for its supporters — and raising questions about whether the final product will live up to its lofty billing, and how the DOE will spend the hefty sum.

Adams: NYC Parents Have Been Riding a Middle and High School Admissions Roller-Coaster. But They May Be in for a Smoother Ride Ahead
The 74 Million Opinion by A. Adams, 3/17/2022