Education News Roundup Issue #92

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Top Story
Early Admissions Data Reveals Record-Breaking Cycle For Top Schools
Forbes, 12/21/2022

This week, colleges and universities begin to release their rates of early admission, offering the first glimpse at the competitiveness of this application cycle as well as the size and demographics of this year’s applicant pool. This year’s data is particularly significant, as the pandemic’s effects on college admissions are waning and universities across the country have seen a precipitous drop in enrollment.

Other Top Headlines

Withholding Awards for ‘Equity’
The War on Merit Takes a Bizarre Turn
City Journal, 12/21/2022

For years, two administrators at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ) have been withholding notifications of National Merit awards from the school’s families, most of them Asian, thus denying students the right to use those awards to boost their college-admission prospects and earn scholarships. This episode has emerged amid the school district’s new strategy of “equal outcomes for every student, without exception.” 

A Call For Excellence
Amid enrollment drop, NYC Chancellor David Banks must fight for excellence
NY Post Editorial, 12/20/2022

“Good” news: Chronic absenteeism in the city’s regular public schools is down from the staggering 40% that The Post’s Susan Edelman revealed in April. Bad news: It’s still over 30%. Chancellor David Banks needs to do better.

More bad news: Flight from the system continues, with tens of thousands more families finding alternatives or skipping town entirely. Data from the city Department of Education show total K-12 enrollment down 121,000 from 2019, and only the influx of nearly 10,000 illegal-migrant kids kept the drop from being larger still.

Measuring Down
New York needs school choice, not more money for ever-worse results
NY Post Editorial, 12/28/2022

New York’s leaders are stuck in an unwinnable battle, doubling down on past failures in the hope things will magically improve. Despite dwindling public-school enrollments driven by families leaving the state, the Board of Regents proposes increasing state education aid by $3.4 billion, or almost 11% percent, over this year’s already-bloated amount.

…On each of the National Assessment of Educational Progress’ four main tests, New York’s pre-pandemic 2019 scores were mostly unchanged from the early 2000s, then dropped more than the national averages in 2022 in three measures. Throughout those years, New York never came close to the top of the 50-state ranking, scoring around the national average.

Advocates Corner
Run for CEC and Help Improve Your Child’s Education

CEC applications open on Jan 9 through Feb 13.
PLACE NYC is holding information sessions for interested parents to learn more about CECs and ask questions.

  • January 18th, Wednesday, at 7pm
  • February 9th, Thursday, at 7pm

Registration Link

Other Headlines

The price tag for COVID school closures that led to historic learning losses for kids could top $28 trillion
NY Post Editorial, 1/1/2023

Cost to Learning Lost
High Rates of Chronic Absenteeism Persist at U.S. Schools
Wall Street Journal, 12/28/2022

Learning loss could shave $70,000 off the lifetime earnings of children who were in school during the pandemic, according to a new study by a Stanford economist.

The sobering forecast is based on an analysis of the sharp declines in the scores of eighth-graders on national math tests taken between 2019 and 2022.
If the learning losses aren’t recovered, K-12 students on average will grow into less educated, lower-skilled and less productive adults and will earn 5.6% less over the course of their lives than students educated just before the pandemic, said Eric A. Hanushek, a Stanford University economist who specializes in education. He said the losses could total $28 trillion over the rest of this century.

Pandemic Learning Loss Could Cost Students $70,000 in Lifetime Earnings
Wall Street Journal, 12/27/2022

Did a Fourth Grader Write This? Or the New Chatbot?
NY Times, 12/26/2022

Phonics, For All
In Memphis, the Phonics Movement Comes to High School
NY Times, 12/25/2022

The program focuses on expanding vocabulary and giving teenagers reading strategies — such as decoding words — that build upon fundamentals taught in elementary school. The curriculum is embedded not just in English, but also in math, science and social studies.

With his new tools, Roderick studied “I Have a Dream,” the speech by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — no longer skipping unfamiliar words, but instead circling them to discern their meaning. And when scanning sports news on ESPN in his free time, he knew to break down bigger words, like the “re/negotia/tion” of a player’s contract.

NYC principal’s union mocks parents’ snack-banning charge with doughnuts
NY Post, 12/24/2022

Parent Voter Suppression
NYC parents blast education depart. election for schools panel, saying it disenfranchised voters
NY Daily News, 12/24/2022

New York City parents are accusing the Department of Education of disenfranchising voters in an election of new borough-based family representatives to the city’s education oversight panel, the Daily News has learned.

When the state passed a two-year extension of mayoral control over the city schools last summer, lawmakers added five new positions to represent parents from each borough and serve as a check on the mayor.

NYC high school’s mass shooting threat triggers police probe
NY Post, 12/23/2022

Year in Review: Top education stories of 2022
QNS, 12/23/2022

It’s Complicated
Why New York’s neediest families aren’t using free pre-K and 3K
Politico, 12/23/2022

Six years ago, New York City hosted leaders from a dozen cities across the U.S. to share lessons learned from its free early childhood education program for over 70,000 4-year-olds.

The immensely popular universal prekindergarten program was the brainchild of former Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014. Three years later, he began expanding it to 3-year-olds. The pioneering education policy remains the single biggest achievement from de Blasio’s two terms in office. It was so successful that it became a national model for other major cities like Seattle and Washington.

And yet, in a wildly expensive city where monthly child care costs top $3,500, a staggering 30 percent of free pre-K and “3K” seats were unfilled as of November.

Op-ed: Expanding STEM programs will narrow the racial divide in tech
Brooklyn Paper, op-ed by Brian Cunningham, 12/23/2022

NYC plans to spend $50 million to upgrade more than 80 school cafeterias
PIX11, 12/22/2022

K Scholarships
College funds for NYC’s kindergartners: How to get and give seed money for higher education
Chalkbeat, 12/22/2022

In January, all New York City’s public school kindergartners will receive a seed investment of $100 in their city-sponsored college savings accounts. 

It’s the second year that 5-year-olds citywide will automatically get the NYC Scholarship Accounts — a giant experiment aiming to help thousands of families who historically have faced steep barriers to postsecondary education.

Lawsuit against USC education school alleges fraud in U.S. News & World Report data
LA Times, 12/21/2022

Tuition Tracker
Hechinger Report, 12/21/2022

Elite School Scandal 
Elite Juilliard school embroiled in massive sex misconduct scandal, renowned professor put on leave
NY Post, 12/21/2022

A massive sexual misconduct scandal is rocking the elite Juilliard School, as multiple instructors have been accused of discrimination and harassment — and one renowned professor has been put on leave after 500 people signed a letter decrying his “abuse of women and power.”

Composer Robert Beaser, 68, was sidelined for a pattern of mistreatment that included soliciting sex from students — much of which was detailed in a Dec. 12 exposé of the Upper West Side conservatory published in VAN magazine.

Former Harvard fencing coach, businessman found not guilty of bribery charges
Boston Globe, 12/21/2022

School facilities pose challenges to Mayor Adams’ healthy food agenda for NYC kids
NY Daily News, 12/20/2022

Looking Ahead
10 signs of progress in gifted education—and reasons for hope in the new year
Fordham Institute, 12/20/2022

Despite some significant bad news—like high-achieving middle schoolers suffering devastating math losses because of the pandemic and heightened opposition to selective high schools—advanced education is headed in the right direction in many places.

How Many Children Need Special Education after Pandemic?
VOA News, 12/20/2022

A Closed Situation
NYC schools shift COVID response: No more ‘Situation Room’ or family letters about positive cases
Chalkbeat, 12/20/2022

New York City’s education department will “permanently close” the command center that collects reports of positive COVID cases among students and school staff, according to an email sent to principals on Tuesday. 

Along with the Dec. 23 closure of the “Situation Room,” families will no longer receive the automatically generated email notifications about cases in their school communities, and schools will no longer have to send letters about positive cases, said the note in the weekly digest to principals.

NYC high school student sexually assaulted freshman girl, secretly filmed attack
NY Post, 12/19/2022

Harvard names Claudine Gay 30th president
Harvard Gazette, 12/15/2022