Education News Roundup Issue #94

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Top Story

Confusing G&T
Leaked NYC schools video shows implicit bias a key concern as gifted and talented program expands
Gothamist, 1/14/2023

A leaked training video for New York City public school teachers highlights the city’s concern about implicit bias affecting the selection of gifted and talented students who are as young as 4.

The new training video was widely distributed among teachers and staff and comes ahead of the Jan. 20 deadline for parents to apply to the program, which has been dogged by years of criticism that it is a tool of segregation in city schools. The training video reflects new guidance from the Adams administration, which announced reforms of the gifted and talented program in April.

…a parent of a former gifted and talented student and a critic of Adams’ admissions changes, said the training video…underscores how subjective and confusing the metrics for evaluating students has become.

“What child isn’t curious?” she said. “You’re not actually defining what it is to be a gifted child. To me it seems that they’re not serious about the program.”

Other Top Headlines

Confusing G&T
NYC secretly demands teachers consider woke agenda when selecting students for Gifted and Talented program
Fox News, 1/14/2023

New York City’s Department of Education is revamping its Gifted and Talented program for kindergartners with a woke equity agenda, Fox News Digital found. 

DECE, or the Department of Early Childhood Education, posted a private training on what teachers should look for when selecting children for accelerated learning. The unlisted video has since been taken down.

According to the webpage on the program, “Students will be considered for eligibility based on behaviors that may indicate readiness for accelerated learning.”

…One of the ways students can demonstrate eligibility to teachers is if they “Refus[e] to do something when the purpose behind the task is not explained.” The criterion was under the “social perceptiveness and self-direction” section.

CEC Elections Kicks Off
NYC Community Education Council 2023 election season kicks off
Chalkbeat, 1/9/2023

Election season has begun for New York City’s Community Education Councils, the advisory bodies that represent the best chance for most public school parents to get directly involved in district and citywide education policy.

Each of the city’s 32 geographic districts has a 10-member elected parent council responsible for holding monthly public meetings, approving education department rezoning plans, passing resolutions, and working with district superintendents. There are also citywide councils representing high school students, multilingual learners, special education students, and kids with significant disabilities in specialized District 75 programs. 

This year’s election will be the second since a major rule change that opened the voting to all city parents, instead of just a handful of parent leaders from each school. 

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.

  • February 9th, Thursday, at 7pm

Registration Link

Other Headlines

Participate in the WSJ / College Pulse Rankings
Wall Street Journal, 1/17/2023

New York’s PE teacher of the year has a big YouTube following for kid fitness videos
Chalkbeat, 1/17/2023

Another Missed Opportunity
NYC Could Find Out if ‘Gifted & Talented’ Is Good for All Kids. But Will It?
The 74 Million, 1/16/2023

New York City has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve education not just for its own public school students, but for students across America, by using newly available data. Will the Department of Education take advantage of the moment or allow it to fall by the wayside?

For decades, the city has administered an IQ test to 4-year-olds applying to kindergarten. Traditionally, over 5,000 students would qualify for placement in gifted-and-talented programs, but with only about 2,500 seats available, placement would be determined by a combination of test score, residency and lottery.

The district kept no data comparing the ultimate academic results of high-performing students who earned a place in a G&T program versus those who qualified but weren’t lucky enough to receive a seat. So no data was available as to whether G&T education actually provided a value-add to a student’s overall achievement. 

Ph.D. Students of the World, Unite
Wall Street Journal Editorial, 1/16/2023

Biden’s Student Loan Write-Off, Part II
Wall Street Journal Editorial, 1/16/2023

AI ChatBots Disrupt
Alarmed by A.I. Chatbots, Universities Start Revamping How They Teach
NY Times, 1/16/2023

While grading essays for his world religions course last month, Antony Aumann, a professor of philosophy at Northern Michigan University, read what he said was easily “the best paper in the class.” It explored the morality of burqa bans with clean paragraphs, fitting examples and rigorous arguments.

A red flag instantly went up.

Mr. Aumann confronted his student over whether he had written the essay himself. The student confessed to using ChatGPT, a chatbot that delivers information, explains concepts and generates ideas in simple sentences — and, in this case, had written the paper.

Bronx high school principal Brett Schneider gets physical with student
NY Post, 1/14/2023

Idled NYC educators do nothing but sign in remotely, even from Europe
NY Post, 1/14/2023

Admin Fumbles
Brooklyn Tech officials fumble probe of shocking student-on-student abuse: lawsuit
NY Post, 1/14/2023

Prestigious Brooklyn Tech High School bungled a probe of shocking student-on-student sex abuse — erasing evidence of “child pornography” and even accusing the victim of orchestrating a harassment campaign against the perpetrator, she claims in a lawsuit.

The victim, identified in court papers as Jane Doe, claims school administrators substantiated her allegations against the older classmate, with one calling it the “worst case” of such misconduct they’d ever seen.

Budget Slashes 3-K for New York City Children
NY Times, 1/13/2023

D28 Diversity Plan Fizzles Out
NYC Chancellor David Banks talks about diversity and integration on ‘School Colors’ podcast
Chalkbeat, 1/13/2023

The city’s hopes to create a diversity plan for District 28 middle schools fizzled during the pandemic, when the public health crisis took center stage. But the process faced an uphill battle regardless, as the podcast showed, with some of the deeply embedded hurdles in a district separated by a “Mason-Dixon Line,” with Forest Hills on one end and Jamaica at the other. 

Banks said he supported districts that wanted to create integration plans, but citywide he preferred to develop “excellent schools” in neighborhoods where kids already live. 

And for now, after one year in office, he has other priorities.

BP to Mayor and PEP: Say no to Success in SE Queens
Queens Chronicle, 1/12/2023

New Year, New Schools Budget Proposal
NYC Mayor Adams reverses course on $80 million schools cut in preliminary budget
Chalkbeat, 1/12/2023

After a bruising battle last year over school budget cuts, Mayor Eric Adams reversed course Thursday on a plan to slash an additional $80 million next year from the coffers of schools that lost students during the pandemic.

In his preliminary budget, Adams announced plans to delay the previously scheduled cut, giving a temporary reprieve to schools who lost students during the pandemic and are still struggling with the effects of last year’s cuts. Some families, educators and advocates, however, argue that Adams should have gone even further by restoring the cuts he made last year.

…In addition to the delayed cut, Adams announced a $47.5 million investment to help secure school buildings by ensuring that all the doors lock, and front doors are equipped with cameras and buzzer systems, a major priority of schools Chancellor David Banks.

NYC schools still require visitors to be vaccinated. Could that soon change?
Chalkbeat, 1/12/2023

Hamstrung On Behavior
New Data: Post-COVID, School Leaders Frustrated in Efforts to Curb Misbehavior
The 74 Million, 1/12/2023

U.S. school leaders feel increasingly hampered in their ability to curb student misbehavior, according to federal data made public Thursday. Inadequate training in classroom management, pushback from parents, and fear of student retaliation were all cited as greater obstacles than they were before the pandemic. 

The revelations came from the latest release of the School Pulse Panel, an ongoing data collection effort led by the National Center for Education Statistics. And while the results don’t include data on the number or rate of behavioral problems observed by school staff, they illustrate the methods that educators are embracing to address those problems and their sense of their own effectiveness.

This Prestigious Harvard Fellowship Bans White Applicants
Washington Free Beacon, 1/11/2023

Mayor’s Proposed Cuts to Libraries Will Hurt New Yorkers, Leaders Say
NY Times, 1/11/2023

Charter Walkback
Kathy Hochul blasted for omitting charter schools in speech
NY Post, 1/11/2023

Gov. Kathy Hochul failed to give one mention of charter schools during her State of the State speech — prompting parents of kids in the privately managed public schools of throwing them “under the bus.”

Charter schools also didn’t get a mention in her 276-page policy booklet she put out Tuesday –despite pledging during the campaign that she supports lifting the state-imposed cap that is blocking more charter schools from opening in New York City.

Hochul still has time to address the charter school cap in her executive budget plan to be released later this month — but school choice advocates said the governor’s refusal to address the issue in her policy address is not a good sign she will fight for the change.

USC will no longer use the word ‘field’ over racist origin
NY Post, 1/11/2023

Students Are Viewing Porn at School. How Educators Can Stop Them
EdWeek, 1/10/2023