Education News Roundup Issue #98

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Top Story

Famed Out
Principal at renowned LaGuardia HS stepping down after controversial tenure
NY Post, 2/14/2023

The principal of Manhattan’s renowned LaGuardia High School is stepping down next month following a controversial tenure, The Post has learned.

Principal Yeou-Jey Vasconcelos announced the move in an email to parents on Monday where she said she’s leaving the school, and the city Department of Education, on March 3 for a new job.

“I will soon find myself with a new role,” she wrote in the email obtained by The Post.

Other Top Headlines

NYC Deputy Schools Chancellor Desmond Blackburn calls it quits after one year
NY Daily News, 2/11/2023

New York City’s top education official in charge of the school system’s leadership is calling it quits after a year.

Deputy Chancellor Desmond Blackburn — whose position was created for him by Schools Chancellor David Banks — will step down next month to head an education nonprofit that provides curriculum and resources on racism and anti-Semitism.

Class Size Task Force
Anticipating challenges to NYC class size law, Banks will launch ‘working group’
Chalkbeat, 2/8/2023

Chancellor David Banks plans to launch a “working group” of parents, school leaders, and others to share their opinions and concerns about a new state law that sets stricter limits on class size in New York City public schools.

Banks revealed the plan Wednesday while testifying during a state budget hearing focused on education. He outlined the potential financial costs facing the system in meeting the law’s requirements — an additional $1 billion — and suggested there are many New Yorkers whose concerns “were not heard on this as this law was developed” last year.

“But they’re going to hear from me, and they will absolutely be at the table alongside me as we figure out the best way to implement this,” Banks said. 

The working group would have “parents, school leaders, and other interested parties,” Banks said. 

Election News

CEC Application Deadline Extended
What a Community Education Council Does and How to Join One
The City, 2/10/2023

If you’re looking to get involved in decisions in your school district, now’s a good time: Positions on the city public schools’ Community Education Councils are up for grabs…Parents, local residents and business owners and even high school seniors are eligible to join.

CECs can weigh in on nearly every facet of a student’s education: academics, budgets, transportation, safety, accessibility, diversity and inclusion, special education needs and more. 

The current councils’ term started in June 2021 and will wrap up by June this year. Applications for the next cohort are open until February 23 to fill vacant positions before the start of the next term in July. (The education department extended the previous deadline, Feb. 13, by ten days.)

Other Headlines

Parents Send Clear Message to Mayor Adams at Youth and School Safety Summit to Protect Their Children
Little Africa News, 2/14/2023

The College Board’s Rocky Path, Through Florida, to the A.P. Black Studies Course 
NY Times, 2/13/2023

How Teens Recovered From the ‘TikTok Tics’
NY Times, 2/13/2023

Sad Teens
Teen Girls Experiencing Record Levels of Sadness and Suicide Risk, CDC Says
Wall Street Journal, 2/13/2023

Nearly three out of five high-school girls in the U.S. who were surveyed reported feelings of persistent sadness or hopelessness in 2021, a roughly 60% increase over the past decade, new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. 

Though both high-school girls and boys reported experiencing mental-health challenges, girls reported record high levels of sexual violence, sadness and suicide risk, the CDC said. In 2021, 57% of high-school girls reported experiencing persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in the past year, compared with 36% in 2011. Thirty percent reported they seriously considered attempting suicide in 2021, up from 19% in 2011. 

Why 65 Percent of Fourth Graders Can’t Really Read
The Free Press, 2/11/2023

CUNY imposes a hiring freeze and orders budget cuts as enrollment dips
NY Post, 2/11/2023
NYC boy, 14, charged with attempted murder in shooting of child
NY Post, 2/10/2023 

More Safety Agents in Schools
NYPD putting more cops into NYC schools as nearby violence surges
NY Post, 2/9/2023 

The NYPD is beefing up its presence at city schools in the wake of a recent string of shootings and other acts of violence near campuses, The Post has learned.

Chief of Department Jeff Maddrey ordered all precinct commanders Thursday to increase their youth coordination officer (YCO) units to six officers with a sergeant assigned to supervise each unit, according to a memo obtained by The Post.

Searching for Struggling Readers, One School at a Time: Two new specialized dyslexia programs will open at Brooklyn public schools as New York focuses more on children with the learning disability.
NY Times, 2/9/2023

If You Build It, Will They Come?
NYC schools want to boost enrollment. It might prove a major challenge.
Chalkbeat, 2/9/2023

New York City schools Chancellor David Banks wants to win students back. 

The nation’s largest school district has hemorrhaged students since the start of the pandemic, with enrollment down about 11% to 813,000 students in grades K-12 since then. 

Earlier this week, Banks even tweeted: “Increasing enrollment and boosting opportunity for all of our students is our North Star.”

But such an effort might not be so simple, according to a new analysis by The Associated Press, Stanford University’s Big Local News project, and Stanford education professor Thomas Dee. 

CCHS Town Hall Recap
DOE pressed on funding and safety: CCHS, chancellor hold town hall
Queens Chronicle, 2/9/2023

An hour-long town hall with Schools Chancellor David Banks went by too quickly for many and was filled with tensions over school safety, special education and funding.

…Deputy Chancellor of Teaching and Learning Carolyn Quintana said an announcement on accelerated learning academies would come soon. One is expected for Southeast Queens.

“I know that we had promised to stand up at least three accelerated learning academies by 2024,” Quintana said. “We’ll continue to work on that and stay tuned, because very, very soon, as in really, really soon, we’ll be making announcements about that.”

新高中落腳貝瑞吉? 華裔學委:爭取設8大道
World Journal, 2/9/2023

I Thought I Was Saving Trans Kids. Now I’m Blowing the Whistle.
The Free Press, 2/9/2023

Missing Kids
Thousands of kids are missing from school. Where did they go?
AP News, 2/9/2023

Instead, Kailani Taylor-Cribb hasn’t taken a single class in what used to be her high school since the height of the coronavirus pandemic. She vanished from Cambridge, Massachusetts’ public school roll in 2021 and has been, from an administrative standpoint, unaccounted for since then.

She is among hundreds of thousands of students around the country who disappeared from public schools during the pandemic and didn’t resume their studies elsewhere.

An analysis by The Associated Press, Stanford University’s Big Local News project and Stanford education professor Thomas Dee found an estimated 240,000 students in 21 states whose absences could not be accounted for. These students didn’t move out of state, and they didn’t sign up for private school or home-school, according to publicly available data.

In short, they’re missing.

WATCH: Joint Legislative Public Hearing on 2023 Executive Budget Proposal: Topic Elementary & Secondary Education
NY Senate, 2/8/2023

Queens student has Mayor Eric Adams’ personal number, calls him from school protest
NY Post, 2/8/2023 

Sounding Off
Queens mom: NYC schools ignore parents unless they parrot the teacher union
NY Post, op-ed by Anonymous mom, 2/8/2023 

Last week, I received multiple robo-texts from the New York City Department of Education encouraging me, a public-school parent, to “run for a seat on an Education Council.”

…Unfortunately, the abuse isn’t just from the DOE. The United Federation of Teachers, led by Michael Mulgrew, has tried to stock Education Councils with activists who parrot verbatim talking points that prioritize union interests over those of students. They champion “equity” but dodge accountability. Obvious questions such as “How does this improve academic outcomes?” are never answered….What activists like this misunderstand is that most families depend on our schools to actually educate our children. We are not “comrades” going to battle for control over the DOE.

Parents of NYC: Stand up against the UFT’s stealth bid to control your Community Education Council
NY Post Editorial, 2/8/2023

Some New York City high schoolers reportedly don’t like ChatGPT-created lessons, calling them ‘biased’ and ‘very bland’
Business Insider, 2/7/2023

Black Students Need Better Schools, Not Lower Standards
Wall Street Journal, op-ed by Jason Riley, 2/7/2023

Let It Go
Hundreds of NYC elementary schools used a Teachers College reading curriculum Banks said ‘has not worked’
Chalkbeat, 2/6/2023

Shortly after taking office, schools Chancellor David Banks took aim at one of the most popular reading programs in New York City public schools, one that had been long embraced by his predecessors. The curriculum, created by Lucy Calkins at Columbia’s Teachers College, “has not worked,” he declared. “There’s a very different approach that we’re going to be looking to take.”

Banks, along with Mayor Eric Adams, has vowed to reshape the way elementary schools teach children to read. Backed by a growing chorus of literacy experts, city officials argue the Teachers College approach hinges too heavily on independent reading without enough explicit instruction on the relationship between sounds and letters, known as phonics, leaving many students floundering. 

Data obtained by THE CITY and Chalkbeat reveal for the first time how deeply enmeshed the curriculum has become in classrooms serving the city’s youngest students — and how difficult it could be to unwind.

NYC middle school dean stabbed while defending 13-year-old student
NY Post, 2/6/2023

Socrates Never Wrote a Term Paper
Wall Street Journal, op-ed by Jeremy Tate, 2/5/2023

In Defense of Standardized Testing
The Dartmouth, 1/31/2023