Education News Roundup Issue #101

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Top Stories

Lower Standards
NYS lowers minimum scores for student proficiency in math, English
Times Union, 3/16/2023

New York will change what it takes for students to reach “proficiency” on state math and English language arts tests, calling last year’s lower scores the “new normal.”

A scoring committee that reports to the Board of Regents said Monday that they must take into account the results of last year’s tests for students in grades three through eight to determine whether schools are showing improvement from year to year. On Thursday, the committee clarified to the Times Union they must also reset scores because the tests will have new performance standards.

Last year some schools posted shocking results — in Schenectady, no eighth grader who took the math test scored as proficient. And the scores for the third through eighth grade tests throughout the state were much lower in 2022 than in 2019, a result no doubt of the absence of in-person learning during the first year and beyond of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Double Drop
“Nation’s Report Card” Underscores New York’s Need for Academic Recovery
NYS Comptroller’s March Report, 3/15/2023

The COVID-19 pandemic hit New York earlier than most states and forced New York’s schools to take on the extraordinary challenge of quickly shifting to remote learning formats. Recent national data show student performance dropped significantly in 2022 from 2019, with New York experiencing even greater declines than the nation in fourth grade math and reading. New York’s largest drops were in fourth grade math, with declines in average test scores that were double any other drops in the past 20 years. The results underscore the need for school districts to swiftly invest significant resources in helping students that are most in need to make up for learning loss, while pandemic relief funds for education are still available.

Data Deep Dive
NY State test scores worse than they seem, analysis finds
NY Post, 3/11/2023 

Kids in New York schools could be doing even worse on state exams than we thought – because educrats are cloaking failure with misleading stats.

An analysis by The Post of the 2022 statewide test results in English and math found that the state fudged its overall results by ignoring the nearly 20% of kids who went untested — most because they refused to take the exams altogether.

So while the state Education Department claimed in October that New York state students in grades 3-8 achieved a 47% proficiency rate in English Language Arts in 2022, only 38% of kids actually demonstrated proficiency on the standardized tests.
Advocacy Corner

Take Our Survey
PLACE NYC 2023 Parent Survey
PLACE NYC, 3/20/2023

We want to hear from parents on your school experience and quality – please take our survey here. (Chinese version is here)

HS Lottery Results
Results from the 2023 NYC School Admission Lottery Surveys
Amelie Marian, 3/19/2023

Read about the results from the 2023-24 HS Admission Offers Survey.

Take Action on State Tests
Tell NY Board of Regents to not lower the education standards
Families for NYC

Election News

Governor and legislators split over whether to raise taxes, and if so, who should pay them
NY1, 3/20/2021

City Council Member Christopher Marte Fails a Big Leadership Test
Gotham Gazette, 3/18/2023

UFT-hired political adviser paid $150K by NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams’ budget staff, exposing conflict
NY Post, 3/14/2023

Juan Ardila accused of sexual assault
Queens Chronicle, 3/13/2023

New ‘Moderate Party’ line in the works in scheme to aid NY Democrats
NY Post, 3/12/2023

Other Headlines

Summer Camps Shut Out of Parks Dept. Pools: We’re Drowning in New Costs
The City, 3/20/2023

Special education clash: How one student’s Supreme Court case could make schools more accountable
USA Today, 3/18/2023

For more than a decade, Miguel Perez appeared to be a model student – bringing home As and Bs on his report cards, regularly making honor roll and closely relying on the aide his school assigned to him because he is deaf.

And so his parents were stunned when, months before graduation, they learned their son would receive a “certificate of completion” rather than a diploma. The aide assigned by his small Michigan school district, it turned out, didn’t know sign language. After 12 years in school, with no other disability, Perez was reading at a 3rd-grade level.

In National Merit scandal, FCPS agreed to pay outside lawyers hefty fee: $2,225 per hour
Fairfax County Times, 3/17/2023

Two teenagers stabbed near Queens high school
NY Post, 3/17/2023

Always a Classic
The Joys and Rigors of a Classical Education
City Journal, op-ed by Danyela Souza-Egorov, 3/17/2023

“I believe the author added the last two lines in Latin to add irony to the poem.”

“The lines were added to challenge the idea of dying for your country.”

…These were some of the observations that eighth-grade students made during a course on “Propaganda vs. the Realities of War” at Hellenic Classical Charter School in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood on a cold Thursday morning in February. Divided into small groups, the students discussed Wilfred Owen’s graphic depiction of war in his poem “Dulce et Decorum Est” and how it contrasted with military-recruiting posters from various governments throughout history.

Bring back state tests
Queens Chronicle, op-ed by Kristina Raevsky, 3/16/2023

紐約4年級數學、閱讀 亞裔退步最多 疫情影響嚴重
World News, 3/16/2023

Apprenticeship Appeal
More Students Are Turning Away From College and Toward Apprenticeships
Wall Street Journal, 3/16/2023

Last spring Dina Sosa Cruz sat with her parents and sister in the family’s living room and reviewed her options: a full academic ride to the University of the District of Columbia, or an apprenticeship in the insurance industry. 

The college route meant at the end of four years the 22-year-old would have a degree, a little debt and no work experience. The apprenticeship would leave her with a two-year degree, money in the bank and training in a profession that appealed to her. 

Her family was unanimous: Take the apprenticeship. “You’ll be worry free,” her mother said. 

Chilling video shows moment NYC gunman fatally shoots teen in broad daylight
NY Post, 3/16/2023

We know student effort matters, so let’s start acting like it
Thomas Fordham Institute, 3/16/2023

Rude Awakening
Why did America’s leaders stop caring about schools?
The Economist, 3/16/2023

A political struggle is under way in New York that seems like a throwback to another era: Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, is fighting an uphill battle to permit more so-called charter schools, which use public funds but are run independently and compete for students with conventional public schools.

This is the kind of thing, earlier in this century, that Democrats used to fight about a lot, less with Republicans than among themselves. Under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, debates raged across the country over how to close academic-achievement gaps between poor minority children and rich white ones. That ferment subsided over the past decade as polarisation and the politics of identity and culture changed the priorities of both parties, leaving them ill-equipped to respond to the toll covid-19 took on America’s future, as politicians like to call children.

More Student-Loan Forgiveness
Wall Street Journal Editorial, 3/15/2023

Massive three-day LAUSD teacher and staff strike set for Tuesday, closing all schools
LA Times, 3/15/2023

NYPD out in force a day after cluster of shootings near NYC schools
NY Post, 3/15/2023

Charter Tussle
Hochul’s NYC charter school proposal rejected by Albany lawmakers
Chalkbeat, 3/14/2023

New York’s state legislature formally rejected on Tuesday Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposal to allow more charter schools to open in New York City, an indication of the uphill battle ahead for proponents of expanding the sector. 

In their official responses to Hochul’s January budget proposal, both the state Senate and Assembly called to remove the governor’s charter school proposal to allow New York City to open more than 100 new charter schools.

The rejection does not mean Hochul’s proposal is dead, since lawmakers will now negotiate with the governor’s office over the final budget, which is due April 1. However, the unified disapproval from both houses shows there is little support for her idea. 

At Wellesley College, Students Vote to Admit Trans Men
NY Times, 3/14/2023

Teenage boy shot outside NYC high school, triggering lockdown
NY Post, 3/14/2023 

Safety Staff Drops
NYC school safety staff plummets 25% even as violence, shootings skyrocket
NY Post, 3/14/2023 

The number of New York City school safety agents has plummeted nearly 25% from pre-pandemic levels — all while violence at or near school buildings is exploding, according to a report released Tuesday.

As of last month, there were 3,900 active NYPD school safety agents, nearly 1,200 — or 24% — fewer than in February 2020, just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city’s Independent Budget Office found.

The IBO’s report came as two teenage boys were shot and injured within three hours of each other near their respective high schools in Upper Manhattan on Tuesday.

College admissions was fairer before COVID-19. Princeton should bring back the SAT.
The Daily Princetonian, 3/13/2023

New Bard HS
Bard High School to open South Bronx location with priority for local families – New York Daily News
NY Daily News, 3/13/2023

A third location of the highly selective Bard High School Early College is slated to open this fall in the South Bronx that prioritizes local families — an effort to address a perennial balancing act between rigor and equity in the city’s most exclusive public schools.

…If approved, the majority of seats will be reserved for students in the Bronx, with priority for Districts 7, 9 and 12, according to materials submitted to the panel. One in 10 seats are up for grabs outside the borough.

Teens steal more than $40K in calculators in NYC high school heists: cops
NY Post, 3/13/2023 

Trial finds cheaper, quicker way to tutor young kids in reading
Hechinger Report, 3/13/2023

Lottery Pushback
Parents Challenge Lottery Systems Used to Diversify Elite High Schools
Wall Street Journal, 3/11/2023

When Philadelphia’s school district overhauled the admissions process at its most-elite public high schools to try to improve socioeconomic and racial diversity, the reaction from parents came quickly.

In surveys and at school-board meetings, parents called the shift to a lottery system demeaning, unfair, stressful and the opposite of equitable. Families shared stories of high-achieving children failing to win a seat in any of the district’s selective high schools, or being placed in a school too far away or one misaligned with student interests. 

Some families sued.

How parents’ political views are affecting their kids’ mental health
NY Post, 3/11/2023 

Bronx teacher Mercedes Liriano used school email to solicit hookups, threesomes, investigation reveals
NY Post, 3/11/2023 

Plunging College Enrollment
America’s ‘cataclysmic’ drop in college enrollment
Yahoo News, 3/10/2023

A growing number of American high schoolers are taking a look at college — and taking a pass.

College enrollment for recent high school graduates rose for decades, peaking at 70.1 percent in 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, before fluctuating for a decade — and plummeting 8 percent from 2019 to 2022, The Associated Press reports. “The slide in the college-going rate since 2018 is the steepest on record,” especially for men.

Federal Parents’ Bill of Rights: Dueling Proposals in Congress Set to Escalate Partisan Showdown Over Schools, Pandemic Response
The 74 Million, 3/10/2023