Education News Roundup Issue #102

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Top Stories

Curriculum Change
NYC to mandate reading curriculum for elementary schools and high school algebra, sources say
Chalkbeat, 3/29/2023

New York City education officials plan to take a stronger hand in what curriculums educators can use in their classrooms, a move that could represent a major shift in how the nation’s largest school system approaches teaching and learning, Chalkbeat has learned.

The education department recently began laying the groundwork for superintendents to choose from three reading programs to use across their districts. It is also launching a standardized algebra program in many high schools. The plans have not been announced publicly, but were confirmed by four education department employees familiar with the city’s literacy efforts and multiple school leaders.

Principals historically have enjoyed enormous leeway to select curriculums. Proponents argue this allows schools to stay nimble and select materials appropriate to their specific student populations. But some experts, and even the city’s own schools chancellors, have argued that the approach can lead to a tangle of instructional practices that can vary widely in quality from classroom to classroom. 

Tutoring Left Behind
Hochul’s Proposal for Small-Group Tutoring Blocked by NY State Legislature
The 74 Million, 3/29/2023 

Funding for high-dosage tutoring, a strategy researchers say could be the most effective way to help students re-gain missed learning, appears likely to be left out of New York state’s 2024 budget.

In a response to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed $227 billion spending plan, lawmakers formally rejected a clause that would have devoted $250 million for school districts’ tutoring efforts. Though negotiations are ongoing over the finalized budget, which is due April 1, neither chamber endorsed the tutoring measure, indicating its chances of success may be slim.

State Test Predictions
What to know about the upcoming state tests for grades 3-8
Chalkbeat, 3/23/2023

It’s testing season in New York once again. 

Schools across the state will administer standardized reading and math exams for grades 3-8 in April and May, as well as science exams for eighth graders in June. 

With the intense attention on the pandemic’s effect on students, some schools might be ramping up their focus on the state tests. Some districts have signed up their schools for computer-based programs for math and reading, according to Nathaniel Styer, a spokesperson for the city education department. It’s part of a learning “acceleration” initiative launched earlier this year by the education department, Gothamist reported. 

There might be more attention on this year’s state tests, following the spotlight on last year’s dip in national test scores, which also showed drops in fourth grade math scores in New York City.

Election News

Watchdog warns of ‘waste and corruption’ for $15B in Albany Democrats’ spending
NY Post, 3/31/2021

Activists went full throttle in the Capitol’s War Room this week
City & State, 3/31/2021

Dems revive redistricting case as battle for Congress begins in NY
Times Union, 3/30/2023

NYC Republicans eye new ‘Asian opportunity’ Council district
NY Post, 3/25/2021

Michael Bloomberg Has Found a New $5 Million Cause: Helping Hochul
NY Times, 3/21/2021

Other Headlines

Americans Are Losing Faith in College Education, WSJ-NORC Poll Finds
Wall Street Journal, 3/31/2023

Chess class makes meaningful moves
NY Post, 3/30/2023

Behind a Surge in Teenage Killings: Grief, Anger and Online Grudges
NY Times, 3/30/2023

Testing Matters
Pols, teachers unions aim to scrap tests to hide huge learning loss
NY Post, op-ed by Chien Kwok & Maud Maron, 3/30/2023

Parents were right all along — kids need to be in school to learn.

The learning loss resulting from the longest public-school closures imposed on blue-state kids in urban districts where teachers unions hold the most sway is devastating and will have generational consequences. 

Now the educators and politicians who supported prolonged school closures are trying to hide the evidence of their unconscionable decisions.

World Health Organization says healthy children and teens probably don’t need a Covid vaccine
Daily Mail, 3/29/2023

Annual cost of Ivy League school nears $85K
NY Post, 3/29/2023

Rethinking School Discipline 
Lawmakers across U.S. push for harsher school discipline as safety fears rise
Chalkbeat, 3/28/2023

Lawmakers across the country are moving to make it easier to kick disruptive students out of school, a get-tough turn toward stricter discipline that reflects mounting fears about school violence and disorder.

The proposed state laws follow a pandemic-era surge in school gun violence and student misbehavior that some parents and politicians have blamed partly on lenient discipline policies. Proponents, including lawmakers from both parties and some teachers, say the new measures are needed to restore safety and order in schools. 

House COVID committee demands info on input Biden allies gave CDC on school closure guidelines
NY Post, 3/28/2023

Randi Weingarten’s Unserious Lecture
American Enterprise Institute, 3/28/2023

UFT, Democrat lawmakers move to deny space for charter school kids
NY Post, 3/28/2023

Spiking Teen Violence
NYPD grappling with skyrocketing teen violence despite plan to stop shootings near schools
NY Post, 3/27/2023

The NYPD implemented a plan at the start of the year to try to stem the Big Apple’s soaring number of teen shootings, but nearly three months later, the bloodshed continues —  including near city schools.

…Experts and advocates suggested more needs to be done, including increasing the number of school safety officers or resurrecting more aggressive plain-clothes anti-crime units that sought to get guns off the streets.

NYC teachers union’s workshop on ‘harmful effects of whiteness’ canceled after influx of ‘hate’
NY Post, 3/28/2023

SUNY Tuition Hikes
Tuition hikes at some SUNY campuses could reach 9% under Gov. Hochul proposal
NY Daily News, 3/27/2023

Tuition hikes at several of the most competitive State University of New York campuses could grow by 9% each year, thanks to a loophole in Gov. Kathy Hochul’s plan to fund public higher education.

Language in the executive budget bills authorizes raising in-state tuition by an “additional” 6% at four campuses starting this fall, on top of the widely reported 3% bumps students could face under the proposal.

2 + 2 = White Supremacy: How Woke Ideologues Corrupted Canada’s Math Curriculum
National Review, 3/27/2023

What Families Want
My Humbling Education in What Families Really Want from their Kids’ Schools
The 74 Million, op-ed by Alina Adams, 3/27/2023

…School diversity is repeatedly identified by self-proclaimed experts as the cause of all NYC school ills. It is invoked as the most important issue when it comes to choosing schools. So, after these parents finished explaining what they were looking for in a school, I would bring up school diversity and ask how important it was to them, to make sure I didn’t overlook anything.

Every single parent replied that while it would be nice for their child to not be “the only” one at their school, that wasn’t nearly as important as everything they’d already listed. When I asked a Spanish-speaking mother if she’d be interested in a dual-language program for her son, she looked at me as if I were a complete idiot and pointed out, “He already speaks Spanish. I want him to learn English.”

Build Your Own Rankings
NY Times, 3/27/2023

COVID’s education crisis: A lost generation?
CBS News, 3/26/2023

NYC shelter that won’t vet vagrants for crime history has view of schoolyard
NY Post, 3/25/2023

House Passes ‘Parents Rights’
House Republicans pass broad education measure on ‘parents rights’
Politico, 3/24/2023

House Republicans approved sweeping “Parents Bill of Rights” legislation on a 213-208 vote Friday morning, amid five GOP defections.

The legislation — H.R. 5 (118) — is the cornerstone of the GOP’s education agenda and mirrors several policies that have been introduced or adopted in states across the country. It outlines what parents have the right to in their children’s education, including access to teacher-parent meetings, school budget materials, curriculum and books, and the opportunity to testify before a school board.

Can parental rights launch Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin to the White House? It’s complicated
USA Today, 3/24/2023

The Income Gap Is Becoming a Physical-Activity Divide
NY Times, 3/24/2023

She was accepted by 54 colleges and got $1.3 million in scholarship offers
Washington Post, 3/24/2023

A New Proof
New Orleans Teens Say They Have Found a New Proof for Pythagorean Theorem
The Daily Beast, 3/24/2023

Two high-school students from New Orleans say they have done what math experts claimed was impossible: created a new proof for the 2,000-year-old Pythagorean theorem that is based on trigonometry. Teenagers Calcea Johnson and Ne’Kiya Jackson presented their findings at a regional meeting of the American Mathematical Society and have been encouraged to submit to a peer-reviewed journal, WWL-TV reported.

Conservatives’ Blunder: Making Enemies of Public School Teachers
American Enterprise Institute, 3/24/2023

Stanford’s War Against Its Own Students
The Free Press, 3/23/2023

Watchdog calls on NYC schools to ban teachers from talking to students on social media, personal cellphones
Gothamist, 3/23/2023

Behind the CA Math Wars
Meet the Stanford Professor at the Center of the Knock-Down, Drag-Out Math Wars
Chronicle of Higher Ed, 3/22/2023

Last April, Jelani Nelson woke up to a jarring email from Jo Boaler, a Stanford University professor and the nation’s most prominent expert on math education. The two had never met. “As you know,” she began, “I am one of the authors of the proposed mathematics framework and I know you are working to oppose it.”

That “framework” is a policy document that will shape how math is taught in California and beyond, and Nelson, a computer-science professor at the University of California at Berkeley, had major problems with it — and with Boaler, too. He’d seen a series of tweets critical of her, and reposted one of them with his own scathing commentary. Now, Boaler was confronting him.

“I wanted to let you know,” she wrote, “that the sharing of private details about me on social media yesterday is now being taken up by police and lawyers.”

Utah Law Could Curb Use of TikTok and Instagram by Children and Teen
NY Times, 3/23/2023

What if the Next Big School Trend is 2,500 Years Old?
The 74 Million, 3/22/2023

Algebra Fight
Math Wars return to S.F. school district amid lawsuit and new Stanford study on algebra
SF Chronicle, 3/21/2023

A group of San Francisco parents has sued the city’s public school district, demanding officials put Algebra I back into middle schools for those ready to take it and stop forcing students to retake the course in ninth grade if they have already passed it in a private school or through other providers prior to entering high school.

Currently, the district does not offer Algebra I in middle schools and requires all students to take the class in ninth grade. The only exception is for students who take Algebra I before high school, often at their own cost, and pass a “math validation test” to demonstrate proficiency, which relatively few students pass.

Los Angeles School Workers Go on Strike, Alleging Unfair Labor Practices
Wall Street Journal, 3/21/2023

A Ranking Revolt
The Unraveling of the U.S. News College Rankings
Wall Street Journal, 3/21/2023

Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken floated the idea past a small circle of colleagues. She had a sleepless night and queasy morning. And then, on Nov. 16, she started the revolt.

Like many university administrators, Ms. Gerken had tried for years to get U.S. News & World Report to rethink its law-school rankings. The problem for Ms. Gerken wasn’t Yale Law’s score—it had been No. 1 for more than 30 years straight. She worried about the broader effect on schools and their priorities.

“The U.S. News rankings are profoundly flawed,” Ms. Gerken said in a letter that day. And with that, Yale Law pulled out. 

Supreme Court rules for deaf student who sued Michigan school district
NBC News, 3/21/2023

Lottery & Crime Correlation?
Criminal behavior rises among those left behind by school lotteries
Hechinger Report, 3/20/2023

Many major cities around the country, from New York and New Orleans to Denver and Los Angeles, have changed how children are assigned to public schools over the past 20 years and now allow families to send their children to a school outside of their neighborhood zone…Many supporters hoped it could also be a way to desegregate schools even as residential neighborhoods remain racially divided.

…However, a new study of public school choice in Charlotte, North Carolina, finds a deeply troubling consequence to this well-intended policy: increased crime. 

NYC high school students can now visit museums for free
TimeOut, 3/20/2023