Education News Roundup Issue #103

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Top Stories

SAT out at SUNY
SUNY drops SAT, ACT testing requirement for admission
NY Post, 4/13/2023 

The State University of New York will no longer require students to take either the SAT and ACT tests to apply to its four-year undergraduate colleges as enrollment declines. 

The SUNY board of trustees unanimously scrapped the admission test requirement — for decades a rite of passage for high school students applying to colleges — during a meeting this week.

Like many other higher education institutions, SUNY, which boasts being the largest comprehensive public university system in the US with 64 campuses throughout the state, had temporarily suspended the standardized testing requirements from 2020 through the 2023 academic years, citing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But SUNY Chancellor John King said the use of SAT and ACT test results for admission purposes should be nixed indefinitely.

Regents Fate on the Fast Track
Timeline fast tracked for reconsidering Regents exams and other grad requirements
Chalkbeat, 4/17/2023

The fate of New York’s storied Regents exams — and other changes to high school graduation requirements — may be decided sooner than anticipated, state education officials confirmed Monday. 

After years of discussing how New York’s graduation policies should change, officials launched a special commission last year to present recommendations to the Board of Regents by the spring or summer of 2024. Their findings are now expected in November, Deputy Commissioner Angelique Johnson said at Monday’s monthly Board of Regents meeting. 

…The commission began meeting in fall of 2022 and were told a few months later to fast track their recommendations, but multiple commission members told Chalkbeat they didn’t recall the reasoning behind the change. The commission is expected to meet over three days in July to begin finalizing their recommendations.

High Spending, Less Learning
NYC school spending soars 33% as enrollment, test scores dwindle
NY Post, 4/11/2023

Spending on the New York City school system skyrocketed nearly 33% since 2016 as enrollment plummeted and test scores struggled, according to new data released Tuesday.

The cost per K-12 city Department of Education student totaled more than $37,000 for the fiscal year 2022 — and that figure is only expected to rise, surpassing $41,000 by 2026 if enrollment continues to drop off, the policy briefing by the Citizens Budget Commission found.

…The staggering data comes as the DOE faces a fiscal cliff — 30% of the recent spending increase was fueled by a one-time boost in federal pandemic aid, which is drying up, according to the report.

Advocacy Corner

CEC Elections

Voting for CEC Elections starts on April 21 through May 9. 

Please help support PLACE NYC advocacy by voting for our endorsed candidates. Endorsement will be forthcoming.

In order to vote, parents must have a NYC Schools Account (formerly “MySchools”). You can access your account here. If you do not have an account, please contact your school’s Parent Coordinator for instructions on how to sign up.

Learn more about the candidates here.
Candidate forums can be viewed here.

PLACE NYC Middle School Honors Petition

Please sign PLACE NYC’s petitionto Demand That ALL NYC Middle Schools Offer Honors Classes

Election News

Republican Michael Ragusa pulls out of NYC Council race after forged signature accusation
NY Post, 4/15/2021

New York State Budget Talks in Limbo Over Bail Law Proposal
Bloomberg, 4/13/2023

Tom Suozzi considers run for NY 3rd District
CNBC, 4/13/2021

Surprise, I bet you thought you’d seen the last of redistricting
City & State, 4/11/2023

Accuser participates in sex crime probe of NYC Assemblyman Juan Ardila
NY Post, 3/30/2023

Other Headlines

Reading Revolt
‘Kids Can’t Read’: The Revolt That Is Taking On the Education Establishment
NY Times, 4/16/2023

In suburban Houston, parents rose up against a top-rated school district, demanding an entirely new reading curriculum.

…And Ohio may become the latest state to overhaul reading instruction, under a plan by Gov. Mike DeWine.

“The evidence is clear,” Mr. DeWine said. “The verdict is in.”

A revolt over how children are taught to read, steadily building for years, is now sweeping school board meetings and statehouses around the country.

NYC DOE hit with record number of complaints about misbehaving teachers in 2022
NY Post, 4/15/2023

The College Data You Probably Can’t Find, but Definitely Need
NY Times, 4/15/2023

Montana lawmakers vote to completely ban TikTok in the state
CNN, 4/14/2023

Summer Rising Opens Soon
Summer Rising applications open Monday. Here’s everything you need to know.
Chalkbeat, 4/14/2023

Applications open Monday for New York City’s free, sprawling summer program for children in kindergarten through eighth grade.

…But a couple things will be different from last year, including the application process. Spots won’t be assigned on a first come, first served basis this year; instead, parents will rank multiple choices. In another change, students who already attend a school associated with a Summer Rising site will be added to the list of groups receiving priority in selection for that site. 

Mom, dad of 9-year-old high school grad share their top parenting rule
CNBC, 4/14/2023

Success to open up in Queens Village
Queens Chronicle, 4/13/2023

SUNY Albany accused of racial discrimination for black-only intern program
NY Post, 4/13/2023

Stanford Effect
Should College Come With Trigger Warnings? At Cornell, It’s a ‘Hard No.’
NY Times, 4/12/2023

Last month, a Cornell University sophomore, Claire Ting, was studying with friends when one of them became visibly upset and was unable to continue her work.

For a Korean American literature class, the woman was reading “The Surrendered,” a novel by Chang-rae Lee about a Korean girl orphaned by the Korean War that includes a graphic rape scene…Ms. Ting, a member of Cornell’s undergraduate student assembly, believed her friend deserved a heads-up about the upsetting material. That day, she drafted a resolution urging instructors to provide warnings on the syllabus about “traumatic content” that might be discussed in class, including sexual assault, self-harm and transphobic violence.

The resolution was unanimously approved by the assembly late last month. Less than a week after it was submitted to the administration for approval, Martha E. Pollack, the university president, vetoed it.

Florida professor leaves $190,000-a-year job following claim he faked data on racism studies
NY Post, 4/12/2023

As NYC is expected to spend $38K per student, budget watchdog calls for prioritizing ‘critical services’
Chalkbeat, 4/11/2023

Yale Law Still No. 1 on U.S. News & World Report’s Rankings Despite Leading Revolt
Wall Street Journal, 4/11/2023

StuySwim Controversy
Muslims are helping turn the tide in school culture wars
NY Post, 4/11/2023

In a slap to Muslim girls, Stuyvesant HS is canceling single-sex swim lessons, even though swim instruction is required to graduate.

That forces the girls to choose between preserving their modesty and getting a diploma.

Count on Muslim families to fight back — and likely prevail.

Shooting deaths among US kids soared 50% during pandemic
NY Post, 4/10/2023

New York City Offers Free Preschool. Why Are 30,000 Spots Empty?
NY Times, 4/10/2023

Stuck in the Moment
The School That Couldn’t Quit Covid, Part I
The Free Press, 4/10/2023

The Elizabeth Ann Clune Montessori School of Ithaca, set amid a pastoral idyll of rolling fields, a pond, and dandelion-stippled meadows, is just a few minutes’ ride from Ithaca College and Cornell University…And since the fall of 2020 through today, those children must be masked during class and on the playground, and have been barred from speaking during lunch.

…“I could tolerate most of the stuff—the teachers in N95s and face shields while standing behind plexiglass barriers, the 12 feet of distance for band members, the ban on singing ‘Happy Birthday’ in class. But I just wanted them to end the outdoor masking,” Stein, who is board-certified in public health and preventive medicine, said. 

…As of today, children at EACMSI are still required to mask indoors and outdoors. They are still prohibited from speaking during lunch. Second-graders who began school there as kindergarteners in fall 2020 have never experienced a normal day of school in their lives.

College Transfer Enrollment Plummeted Another 7% Last Year; Biggest Drops for Low-Income, Female & Asian Students
The 74 Million, 4/10/2023

Rutgers University Faculty Members Strike, Halting Classes and Research
NY Times, 4/10/2023

Challenging the Disabled
Teacher union fights special education loan bill for NYC private schools
NY Post, 4/10/2023

The powerful teachers’ union — currently fighting charter school expansion in Albany — is waging a new war against yeshivas and other private schools that receive millions in public funds to serve students with disabilities, The Post has learned.

The United Federation of Teachers opposes City Council legislation that would offer up to two-year, interest-free loans to independent schools and programs, which must be repaid when delayed tuition reimbursement is delivered by the city Department of Education. 

Dramatic New Evidence That Building Knowledge Can Boost Comprehension And Close Gaps
Forbes, 4/9/2023

The New Normal
New York Schools Are Normalizing Post-Covid Low Expectations
NY Sun, op-ed by Daniela Souza-Egorov, 4/8/2023

As New York schools struggle to recover from damaging Covid shutdowns, the Board of Regents is set to lower standards for what is a “good enough” education in New York. 

After years of learning loss, Empire State educational “experts” appear to have decided the best remedy is to simply wipe the slate clean and accept their own self-inflicted fate. 

As an elected parent leader, I am appalled that the Board of Regents is using gimmicks to hide the learning loss caused by school closures and mask mandates. We need a plan to address the learning loss and hold districts accountable — not an abdication of duty.

NYC officials pause school device tracking project
Chalkbeat, 4/7/2023

The Lockout
NYC elementary schools to lock front doors starting next month
Gothamist, 4/7/2023

New York City public schools will be locking their front doors under a new security initiative that will begin rolling out in May, in response to school shootings around the country.

Schools Chancellor David Banks said the rollout would begin with elementary schools in May and continue across the school system over the next several months. Doors will also be outfitted with camera systems and buzzers looked after by school safety agents under a hotly debated $43 million contract approved by the Panel for Education Policy in February.

Schools could limit transgender students’ sports participation under Biden admin proposa
Chalkbeat, 4/7/2023

Robotics, anyone?
Robotics-Themed NYC High School Fills Roster in Inaugural Year
The 74 Million, 4/5/2023

Like many students at Gotham Tech, a robotics-centered high school that welcomed its inaugural class in September, Veronica Fraczek, 14, felt a pull toward engineering at a young age, spending her childhood building cars from Legos. 

So when the new school opened, Fraczek was eager to sign on, in part because of its connection to Cornell Tech’s campus on Roosevelt Island: That’s where students spend a portion of each Friday designing, building and coding up to 18-inch-tall aluminum-based robots to enter into city-wide competitions. 

Harvard admits record number of Asian American students while Black and Latino admissions drop
NBC, 4/4/2023

The Massive ESSER Experiment: Here’s what we’re learning.
EducationNext, 4/4/2023

A New Low
New York Hits a New Pandemic Low on Student Testing
RealClear Policy, 4/4/2023

New York faced some eye-popping state test scores last year. Less than half of New York students in grades 3 through 8 scored at or above grade level in math and English. Worse yet, no eighth grader in Schenectady passed the math test. These abysmal scores demonstrate that schools and districts across the country still face the daunting task of pandemic academic recovery. …The road to real pandemic recovery contains few shortcuts. Unfortunately, New York state is trying to find one anyway — announcing last month they will lower the proficiency thresholds on most end-of-year assessments.

…In simple terms, that means the state will move their own goal posts on student tests to secure the appearance of progress. Why? The Board of Regents’s Marianna Perie made the logic plain, saying, “We’re at this new normal. So for New York we are saying the new baseline is 2022.”

Educators: Help us investigate the reading and math curriculums NYC plans to mandate
Chalkbeat, 4/3/2023

Debate over ‘Raise the Age’ lingers as juvenile gun cases soar
Times Union, 4/3/2023

AI False Positives
We tested Turnitin’s ChatGPT-detector for teachers. It got some wrong
Washington Post, 4/1/2023

High school senior Lucy Goetz got the highest possible grade on an original essay she wrote about socialism. So imagine her surprise when I told her that a new kind of educational software I’ve been testing claimed she got help from artificial intelligence.

A new AI-writing detector from Turnitin — whose software is already used by 2.1 million teachers to spot plagiarism — flagged the end of her essay as likely being generated by ChatGPT.

“Say what?” says Goetz, who swears she didn’t use the AI writing tool to cheat. “I’m glad I have good relationships with my teachers.”

Rats, roaches, mice, flies found in hundreds of NYC school cafeterias
NY Post, 4/1/2023

UFT tries to block greenlit NYC charter schools
NY Post, 4/1/2023

College issues list of offensive terms: Gift, bunny, America, Christmas tree
NY Post, 3/30/2023