Education News Roundup Issue #108

To get this in your inbox: Subscribe to the Education News Roundup

Top Stories

State’s class size law will cost NYC $2 billion a year: study
NY Post, 7/12/2023

The new “unfunded” state-mandated smaller class size rule is projected to cost New York City nearly $2 billion annually once the change is fully implemented in five years. 

The city’s Independent Budget Office released a new analysis of the controversial smaller class size rule slated to start this September, which Mayor Eric Adams repeatedly said would worsen the city’s predicted financial headache already compounded by its multi-billion dollar migrant crisis over the next several years.

…Opponents of the law have argued the hard numbers: Roughly 120,000 students and families have left city schools over the past five years, according to data provided to The Post in May 2022.

NY Leadership Void
As States Confront a Reading Crisis in Schools, New York Lags Behind
New York Times, 8/2/2023

“…at the state level, New York, once a national leader in education reform, is behind, according to a growing chorus of experts, families and educators. They say leaders are doing little to meet the moment, leaving students like Alejandro to struggle when districts resist change.

New York’s declines in fourth grade reading scores were double the national average last year on a major national test, leaving it tied in 32nd place with five other states. Even so, many local districts have retained teaching approaches that experts criticize for including too little focus on core reading skills, and that allow students to fall through the cracks.

…“What’s missing for me is the leadership from the state,” said Dia Bryant, the executive director of the Education Trust New York, the policy group. “These are people I’m expecting, and I think who the public expects, to be leading the charge on this.”

“But New York is doing nothing,” she added.

Late Scores
New York’s reading and math scores will be late. Here’s what to know
Chalkbeat, 7/18/2023

New York schools are expected to receive state assessment results late this year — a delay that may change how schools decide which students need additional academic support.

Each spring, schools across the state administer standardized exams in reading and math for third through eighth grade students. The results offer one look at how students are faring. For instance, they showed a steep decline in math scores in the city in 2022 as students faced severe pandemic disruptions, even as reading scores rose.

Election Headlines

Left-Leaning Democrats Meet in Secret to Find a Challenger to Eric Adams
NY Times, 8/4/2023

Hochul calls special election to fill Queens Assembly seat for departing Dem
NY Post, 7/24/2023

Eric Adams’ Political Nightmare
Substack, Ross Barkan, 7/13/2023

New York Is Ordered by Appeals Court to Redraw House Map
NY Times, 7/13/2023

Other Headlines

Detrimental Screens for 2e
Screen time during the pandemic and twice-exceptional children: What parents should know
Fordham Institute, 8/4/2023

The use of screens increased substantially during the Covid-19 pandemic. For the twice exceptional population—those identified as gifted with coexistent learning differences like ADHD, dyslexia, Autism, or processing disorders—this “epidemic within the pandemic” resulted in deeper isolation and greater parent frustration. Why was increased screen time detrimental for twice exceptional kids, and what is the best parent approach to dial back screen usage?

Harvard Overhauls College Application in Wake of Affirmative Action Decision
Harvard Crimson, 8/3/2023

Education, NYC officials to name schools apt for migrants
NY1, 8/3/2023

State Education Department officials will meet with New York City leaders next week to review which school districts are best equipped to enroll migrant students seeking asylum in the state.

Gov. Kathy Hochul this week said more than 100,000 people have arrived in New York City from the southern border since last spring. The governor spoke with state Education Commissioner Betty Rosa on Thursday before an event detailing grants for school districts to combat the learning gap caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and mental health crises among New York students.

Make education fairer for all: Specialized high schools must open up
NY Daily News, op-ed by Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, 7/30/2023

California moves to silence Stanford researchers who got state data to study education issues
EdSource, 7/28/2023

Graduation Measures Blue Ribbon Commission Holds Final Meeting to Develop Graduation Requirements for New York Students
New York State Education Department, 7/27/2023

Screen Test
NYC’s 5th and 8th graders must take spring’s state tests on computers. Are schools ready?
Chalkbeat 7/26/2023

New York City’s fifth and eighth graders will have to take this spring’s state tests — for English, math, and science — on computers, giving schools a nine-month runway to prepare 140,000 students to make the switch from pen and paper.

A substantial amount of work may be ahead to ensure the transition goes smoothly. Of the third to eighth grade students, only 16,300 took computer-based tests last year, according to state data obtained by Chalkbeat. Though a big jump from the year before, when about 1,070 kids took the tests via computer, it’s still a fraction of the number of kids expected to take the tests on computers this school year.

California’s War on Math
The Free Press, 7/26/2023

Why Elite Colleges Do Affirmative Action for the Rich
NY Magazine, 7/25/2023 

Nonbinary students are now included in NYC school enrollment data
Chalkbeat, 7/25/2023

‘Something is Going Wrong’
NYC public school budget climbs while enrollment plummets: ‘Something is going wrong’
ABC4 News, 7/25/2023

Despite NYC public schools teaching fewer students, the school system’s spending has seemingly soared over the same five-year period. According to departmental data, the NYC DOE’s budget has increased by $4 billion since the 2019-20 academic year, representing a 12% increase.

…”We’ve topped out in New York City. I don’t think you can spend any more money per student and get these kinds of terrible results,” Maud Maron, an NYC parent and the co-president of Parent Leaders for Accelerated Curriculum and Education NYC (PLACE NYC), told Crisis in the Classroom (CITC).

NYC’s per-student spending is expected to reach $31,434 this fiscal year, more than double the national average.

At least $120 in pandemic food benefits headed to each NYC public school family, officials say
Chalkbeat, 7/20/2023

Students Get It
Students Want STEM Careers, But Think Schools Are Doing a ‘Poor Job’ Preparing Them
EdWeek, 7/20/2023

Nearly all respondents (91 percent) said preparing students for these STEM jobs is important, including two-thirds who said it’s very important, according to the survey. It mirrors other findings that show an increasing number of Americans think K-12 schools should focus more on preparing students for careers, and especially in STEM fields.

But 61 percent of respondents gave K-12 schools a negative rating for preparing students for the workplace and future careers, according to the Walton Family Foundation survey…Specifically, 33 percent of students said their school is doing a “poor job” of preparing them for a future career in STEM, the survey found.

And nearly all teachers (95 percent) agree it is their job to prepare students for their future careers, yet 37 percent believe they are not preparing them for those jobs.

The Post-Pandemic Teaching Loss
Wall Street Journal Editorial, 7/20/223

The quality of American teaching suffered in the pandemic
Washington Post, 7/19/2023

Legacy Controlled
New York colleges pressured to end legacy admissions after affirmative action ruling
NY Daily News, 7/17/2023

With the Supreme Court striking down the use of affirmative action in higher education last month, New York colleges have come under pressure to reconsider giving priority to the children of alumni in admissions decisions.

Advocates have described the practice, known as legacy admissions, as “affirmative action for the white and wealthy” — giving a boost to students who on average come from higher income families with experience navigating the college application process.

NYC bias suit: Black, Hispanic teachers and ex-teachers rich
NY Post, 7/15/2023

UFT fights Success Academy charter schools from ‘co-locating’ with Dept. of Education buildings
NY Post, 7/14/2023

NYU Hit With Civil Rights Complaint Over Whites-Only ‘Anti-Racism’ Workshop
Washington Free Beacon, 7/14/2023

New York University has been hit with a federal civil rights complaint over the whites-only anti-racism workshop it hosted for public school parents, the latest in a series of legal headaches for the elite university.

The workshop, which cost $360 to attend, argued that white people need to “unlearn racism” without “burdening the people of color in our lives.” Facilitators and attendees repeatedly made clear that no minorities were allowed, with one parent stating that she was “grateful” for the seminar’s racial homogeneity. Other parents fretted about the “white supremacy culture” inherent in their jobs as lawyers and editors, according to audio of the seminar obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

While many schools have been hit with discrimination complaints over minority-only fellowships, the NYU workshop, “From Integration to Antiracism,” marks the first time in recent memory that a university has faced blowback for excluding people of color. 

PODCAST: How Clarence Thomas Came to Reject Affirmative Action
NY Times, 7/14/2023

PODCAST: How Affirmative Action Changed Their Lives
NY Times The Daily Podcast, 7/13/2023

California Debates Whether Data Science Can Replace Algebra II
NY Times, 7/13/2023

Make Them Pay
Politicians Should Pay for Ignoring America’s Education Crisis
Wall Street Journal, op-ed by Michael Bloomberg, 7/13/2023

The U.S. is in the midst of an unprecedented decline in learning, with students falling far behind over the past few years. So why are the millions of children performing below grade level not in summer school? America is missing a critical opportunity and, sadly, tragic consequences will result.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress, often called the nation’s report card, reveals a dire situation. Reading scores for eighth graders have fallen to their lowest level in two decades, and math scores are at a three-decade low. Reading scores for fourth graders fell furthest for black, Latino, and Native American students, exacerbating the racial and ethnic achievement gaps that have long plagued the country.

Ex-NYC teacher arrested for alleged sexual abuse of mentally ill student: feds
NY Post, 7/12/2023

Questionable Math
California approves math overhaul to help struggling students. But will it hurt whiz kids?
Los Angeles Times, 7/12/2023

California education officials on Wednesday approved a long-studied overhaul of the state’s math teaching guide, with sweeping changes designed to make the subject more relevant and accessible, stirring debate over whether it will improve poor student achievement or harm learning for 5.8 million public school students.

The 1,000-page teaching framework before the state Board of Education was approved unanimously, culminating a process that has taken more than four years and three versions.

The guide emphasizes replacing traditional instruction with a focus on “big ideas” with the hope that students with varying math skills can work together in the same class for most of their schooling and reverse the state’s low math achievement levels. Critics predict a decline in math achievement from what they see as watered-down curriculum and teaching approaches that they say rely more on ideology than research.

State law lowering class sizes at public schools will cost NYC $2B a year: study
NY Post, 7/12/2023

Justifying the Means
How False History Is Used to Justify Discrimination Against Asian Americans
Tablet, 7/11/2023

On June 29, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) in a landmark decision that overturned explicit race-based affirmative action in America. The decision was a major victory for Asian Americans—whom Harvard had routinely and openly discriminated against. To impose quotas on the school’s racial makeup, Harvard had systematically given Asian Americans lower “personality” scores on applications, the suit alleged, drawing from stereotypes of robotic and inscrutable foreigners from the Orient. It was the same tactic Harvard had used a century ago to systematically discriminate against Jews. 

NYU Hosts Whites-Only ‘Antiracism’ Workshop for Public School Parents
Washington Free Beacon, 7/11/2023

Why SF leaders argue new California math curriculum flawed
SF Examiner, 7/11/2023

Inflection Point?
The Next Battle Over Colorblindness Has Begun
NY Times, 7/10/2023

Last month the Supreme Court sharply curtailed the use of race-based affirmative action in higher education. That’s a big deal, but it’s by no means the end of the campaign to eliminate race-conscious policies in education and elsewhere. Indeed, it’s just the beginning.

The next — and even more important — stage of the battle concerns the future of all race-conscious policymaking. Is it ever permissible for policymakers to pursue goals like racial diversity, even when they use laws and policies that don’t treat individuals differently based on race?

He Worked for Years to Overturn Affirmative Action and Finally Won. He’s Not Done.
NY Times, 7/8/2023