Help for College Students Who Are Illegal Immigrants

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With New York's proposed Dream Act at a near standstill in the State Legislature, advocacy groups took matters into their own hands and financed scholarships for 10 illegal immigrants, The New York Times reports on Friday.

Kirk Semple writes that the New York Immigration Foundation, with help from the Korean American Community Foundation and labor groups and the support of the Fund for Public Advocacy, a nonprofit arm of the office of the city’s public advocate, Bill de Blasio, put up the money to help undergraduates in the City University of New York pay their tuition. More than 100 students applied for the aid, The Times says.

California passed a Dream Act bill last year to help illegal immigrants pay for college, but elsewhere the task has fallen to private and advocacy groups.

The New York program was announced at a news conference, where Mr. De Blasio, a likely contender for mayor, decried the need for private groups to fill in the gaps in aid to students who are in the United States illegally. "We all have to make up for the madness of our national policies,” he said. “As an American and the grandson of immigrants, I’m offended we even have to be standing here having this discussion.”

What do you think about the proposed Dream Act and the issue of providing financial aid for college students who are illegal immigrants? Answer the query below.

A group of City Council members; the city comptroller, John C. Liu; and the United Federation of Teachers president, Michael Mulgrew, held a news conference on Thursday to announce their support for the city's teachers, Gotham Schools reports -- and to hint that there are better days ahead for teachers when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg leaves office in 2013.

“Hold on. Hold on, because we’ve got your back,” Steven Levin, a Brooklyn council member, said at the conference. “We’ll see this through -- but you’ve just got to hold on.”

The council members said they had received many complaints from teachers over the release of the teacher data reports, many of whom cited errors in their individual reports.

Councilman Dominic Recchia of Brooklyn said basing evaluations on student test scores was inadequate.

“The best evaluation is to go into a classroom and see what the teacher is doing day in and day out,” he said.

Teachers, if you have a correction, explanation or reaction to your teacher data report, SchoolBook will publish it alongside your score. You can respond here.

And speaking of evaluations, Gotham Schools also reports that changes are ahead for the evaluation system for principals -- and those changes can result in a heftier role for district superintendents.

Under the Bloomberg administration, superintendents have had their roles stripped down and many of their duties shifted to network leaders, Philissa Cramer reports. But someone has to assess principals, and with a system being put in place to use multiple measures, it seems apparent that the district leaders will have to fill that role, Gotham says.

A more complete roundup of Friday's education news can be found in Gotham Schools' Rise & Shine post.

And here is some of what is going on in schools this Friday:

The schools chancellor, Dennis M. Walcott, will speak at the New York State Association for Bilingual Education conference at the Long Island Hilton, 598 Broad Hollow Road, Melville, Long Island, at 8:30 a.m.

Out at Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn at 9 a.m. students, public officials and community members will celebrate the life of a great black leader at the ninth annual Harriet Tubman Day celebration. The sponsor of the event is Councilman Al Vann, and the president and chief executive officer of the Brooklyn Children's Museum will be the keynote speaker. Since 2003, March 10 has been Harriet Tubman Day in New York State, Mr. Vann's office reports.

Be prepared for some intellectual discussion at a conference, "A La Table De Rousseau: What is Progressive About Education Today?" The panel discussion will take place at The Skyroom, French Institute Alliance Française, 22 East 60th Street (between Park and Madison Avenues). Tickets are $35 for the general public. According to a news release, the panelists are: Michel Butor (writer; former dean of the Faculty of Letters, University of Geneva), Megan Laverty (associate professor, Philosophy and Education Program, Arts and Humanities, Teachers College, Columbia University), Jean-Michel Olivier (professor; winner of 2010 Prix Interallié for L’Amour Nègre), Shimon Waronker (headmaster, the New American Academy; Presidential Fellow, Harvard Urban Superintendents Doctoral Program). The moderator is Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker.

And from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., State Senator Shirley Huntley is inviting all parents and residents in the 10th Senatorial District to a community forum on "Navigating the New York City Educational System" at August Martin High School, 156-10 Baisley Boulevard, Jamaica, Queens.