School Progress Reports to Be Released

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Here is a roundup of Friday's news:

On the morning that the city plans to release its A to F report cards for public schools, The New York Post reports that this year, there will be more D's and F's than in the past. That is because city education officials have spread the grades out along a curve and decided that 7 percent of schools will receive D's and 3 percent will receive F's.

The curve will also give A's to 25 percent of schools, B’s to 35 percent and C’s to 30 percent. Last year, after the state recalibrated its exams and test scores dropped, the city instituted a rule that no school could fall more than two letter grades. This year, that rule is gone. Read more here, and follow SchoolBook for full coverage.

After going through five heads of school in seven years, the Ethical Culture Fieldston School has hired Damian J. Fernandez, an unusual choice given that Mr. Fernandez has never run a secondary school and his most recent job was provost at Purchase College, part of the State University of New York. Mr. Fernandez has pledged to stay for nine to 10 years. Read more.

And in national news, Sam Dillon of The New York Times writes that President Obama will offer to waive elements of the No Child Left Behind law if states agree to follow his educational agenda. He is "essentially ending his predecessor’s signature accountability measure, which has defined public school life nationwide for nearly a decade." Read more.

Around the city on Friday:

At 8 a.m. Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott will speak at New York Law School's City Law Breakfast Series. At 10 a.m., he is scheduled to attend the opening of NBC's Education Nation at Rockefeller Plaza.

At 10 a.m., Chelsea Clinton will attend an event congratulating Public School 123 Suydam School in Brooklyn for developing a good school environment. The school is part of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program, and in June 2011 the alliance gave it an award for creating healthy school meals and more opportunities for students to exercise.

At 1 p.m., the City Council's education committee, whose chairman is Councilman Robert Jackson, is holding an oversight hearing on the Department of Education's new school development process. The hearing will look at how the city opens new district schools and will be in the committee room, on the 14th floor of 250 Broadway. Public testimony begins at 2:30 p.m.

At 2 p.m., Local 372, District Council 37 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the union representing school aides, along with Assemblyman William Scarborough, will hold a news conference outside P.S. 15 Jackie Robinson School to protest plans to lay off school support staff in Queens.

And looking ahead to this weekend, on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., several parent and student organizations are holding a conference to discuss how New York City can improve struggling schools. It is being held at the Bank Street College of Education and will include: the chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, Merryl H. Tisch; the chairwoman of the State Assembly education committee, Catherine T. Nolan; Councilman Jackson; the president of the United Federation of Teachers, Michael Mulgrew; and Deputy Schools Chancellor Marc Sternberg.