Streams

Poor Schools Will Absorb Brunt of Budget Cuts

Monday, October 03, 2011 - 07:29 AM

Here’s what SchoolBook is reading in papers and blogs this morning.

If no deal is reached by Friday, the city will lay off 716 school aides and parent coordinators, disproportionately affecting schools that serve large numbers of poor or struggling students.

Although Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott has said it was principals' decisions to lay off these workers to absorb the systemwide budget cut, the president of the principal's union is not pleased with that characterization.

"I’m just disturbed and somewhat annoyed that it has become the principals’ decision, when it was central’s decision to impose the budget cuts on the schools," said Ernest A. Logan, the president of the union, the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators.

The former New York State education commissioner, Richard P. Mills, and other top state education officials knew that high school teachers regularly searched for more points on failing students' Regents exams in order to pass them, but did little about it, according to an e-mail obtained by The New York Post. In response, Mr. Mills said he knew of no "systematic" way in which teachers were raising students' Regents scores, resulting in an inflated number of 55 grades, the passing mark, on exams.

Teachers in New York City's Roman Catholic schools are fighting for pay raises, as the Archdiocese readies to make its final offer on Monday. Currently, the archdiocese is proposing a two-year contract with no raise the first year and a 1 percent increase the second. But the teachers' union, the Federation of Catholic Teachers, says the offer is too low.

A ninth-grade student at Hunter College Junior High School has designed a speed bump that pops up in the road when it senses that an approaching driver is going too fast. The idea has put the student, Cheyenne Hua, in the final round of the America's Top Young Scientist competition.

And in national news: Michael Winerip, a columnist for The New York Times, writes about the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program, which pays the state's top students to attend a public college. In return, they spend four years teaching in public schools.

A cash incentives program directed by the National Math and Science Initiative is leading more students to take and pass Advanced Placement exams, lured by the promise of $100 if they score a three or higher on any exam. Their teachers are also eligible for bonuses if the students perform well.

Gotham Schools' daily Rise & Shine post has more links to more education news.

Around town Monday:

At 8:30 a.m., Planned Parenthood and the New York University Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health are holding a media breakfast to discuss a new national poll looking at parents' views of sex education.

At 1 p.m., the Manhattan borough president, Scott M. Stringer; the New York City public advocate, Bill de Blasio; the Bronx borough president, Rubén Díaz Jr.; the Brooklyn borough president, Marty Markowitz; and the Queens borough president, Helen M. Marshall, will release a report with recommendations for how to change community education council elections. Their proposals will be announced at a news conference at the Manhattan borough president's office, 19th floor, 1 Centre Street, Manhattan.

And in response to Dominique Browning's Sunday Review essay about burning diaries she had kept since age 14, the Learning Network is asking students: Do you keep a diary or journal?

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