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School Choice

Schoolbook

Brooklyn Charter Dials Back Discipline After Outcry

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

In our series on charter schools we’ve examined the role of discipline. Critics say charters with strict rules unfairly push out students or fail to communicate with families well. One school in Bedford Stuyvesant lost almost one of five of its students when parents thought its detention and disciplinary rules went too far. It has since toned down its approach.

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Schoolbook

Ocean Hill-Brownsville Lifts School Zones

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Parent leaders in Ocean Hill-Brownsville have voted to eliminate zoning boundaries for kindergarten students next fall, allowing families to apply to all schools in the district regardless of where they live. The approach seems to be catching hold in disparate neighborhoods across the city. Read our interview with CEC 23 leader Erwin Charles.

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Schoolbook

See the Top-Rated Middle Schools in Your District

Monday, October 22, 2012

See which middle schools are the top-rated based on their overall progress report scores. We've charted the top three in each school district in time for the school tours and admissions process.

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Schoolbook

District 6 Zoning Proposal Sparks Debate Over Choice

Friday, October 19, 2012

There are dueling approaches to school choice in northern Manhattan's District 6: one would eliminate elementary school zones so families can apply to any school while another wants families to fight for improvements at the struggling schools so there isn't such pressure on the better schools in the district.

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Schoolbook

Schoolbook's Guides Explain the City Schools

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The SchoolBook team has added and updated helpful guides explaining the intricacies of the nation's largest school system, which has grown to a total of 1,750 schools this fall. Check them out for the latest on deadlines, rules and a road map to the Department of Education.

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Schoolbook

Report on Attrition, Dumping Sparks Debate

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Data on student discharges from both charter and district schools revealed lots of movement in the city's epicenter of school choice: Harlem. SchoolBook's analysis sparked debate over dumping and attrition, and it is still going. Join the conversation.

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Schoolbook

Top 10: Charters with Highest Attrition Rates

Thursday, October 04, 2012

An analysis of the attrition rates for the city's charter schools revealed that charters have lower attrition rates, on average, than district schools. But there were outliers. Here's the Top 10 list of charter schools with unusually high numbers of students leaving the school. There are interesting stories behind these numbers.

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Schoolbook

Harlem Schools See High Student Turnover

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

In the past decade, about 150 charter schools have opened in New York City to provide more options for families. Harlem has the highest concentration of charters in the city and the influx has created a buyer’s market, one with a lot of student turnover but maybe higher expectations, too.

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Schoolbook

Mapping School Choices in Harlem

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

This interactive chart shows the movement of students between district and charter schools in three school districts in Upper Manhattan. It reveals a tremendous amount of mobility in Harlem, which has the highest concentration of charter schools in the city. It also seems to debunk the theory that charter schools "dump" low-performing students conveniently before test-taking time.

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Schoolbook

Parents Want Options Beyond a "Trigger"

Friday, September 28, 2012

A parent-activist gave the movie "Won't Back Down" two thumbs down because, among other things, it oversimplifies the choices facing parents today. Most parents don't want to turn their schools over to private operators. Instead, she argues, they want neighborhood schools to have smaller class sizes, more art, music and science, and less time spent on standardized tests.

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Schoolbook

Questions on Special Ed? There's a Hot Line for That

Friday, June 29, 2012

One of the many big changes coming to the city schools next year is the revamping of the special education program, which calls for more inclusion classrooms, with special education classes reserved for only the most severely disabled students. Now comes word that the city is creating a hot line so that parents can easily reach education officials if they have questions or problems with their child's placement or services that can't be addressed by the school.

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Schoolbook

More Pre-K Seats Open for Bid, Starting Monday

Friday, June 15, 2012

Parents shut out of their prekindergarten of choice will have a second chance to apply, starting Monday, when 2,000 or so available seats will become open for bids. The schools that still have open seats can be found online in a list published by the city. Parents are urged to apply at the schools of their choice.

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Schoolbook

Romney's Education Plan Calls for More School Choices

Thursday, May 24, 2012

In all the months of Republican primaries and early campaigning, the topic of education rarely emerged. That changed on Wednesday when the presumed Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, announced his new education agenda.

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Schoolbook

School Choice, New York-Style? For Some More Than Others

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A parent and professor of education writes: "Whatever the argument for school choice elsewhere, in New York City public schools it plays out very differently. Instead of providing better education for all children, choice in New York City ensures a two-tiered system powered by demographics and ZIP codes more than anything else."

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Schoolbook

Mapping a Solution to School Zoning Questions

Monday, May 14, 2012

Like many other New Yorkers, Kristi Barlow found herself consumed with the process of finding the right neighborhood and the right school for her child, and when she couldn't find an accurate map showing, block by block, which neighborhoods were zoned for which elementary schools, she made one of her own. Out of that obsession was born a small business.

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Schoolbook

Students Begin to Hear About Their High School Choices

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Education officials announced the results for the first round of high school matches Wednesday. With just over 77,000 eighth graders applying, 84 percent of students will be able to attend one of their top five choices. But 10 percent of students did not match at all.

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Schoolbook

High School Matches That End in Just 'O.K.'

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Eighth-grade public school students will learn their high school assignments on Thursday, and SchoolBook's teacher-blogger writes that many of her students have already forgotten which schools they requested. It's not that they're forgetful, she writes. "It's that they made their choices without a lot of thought or commitment. They didn't go to countless open houses or pore over the thick high school directory. They have also been told that many of the better schools are unlikely to accept them." Nevertheless, it usually "turns out O.K.," she says. "And 'O.K.' is what they've grown to accept."

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Schoolbook

The Case for Large High Schools

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An advocate writes: "In its push to close comprehensive high schools in particular, and replace them with campuses of multiple, smaller, themed high schools, the Education Department is closing down the very 'choice' that helps keep many students going to school through their teenage years: the option to pursue an array of courses and after-school activities in line with their interests and abilities."

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Schoolbook

My School Is Being Closed. Now What?

Monday, February 13, 2012

It was nearly midnight by the time a city board voted last week to close 18 schools and eliminate the middle grades at five others. And by that hour, most of the parents and students in those schools had left, tired and frustrated, and with unanswered questions. We put some of those questions to the city's Department of Education.

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Schoolbook

Schools Are Not Making Information About Choice a Priority

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

An educator who has researched school choice says the city's Education Department puts too much emphasis on school performance and not enough on providing information about school choice, undermining one of the administration's tenets for improving the city school system.

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