On the Wire…
It’s Friday, which means another roundup of some interesting city-ed stories from the week.
After the state of New Jersey took control of the school system under the Quality Single Accountability System (QSAC), Newark school district now prepares to gain control back. The hand over is expected to happen by the fall of 2017.
“I look at it as an opportunity to look at the school system in the way that it ought to be,” Baraka (Newark Mayor) said at Clearview Baptist Church before about three dozen residents. “Begin to imagine a school district that’s different than the one we have today.”
This article describes New York City’s District 3 as the tale of two cities: some of the best elementary schools are on Manhattan’s West Side with soaring test schools, activities and gifted and talented programs. In District 3’s Harlem schools, only one out of six elementary schools even comes close to pass rates. As a result, many families in Harlem are moving towards charter schools instead of public schools.
“Some observers blame the struggles of Harlem’s traditional public schools entirely on the increasing number of charter schools in the neighborhood, saying that the administration of former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg fostered the growth of charters while doing too little to help the traditional public schools compete with them in recruiting families,” wrote author Katie Taylor.
In D.C., the problem of students transferring in and out of schools in the middle of the academic year has reached new heights, which contributes to lower academic achievement and graduation rates, according to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education.
A new city task force has been created to propose a new set of policies aimed at gathering more information about students who transfer, hoping to reduce the disruptive practice.
“Under the proposed policies, the city would create a central transfer office that would tell families which traditional schools and charter schools have availability. The office would also collect information about why the family is leaving in the middle of the school year and would facilitate the transfer of academic records from the old school to the new school,” writes Matos.
Chicago Public Schools is moving forward with plans to streamline the high school application process for incoming freshmen in the 2018-19 school year. The aim is to simplify the process for parents, which currently requires separate bids for different options such as military or privately run charter schools.
“The new application would allow families to rank their choice of up to 20 schools, CPS Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson said. CPS then would offer the students a seat at one of their school choices based on the rankings. If the student is not happy with that offer, they could file another application,” wrote Perez.
Two presidents of the Trenton Board of Education have resigned within weeks of each other. The most recent, Jason Redd, blamed the bullying and intimidation tactics used by some union leaders and the growing discord between the unions and board.
“As you are aware, contentiousness in recent months between parties involved in the search for a new superintendent has become a distraction to the fundamental work of the board — ensuring the best possible education for the children of our great city,” said Redd in a letter to the mayor.
This week, President Trump has vowed to cut funding from “sanctuary cities” which could have far-reaching impacts on school districts providing similar protections to undocumented students and their families.
“If we’re together as one community, then we’re up against this together,” Zimmer (president of the LA Unified School District) said. “Whether they’re going to come for the city or the county first, it is in some ways not as important as the idea that they’re coming. This administration is coming for us, and it affects all of us.”
After President Trump declared a war on sanctuary cities this week, support is swelling from school districts across the country vowing to protect students and their families, regardless of immigrant status.
“While there’s no official tally, school boards that have passed such resolutions include Los Angeles and Oakland, California; Denver; Minneapolis; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and El Paso, Texas,” writes Camera.