Most of the eighth-grade students in Jeff Walton’s band class at Uncommon Schools Ocean Hill Collegiate hadn’t picked up an instrument before seventh grade. But you’d never know it from the sounds emanating from Walton’s band room one morning as students were rehearsing for their Spring Concert, a program of songs from New Orleans. Standing… Continue reading “I Am Always Amazed How Fast They Can Learn”: Uncommon Schools’ Music Immersion Program
When I work with families looking to find the best school for their child, one of the first things I offer them is, “tell me what you believe, and I’ll send you a study that confirms it.” I’m not joking. The education space is full of experts and studies, all proclaiming to know what’s best… Continue reading Relax, The Experts Know What’s Best For Your Child. They Just Don’t Agree On What It Is. Or How To Get It.
Shirley Jackson’s 1948 short story, The Lottery, is considered a classic of slow-building horror. A small town holds a lottery every year to decide which citizen will be ritually stoned in order to insure a good harvest. Everyone goes uncomplainingly along in the name of tradition, and, despite a few scattered grumbles, nobody outright says… Continue reading The Lottery: A NYC Schools Horror Story (With Apologies to Shirley Jackson)
I have a confession to make. I spend a lot of time on Twitter (@NYSchoolSecrets.com). As a result, I am often caught in multi-day, multi-participant conversations between various people, most of whom I only know as tiny avatar pictures. (Mine features my kids.) Here’s what I have learned from spending a lot of time on… Continue reading Doing the Math = School Choice
No one seemed more surprised at the obliteration of ten-term, fourth-ranking U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley than victor Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-identified Democratic Socialist. Last week, in a gobsmacking upset, she won the primary for New York’s 14th Congressional District. Politico described her today as “not just a full-blown political sensation but an international news phenomenon.”… Continue reading What Are Ocasio-Cortez’s Views on Public School Choice?
In Part #1 of our four part series, I dove into the nitty-gritty of the Mayor’s plan to get rid of the SHSAT test in Specialized High School admissions, and speculated about his true motives. In Part #2, I laid out who would win and who would lose when the proposal is codified into law.… Continue reading What To Expect When You’re Expecting a New SHSAT Plan (Part #3): Whose Fault Is It, Anyway? And Who’s Going To Fix It?
This is a guest post by Kristin Damo, the founding principal of Success Academy Lafayette Middle School in Brooklyn. My father emigrated from the Philippines and raised me on his own. The promise he made to me as a child is that I would have access to a world-class education. Today, this is the promise… Continue reading Mayor de Blasio’s Diversity Problem
Last week, I dove into New York City’s plan to diversity Specialized High School admissions by scratching the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT), currently the only method of admission, in favor of a model wherein the top 7 percent of all public middle school students would be accepted at an SHSAT school, as long as… Continue reading What To Expect When You’re Expecting a New SHSAT Plan [Part #2]: Who Will Win & Who Will Lose When It Passes
It’s been a hell of a week. On Saturday, June 2, 2018, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio penned an op-ed, asserting that Our Specialized Schools Have a Diversity Problem. Let’s Fix It. On Sunday, June 3, he announced two initiatives to do so. He vowed to expand the Discovery Program so that 20 percent of… Continue reading What To Expect When You’re Expecting a New SHSAT Plan (Part #1): The Mayor’s Hidden Agenda
As soon as THAT video hit the internet, viewers assigned sides: The mother who whined she’d spent $5,000 on test prep so her child could attend the best public middle school in District 3 (Manhattan’s Upper West Side) was the villain. Henry Zymeck, principal of The Computer School who defended the proposal to set aside… Continue reading School Is NOT a Family: Why This Flawed Metaphor Hurts Your Kids