March is National Disabilities Month, but in my family we observe this designation every day. Our fourth child, Jonah, has Fragile X Syndrome, a genetic mutation that can cause (as it does in our son’s case) a constellation of symptoms including global developmental delays and autistic-like behaviors. My sister is afflicted by both physical disabilities… Continue reading My Worlds Converge: A Personal Story About My Special Needs Son and The Contraction of Education Reform
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?
“Study of N.Y. Schools Finds Wide Racial, Ethnic Disparities in Advanced High School Courses.” That’s the alarming headline that recently captured my attention, based on unpublished state Education Department data from the 2016-2017 school year analyzed by the New York Equity Coalition. The Coalition comprises the State Business Council, the New York Urban League, Albany… Continue reading “I Thought I Was Taking Algebra But It Was Really Pre-Algebra”: the Racial and Ethnic Gap in New York’s Gateway Courses
Both the New York Times and Chalkbeat report today on the New York State Board of Regents’ decision late yesterday to further lower the bar for students with disabilities. This past September the New York State Board of Regents requested a waiver from the requirements of the Every Child Succeeds Act (ESSA). According to our… Continue reading New York State — Once Again — Tries to Lower Expectations for Students with Disabilities
It was not until I had a recent conversation with my daughter’s guidance counselor about another matter that I was aware that she is on track to graduate with an Advanced Regents Diploma. This was news to me, as it was the first time I had heard about the different diploma options available. Traditionally, students… Continue reading What’s the Value of an “Advanced Regents Diploma”? Parents Weigh In.
“They were bullshit!” said my Dad. I burst out laughing . My soft-spoken father, who most often could be found reading history books and playing chamber music when he wasn’t teaching social studies at John Bowne High School in Flushing, so vehemently negative about the courses he took while earning his M.A. in education! At… Continue reading “Why Would Anyone In Their Right Mind Lower Standards?”: Charter Schools Win a Round
When I first started teaching, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were just being rolled out to replace the New York State Standards. I wasn’t resistant to the shift in course content standards because teaching was still very new to me and my eagerness superseded any skepticism that I might have had. I noticed, however,… Continue reading New Education Standards? Oh Boy—Here We Go Again!
Last week our new blogger Tina Posterli, a parent on Long Island, described her frustration with New York State’s teacher evaluation system. For those catching up, Gov. Cuomo, the State Legislature, and the Board of Regents originally signed off on an accountability system that would link 50 percent of student outcomes on standardized tests to… Continue reading Gov. Cuomo: “Only 38 percent of the students are graduating at class-level, but 99 percent of teachers are doing well.” What’s the Fix?
“If you’re giving a kid a diploma based on a Regents score, does that pass mean that the kid has sufficient math skills?” asked Kim Nauer, education research director at The New School’s Center for New York City Affairs. Not in New York. Although, of course, students and their parents have no way of discerning… Continue reading What Do You Need to Pass the Algebra 1 Test In NYS? Not Much.
My post last week urging New York parents to say “yes” to the state standardized tests generated many comments, mostly from angry suburban parents. I thank all of you — after all, the primary purpose of New York School Talk is to elevate authentic voices in this ongoing conversation about how to improve the quality… Continue reading Where I Respond To Comments From My Last Post on the “Opt-Out Movement”