As the city schools close for winter break, so too will Schoolbook.
Calling this fall term “eventful” would be an understatement. From the school closings and relocations caused by Hurricane Sandy, to the fears raised by the Newtown school shootings, principals, teachers and parents have had their hands full navigating enormous logistical and emotional issues.
At the same time, families, students, teachers and principals have been adapting to the challenges of the Common Core learning standards in math, English, science and social studies. And the special education reform has resulted in many more classrooms that now include students with special needs.
These major initiatives are happening while class sizes continue to grow. New charter schools keep opening from the Bronx to Brooklyn. And in 2013 the Department of Education will prepare to close more struggling schools that got low marks on their progress reports. There’s also the risk of a strike by school bus drivers. And education is sure to be a major topic in the 2013 mayoral race.
But first – the city and the United Federation of Teachers are facing Governor Andrew Cuomo’s January 17th deadline to negotiate a new teacher evaluation deal that includes a combination of classroom observations, student test scores and other measurements of student achievement. If they don’t, the city will risk losing more than $250 million in state education aid.
Here at Schoolbook we will continue to cover these and undoubtedly many other issues in the new year. For now, we wish you all a safe and happy holiday season. Don’t forget to visit Schoolbook when classes resume on January 2nd, and to sign up for our twitter feed @schoolbook and to friend our Facebook page.
And while we’re at it, tune in to our partner WNYC Radio. We never take a holiday on live radio.