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.
Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, hot off primary night where he won the Democratic nomination for Congress, set off a controversy when he came out in favor of support for private and religious schools — but not for vouchers.
At Stuyvesant High School, the school year ended on a negative note, with widespread coverage of a suspected cheating scandal. More than 80 students are suspected of communicating via text message about exams, and an investigation is ongoing.
The annual city budget dance has ended, and the City Council and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg have waltzed to a deal for $68.5 billion that includes no tax increases, no firehouse closings, no widespread layoffs of teachers or others — and, in fact, slight increases to some services for children and families.
Last week ended with a flurry of news, in part because of the conclusion of the legislative session in Albany. But before departing for the weekend, the state Education Department slipped in a decision on providing $60 million in aid to 24 “turnaround schools” in the city. And this week — the last week of public school — starts with news of audits of an expensive kindergarten program for special-needs children, and more on the Horace Mann School sexual misconduct allegations. Oh, yes, and there are a few graduations.
Now that the legislative battle over disclosure of teacher evaluation data is over, what does the future look like? Some of the coverage of Albany’s vote on the controversial bill, which would allow only parents to see the data related to their children’s teachers, speculated that a fair amount of chaos lies ahead.
Regents, heat, finals, heat, graduation, heat, and confusing end-of-year schedules are on the minds of city school parents, students and teachers this Thursday in June. So as a diversion, let’s go to Washington, where a visual stunt on the National Mall tried to focus attention on the state of the nation’s schools.
About 10 percent of second-grade students in the city are learning to swim because of a program developed by Adrian Benepe, the city parks commissioner, who was convinced that many drownings of city residents could be avoided. And what’s the best way to configure middle school for children between the ages of 10 and 13? Those are some of the stories in news on this Wednesday.
Charter schools are under increasing pressure to admit and provide more services for children with special needs. This spring, they have been asking the Legislature for the authority to form coalitions, so they can pool resources that will help them fulfill their mandate. The bill seemed to be cruising along, but now the state teachers’ union has thrown up a roadblock.
How difficult is it to integrate a city school? Pretty tough, according to the latest article in The New York Times’s “A System Divided” series, which has been examining the issue of segregation in the New York City public school system. Also in the news this Monday morning: a principal under fire, sexual misconduct, teacher evaluations and Pearson.
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