Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor told a large gathering of parents of English language learners to speak up and ask for help navigating the massive school system, and to remember this mantra: “I am not stupid. I am ignorant. Help me figure it out.”
Elections for the city’s parent councils may continue. A group of candidates unsuccessfully tried to persuade a judge to halt the process because they felt they weren’t given a full opportunity to campaign before voting began on May 1.
“When I look at my son, I don’t see a data point or a test score. I don’t look at my son and see future SAT’s or LSAT’s. I see a kid frustrated with ‘practice tests’ and the narrow curriculum his teachers are forced to teach.”
A parent coordinator advises parents to temper their expectations for the upcoming parent-teacher conferences. Read her top six tips to make the most of the meetings.
A record number of parents, student, and teachers responded to the city’s annual school survey. More students reported that their schoolwork is more rigorous, with 95 percent of students saying they need to work hard to get good grades, up from 93 percent in 2010. Eighty percent of teachers said they received feedback on their teaching practices that helped them integrate the new Common Core standards into classroom instruction.
Parents at P.S. 89 in Manhattan pay for laptops, a dance program, a chess club, upgrades to the gym and the library, music and art programs, and a playground assistant. They give teachers $400 each to purchase school supplies, and $200 more later in the year if needed. At P.S. 305 in Brooklyn, parents are hoping to use the $5,000 they have raised this year to send fifth graders on “a nice, end-of-year trip,” rent out a prom hall and purchase sashes for their graduation ceremony. Teachers not only don’t get money for school supplies, they often chip in to help families and children. Another report on the impact of parent fund-raising and spending in the public schools.
After five years of cuts to public school budgets, parents say they are being pressed for more supplies, support and dollars than ever, and many are spending hundreds of dollars, and in some cases, thousands, a year on school-related items. This is the first in a series of posts planned by SchoolBook on the rising cost of public school, originating with our readers’ responses.
The United Federation of Teachers began a series of workshops for parents on Saturday morning, to help provide them with skills and motivation “to advocate on behalf of their children and schools, and demand education policy changes,” Gotham Schools reports.
A parent coordinator writes: These days there is a lot of emphasis on school accountability and teacher accountability. But who is paying attention to parent accountability and finding ways to help parents become more involved? “Someone is always talking, measuring, criticizing — but not solving,” she writes.
Reflecting on his first year as chancellor of the city’s schools, one marked by protests over school closings and the public release of teacher rankings, Dennis M. Walcott said that, in some ways, the tone of the citywide education debate has improved under his leadership.
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