New York

Stop telling women to smile

The collapse of standards in NY schools

There is a massive problem with NY public funded schooling.

It is to be expected with a left wing mayor intent on protecting the unionised education workforce.

Technically speaking, New York state Education Commissioner John King was correct when he insisted last week that “we are not retreating” on school standards. So true — it’s more like a surrender.

King’s attempt to put a happy face on the rout was wishful thinking, as the parade of white flags reveals. The commissioner has been admirably bold in pushing onward, but now marches mostly alone.

From Albany to City Hall, the education-reform movement is grinding to a halt. Meaningful teacher evaluations and standardized tests for students are either on hold or moving into the mushy world of educrat gobbledygook, where vapid self-esteem is prized more than real results.

To be sure, the collapse didn’t happen all at once. It recalls the Ernest Hemingway dialogue in “The Sun Also Rises.”

When a man asks, “How did you go bankrupt?” another answers, “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

So it is with the collapse of standards. What started as a trickle is now a gusher wiping away the tentative progress on accountability.

The biggest blow came with an innocuous-sounding press release from city Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. She announced a new promotion policy for grades 3 through 8 that “takes the temperature down around testing” while allowing “educators to make decisions about the students they know best while maintaining high standards.”

In plain English, that means that even if tests show Johnny can’t read, we’re giving him a gold star and sending him on to the next grade, where he’ll fall further behind before being passed on again. That’s the gist of social promotion, and it’s now ­official city policy.

Mayor de Blasio later boasted of the move, saying, “We’re ­going to in every way we can move away from high-stakes testing.”

Presumably, that means he favors low-stakes testing, which is testing that doesn’t matter. Welcome to the new mayor’s education plan, where he’ll be able to claim victory because failure has been outlawed.   Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Photo by Hal Morey

Photo by Hal Morey


NYC Grand Central Station, 1929


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This is what it is like to base jump off the NYC Freedom Tower


Tuesday nightCap

Photo Of the Day

SOURCE: Unknown

SOURCE: Unknown

New York Aerial Police Force Stunt (1920) Read more »

Charter schools are working, but New York’s mayor wants to stop them

Labour, the Greens and the teacher unions all hate charter schools.

They can produce no evidence to support their claims, they just hate them because they do not like the challenge to the hegemony and control of the unions in our schools.

The same irrational opposition is also evident overseas.

OF THE 658 schools in Chicago, only 126 are charter schools—publicly funded but independently run and largely free of union rules. Fifteen more are due to open this year. More notable, though, is that four of the most recently-approved charters are in areas where the city recently decided to close 49 public schools—the largest round of such closures in America’s history.

Most of the closed schools served poor black children, and were in parts of the city with a shrinking population. The city government argued that these schools were under-used, and that closing them would save $233m that could be reinvested. So it has been: in new science labs, computers, wireless, libraries, art rooms and air conditioning in the charters that took in children from the closed schools.

Charters have worked well in Chicago. Most parents like them, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Board of Education are behind them. The Noble Network, which already runs 14 charter high schools, has just been given permission to open two new ones. Around 36% of the 9,000, mostly poor, children enrolled with Noble can expect to graduate from college, compared with 11% for this income bracket city-wide.

A 2013 study by Stanford University found that the typical Illinois charter pupil (most of them in Chicago) gained two weeks of additional learning in reading, and a month in maths, over their counterparts in traditional public schools. One city network of charters, Youth Connection, is credited with reducing Chicago’s dropout rate by 7% in a decade. Overall, however, the city’s public schools are in a sorry state: 51,000 out of 240,000 elementary-school pupils did not meet state reading standards in 2013.

Some will always argue that charters cream off the brighter children and leave sink schools, deprived of resources, behind. The teachers’ unions hate charter schools because they are non-unionised. So they remain a rarity nationwide, with only 5% of children enrolled in them. But a PDK/Gallup poll last year found that 70% of Americans support them. Small wonder: a study of charter high schools in Florida found that they boosted pupils’ earning power in later life by more than 10%.  Read more »

Another one of those hot global warming days in New York

Why did John Key get pilloried for calling Wellington “a dying city”? It clearly is

Wellington can no longer fill up its stadium for the Rugby 7s.  And now this

Wellington is the worst city in the country for dealing with graffiti, a frustrated councillor says.

A graffiti vandalism audit has found that – despite a $580,000 effort to erase Wellington’s graffiti problem – tagging is out of control in the city and compared unfavourably with other cities.

“It’s a pretty sad day for Wellington. We’re the worst city in the country. We’re meant to be ‘absolutely, positively’,” Wellington city councillor Paul Eagle said, unveiling a new graffiti strategy yesterday.

Despite spending more than half a million dollars painting over tags last financial year, Wellington City Council’s effort was called “barely adequate” by global standards in the audit by Tasman Research and Consultation.

The council was rated at 79 out of 100 for cleaning its own buildings of tags, while Hutt City Council received 90. British councils generally target 96 per cent, and usually achieved about 92, the report said.

The audit also found Wellington’s Lambton ward was as graffiti-covered as its rail corridors.

Council figures show that, in 2012, 11,712 tags were removed across the city but the audit suggested that many more went unreported.

It’s slowly turning into a dump.  It wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for the Picton ferry and some weird historical decision to base government on the least practical, land scarce earthquake prone part of the country.   Read more »

And somehow putting prisoners in these is inhumane?