Mamie Till Mobley

"There was an important mission for me, to shape so many...young minds as a teacher. God took away one child but...(gave) me thousands. And I have been grateful for the blessing." Mamie Till Mobley

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Court removed Superintendent Paul Vallas

A state Supreme Court judge in Bridgeport Connecticut on Friday removed Paul Vallas, the superintendent of schools for not completing a leadership graduate course program. 
He was  required to take the leadership course to meet the requirements to be a superintendent. 
And in May the teachers union complained to the state Vallas violated state law in failing to include the participation of the state required councils in local school governance. 
Previously he served as the superintendent of Chicago schools in the early nineties. His Chief of Staff was US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Buffalo public school low graduation rates, what happened ?

Buffalo Public School system is in the headline news again for having one of the lowest graduation rates second to Rochester, NY.  from among the five big city school districts (Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Yonkers, NYC) in the state. The latest figures the NYS Ed Dept released showed Buffalo Public Schools graduation rate fell below 48%.

Some in the community blamed the low rate on newly appointed Superintendent Dr. Pamela C. Brown such as incoming board member Carl Paladino.

Yet, NYS students  graduating in 2012 (who were 9th grade students in 2008) are the first cohort of students required to take all five Regents Exams with a passing score of 65 and obtain a Regents Diploma in order to graduate.

In the past before the Board of Regents changed the playing field, school districts offered the Local Diploma that nearly 15% of NYS public high school students received in 2009. But the graduates most impacted when Board of Regents eliminated the Local Diploma as a pathway to graduation was the class of 2012. 

So if you entered as a freshman in 2008, unless classified as a student with disabilities, the cohort was not offered the Local Diploma as a pathway to graduation. This is one reason why the graduation rates in Buffalo Public Schools fell below 48%.  

The local diploma as a pathway to graduation must be offered again in NYS.  In 2009, nearly 40% of English Language Learners (ELL) and students with disabilities obtained the Local Diploma, while the overall State figure was nearly 15%.  Now the dropout rates are higher for these students since the 2008 freshman cohort no longer offered the Local Diploma as a pathway to graduation.

Even the appeals process is challenging requiring students to have attained within 3 points of 65, a 95% attendance rate and other such requirements to get a Regents Diploma. While before NYS students had the Local Diploma now all must meet the requirements of a 65 passing score on the Regents Exams  unless it's a students with disabilities still offered a local diploma passing with the old score of 55.

In the BPS other policy changes have impacted graduation rates such as when the School Board eliminated social promotion causing a higher number of students to remain in elementary school until they become overage and drop. Another contributing factor is the School Board policy that required students to stay in school until they complete the school year when they reach 17 instead of the State compulsory age of 16.

Thus, more pathways to graduation  are needed because the cookie cutter one the NYS Board of Regents created aggravated the dropout rates in the State stifling the aspirations and dreams of hundreds of students who otherwise could have graduated. Now the pipeline to prison is more of a reality. 

Whitney Tilson (3rd background)

Whitney Tilson (3rd background)
"Let’s be honest: we need a lot more well-off, well-educated white folks with a personal stake in both charter schools and education reform in general if we’re going to take reform to the next level, both politically and operationally.Whitney Tilson, hedge fund manager and major funding angel for the school privatizing Democrats for Education Reform, thinks there’s not enough rich, educated white folks.( Preaprez) click photo to his blog.

Arne Duncan

Arne Duncan
U.S. Secretary of Education, click photo