The new school reform proposals for NYC -- WOW!
- Reforming the tenure system so that it's no longer automatic -- so that terrible teachers don't get tenure, which makes them virtually impossible to remove.- Adopting weighted student funding, to address the outrageous funding disparities among schools. (This shows how critical more money is: without it, this proposal would be politically a nonstarter because it would be a zero-sum game, taking money from schools in wealthier areas.)- Pushing power down to the school level and making principals entrepreneurs -- given them real power and control, but also making them accountable.- Greatly reducing the bureaucracy and giving principals the power to get services from other vendors rather than being tied to the bureaucracy.- Setting up sophisticated measurement systems, both for students and schools, and then publicizing the results. Giving each school a letter grade is HUGE!- Giving more money to good schools that are making real progress (instead of the current system, under which the worse a school performs, the more money it gets!).
I just finished reading the document on their plans and it is shockingly bold. What they are doing is using every tool within their power to restructure the school system and it is impressive. For example – did you realize that schools are being graded A-F and that schools in A or B will get paid an extra $750 -$1,500 to take kids from D or F? Also they are moving to weighted average student funding. While they can’t eliminate tenure, they are going to force principals to make a conscious choice to tenure a teacher, rather than just the teacher equivalent of social promotion. This is an incredibly important, aggressive, bold thoughtful development.
In Sweeping Schools Vision, Big Risks for Mayor
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg yesterday effectively doubled his bet that the nation’s largest school system is capable of unprecedented improvement, wagering the education of the city’s nearly 1.1 million students and his own legacy on a far-reaching decentralization plan that puts enormous pressure on principals to raise student achievement.
The mayor’s announcement, in his State of the City address, made clear that by the end of his second term he hopes to leave behind a school system irreversibly changed and virtually unrecognizable from the bureaucracy that existed before he took office.
It will have new rating systems for schools, principals and teachers, a new finance system designed to break the lock that many schools in middle-class neighborhoods have had on highly paid veteran teachers, and a sharply increased role for private groups in helping to run schools. It will also make it harder for teachers to get tenure.
But Mr. Bloomberg’s plan, while cementing his place at the forefront of urban education reform in America, also carries huge risks, raising questions about whether yet another reorganization will bring such swift and noticeable improvement in test scores and graduation rates that it can mute critics who say the administration is using constant change to mask mediocre results.
Bloomberg Seeks Further Changes for City Schools
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg laid out ambitious new plans yesterday to overhaul the school system by giving principals more power and autonomy, requiring teachers to undergo rigorous review in order to gain tenure and revising the school financing system that has allowed more-experienced teachers to cluster in affluent areas.
The plan, which would also increase the role of private groups, represents the most sweeping changes to the system since the mayor reorganized it after gaining control of the schools in 2002. Although the mayor has chosen to spend some of the city’s current surplus on tax cuts, he said he could invest more in schools with money promised by Gov. Eliot Spitzer to equalize state education aid across New York.
The administration can undertake most of the education measures unilaterally, without City Council or union acquiescence.
Overhaul of Schools Would Let Teachers Rate Principals
Pressing the case for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s latest round of changes to the city school system, Chancellor Joel I. Klein yesterday detailed how the new powers being granted to principals would be accompanied by new evaluations of them: teachers for the first time would be able to rate their supervisors.