Blogs from Daniel Stein-Sayles Sun, 23 Mar 2014 12:13:55 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Today's Lead: New Test Scores

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s legacy on education is facing new scrutiny as the state prepares to release new test scores later today that are expected to be significantly lower than in previous years.

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Over the weekend, the city acknowledged there would be a dramatic decline in this year’s test scores due to new Common Core standard — with Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott predicting a 30 percent drop.

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Bloomberg has pinned his reputation, in part, on his success at being the education mayor.

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Democratic candidates hoping to be the next mayor have taken the release of the new test scores as an opportunity to criticize Bloomberg.

“The current administration has forced teachers to implement new standards without giving them the curriculum they need to do it successfully,” said Bill Thompson, a former Board of Education president who has been endorsed by the United Federation of Teachers.

Bill de Blasio, the public advocate, called the expected test results a “major wake-up call.” Comptroller John Liu said on Twitter that the scores would show that Bloomberg has been “cooking the books” for the last decade.

“The days of the mayor dislocating his shoulder patting himself on the back should be over,” Anthony Weiner told reporters at an education event yesterday.

Christine Quinn, the City Council speaker and presumed Democratic frontrunner, was more measured approach in her comments. “Obviously when you’re going to raise standards, that’s going to have an effect on test scores,” she said.

DOE Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky told GothamSchools that the 2011 and 2012 tests could not be compared directly. “They’re not just slightly different tests, they’re dramatically different tests,” he said.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is supposed to foster increased thinking and analysis, which the new exams test. This is opposed to past tests where critics claim memorization was the skill students needed to master the exams.

The New York Times says the city has spent three years developing the new curriculum. City students first took tests based on the new curriculum in April. Some teachers and students responded negatively to their first encounter with the new tests, the teachers claiming they were unprepared and students saying the texts were difficult.

Image of Bloomberg and Walcott courtesy of the mayor's office.

Other Stories We're Following

Court Rules Bruno May Face Fraud Charges (NY Times)

Political Corruption Panel Issues First Subpoenas, Though Mum's The Word (Daily News)

City Losing Small Hospitals As Money Woes Mount (Associated Press)

Subpoenas Sent To City's Big Landlords (Wall Street Journal)

Bloomberg Sees Higher Costs In A Union-Friendly Mayor (NY Times)

Common Cause, Real Estate Board of New York Throw Down (Crain's)

Op-Ed: Preservation Can Contribute To Affordability (Gotham Gazette)

In The Rockaways, Deciding To Leave After Superstorm Sandy (Los Angeles Times)

2 Campaign Finance Board Members Linked To Quinn Fundraising (DNAinfo)

GothamVotes 2013: Campaign Trails Update

From Gotham Gazette: Quinn, Thompson exchange barbs over his comptroller record; Quinn On City Board Decision Denying Liu Campaign Funds

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he's handing the next mayor an "unprecedented opportunity" to win new contracts with unions. (The Wall Street Journal)

Democratic mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner calls rival Republican George McDonald "grandpa." (NY1)

Bill de Blasio, another Democratic mayoral candidate, wants to end a tax break for the redevelopment of noncommercial properties. (Crain's New York Business)

Christine Quinn wants people to trust her. (Capital New York)

Gov. Cuomo has ties to a number of mayoral candidates. (The New York Times)

Comptroller candidate Kristin Davis arrested on charges of selling prescription drugs. (Village Voice)

WNYC's refresher on how to vote in New York City. (WNYC)

]]> (Daniel Stein-Sayles) The Eye-Opener Wed, 07 Aug 2013 11:44:12 +0000
911 System Hearing: Top Official Promises Investigation Testifying at a hearing on the city’s new emergency 911 system, a top official of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration promised a "full investigation" into what caused a delay in responding to a request for help for a girl who died after she was struck by a car.

Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway extended his condolence to the family of the girl and promised the full review as he testified for over three hours at a City Council hearing Friday, where he declared that the $88 million 911 system’s "technology worked."

READ the City Council committee report about recent problems with the city's 911 system.

The parents of 4-year-old Ariel Russo, the girl in question, attended the hearing. Her mother spoke to the press afterwards.

"There is only so much that we, the people of New York City, can actually do without the commitment of elected officials," said Sophia Russo, Ariel's mother. "I call on all New Yorkers to write and call our mayor and members of the City Council, imploring them to fix two major issues here. The first is, we need a law passed which prohibits high-speed police chases in school zones. Second and most importantly, we need to demand that this 911 system be fixed."

Her family has filed a notice of claim against the city and has hired attorney Sanford Rubenstein to represent them.

Ariel died after being struck by an SUV during a police chase on June 4. Fire department officials blamed the delay on human error and disputed reports that a technical glitch was at fault.

Bloomberg also tried to deflect blame from the technology to reporters last week.

“The software worked exactly the way it was supposed to be,” Bloomberg said. “There clearly was something wrong with somebody sitting in front of the screen, and maybe two people sitting in front of screens. They didn’t do what they were supposed to do and we’re looking at the procedures. It’s very tragic.”

The new 911 system was launched over three weeks ago as part of a $2 billion modernization project by Bloomberg’s administration.

]]> (Daniel Stein-Sayles) City Mon, 24 Jun 2013 15:11:39 +0000