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Mar 20 2012

Your Thoughts?: Bloomberg's School Reforms

By Marty Magaan


By now, most of us are practically experts at being students, are we not?  If Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule holds true, then pat yourselves on the back my fellow sensei, because we college students have certainly done our time.  Some of us have developed a keen ability to feel out our classes and figure out how much work we can get away with not doing, while others have developed an arguably healthier habit of putting 100% into each class.  Whichever archetype you fall under, your unique wisdom on the subject of education is valuable.  So I will ask you, the experts, what you think about New York City's school reforms.

If you are unfamiliar with Mayor Bloomberg's school reforms, here are some articles for you to read:
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/mike_aims_ax_at_teachers_kz9gn3MugNmTJ7T0rCtKwL
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/14/nyregion/bloomberg-focuses-his-legacy-on-education-reform.html

Now if you fall under the first archetype mentioned above, then you probably wish to bypass any extra reading. So in a nutshell, Bloomberg's reforms include money incentives for teachers, teacher-evaluation systems, the removal of as many as 1,500 teachers in the city's worst schools, and the closing and reopening of 33 struggling schools.  Michael Mulgrew, chief of the United Federation of Teachers, claims that the mayor's reforms are harming schools rather than helping them.  Others who are opposed to the reforms believe that teachers at low performing schools are not necessarily the cause of student failures, and that other factors are at play that make the teacher-rating systems unreliable.  Nevertheless, on February 24th, the city publicly released its performance rankings of 18,000 public school teachers.

A recent poll conducted by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute shows city voters' opinions on last month's release of teacher rating reports to the public.  According to the poll, 58 percent of voters approve the release of the reports, while 38 percent disapprove.  However, only 20 percent of voters trust the ratings, while 46 percent believe they are flawed.  As for the feud between Bloomberg and the teachers' union, 59 percent of voters disapprove of the mayor's handling of public schools, while 50 percent of voters trust the teacher's union to protect the interests of public school students. Just for you second-archetype students, the following article provides more details on the public release of the city's teacher data reports:
http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/02/24/teacher-data-reports-are-released

As a seasoned veteran of schooling, what are your thoughts on the mayor's reforms?  Are monetary incentives an effective way to find the best teachers for our public schools, or is it a corruptible system?  Are public rating reports based on students' scores on state exams an accurate way to judge teacher performance, or are there external factors to take into account for low performing schools in certain neighborhoods?  Share your thoughts with us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NYITCSC
or contact the Office of the Mayor at
www.nyc.gov.

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