Some of New York City’s signature educational programs — including its principal training academies and school-based teams that examine student data — could go statewide if New York wins nearly $700 million in Race to the Top funds.
The state is arguing in its Race to the Top application that it can accomplish Obama administration educational goals by replicating city programs around New York. That could be a smart strategy, as U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has called New York City a model for how the federal government should spend its education funds. But city programs the state wants to duplicate include some of its most controversial.
Here are some of the programs that could get cloned, along with the justification provided in the state’s Race to the Top application:
New York will use $6 million in RTTT funds to replicate the successful Rochester and New York City Leadership Academies. Eleven more RTTT Management Team-coordinated Academies are planned, so that all regions of the State — including the remaining three large city districts — will be served…. The Academies will serve more than 700 principals in New York (about 15 percent overall) by Fall 2011. When all Academies are fully operational, school leaders will have access to research-based PD that is focused on the use of student data to improve student achievement and growth.
Building on the approach taken by the NYC Department of Education, the State will use student growth data for individual teachers to develop teacher data reports, which will help shape professional development for every teacher.
Networks and data inquiry teams:
We will build on New York City’s two-and-half-year-old Collaborative Inquiry Network model that has proven to be successful and effective in raising student achievement. This model consists of network teams dispatched from central administration to work continuously with school-based inquiry teams. All network teams are composed of tiered layers of leaders, data experts,and specialists in curriculum, assessment, and instruction. The design is a sustainable model driven by data and evidence that emphasizes both principal leadership and teacher cooperation. It makes time for teachers to work actively together — using the data, analyzing the results, and making and evaluating adjustments in their instruction as needed. Schools are held accountable for utilizing the system and for their results through a quality review process and a subsequent rating.
The current Children’s First Initiative is centered on the belief that autonomy and accountability should lie with those closest to the decision being made-the principals. This autonomy is accompanied by strict accountability standards, with the ultimate goal being to create a new sense of empowerment for school leaders while creating an environment where local decision-making leads to successful outcomes in student performance.
[T]he New York City DOE is already pursuing online initiatives and, in the fall of 2010, plans to launch the Innovation Zone (“iZone”). Schools that are part of the iZone will pilot a set of innovative online courses and blended schools models. A total of 84 schools serving over 13,000 students have been selected to participate in the iZone this coming school year. These efforts will result in innovative options for over-aged and under-credited students and other students disconnected from traditional schools as well as all learners who want to participate in school “anytime, anywhere.” By 2014, we expect this approach to provide alternative pathways to completing graduation requirements and advanced courses of study for up to 20,000 students across the State who will have the opportunity to take online public school courses at no cost.