Sunday, December 21, 2014

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The Call Blog: Education In Today's Spotlight For City, Mayoral Candidates

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On paper, I like this idea. In reality, I hope the students have options if it turns out they don't want to follow their chosen specialty. Many of my graduate school students are still making up their minds. It would be a shame if a teenager gets locked in for years because of passing interest.

The Bloomberg administration announced today the creation of three Early College and Career Technical Education High Schools to open next September. The schools will deliver a "six-year, career-focused program" where students graduate with a Regents high school diploma and an associate degree from CUNY. The emphasis on preparing students for the real world follows poor results on standardized English and math scores for the first class of students studying the new, tougher Common Core curriculum.

Education is an issue that also resonated on the mayoral campaign trail today, where former City Comptroller Bill Thompson discussed the rising price of school lunches. Also, former Congressman Anthony Weiner visited his Brooklyn high school with his mother, a former school teacher of 31 years.

Do you welcome more six-year schools that focus on specific skills and careers? How prepared are high school graduates in New York City? What do you want to hear from the mayoral candidates when it comes to the Department of Education?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

I believe that Bloomberg closed down an automotive tech HS in the Bronx, which was a real shame. Not every kid is destined for college - that is not to say those kids shouldn't have great academics, but they should also have shot at real training for trades they can use after senior year like electrical, computer, plumbing, automotive etc. That seems like an excellent parallel investment to the college readiness on everyone's lips.

re: school lunches - I don't mind the new plan but I would really like to see enhanced value for my dollars if I am going to pay for school lunch. Why is it that the DOE can't buy hormone-free milk from one of the great Hudson valley dairy farms (like Hudson Valley Fresh, Ronnybrook etc); why can't they source pesticide and GMO-free vegetables and ingredients from local farms and producers? and why does food at the vast majority of schools have to be nearly inedible? To the last point, the schools that have chefs in residence through WITS or some other way have a great advantage in the healthy eating department - not only because the food is better but b/c kids get hands-on nutrition lessons, too. Kids learn WHY they should eat better!

Anni, Upper West Side


We need more trade schools and less emphasis on college. College is NOT for everyone -- that's why we used to have "vocational" schools in my day, where high school students learned nursing, plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, auto mechanics, etc. All these people currently make more money than college graduates, and no student loan pay-backs! I think college should ONLY be for those who qualify academically. Take it from me -- I have met too many "college grads" these days who can't even put a proper sentence together!

Dina and Ed from Throggs Neck

Other mayoral candidates? i am so upset that i could not learn about albanese on the ABC debate. He seems really intelligent and with integrity. not a gimicky one topic or sleazy waste of time. Also would've liked to hear from carrion.


Hi John,

What I would do is take notice of the results of the tests that were just taken. They were a failure according to the results because the students were not properly instructed and the teachers also mentioned their qualms with these tests also. What will happen is if they are not prepared. Then how can this be a success. If they must invest 6 years in this and it becomes a failure for six years then this will run into 6 years of wasted time. Which will end up being at least one mayoral term and half of another. Because this mayor is so selfish satisfying his own ego to take full control of every project and all it amounts to is trial and error. Meanwhile all of these children are wasting precious years of there lives. In the end it’s not easy to make up the time lost. Just who will be in charge of this project. Someone has to oversee it. Why would this be announced at this time. At the end of the six years just how full will the classrooms be. Also do they know how many are eligible as of the present time. Why did they wait until now to propose this venture.

Thank you John,

The blunderer is at it again. He has failed for 12 years and this experiment will be no different. Yes the cost of food went up, but our salaries did not. But the contract services that NYC uses had no problem when it came to escalating costs and getting their money.

Park Hill

Instead of focusing on high schools they need to get the kids ready before that in elementary and junior high. How Ro they expect poor performing students in the lower grades to suddenly become ready for college ? Another case of bad planning from Bloomberg

Arden Heights.

Sounds like a scam to me. Here's why:

1. A tiny population of students will get extra attention. The grand majority have another reason to be ignored.

2. When do corporations ever do things for the good of the community? They're getting interns paid for by taxpayers.

3. It shoves kids into a career path before their voices even start changing. Liberal arts anyone?

4. There are two other words for these "public/private partnerships": corruption and fascism.

And yeah, a lifelong CUNY teacher here. This is part of a larger movement to "incorporate" education. Tip of a very, very scary iceberg.

Anything promoted by CUNY's Board of Trustees should be investigated thoroughly. They've spend the last 3 years fighting doggedly to lower standards, cut opportunities, cut class times, and cut contact hours with professors. Anything they like, I fear.



Government schools should be abolished. Period.

Port Richmond, SI

my school did very bad on the new reading and math tests for middle school just as we did on the older tests- but once again we graduated almost everyone due to the way student "averages" are calculated.

you may be aware- but many parents are not- that's terms 1, 2 and 3 are not averaged into a student's final grade in many middle schools- instead the fourth term average is simply used as the final average for decisions on promotions.

as the 4th term is always the shortest term- teachers are pressured to give high grades that term- or required to base marks on things like exit projects which earn a pass just by being turned in. so a student can score 55,55,55 terms 1 to 3 and then the system just shoves them along if they get a 65 as a gift term 4...

I do like the sound of the new high schools- real career readiness makes good sense but first we have to end the scam that is allowed in so many middle schools like mine where kids who prove they can not read on the tests are just pushed on to the next grade.

tom in ridgewood

The next mayor should realize that NYC is the center of the arts world and should reflect that in its' schools. Educate the entire student! Teach them academics, arts and physical education. Education is about developing young who can contribute to our society -- not people who can successfully take tests.

- NYC teacher

I think high school kids need to meet people that have been successful that they can relate to so school becomes real.

They can see how someone like them has made it, so they can too.


What I would like to see is a qualified education professional as chancellor instead of friends of the Mayor.


Dear Mr. John Schiumo:

I think this is a good idea. However, two things must be done across the city and across the country:

(1) All high school students must be given a mandatory vocational aptitude test by age 15, so that the student can see what his or her talents and interests are. Not all of us know what we want to do in life.

(2) High quality teachers must be attracted to teach in these schools.

Flushing, Queens

AGAIN. These schools are going to be great for the students that are college bound. But what about those that are not interested in college. Some students just want to learn a trade and work. And since you have to apply to these special schools who do you think are going to get in. Those that need the help will be left out again.

Milly from Queens

yes start with these schools. and expand if successful to all groups. testing is needed to determine the 3 r/s levels. most graduate do not come out prepared for real life. i came out with 12th grade reading math scores. today 8.5 is accepted to graduate, what a joke. and ged is not the way anymore. this a great idea. of course the democratic clowns wont agree.


As a fellow CUNY person who has held faculty and administrative positions I think that the new plan offers some new options. The part that made my ears go up like a german shepherd were the key words "competitive admissions." I think the program will work well for those can compete, but, like my fellow Throggs Neckians said more vocational programs. Everyone needs a career option that is a good fit for them.

kathy from Throggs Neck da bronx

Hi John,

I think that high schools with career-oriented goals for their students are a great idea because it will help them prepare for college and it will help them develop valuable skills they need to be successful in this day and age in the real world.

Midtown East, Manhattan

Ron S here from Williamsburgh Brooklyn. The new schools are a great idea. However, children who are already behind will not benefit. More emphasis has to be placed on quality early education for K through 8.

Are graduates of these schools guaranteed paid jobs or apprenticeships? If yes, it sounds great. If not, it sounds to me like we are just paying for 2 more unnecessary years of high school. We already have many "career" oriented high schools which seem to me to have been simply excuses for "play acting" about various careers and not learning basic math and English.

Ellie - Turtle Bay

The idea sounds good but I have 2 questions about it: #1. When on one side we have people teaching and receiving college professors' wages and on the other side we have students who do not pay college tuition, who picks up the tab? #2. Does the ridiculous amount of remedial courses our NYC HS graduates have to take at their colleges have anything to do with it?

Peter from Bayside

Spiro in Brooklyn here...

It's a great start but again the problems start in grade school. Far too little emphasis on actual education and too much prep on passing standardized tests that don't prove that even those students with the highest grades can think independently, analytically or creatively problem solve. We aren't raising leaders. We are just pushing kids through a strainer made up of test scores. I'd love to see even more trade schools for civil engineering or plumbing or culinary arts and I love they get out with an Associates but to the responsibility of educators isn't just to churn out the next cog in a machine. It's to create thinking human beings with the skills to survive, contribute and succeed in society.

The mayor has done nothing to improve the public schools. In fact I've come to the conclusion that bloomberg is out to deliberately hurt minority kids to further delay their progress into the professional arenas--if you will. I also believe that people bought into this notion if you have more money such as M Bloomberg you must know more than the next guy, therefore lets trust him. This man is arrogant to the core.

Fordham rd and sedgewick

Better quality schools are needed and if that means more money, so be it!

Malone, N.Y.

People are leaving the city. Kids education gets hurt by rent increases. It has gone up beyond repair.


College used to be open enrollment which after you completed 24 credit was applied to your college degree whatever happened to They did away with this and was not a good idea now they're bringing it back to high school can you understand how this is not a good thing , Everything is a game and the result is children are suffering. If you would look in the Hebrew Orthodox day school yeshiva you will find books written in Hebrew no pictures and those little small 456 and seven-year-olds are able to read this. Too much pictures in a book to take away the trial imagination because they cannot have the power to visually. When a small child sets out for education they need the power to think . By using their mind.

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