Here's How Mayor de Blasio Hopes to Educate Your Toddlers in the Future

courtesy of Kristin Eno
"If we want social cohesion, if we want hope and possibility, do even more for early childhood education. That's what Reggio Emilia taught us. That's what we can carry on today." — Mayor Bill de Blasio

"What is that noise?" Evelyn Salzman asks her mother. She is listening to the tip-tap of shoes on a stairway.

More »

Charter Schools CEO Incorporates Soccer Just as NYC FC Looks to City's Youth Programs

Photo courtesy Success Academy
Boris Bozic and his students
Success Academy Charter Schools, which has won praise for its students' academic achievements, has quietly launched a soccer program after recruiting a coach from one of Manhattan's most successful youth teams.

The timing is delicious: With New York City FC making its Major League Soccer debut on March 15 at Yankee Stadium — and, in the process, becoming the latest professional team in the Tri-State region (joining the Red Bulls and their newly established USL Pro squad, Red Bulls II, as well as the New York Cosmos) — fútbol is having its latest moment in New York. Success Academy is hoping for the same high level of success on the soccer field as it gets in the classroom.

Which might make Eva Moskowitz the most important soccer mom in the city.

More »

Meet the Two New Yorkers Who Are Starting a Preschool for Adults

Categories: Culture, Education

Courtesy of Michelle Joni Lapidos.
These women want to transport you back to a time of glitter and glue and everything nice.

Michelle Joni Lapidos is the girl who would not grow up.

More »

Student Activism in U.S. on Rise; CUNY History Prof Creates Google Map to Prove It

Categories: Education

Photo by Jesse Myerson via Twitter @JAMyerson, used with permission
A mass walkout on December 1: Just one facet of what CUNY historian Angus Johnston calls an "extraordinary autumn for student activists"

A historian at the City University of New York who specializes in student activism has created a nifty Google map that charts 50 student protests, walkouts, and demonstrations that have transpired nationwide over the past four months -- and the landscape is illuminating.

"We are in a moment of an uptick of student organizing," Angus Johnston tells the Voice. Johnston created the map in order to provide a visual sense of the magnitude of the movement. "A lot of these protests fly beneath everybody's radar, never make it into the national news, and never get to people [who are] plugged into stuff on the national level."

More »

There Aren't as Many Rats as Humans in NYC. Stop Saying That

Photo credit: Arian Zwegers via Compfight cc
A recent study estimates that there are about 2 million rats in New York City, thus busting the urban myth that there are as many rats as people -- around 8 million -- in the Big Apple.

More »

Louis C.K. Went On An Amazing Twitter Rant Against Standardized Testing and the Common Core

Image via Wikimedia Commons
Louis C.K.
Everyone hates the Common Core, a set of "educational standards" that 44 states have adopted for their K-12 students. Really. Everyone. The ultra right hates it because it's a sinister Obama-controlled conspiracy designed to enslave our children and turn them into Communist Socialist hivemind robots, while the rest of the country despises it because of common sense. Common Core questions take happy subjects like math and reading and turn them into strange, contorted, logic- and linguistics-defying puzzles, designed to leave your fourth-grader weeping in frustration over a wadded-up page of fractions. (Take a look at some sample math questions for New York state's third graders, if you'd like to feel your stomach clench in vicarious anxiety).

Legions of frustrated parents are tired of struggling to help their children understand absurd word salad like "Which is a related subtraction sentence?". Louis C.K. is among them; the comedian has two grade-school age children and a deep, festering, entirely understandable rage towards how they're being asked to learn.

More »

NYC Charter School Enrollment: from 2K to 59k in a Decade

Categories: Education

naosuke ii via Compfight cc
During the 2002-2003 school year, 2,400 kids attended a charter school in New York City. Last year, 59,000 kids did.

Over that time, enrollment in traditional public schools and in Catholic schools dropped.

The stats, released in a recent Independent Budget Office analysis and first reported by the Daily News, quantify that rapid shift in the education landscape that Mayor Bill de Blasio tried to stop before quickly giving up. Never a good look to appear to stand between parents and their children's education.

More »

Here's What It Looks Like When Reverend Billy and His Choir Visit a Harvard Drone Lab to Cast Out the Demons [Updated]

All photos by Minister Erik McGregor
The Queen Bee, Reverend Billy and choir enter the lab building.
When we last heard from anti-consumerist preacher Reverend Billy and his Stop Shopping Gospel Choir, he was in a spot of legal trouble. In recent years, the choir's message has shifted away from the evils of individual consumerism and focused instead on corporate greed, staging special sermons for the big businesses that profit from the ruination of the planet. In October, that message landed him and music director Nehemiah Luckett in jail, after the choir visited a Chase Bank wearing toad hats and singing about the destruction of the earth (Chase has enthusiastically financed mountain-top removal, a particularly damaging form of mining.)

Reverend Billy and Luckett were charged with inciting a riot and menacing, among other charges, and faced up to a year in jail. Eventually, they were able to plead the charges way down: Reverend Billy plead to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to one day of community service, while Luckett's case was dismissed on the proviso that he stay out of trouble for six months.

"What a bush-league resolution that was," Reverend Billy told us cheerily, one morning not long ago. "I don't feel great about it. I get sick of the boredom." He compares the legal process to "death by a thousand cuts," with its endless trips to the courthouse.

Now, the Reverend says, "We've got to get back to work here. The honey bees are dying." The choir is back with a new campaign: drawing attention to the plight of the world's bees, who are dying off at alarming rates. To kick things off, they visited a Harvard lab yesterday, where they attempted to cast out its demons through song.

More »

Manhattan Had Biggest Common Core Knowledge Gap Among Boroughs, Says Study

Categories: Education

HBO's "The Wire."
The Common Core test, implemented in New York City public schools for the first time last year, caused a stir because much fewer students passed it than the previous version. It set a higher standard for what a student should know, suggesting that past scores were inflated and the education system was all along worse than even what we'd suspected.

The overall score drop, however, was not equal across the board. The knowledge gap was present as always, and black and Hispanic kids had steeper falls than white and Asian kids. For instance, the math proficiency rate dipped 30.5 percent among black sixth graders and 33 percent among Hispanic sixth graders. The rate among Asian and white students in that age group decreased by 24.7 and 29.6, respectively.

The gap wasn't even across the boroughs either, according to a study released this month by the National Urban Research Group.

More »

Esaul Ortiz, Student Shot at Bronx High School, Sues City

NYC Department of Education
Bronx Regional High School
Around noon on December 10, 2012, 19-year-old Esaul Ortiz was shot in front of Bronx Regional High School. The bullet hit the student in the arm and he survived. Two days later, police arrested then-17-year-old Larry Adeyanju, who is currently awaiting trial for charges including criminal weapons possession and assault with intent to cause serious injury.

Meanwhile, Ortiz seeks to hold the school responsible as well. Last week, he filed a complaint against the Department of Education and the city for negligence and "their failure to provide a reasonably safe environment."

More »