Education news. In context.
Diversity & Equity
Politics & Policy
Teaching & Classroom
Student & School Performance
Leadership & Management
Charters & Choice
Find a Job
How to be a Chalkbeat source
Republish Our Stories
Code of Ethics
Our News Partners
Work with Us
Updated November 13, 2015
Under de Blasio, no measures of success or failure for schools serving the neediest kids
Together, the schools enroll as many students as the city of Buffalo. Yet they have not received public report cards in two years.
November 10, 2014
City touts slight uptick in college readiness as new school reports go online
Slightly more students left high school last year ready for college or jobs, though fewer than one-third of graduates met the academic skill requirements of the city’s public university system, according to city data released Monday.
October 1, 2014
Under gentler rating system, schools will no longer be ranked or graded
The city has revamped the way it rates schools, schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced Wednesday, transforming school report cards into something more like online reviews.
c is for changes
June 30, 2014
Latest high school directory drops letter grades, signaling changes to come
As parents peruse the latest official listing of the city’s high schools, they will find new statistics about the share of students at each school who feel satisfied or who are on track to graduate. But unlike past years, they won’t find one much-debated metric: a school’s A-to-F letter grade.
April 12, 2014
100 days in, Fariña offers her vision for school accountability
After 100 days of running the city school system, Carmen Fariña took stock on Saturday, repeating her commitment to making teachers and principals feel respected and previewing changes to the Bloomberg-era system of school accountability.
November 20, 2013
Architects of school grades concede errors as overhaul looms
Warren Simmons, of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, speaks during a panel discussion about New York City's accountability system. Two architects of New York City's controversial school progress reports acknowledged on Tuesday that the accountability system they developed needs to change. Law school professor James Liebman, who devised the A-F grading system "from scratch" in 2007, said the school grades were initially useful as a "powerful motivator of educators to take responsibility" for student learning in their schools. But after six years of relying on a narrow set of data — primarily state test scores and graduation rates — to hold schools accountable, Liebman said now is a good moment for "toning down on performance management." Liebman's suggestions, which hewed closely to recommendations offered Tuesday by the Department of Education's chief academic officer Shael Polakow-Suransky, come as an overhaul looms for the controversial grading system. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has said he would do away with the school grades, although he hasn't yet said whether he would maintain the underlying data that contributes to them. Liebman and Polakow-Suransky appeared on a panel discussion hosted by the CUNY Institute for Education Policy, a think tank run by former state education chief David Steiner, at which Polakow-Suransky released a report called "What's Next for School Accountability in New York City?" The report outlined six areas for de Blasio to consider when he takes over in January.
November 19, 2013
Previewing Polakaw-Suransky on accountability after Bloomberg
In just a little while, Shael Polakow-Suransky, the number-two official in the city Department of Education, will explain his thoughts about the city’s school accountability…
November 13, 2013
Unprecedented third straight 'F' for struggling Boys and Girls HS
Chancellor Dennis Walcott and City Councilman Al Vann joined Boys and Girls High School Principal Bernard Gassaway to honor the school's boys basketball team for winning the city championships last year. Brooklyn's Boys and Girls High School earned the lowest mark on its city progress report today, making it one of just two schools ever to receive the failing grade three years in a row. The Department of Education has closed many schools that have netted F's since it began awarding the annual grades in 2007, but Boys and Girls has always managed to stay away from the chopping block. It will escape closure again this year, this time because the Bloomberg administration has simply run out of time to shutter any more low-performing schools. Instead, Chancellor Dennis Walcott is scheduled to appear Thursday at Boys and Girls, not to intervene in its academic program but to join the school's powerful supporters to cut the ribbon on a new health center there. But while other department officials previously have supported Principal Bernard Gassaway as he has annually promised improvements that have not materialized, Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky said today that a school with Boys and Girls' record should be "cause for serious concern." "I think sometimes when something's not working you need to look at bringing in a new team of educators in that school community," Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky of schools with a string of Fs. "It doesn't make sense that that would be off the table, but it's not really our decision to make." People close to the Bedford-Stuyvesant school said today that even though the city hasn't closed the school, the stigma from perennially being labeled as failing is doing the same job, just slowly.
November 13, 2013
Progress reports show stability as mayor-elect plans changes
Officials released what could be the city's final round of school grades today, emphasizing stability even as major changes are likely imminent. The Department of Education and City Hall will soon be full of new officials, and last year was chaotic for different reasons—Superstorm Sandy and the first round of the state's new, tougher Common Core-aligned exams. That meant today's release was marked by little fanfare and lowered stakes. The A to F grades and accompanying school progress reports are based mostly on calculations of student test scores, and they have become a signature of Mayor Bloomberg's focus on school accountability since the city began giving them out in 2007. But they may not stick around at all, as mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has promised to eliminate those grades and pause the school-closure process. So the 45 schools that received Fs and 102 that received Ds this year will not be considered for closure this year, as has become the norm.
November 13, 2013
Software engineering, not school grades, on Bloomberg’s agenda today
While a top deputy chancellor was briefing reporters about this year’s school progress reports, Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Dennis Walcott were in Midtown announcing…
November 13, 2013
New school grades mark possible end of an era in accountability
A school accountability era in New York City is going out not with a bang but with a technical briefing in the basement of the Department of Education's headquarters. That's where Deputy Chancellor Shael Polakow-Suransky will be unveiling this year's progress reports, the letter grades that the Bloomberg administration awarded annually to schools since 2007, to reporters. The setup is similar to what has happened in the recent past but a far cry from the early years of the progress reports, when Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein used to tout the scores — and their improvement from the previous year — with great fanfare. The letter grades are not the biggest school story today for Bloomberg and his current chancellor, Dennis Walcott. They're appearing together early this afternoon at a high school in Hell's Kitchen to announce a donation from AT&T to fund a new software engineering curriculum. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has said he wants to overhaul how schools are assessed, so today's grades could well be the last that schools receive, at least under the current system. What they show will become a lasting data point in Bloomberg's education legacy, along with the city's higher graduation rate and this year's dramatic test score decline because of the state's new standards.
November 12, 2013
Progress reports — potentially the last — come out Wednesday
The Bloomberg administration will issue its final round of school progress reports Wednesday, marking potentially the end of an era in school accountability. Mayor-elect Bill…
November 27, 2012
A list of lists about the data beneath the city's progress reports
As any teacher or student can attest, there's only so much that a letter grade can tell you about the person who earned it, even if it's an A. That's even more true for the city's progress report grades, released for the 2011-2012 school year on Monday. Schools get a single letter grade after the Department of Education crunches hundreds of data points, using complex algorithms to measure the schools against each other in addition to absolute standards. The department has a small fleet of officials generating the annual grades, and the spreadsheet containing the underlying data for this year's scores stretched to 240 columns. We sorted and re-sorted the spreadsheet to look at some of the city's many measures of school quality in different ways. Here are a few of the most interesting things we found — and leave a comment to share your data-driven observations. Four of the top five highest-scoring schools also made the top five last year (marked with an asterisk): It Takes A Village Academy (Brooklyn)* Manhattan Village Academy (Manhattan)* Academy for Careers and Television in Film (Queens) Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design (Brooklyn)* Brooklyn International High School (Brooklyn)* Four of the five lowest-scoring schools are in Manhattan: Academy for Social Action: A College Board School (Manhattan) Choir Academy of Harlem (Manhattan) Bread & Roses Integrated Arts High School (Manhattan) Boys and Girls High School (Brooklyn) High School of Graphic Communication Arts (Manhattan) At 49 schools, less than 5 percent of 2008's ninth-graders graduated this year ready for college. Of them, six got A's:
November 27, 2012
With old concerns still unresolved, six schools get new grades
Brooklyn's School for International Studies is among the schools under investigation over its 2010-2011 progress report data. Last year, the Department of Education withheld progress reports from seven schools because their data raised red flags. At the time, officials said the irregularities could have been caused by innocuous reporting errors. But they said the suspicious data could also reflect cheating. The department makes important decisions about which schools should be closed, and which principals should receive pay boosts, based on the progress reports. Investigations were launched. And a year later, all but one of the schools have new progress reports, released yesterday, but still don't have their 2010-2011 reports. At a briefing on this year's progress report release, department officials said those investigations are still unresolved, and they're opening up a new one at a Bronx high school accused of fudging its numbers. "The goal of the investigation is to get it right," Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky said, explaining why the investigators have so far taken more than a year to look into the irregularities. "We're going to take the time we need to get it right."
November 26, 2012
Officials: A's reflect successes, but standards may be too low
It wasn't easy for high schools to keep their graduation rates or progress grades up this year. For the first time, most students were required to pass five Regents exams before graduating, and schools' college readiness rates were factored into their overall progress scores. Still, 72 percent of schools received As and Bs—up from 64.4 percent last year.
In your inbox.
Chalkbeat New York
How I Teach
Rise & Shine Colorado
Rise & Shine Detroit
Rise & Shine Indiana
Rise & Shine Tennessee
The Starting Line