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November 03, 2009 : Daily News Clips

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  • Leonie Haimson
    _____ From: Feinberg Marge Sent: Tuesday, November 03, 2009 9:20 AM To: &News Clippings Subject: Daily News Clips Tuesday, November 03, 2009 INDEX Union nixes
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      From: Feinberg Marge
      Sent: Tuesday, November 03, 2009 9:20 AM
      To: &News Clippings
      Subject: Daily News Clips

       

       

      Tuesday, November 03, 2009

       

      INDEX 

       

      Union nixes $800G bond as school aides face the ax

      Daily News

      More than 500 school aides targeted by the city for layoffs could lose their jobs after the union decided not to post a court-ordered bond of nearly $800,000.

      "We felt posting the bond would be like asking the members to pay out their own money to keep their jobs," said Veronica Montgomery-Costa, president of Local 372 of District Council 37.

      http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2009/11/03/2009-11-03_union_nixes_800g_bond_as_school_aides_face_the_ax.html

       

      Bronx HS student shot going to lunch

      Daily News

      A Bronx high school senior who stepped out for lunch Sunday was shot in the shoulder during a robbery attempt, police said.

      Paul Ulloa, 16, walked out of Bronx Regional High School in Morrisania only to be jumped by a gun-toting man wearing a ski mask, a hoodie and gloves, according to the teen's anguished family.

      http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2009/11/03/2009-11-03_hs_student_shot_going_to_lunch.html

       

      No swine flu vaccine for private pre-K kids

      Daily News

      The city will not vaccinate 60% of prekindergarten kids for swine flu because their subsidized programs are not located in public schools, the Daily News has learned.

      About 33,300 of the city's 55,000 prekindergarten seats are in day care centers, churches and community-based organizations.

      http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2009/11/03/2009-11-03_no_vaccine_for_private_prek_kids.html

       

      What Do Good Teachers Need to Know?

      New York Times Blog

      The Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, wants to see “revolutionary” changes made to teacher training programs. How do you think teachers should be trained?

      An Op-Ed by the director of teacher education at Williams College proposes how to make the changes that Secretary Duncan called for, including this idea:

      http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/03/what-do-good-teachers-need-to-know/?scp=3&sq=education&st=cse

       

      Former Education Official Pleads Guilty to False-Statement Charges

      Wall Street Journal

      A former senior U.S. Education Department official pleaded guilty to conflict-of-interest and false-statement charges over his stock ownership in a student-loan company.

      Matteo Fontana, the former general manager for financial-partner services in Education Department's student-aid office, held as many as 10,500 shares of Education Lending Group Inc. when he became an department employee in 2002, prosecutors said. In 2004 and 2005, he sold shares in the company and received proceeds of almost $219,000, according to prosecutors.

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125720403027823983.html

       

      City gives school treats the heave-ho

      Junk-food staples of PTA fundraising ousted as bad choices

      Staten Island Advance

      STATEN ISLAND , N.Y. -- Whenever Bernadette Bueti walked into the Marsh Avenue Expeditionary Learning School , she was sure to get a warm welcome.

      After all, she was the one delivering treats to the students that day.

      http://www.silive.com/news/advance/index.ssf?/base/news/1257166811254490.xml&coll=1

       

       

      AROUND THE NATION

       

      Education jobs boost connected to stimulus

      Report details effects of funding in D.C., Va. , Md.

      Washington Post

      Federal economic recovery aid for education has created or saved more than 7,000 jobs in the District, Maryland and Virginia , according to a report by the government board assigned to keep track of stimulus spending, part of about 400,000 jobs preserved nationwide.

      The report by the Recovery, Accountability and Transparency Board provided the first state-by-state breakdown of the jobs saved with $67.6 billion in federal aid provided by the Department of Education to the states through Sept. 30.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/02/AR2009110202851.html?hpid=sec-education

       

      Higher higher ed

      Restructuring as an alternative to endless tuition hikes

      Washington Post Editorial

      CONSUMER PRICES fell 2.1 percent between July 2008 and July 2009, but college tuition kept going up. Students entering public four-year institutions this fall confront published tuition rates more than 6 percent higher than they were a year ago. Private colleges and universities ticked up 4.4 percent. To be sure, these figures apply to the "sticker price" of college only: grants and loans (many of them subsidized) cover much of the tab. But the contrast between the country's belt-tightening and higher ed's price hikes is striking nonetheless.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/02/AR2009110203442.html

       

      Conflict of Interest Arises as Concern in Standards Push

      Education Week

      A respected literacy-research organization is asking that a process be put in place to make more transparent potential conflicts of interest that writers of the common national academic standards might have, and to address them.

      The Literacy Research Association sent a letter Oct. 21 to the groups overseeing the development of common standards that, among other points, expresses concern that many of the authors are “representatives of multiple commercial entities that stand to profit enormously from selling curricula, instructional materials, assessments, and consultancies as the standards are rolled out.”

      http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2009/11/04/10conflict_ep.h29.html?tkn=ZPXFEW9cx9Qs6o7XkMMvETPLod8A%2FiOINi4N

       

       

       

       

      Union nixes $800G bond as school aides face the ax

      BY Meredith Kolodner

      Daily News

      November 3, 2009

       

      More than 500 school aides targeted by the city for layoffs could lose their jobs after the union decided not to post a court-ordered bond of nearly $800,000.

       

      "We felt posting the bond would be like asking the members to pay out their own money to keep their jobs," said Veronica Montgomery-Costa, president of Local 372 of District Council 37.

       

      "This is another opportunity to make the members and the union look like the villains," she said.

       

      The union sued the city after it gave pink slips to 530 school aides, who make an average of $20,000 a year, charging poor schools were being disproportionately hit.

       

      City officials said the layoffs, which will save $13.3 million of the Education Department's $18 billion budget, were necessary to absorb the mayor's citywide budget cuts.

       

      The union initially said it was pleased with the court ruling, which let the aides keep their jobs while the case was pending. The bond was to be posted in case the city won.

       

      Union officials said they were concerned that paying the bond would set a damaging legal precedent.

       

      City officials would not say if they would drop the hammer before the Nov. 24 hearing.

       

      "We are considering our options," said Georgia Pestana, the city's chief lawyer.

       

      "I don't feel that it's fair that they even tried to lay us off [in] the first place," said Angel Mateo, a school aide at Middle School 331 in the Bronx who lives in Soundview. "You have us on the brink here. What are we supposed to do?"

       

      "If I lose my job, then what?" said Kyraun Miller, an aide at Public School 165 in Brownsville , Brooklyn , who supports his wife and three young children. "I'm hanging by a string."mkolodner@...

       

       

       

      Bronx HS student shot going to lunch

      BY Kerry Burke and Jonathan Lemire

      Daily News

      November 3, 2009

       

      A Bronx high school senior who stepped out for lunch Sunday was shot in the shoulder during a robbery attempt, police said.

       

      Paul Ulloa, 16, walked out of Bronx Regional High School in Morrisania only to be jumped by a gun-toting man wearing a ski mask, a hoodie and gloves, according to the teen's anguished family.

       

      "He was trying to rob him of his leather coat," said the victim's brother Arnaldo Ulloa, 19.

       

      "Why did they have to pick onhim?" Arnaldo asked. "He wasn't bothering anybody - [they] could've taken his life."

       

      Paul Ulloa, who helps pay his family's bills by working as a busboy at an upper West Side restaurant, was listed in stable condition at Lincoln Hospital , officials said. The injured student's family said he hopes to attend John Jay College of Criminal Justice and then become an FBI agent.

       

      The gunman, who ran off without grabbing Paul's Pelle Pelle jacket, remains at large, police said.

       

      "The mask, the hood, the gloves ... it was so professional," said Yuri Batista, the victim's aunt. "I'm sure this guy is going to do it again."

       

       

       

      No swine flu vaccine for private pre-K kids

      BY Meredith Kolodner

      Daily News

      November 3, 2009

       

      The city will not vaccinate 60% of prekindergarten kids for swine flu because their subsidized programs are not located in public schools, the Daily News has learned.

       

      About 33,300 of the city's 55,000 prekindergarten seats are in day care centers, churches and community-based organizations.

       

      The community-based groups provide after-school care for working parents, and in some neighborhoods are used because the public schools are overcrowded.

       

      "It's unfair," said Shaun Seymour, whose 3-year-old son, Timothy, is in a pre-K program at Breukelen Recreation day care center in Brooklyn .

       

      "My pediatrician doesn't have the vaccine yet, so I think we should be given the option."

       

      Children between 6 months and 4 years old are not only in the highest risk group for infection, they are also the highest risk for complications. Kids attending pre-K programs in city schools will be getting the vaccine.

       

       

       

      What Do Good Teachers Need to Know?

      By Holly Epstein Ojalvo

      New York Times Blog

      November 3, 2009

       

      The Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, wants to see “revolutionary” changes made to teacher training programs. How do you think teachers should be trained?

       

      An Op-Ed by the director of teacher education at Williams College proposes how to make the changes that Secretary Duncan called for, including this idea:

       

          Teachers must also learn far more about children: typically, teaching students are provided with fairly static and superficial overviews of developmental stages, but learn little about how to watch children, using research and theory to understand what they are seeing. As James Comer, a professor of child psychiatry at Yale, has argued for years, if we disregard the developmental needs of our students it’s unlikely we’ll succeed in teaching them.

       

      Students: Tell us what knowledge and skills you think teachers need. Based on your perspective and experience, how can teachers-in-training become great teachers? Think about the best teachers you know: What qualities, knowledge and skills make them such good teachers?

       

       

      Former Education Official Pleads Guilty to False-Statement Charges

      By JOHN HECHINGER

      Wall Street Journal

      November 3, 2009

       

      A former senior U.S. Education Department official pleaded guilty to conflict-of-interest and false-statement charges over his stock ownership in a student-loan company.

       

      Matteo Fontana, the former general manager for financial-partner services in Education Department's student-aid office, held as many as 10,500 shares of Education Lending Group Inc. when he became an department employee in 2002, prosecutors said. In 2004 and 2005, he sold shares in the company and received proceeds of almost $219,000, according to prosecutors.

       

      Mr. Fontana's stock holdings came to light in the aftermath of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's 2007 investigation of allegedly improper payments and other inducements to colleges by Education Lending and other student-loan companies. Neither Mr. Montana's attorney nor Education Department officials could be reached for comment.

       

      Prosecutors said Mr. Fontana falsified disclosure forms required under federal ethics rules regarding that stock ownership and, in addition, helped Education Lending get approval for an expansion of its business, while he owned shares worth more than $15,000, in violation of federal rules.

       

      Mr. Fontana agreed to plead guilty to one misdemeanor charge of "making a false writing" and a second misdemeanor conflict-of-interest violation. The plea document says the government and the defendant agreed an appropriate sentence would include no prison time and a fine in the range of $85,000 to $115,000. A judge must approve the agreement.

       

       

      City gives school treats the heave-ho

      Junk-food staples of PTA fundraising ousted as bad choices

      By AMISHA PADNANI

      Staten Island Advance

      November 2, 2009

       

      STATEN ISLAND , N.Y. -- Whenever Bernadette Bueti walked into the Marsh Avenue Expeditionary Learning School , she was sure to get a warm welcome.

       

      After all, she was the one delivering treats to the students that day.

       

      "They said, 'Are you going to sell the ice cream today?'" said Ms. Bueti, the vice president of the school's Parent-Teacher Association. "The kids absolutely loved it."

       

      The once-weekly activity enhanced school spirit, raised funds for programs and gave the children something to look forward to after lunch on Fridays.

       

      But to the city Department of Education, it meant unnecessary calories, encouragement of poor eating habits and the potential for obesity.

       

      In fact, the DOE has placed restrictions on schools, limiting the types of foods that can be sold to students and when the sales can take place.

       

      That means PTAs that had ice cream Fridays and pretzel Wednesdays must change their menu to items like wasabi peas, Glenny's low-fat, lightly salted soy crisps, bananas or apples. Even then, the snacks can be offered only after the last lunch period. Anything else can be sold once a month after 6 p.m.

       

      Though the DOE sees the new rules as a proactive way to help students make nutritional choices, local PTAs say it will hinder their efforts to help schools.

       

      "We're not talking about anything more than $400 a month, but that money, especially now more than ever, is used to supplement money we're losing from budget cuts," said Diane Gallagher, the PTA President at PS 56, Rossville.

       

      With the funds, Ms. Gallagher said, the PTA has been paying for an arts program that teaches third-graders about dances through the centuries and fourth-graders about tenement housing. At the end of the curriculum, students put on a play.

       

       "I saw both programs, and they were remarkable," Ms. Gallagher said. "But that's something that we may not have anymore if we lose money through fundraising."

       

      The rules are part of a broader wellness policy the DOE will announce in the coming months, officials said. They were put into place after a state audit earlier this year lambasted the DOE for turning a blind eye to schools that were ignoring nutritional guidelines.

       

      The audit looked at 30 schools across the five boroughs, including PS 22 in Graniteville, Barnes Intermediate in Great Kills, Laurie Intermediate in New Springville and Wagner and Tottenville high schools.

       

      In some instances, cheeseburgers were being offered to students every day for lunch. In other cases, students were bypassing lunch altogether and heading straight for the vending machines to get candy.

       

      Along with enforcing new guidelines, DOE spokesman Will Havemann said the city signed a new contract with CC Vending, a company that will sell Pepsi drinks with no more than 10 calories per serving in elementary and middle schools and no more than 25 calories in high schools. Beverages with artificial sweeteners, caffeine or carbonation will not be allowed.

       

      He said the DOE has also been working to improve physical education opportunities by ensuring every school has a gym teacher and by creating sports teams in middle schools.

       

      "We want to teach students how to make healthy choices, starting at schools, and they should exercise that choice every single day," Havemann said. "We encourage parents who are chagrined about their fundraising prospects to consider the very numerous ways they can raise money in the school without selling junk food."

       

      Havemann said students' performance depends on their health, and referred to a report released last summer by the city Health Department stating that about 40 percent of Staten Island students are overweight or obese. Those with higher fitness levels had scored better on state tests.

       

      Still, many parents said offering ice cream once a week at schools wasn't the cause of obesity, and that the DOE should focus on nutritional education to teach students how to make choices rather than taking away something they enjoy. They also felt parental input should have been sought before the restrictions were put into place.

       

      John Curtis, treasurer of the PTA at PS 42, Eltingville, said parents sold ice cream only once a week, and then only after students had finished their lunch. The children enjoyed the opportunity to socialize over the treat, he said.

       

      "It just seems that the city wants to take the fun away from kids in schools," he said. "There's no other way to say it -- these rules just seem so drastic."

       

       

      AROUND THE NATION

       

       

      Education jobs boost connected to stimulus

      Report details effects of funding in D.C., Va. , Md.

      By Nelson Hernandez

      Washington Post

      November 3, 2009

       

      Federal economic recovery aid for education has created or saved more than 7,000 jobs in the District, Maryland and Virginia , according to a report by the government board assigned to keep track of stimulus spending, part of about 400,000 jobs preserved nationwide.

       

      The report by the Recovery, Accountability and Transparency Board provided the first state-by-state breakdown of the jobs saved with $67.6 billion in federal aid provided by the Department of Education to the states through Sept. 30.

       

      Education spending accounted for a large portion of the overall federal economic stimulus package, which injected $159 billion in grants and loans into the economy and had created or saved about 640,000 jobs, according to the board.

       

      Overall, about 400,000 jobs were retained or created through the education funding. According to figures given to the federal government by the states, 325,000 were education jobs -- teachers, principals and other educators -- and an additional 75,000 were other public service positions. The District estimated that it had preserved 141 jobs; Maryland kept 2,671 jobs; and Virginia retained 4,543 jobs, according to the report.

       

      Although Republicans and some critics have questioned the validity of the numbers, noting that unemployment is at 9.8 percent, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the funding had averted a "catastrophe" for states hit hard by the recession.

       

      "I shudder to think where we would be as a country if it were not for the [stimulus] funding," Duncan said in a telephone news conference Monday.

       

      But state officials across the country have said that they are facing enormous pressure as they head into the next fiscal year. The National Conference of State Legislatures reported that 27 states are forecasting shortfalls for fiscal 2011 that total at least $61 billion, with five more states predicting unspecified budget shortages. Widespread state cutbacks would threaten a major source of school revenue.

       

      The report did not provide the number of jobs lost despite the federal aid. A survey of 875 school systems by the American Association of School Administrators released last week found 13,422 positions slated for elimination in the 2009-10 school year.

       

      Bruce Hunter, the associate executive director for the association, said that the Education Department's figures were believable but that the crisis is far from over.

       

      "This year's going to be a day at the beach in comparison to next year," Hunter said. "We're hoping that they do some aggressive investment next year, because it will do what the stimulus did this year. It will keep a terrible situation from getting worse."

       

      Duncan said the Education Department will do what it can, but he did not make any promises.

       

      "We simply don't know where we are going to be down the road," Duncan said. "None of us have a crystal ball."

       

       

      Higher higher ed

      Restructuring as an alternative to endless tuition hikes

      Washington Post Editorial

      November 3, 2009

       

      CONSUMER PRICES fell 2.1 percent between July 2008 and July 2009, but college tuition kept going up. Students entering public four-year institutions this fall confront published tuition rates more than 6 percent higher than they were a year ago. Private colleges and universities ticked up 4.4 percent. To be sure, these figures apply to the "sticker price" of college only: grants and loans (many of them subsidized) cover much of the tab. But the contrast between the country's belt-tightening and higher ed's price hikes is striking nonetheless.

       

      The recession itself is a major cause. The downturn forced state governments to slash support for the public systems that more than 70 percent of undergraduates attend; it also shrank the endowments of private institutions. Congress and the Obama administration supplied aid to the states in the stimulus bill, plus $30.8 billion in extra tax credits and Pell grants for students. But this only partially mitigated the impact.

       

      Still, it would be a mistake to blame the spiraling cost of college education on short-term factors. This problem didn't start with the recession -- and it won't end with it, either. Annual tuition increases have been accelerating for three decades. Neither federal dollars, nor crisis budget-cutting nor endless tuition hikes -- nor any combination of the three -- represents a sustainable fix. If U.S. colleges and universities are to retain their international superiority, not to mention the confidence of their customers, they must adjust their business models accordingly. Beyond furloughs or shorter library hours, they must find structural savings -- through such reforms as creative scheduling, easier distance learning and more teaching by tenured faculty. As a 2006 report sponsored by the Education Department put it, "state funding for higher education will not grow enough to support enrollment demand without higher education addressing issues of efficiency, productivity, transparency and accountability clearly and successfully." College Board President Gaston Caperton greeted the news of the latest tuition hikes by calling on institutions to "increase their efforts to reduce costs."

       

      That doesn't mean Washington and the states should abandon colleges and universities because of cost. Nor does it mean that a private-sector-style approach to productivity is some sort of magical cure for higher education, which is difficult to standardize and shouldn't be automated. Among other problems, state schools also face high health and pension costs. But institutions must practice what they preach in freshman economics: There is no free lunch. Financial aid ultimately derives from state and federal budgets, or tax-deductible private contributions -- which means taxpayers. Costs racing ahead of inflation, enabled by cost-shifting to subsidized third parties -- it bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the health insurance mess. Given higher education's importance in equipping young people for productive employment and citizenship, it needs to find a way out of this trap.

       

       

      Conflict of Interest Arises as Concern in Standards Push

      By Mary Ann Zehr

      Education Week

      November 2, 2009

       

      A respected literacy-research organization is asking that a process be put in place to make more transparent potential conflicts of interest that writers of the common national academic standards might have, and to address them.

       

      The Literacy Research Association sent a letter Oct. 21 to

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