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July 31, 2008 News Clips

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  • Leonie Haimson
    _____ From: White Mary F. on behalf of Communications Sent: Thu 7/31/2008 10:37 AM To: &News Clippings Subject: News Clips Thursday, July 31, 2008 INDEX Double
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 31, 2008

       


      From: White Mary F. on behalf of Communications
      Sent: Thu 7/31/2008 10:37 AM
      To: &News Clippings
      Subject: News Clips

       

      Thursday, July 31, 2008

       

      INDEX 

       

      Double Dutch Gets Status in the Schools

      New York Times

      The rhythmic clicking of double-dutch ropes smacking the tennis court the other day at the Grand Street Campus High School in Bushwick drew 13-year-old Stephanie Moronta like a siren’s call. She edged closer to the ropes, rocking back and forth on her heels before lunging into the whirling center.

      “I stopped doing this for a while, so I’m kind of rough,” Stephanie explained as she untangled her feet from the doubled-over orange rope. “If you hear the rhythm, you just flow right into it.”

      http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/31/education/31double.html?_r=1&ref=education&oref=slogin

       

      MIKE PLANS OVERHAUL OF VOCATIONAL SCHOOLS

      New York Post

      The city plans to do some tinkering with its trade schools.

      Mayor Bloomberg announced an overhaul of the city's vocational schools yesterday to make them more academically challenging, soliciting private funds and opening three new ones.

      Acknowledging mixed results for the city's 21 schools dedicated to career and technical training - which serve about 30,000 kids - Bloomberg also called for a greater partnership between the automotive, construction and other industries and the schools.

      http://www.nypost.com/seven/07312008/news/regionalnews/mike_plans_overhaul_of_vocational_school_122375.htm

       

      Career Schools Get Boost From Bloomberg

      New York Sun

      Mayor Bloomberg is endorsing a plan to raise the profile of career training programs in the city schools.

      The plan is outlined in a report by a mayoral task force on career education released yesterday. The task force was co-chaired by the Mayor Dinkins and the chairman of New York Life, Sy Sternberg.

      Career schools are updated versions of vocational schools that educate students in specific skills — offering hands-on experience as well as internships — but also try to prepare them for college.

      http://www.nysun.com/new-york/career-schools-get-boost-from-bloomberg/82947/

       

      A GIFT TO THE UFT

      New York Post Editorial

      City Comptroller Bill Thompson says he's found wasteful spending and sloppy bookkeeping in the $4.8 million spent on travel last year by the Department of Education's central office.

      None of the discrepancies were egregious, and DOE officials largely agreed with the findings - and have begun implementing procedural changes.

      No real harm, no real foul? Not exactly.

      http://www.nypost.com/seven/07312008/postopinion/editorials/a_gift_to_the_uft_122410.htm

       

      Brooklyn School To Expand To Ease Overcrowding

      NY1 

      The city is annexing a Brooklyn school to help ease overcrowding.

      Schools Chancellor Joel Klein says an addition will be built on P.S. 8 in Brooklyn Heights by 2011.

      Local officials applaud the move as a testament to the success and growing popularity of the previously underperforming school.

      The expected costs for the project are included in the current capital plan, and funding for the construction will come out of the next five-year budget, which begins next year.

      http://www.ny1.com

       

      Brooklyn Heights ’ Overcrowded P.S. 8 To Get New Building

      Annex Expected by 2011 24,000 Classroom Seats to be Added Citywide Over Next Two Years

      Brooklyn Daily Eagle

      BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — Four or five years ago, you couldn’t pay local families to send their children to the “underperforming” P.S. 8 in Brooklyn Heights . Since the school’s remarkable turnaround, however, little P.S. 8 has become a seriously overcrowded victim of its own success.

      Tuesday morning, even as the playground was being cleared for the installation of a portable classroom, Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein announced at a press conference that the Department of Education (DOE) would build a school annex in the parking lot next to the main building.

      http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=27&id=22151

       

      Calif. at the forefront of ed trends

      U.S. News & World Report

      When it comes to education, California likes to be ahead of most trends. But sometimes state lawmakers get a little carried away.

      Last week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed two separate bills that, for better or for worse, would have firmly cemented California 's reputation as an education trendsetter. One bill would have required schools to carve out time specifically for teaching kids about climate change; the other would have allowed teachers to hand out rewards--possibly movie and restaurant coupons or tickets to concerts and sporting events--for good scores on standardized tests.

      http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2008/07/30/2008-07-30_calif_at_the_forefront_of_ed_trends.html

       

      Body of female recovered off Coney Island shore is missing swimmer

      Daily News

      The body of a 10-year-old girl who disappeared in the waters off Coney Island was recovered Wednesday, police said. The remains of Akira Johnson were spotted floating near Beach 15th St. and Riegelman Boardwalk in Brighton Beach , Brooklyn , by a fisherman about 2:45a.m., cops said.

      The medical examiner identified the body and determined that little Akira, of Coney Island , had drowned after she was pulled under by a rip current Saturday.

      http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/brooklyn/2008/07/30/2008-07-30_body_of_female_recovered_off_coney_islan.html

       

      Body of girl caught in Coney Island riptide recovered

      Newsday

      The body of a 10-year-old Brooklyn girl who was caught in a riptide and swept offshore Saturday while swimming in Coney Island was recovered on a beach yesterday morning not far from where she went missing, police said.

      Akira Johnson's body was recovered at 2:45 a.m. Wednesday, New York City police said. A positive identification was later made by the medical examiner.

      http://www.newsday.com/services/newspaper/printedition/thursday/news/ny-ligirl315783199jul31,0,10185.story

       

      Authorities ID Body As Missing Queens Swimmer

      WNBC

      NEW YORK -- Authorities have identified a body pulled from the water as that of a man who disappeared while swimming at a Queens park .

      The New York City medical examiner's office said Tuesday that Devon Flanders accidentally drowned. Flanders was swept away Friday at Jacob Riis Park . His body was found Monday.

      http://www.wnbc.com/news/17029314/detail.html

       

      Despite feds' findings, artificial turf concerns remain

      Newsday

      The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has determined that children are not at risk from exposure to lead in "blades" of artificial turf grass fields, including rubber crumb types popular on Long Island .

      But questions remain about potential harm from lead and other chemicals, such as cadmium, zinc and benzene, from tires used to make crumbs that cushion those fields.

      http://www.newsday.com/services/newspaper/printedition/thursday/news/ny-liturf315783184jul31,0,4391908.story

       

      New York ’s Next Fiscal Crisis

      Mayor Bloomberg needs to prepare the city for the crash of the Wall Street gravy train.

      City Journal

      New York City , dependent on Wall Street for a quarter-century, has gotten used to harsh cyclical economic downturns, including the lending contraction in the early nineties and the bursting technology bubble in 2000. But today’s turmoil may be not a cyclical downturn for Wall Street but instead the beginning of an era of sharply lower profits as it rethinks its entire business model. If so, it will produce the biggest economic adjustment and fiscal challenge that New York has confronted in more than three decades. If the city’s leaders don’t recognize this challenge and move quickly to meet it, New York could soon face an acute fiscal crisis rivaling its near-bankruptcy in the mid-seventies.

      http://www.city-journal.org/2008/18_3_ny_fiscal_crisis.html

       

      This Recess Is Really From Accountability

      Wall Street Journal Letter to the Editor

      Regarding Reg Weaver's July 24 letter responding to "Wrong Education Fix" (Review & Outlook, July 12): The Business Coalition for Student Achievement (BCSA) could not disagree more. The president of the National Educational Association claims that H.R. 6239, "The Recess for NCLB Until Reauthorization Act," introduced by Reps. Tim Walz and Sam Graves does not undermine education accountability.

      While he may be correct in stating that the proposal would not suspend the law's testing or reporting requirements, the bill would in fact end the most important components of accountability -- the actions and interventions which must take place to improve student achievement in schools still not making the grade.

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121746669458299283.html

       

       

      $8.4M school bonanza up for grabs

      Hearing at Petrides attracts around 40 advocating varied uses for state money in borough

      Staten Island Advance

      STATEN ISLAND , N.Y. -- Everyone wanted a piece of the pie and they all had ideas on how they could get it, too.

      About 40 teachers, parents and community leaders showed up at a public hearing last night at the Michael J. Petrides School to criticize -- and occasionally praise -- the Department of Education for its plans on how to allocate $386 million in Contracts for Excellence funds.

      http://www.silive.com/news/advance/index.ssf?/base/news/121742010949400.xml&coll=1

       

      City hopes to open 5 vocational schools by September 2009

      Staten Island Advance

      STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE -- Vocational schools aren't just for dropouts and underachievers -- that's a message city officials want to impart.

      One of the main goals outlined in a report released yesterday said vocational schools should instead be thought of as places where students have more choices: They can either go on to college or they can join the workforce right after graduation.

      http://www.silive.com/news/advance/index.ssf?/base/news/121750380781420.xml&coll=1

       

       

      AROUND THE NATION

       

      Environmental education gets a green light

      Gannett News Service

      WASHINGTON — At Hope Community Charter School, pre-kindergarten students are taught to recycle and fill out math worksheets with an environmental theme. Across town at private Sidwell Friends School , sixth-graders in science class race solar-powered cars and record their fastest times.

      Learning green means different things in different classrooms, whether it's in a public charter school housed in a former warehouse alongside railroad tracks or in an exclusive academy former first daughter Chelsea Clinton attended.

      http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2008-07-31-environmental-learning_N.htm

       

      Costs, concerns push schools to use eco-friendly elements

      Gannett News Service

      WASHINGTON — Waterless urinals. Geothermal cooling systems. Photovoltaic solar panels.

      The space shuttle? Try your child's school.

      Classrooms are slowly going green, prodded by rising energy bills, public health concerns and a general desire to adopt eco-friendly principles. Green schools cost a little more to build — generally 1% to 2% extra — than conventional schools but promise payback through lower utility bills and, some studies suggest, better student achievement.

      http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2008-07-31-green-schools_N.htm

       

       

       

       

      Double Dutch Gets Status in the Schools

      By WINNIE HU

      New York Times

      July 31, 2008

       

      The rhythmic clicking of double-dutch ropes smacking the tennis court the other day at the Grand Street Campus High School in Bushwick drew 13-year-old Stephanie Moronta like a siren’s call. She edged closer to the ropes, rocking back and forth on her heels before lunging into the whirling center.

       

      “I stopped doing this for a while, so I’m kind of rough,” Stephanie explained as she untangled her feet from the doubled-over orange rope. “If you hear the rhythm, you just flow right into it.”

       

      Stephanie was practicing double dutch, an urban street staple that dates back centuries and, come next spring, will become the newest of 35 varsity sports played in New York City schools. As part of an effort to increase the number of students — particularly girls — participating in competitive athletics, the city will create coed double-dutch teams at 10 high schools, many in predominantly black neighborhoods like Bushwick, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Harlem where the ropes have long swung on asphalt playgrounds.

       

      Double dutch follows cricket, which was added last year and is now played by more than 400 students at 14 schools, including the elite Stuyvesant High School .

       

      School officials said they were also considering cycling, badminton and netball for varsity sports.

       

      Nearly 33,000 students, about 10 percent of the high school population, play on varsity or junior varsity teams, compared with more than a third in many suburban districts.

       

      “As an urban district, we need to be creative in an urban kind of way, and double dutch does that for us,” said Eric Goldstein, who oversees the Public Schools Athletic League, the governing body for the city’s interscholastic sports. “If you see people doing it, it looks hard and it is hard.”

       

      Kyra D. Gaunt, who wrote “The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double-Dutch to Hip-Hop” (N.Y.U. Press, 2006), said that recognizing double dutch as a sport not only taps into something that many children are passionate about, but also gives a nod to the influence of black culture. “They’re helping to regenerate a tradition in the black community and legitimize it in the eyes of a lot of parents,” she said.

       

      Dr. Gaunt, an associate professor of anthropology and black music studies at Baruch College , said that she avoided double dutch as a child because she was so bad at it but that she relearned it while writing her book. She said the appeal of double dutch was that anyone could do it, and that once mastered, it lent itself to individual expression through fancy footwork and dance routines.

       

      Double dutch is believed to have been first played by Dutch settlers along the Hudson River and was later given the name “double dutch” by the British, according to a history of the game written by David A. Walker, a former New York City police sergeant who was one of its biggest advocates for more than three decades.

       

      Mr. Walker, who died last week, wrote that double dutch once thrived in the city’s neighborhoods, with children singing rhymes while turning ropes and jumping along sidewalks during World War II. But by the late 1950s, he wrote, its popularity had waned in part because of a shortage of playgrounds near apartment buildings.

       

      Mr. Walker developed rules for competition so that double dutch could be played by girls as an intramural sport in the city schools. In 1974, the first double-dutch tournament drew nearly 600 children. Today, the Apollo Theater in Harlem hosts competitions that draw teams from around the world.

       

      “Double dutch has always been a part of our everyday recreation,” said Mr. Walker’s daughter, Lauren. “Just as guys would go off to the schoolyard and shoot hoops and play stickball, girls would just pull out their ropes and start jumping.”

       

      Ms. Walker is the program director for the National Double Dutch League, an organization started by her father that holds competitions, youth clinics and coaching workshops. It also has a demonstration team, called the Dynamic Diplomats of Double Dutch, that performs internationally with members ranging from teenagers to adults in their 30s.

       

      School officials said they would work with the double-dutch league to develop rules and a scoring system for interscholastic competition. Double-dutch teams typically have two turners and one or two jumpers, and they earn points for their speed, technique in executing routines and acrobatic feats like flips and cartwheels.

       

      Mr. Goldstein is also negotiating with the developer Forest City Ratner to sponsor the double-dutch teams by providing $10,000 for uniforms, ropes and other equipment.

       

      The first double-dutch team has already formed at Bedford Academy High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where 14 girls and 2 boys signed up even before the official announcement by the athletic league last weekend, said Shani Newsome, a physical education teacher who will coach the team.

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      Multimedia

      Play Ball! (Or Run, Jump, Row, Kick, Spike, Lunge, Toss ...)Graphic

      Play Ball! (Or Run, Jump, Row, Kick, Spike, Lunge, Toss ...)

       

      In December 2006, several double dutch teams competed at the Apollo Theater in Harlem .

      Watch the Video ยป

       

      Ms. Newsome, 32, grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant and recalled scavenging clothes lines because they were long enough to use for double dutch and once borrowing a spare cord from a telephone repairman. “In Bed-Stuy it’s an unspoken rule that you have to learn how to jump rope,” she said. “You can’t stay outside if you don’t know how to double-dutch.”

       

      Now Ms. Newsome is showing the ropes to a new generation, including the daughters of her friends and her own 9-year-old son, William. She said that her varsity team would not just be jumping, but also running and lifting weights to build muscles.

       

      On Tuesday afternoon, Ms. Newsome was expertly turning ropes while a half-dozen teenage girls tried jumping at a summer camp at the Bushwick high school. “Who can jump in?” she called out as the girls peppered her with questions:

       

      Does the rope hurt? (It can.)

       

      Was the rope wobbling too much in the wind? (It was.)

       

      Calixta Crowder, 10, who lives in the Flatbush neighborhood, described double dutch as “medium hard” but said she liked that “whenever you mess up, you get to try again and you get better at it.”

       

      Stephanie, who wore a black T-shirt and cropped jeans, worked her way up to nearly a minute of uninterrupted jumping. She said that she learned to jump rope at age 8 by watching friends in her neighborhood, and that this summer, she had been trying to double-dutch every few days in a park near her family’s apartment.

       

      “I know a lot of people who like to double-dutch and can do it,” said Stephanie, who will be in the eighth grade and is already planning to try out for the double-dutch team when she gets to high school. “It’s going to be exciting going up against other schools. I’m a competitive person, and I really hate to lose.”

       

       

      MIKE PLANS OVERHAUL OF VOCATIONAL SCHOOLS

      By YOAV GONEN

      New York Post

      July 31, 2008

       

      The city plans to do some tinkering with its trade schools.

       

      Mayor Bloomberg announced an overhaul of the city's vocational schools yesterday to make them more academically challenging, soliciting private funds and opening three new ones.

       

      Acknowledging mixed results for the city's 21 schools dedicated to career and technical training - which serve about 30,000 kids - Bloomberg also called for a greater partnership between the automotive, construction and other industries and the schools.

       

      Based on recommendations from a task force he convened earlier this year to bolster the sagging vocational program, Bloomberg also called on the schools to prepare students not just for trades but also for higher education - with the assistance of CUNY.

       

      Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum welcomed the move.

       

      "I'm glad to see the Bloomberg administration taking [vocational schools] on so seriously," she said.

       

       

      Career Schools Get Boost From Bloomberg

      By ELIZABETH GREEN, Staff Reporter of the Sun | July 31, 2008

      New York Sun

      July 31, 2008

       

      Mayor Bloomberg is endorsing a plan to raise the profile of career training programs in the city schools.

       

      The plan is outlined in a report by a mayoral task force on career education released yesterday. The task force was co-chaired by the Mayor Dinkins and the chairman of New York Life, Sy Sternberg.

       

      Career schools are updated versions of vocational schools that educate students in specific skills — offering hands-on experience as well as internships — but also try to prepare them for college.

       

      Proponents say they do a better job than traditional high schools at motivating students to do well in school by giving them concrete reasons to succeed.

       

      The city already has 21 full-time career-tracked schools, but the task force report argues that the schools are limited by the city's Department of Education's "red tape."

       

      The recommendations endorsed by Mr. Bloomberg yesterday would allow career schools to build their own graduation requirements and would make it easier for industries such as health care, finance, and tourism to work with the schools. The task force also suggests building more career "awareness" into middle schools.

       

      The changes would be tested at about five model career schools to be opened in the fall of 2009.

       

       

      A GIFT TO THE UFT

      New York Post Editorial

      July 31, 2008

       

      City Comptroller Bill Thompson says he's found wasteful spending and sloppy bookkeeping in the $4.8 million spent on travel last year by the Department of Education's central office.

       

      None of the discrepancies were egregious, and DOE officials largely agreed with the findings - and have begun implementing procedural changes.

       

      No real harm, no real foul? Not exactly.

       

      Sure, the money involved is trivial, given the vast sums that routinely are wasted in this city.

       

      What's important is that, about a year from now, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein will be fighting a pitched battle to renew mayoral control of the schools - and the future of public education in the city will likely hinge on the outcome.

       

      Longstanding opponents of mayoral control - the folks at the United Federation of Teachers and others who would dearly love to restore the old, dead-end status quo - are already gearing up for battle. And you can count on them to use every weapon at their disposal to undo all the good that Klein and Mayor Bloomberg have done.

       

      The last thing Klein needs to do is hand them ammunition for the fight.

       

      Fiscal sloppiness in the department's central office is just such a gift.

       

       

      Brooklyn School To Expand To Ease Overcrowding

      NY1 

      July 29, 2008

       

      The city is annexing a Brooklyn school to help ease overcrowding.

       

      Schools Chancellor Joel Klein says an addition will be built on P.S. 8 in Brooklyn Heights by 2011.

       

      Local officials applaud the move as a testament to the success and growing popularity of the previously underperforming school.

       

      The expected costs for the project are included in the current capital plan, and funding for the construction will come out of the next five-year budget, which begins next year.

       

       

       



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