City and State New York: a Preview of the 22-23 School Year

City and State New York is a daily compendium of news, New York City, New York State and Nation. Each year C & S hosts an Education Summit, education leaders discussing the issues of the moment. A packed audience listened to New York City Chancellor David Banks and a number of panels including State Commissioner Betty Rosa, UFT President Michael Mulgrew, Chairman of the State Senate NYC Education Committee John Liu, Chair of the City Council Education Committee Rita Joseph and Chair of the City Council Higher Education Committee Eric Dinowitz, among others. Read here.

I’ve sat through many of these events, new chancellors usually begin with what I call, “I was born in a log cabin …,” the “I’m really one of you …” introductory speeches. I’ve heard Banks give the speech a number of times and was therefore surprised and ecstatic, his speech today actually laid out the beginnings of sweeping new policies.

In May Banks spoke at his graduate school alma mater, CCNY, and I had an opportunity to speak with him, I emphasized our kids need jobs, not college debt, and, Banks enthusiastically agreed. He is following through on his plan, well; at least he has a plan, whether it comes to fruition only time will tell.

Banks:

“Schooling versus educating”

“Deeper connections”

“Mission: long term economic security, a force for change, a sense of possibility …”

“Student pathways to a bold future”

And introduced Jade Grieve, the Director of Student Pathways, described as,

Mission driven policy and strategy leader, with contemporary experience and insight on the intersection of education and economic opportunity. Track record of impact in philanthropy, nonprofit, business and government across the US and Australia, drawing on 15+ years experience in K-12 and postsecondary education, industry and regional development, employment and the future of work.

I bet the only University of Auckland graduate at the Department.

Banks made it clear, his plans are not a repackaging of vocational schools or career and technical education schools, and Banks sees internships across the school system and across the economy of the city, aggressive and visionary goals.

Banks went on to describe the new literacy initiative, pivot to phonics-based instruction and a major effort to identify and address dyslexia. In an earlier blog (Read here) I described the program and the challenges

“Mayor Adams announced a major program to address dyslexia, a learning disability which effects 20 percent of the population and represents 80–90 percent of all those with learning disabilities. It is the most common of all neuro-cognitive disorders.

The initiative:

  • School officials plan to develop a universal dyslexia screening program  nearly all students for dyslexia,
  • 80 elementary schools and 80 middle schools will receive additional support for addressing the needs of children with dyslexia.
  • The city will also open two new dyslexia programs — one at P.S. 125 Ralph Bunche in Harlem and the other at P.S. 161 Juan Ponce de Leon in the South Bronx — with a goal of opening similar programs in each borough by 2023.
  • Officials also plan to train all teachers, and will create a new dyslexia task force. School leaders are requiring school principals to pivot to a phonics-based literacy curriculum, which literacy experts say is the most effective way to teach reading to most children.
  •  

Dyslexia is a complex disorder, as with autism there is a spectrum of level of types of dyslexia. A common approach is structured literacy, Read here.

If the dyslexia screening program determines the student is on the dyslexia spectrum the student is designated, by law, as a student with a disability, a special education student.

[Correction: Screening and evaluation are legally different, see correction below:

This statement is inaccurate: “If the dyslexia screening program determines the student is on the dyslexia spectrum the student is designated, by law, as a student with a disability, a special education student.” No child is determined to have dyslexia on the basis of screening. In fact, the screenings currently available, while named “dyslexia screeners” (mainly for marketing purposes) are screenings for reading failure. In order to receive special education services, the law requires the child to be evaluated – not screened – in all areas of suspected disability. Even when screening identifies the child as at risk for reading failure, intervention, not special education evaluation, should generally be the first response. The parent, of course, always has the right to request an evaluation.

 Far more male Black students are “tested” into special education; the term is disproportionality,

Years of research point to inequities in education for students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, and students with disabilities. These inequities are particularly apparent when it comes to rates of discipline and special education enrollment. The term “significant disproportionality” is used to describe the widespread trend of students of certain racial and ethnic groups being identified for special education

Additionally, is the identification of children of color subject to implicit bias? The Role of Implicit Bias: Dyslexia Diagnosis and Race, Read here.

Dyslexia requires specific modes of instruction and requires identification of students and specific training of teachers, a major change from the current instructional methodologies.”

From presser to program is a huge leap. 

An afternoon panel was moderated by UFT President Michael Mulgrew and Michael didn’t dance, he asked the panelists to comment on the budget and class size legislation disputes with the mayor. John Liu, a State Senator, and former NYC Comptroller didn’t mince words,

Until we require DOE to use state funding properly and get class sizes within a range that is acceptable under the state constitution, we’ll still be in this same situation [of overcrowding,” said Senator Liu

Liu’s comment was greeted with loud, sustained applause.

One of the purposes of these events, one of the reasons for the large, diverse audience was the opportunity to network, to exchange cards, to exchange ideas, to realize we’re not alone, public school advocacy is alive and well, and has a winding path ahead.

One response to “City and State New York: a Preview of the 22-23 School Year

  1. This statement is inaccurate: “If the dyslexia screening program determines the student is on the dyslexia spectrum the student is designated, by law, as a student with a disability, a special education student.” No child is determined to have dyslexia on the basis of screening. In fact, the screenings currently available, while named “dyslexia screeners” (mainly for marketing purposes) are screenings for reading failure. In order to receive special education services, the law requires the child to be evaluated – not screened – in all areas of suspected disability. Even when screening identifies the child as at risk for reading failure, intervention, not special education evaluation, should generally be the first response. The parent, of course, always has the right to request an evaluaton.

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