Archive | Special Projects

For Immigrants, Understanding American History Takes More than Facts and Figures

For Immigrants, Understanding American History Takes More than Facts and Figures

When ninth-grade history teacher Kevin Connell found out that the curriculum he was supposed to teach on the encounter between Europeans and the native population of the New World focused on the Incas, he quickly realized that he would have to shift emphasis to the Dominican Republic and its native population of Toinos. This past  Read more »

As the Job Changes, Tensions Grow and Teachers Seek Refuge in Classroom

As the Job Changes, Tensions Grow and Teachers Seek Refuge in Classroom

The subject of Tara O’Callaghan’s recent eighth-grade reading class is doubt. Specifically, students are reading “All of the Above,” Shelley Pearsall’s tale of a ragtag middle school math class that is counted out but defies the odds to build the world’s largest tetrahedron. Most of the students in O’Callaghan’s class can’t pronounce tetrahedron, but this  Read more »

Learning English Through World Events

Learning English Through World Events

Inside room 520 at Manhattan International High School, ninth grade students discussed the meaning of the word stereotype. “It is when you make a picture of someone you don’t know based on their skin color or race,” said a boy. “An example is when the French say Americans are fat,” added another student. “But this  Read more »

“Mayor Bloomberg doesn’t listen to parents like me.”

“Mayor Bloomberg doesn’t listen to parents like me.”

The mayor and his education adversaries have spent what is estimated to be nearly $3 million on competing TV ads–and it’s not even an election year. The ads are part of an advertising campaign between the United Federation of Teachers and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg centered on changing the hiring and firing practices of NYC teachers.  Read more »

Bridging the Divide

Bridging the Divide

On his first day of school as a special education teacher in Brooklyn four years ago, a colleague offered Doug Monroe a prayer. From “The Exorcist.” “I remember it vividly, because I was standing there waiting for the class to come in, and a paraprofessional from Central America with a very thick accent came and  Read more »

The Expectations of Private Funders

The Expectations of Private Funders

A teacher walks down the hallway in Sunset Park High School, one of dozens of public schools in recent years to receive money from private foundations. (Photo by Jason Alcorn)   “Are you looking for Melika?” a teenage boy asks. He’s kicked back on a lounge with a friend, the two of them resting their  Read more »

Behind the Numbers

Behind the Numbers

Over the past three decades, private money has played an inreasingly important role in the funding of public schools. Despite representing just over one percent of the current school budget, non-governmental funding has given private foundations unprecedented power to steer policy and spending decisions. in the last three years, increases in private spending on education have far outpaced increases in governmental spending.

Beyond Private Foundations: Parents and Corporate Partners Remain Hard at Work

Beyond Private Foundations: Parents and Corporate Partners Remain Hard at Work

  Foundations like Gates, Broad and Walton aren’t the only players in the effort to improve public education.  Both parents and corporate partners have been making long-term investments in advocating and paying for a better educational experience for America’s children.  But parents and corporations have very different agendas from the non-profit world and these agendas  Read more »

Videos

Videos

The three 7th and 8th grade Literacy teachers at P.S./I.S. 187 are redesigning the curriculum for next year, and are butting heads about which books should be taught. Some attribute the disagreements to a generation gap between them. Tara O’Callaghan, a sixth year teacher at P.S./I.S. 187, talks about “last in, first out,” and how  Read more »

Digital Learning Pilot Programs Attract Private Funding

Digital Learning Pilot Programs Attract Private Funding

Daria Ng is busy hammering out the curriculum for Let’s Talk Sustainability, a pilot program that will teach 15 students about ways to maintain the environment in just a few months. Yet, while the word “sustainability” may bring to mind images of flowers shinning in morning dew and sparkling freshwater lakes, students in this program  Read more »