Friday, November 19, 2010

Conflicted

Page 33 of today's Newsday has an article pointing out that 12th grade students read below the level of 1992's students.  Bush set a goal of every student reading at grade level by 2014  and Obama wants to set a goal of having the largest proportion of college graduates in the world.

Page 23 of the same paper has Blomberg saying he will eliminate 6000 teaching positions.

Sounds like a major conflict of priorities here.  But, what do I know.  I am one of those teachers whose position could be eliminated.  (If I decide to retire, I won't be replaced.)

Bloomberg targets jobs, services in NYC budget gap

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is aiming to bridge a multibillion-dollar budget gap by cutting thousands of jobs and trimming services to the bone, including eliminating overnight staffing at 20 fire companies, filling fewer potholes and shrinking library hours.
The mayor took his budget knife to the city spending plan in a November budget update released yesterday. The city is also hiking a variety of fees, including ones for parking, taxicab licenses and permits for using ballfields in city parks. Together, the moves shrink the projected deficit from $3.3 billion to $2.4 billion for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
The plan raises the city's annual pension reserve from $600 million to $1 billion, putting total pension contributions in the next fiscal year at $8.3 billion. Officials said more city employees have pensions, and are living longer after retirement.
Bloomberg warned in a statement this plan would not be the end of bad news.
"More spending reductions are going to be necessary, and we have to continue to reduce the number of employees we have by not filling positions," he said. "We simply cannot afford the size of our current workforce."
The budget shrinks the city's 300,000-person workforce by 2,100 jobs this year and 8,300 next fiscal year; that includes 6,200 layoffs and other reductions through attrition.
Job cuts are spread throughout the agencies, with more than 6,000 teaching positions being eliminated, along with 350 police department civilian posts, 200 supervisor jobs in the sanitation department and 200 jobs in the child welfare agency.
Within the transportation department, one proposal calls for more than 600 street maintenance workers to take a required one-week furlough, which the city said would result in 9,000 fewer potholes filled for the year.
The fire department expects to save $15 million by unstaffing 20 fire companies overnight, and redeploying those firefighters.
Libraries will be open fewer hours, and funding is being reduced for substance abuse outpatient treatment and in clinics that treat developmental disabilities.
Inmates at city correctional facilities will get fewer slices of bread each day - down from eight to six - for a savings of $350,000 a year, and some homeless shelters will be doubling up families into shared rooms, saving $1.7 million a year.
New Yorkers can also expect a number of fees to go up. Metered parking rates in Manhattan below 86th Street will rise from $2.50 to $3 per hour, and from 75 cents to $1 in all other parts of the city.
Welfare recipients who get city-subsidized child care will have to pay higher child-care co-payments - up from $5 to $15, generating an extra $13 million per year. Ballfield permit fees will rise from $16 to $25, pouring another $720,000 annually into city coffers. Taxi drivers will have to pay $84 for driver's licenses, up from $60, raising another $1 million annually.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said some of the budget proposals were on the right track, but expressed alarm at those that affect children, seniors and the poor.
The City Council does not have to approve the mayor's cuts.

12th-graders' reading scores below 1992 scores

MIAMI - A national education assessment released Thursday shows that high school seniors have made some improvement in reading, but remain below the achievement levels reached nearly two decades ago.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress, referred to at the Nation's Report Card, tested 52,000 students in reading and 49,000 in math across 1,670 school districts in 2009.
Students scored an average of 288 out of 500 points in reading comprehension, two points above the 2005 score but still below the 1992 average of 292. Thirty-eight percent of 12th-grade students were classified as at or above the "proficient" level, while 74 percent were considered at or above "basic." "Today's report suggests that high school seniors' achievement in reading and math isn't rising fast enough to prepare them to succeed in college and careers," U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said.
Cornelia S. Orr, executive director of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees development tests, said she was encouraged by the fact reading scores had gone up in recent years.
The trouble advancing student reading skills extends across grade levels. Reading scores for fourth- and eighth-grade students in 2009 were only four points higher than in 1992.
The No Child Left Behind law championed by President George W. Bush set a goal for every student to read and do math at their grade level by 2014, but the national assessment scores indicate students are still trailing significantly behind. In 2009, 33 percent of fourth-grade and 32 percent of eighth-grade students scored at the proficient level in reading.
In a statement, Duncan noted that President Barack Obama set a goal for the United States to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by the end of the decade, and that in a survey that accompanied the reading and math test, 86 percent of seniors said they expect to graduate college.
"They'll only succeed if we challenge and support them to raise their academic performance and offer them the financial support they need to pay for college," Duncan said.
He said he is confident that goal can be reached with the efforts the administration currently has under way, including providing $40 million in Pell Grants, and investing in efforts for states to create data systems to help track student performance.
The scores released Thursday also show that a stubborn achievement gap remains across racial and ethnic groups. There was no significant change in the score or gap in reading for black and or Hispanic students since 1992. White and Asian students both scored higher than they did in 2005.


2 comments:

MissGingie said...

May I link the article about the NYC reduction to my blog for a post?

Pissed Off said...

sure, link away