NYC DOE

Special education: how students and their teachers are shortchanged

Jia Lee, NYC special education teacher and union activist, talks about the unfairness of the Fair Funding Formula, the school-to-prison pipeline, and the tendency of schools to re-traumatize vulnerable students. She also highlights the contrast between NYC Chancellor Carranza’s call for more culturally responsive classrooms and the City’s newly-mandated MAP tests, and the gap between what the United Federation of Teachers does and what it could do.

Special education: how students and their teachers are shortchanged

 
 
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Paula Rogovin: Creating a social justice early childhood classroom

We speak with Paula Rogovin, who taught kindergarten and first grade in NYC public schools for 44 years. Paula empowered the youngest students to become researchers and activists. She encourages students to ask questions (“anything goes”) and research is interdisciplinary, comprising literature, social studies, art, music, and science. Cultural relevance evolves organically from the research. When students discover injustices, Paula encourages them to channel their anger to become agents of change. Paula’s advice for new teachers, “Teach what you are required to teach, and stretch it.”

Paula Rogovin: Creating a social justice early childhood classroom

 
 
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José Jiménez on gender diversity and sexual identity in elementary schools

We speak with José Luis Jiménez, principal of A.C.E. Academy for Scholars, PS 290, in Queens. A queer educator of color, he came out to his students during Pride Month in 2017. If a community is truly welcoming to all, he thought, “you don’t “check a part of yourself at the door.” José encourages his teachers to design cohesive and culturally-responsive project-based curricula. He is a Deeper Learning Equity Fellow.

José Jiménez on gender diversity and sexual identity in elementary schools

 
 
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Kiersten Greene on technology in schools: “Are we doing our homework?”

We speak with Dr. Kiersten Greene, Associate Professor of Literacy Education at SUNY New Paltz, about classroom internet use. Electronic tech’s transformational possibilities can go unfulfilled as schools buy and use tools and materials without evaluating whether they are effective or meet teachers’ needs. Huge funding sources like New York’s Smart Schools bond issue fund purchases but not professional development. Often hailed as a great equalizer, technology can reinforce economic and racial inequality while opening the door to corporatization and intensive social control.

Kiersten Greene on technology in schools: “Are we doing our homework?”

 
 
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Ujju Aggarwal on school choice, whiteness as property, and the “right to exclude”

We speak with Dr. Ujju Aggarwal, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Experiential Learning at the New School’s Schools of Public Engagement. Dr. Aggarwal explains how neoliberalism, with its emphasis on individual choice, includes a “right to exclude” and perpetuates discriminatory school admissions, not only to some charter schools but also to district schools and programs, describing in particular the experiences of parents in Manhattan’s District 3. Dr. Aggarwal also discusses the participatory action research model, combining data collection and community organizing, which she has helped to develop.

Ujju Aggarwal on school choice, whiteness as property, and the “right to exclude”

 
 
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During the interview, Ujju refers to:

  • Adina Back (2003). Exposing the “whole segregation myth”: The Harlem Nine and New York City’s school desegregation battles.” In J. Theoharis & K. Woodard (Eds.), Freedom north: Black freedom struggles outside the South, 1940–1980. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Donna Nevel and PARCEO

Anna Allanbrook on Brooklyn New School: centering children, marginalizing tests

We speak with Anna Allanbrook, longtime principal of Brooklyn New School (BNS). Learning at BNS is inquiry-based and cross-disciplinary. As well, BNS is known as the “opt-out school” because 95% of families opt out of standardized testing. The school offers no test preparation.

Anna Allanbrook on Brooklyn New School: centering children, marginalizing tests

 
 
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Find more about the Brooklyn New School on bns146.org

Soledad Hiciano on nurturing and educating immigrant children in an age of deportation and deprivation

We speak with Soledad Hiciano, executive director of Community Association of Progressive Dominicans (ACDP), a multi-service community organization in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx. She describes the challenges of supporting children who may have experienced multiple traumas, including homelessness and the deportation of close relatives.

Soledad Hiciano on nurturing and educating immigrant children in an age of deportation and deprivation

 
 
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Photo by Bruce Warrington