We speak with Grace Alli Brandstein, an improvement and instructional coach with the New York City Department of Education. Ms. Brandstein works with Bronx high schools that the State has designated as needing support. This is part one of a two part interview. Today, we discuss challenges teachers and students at these schools face, and their everyday achievements. Ms. Brandstein talks about the impacts, both positive and negative, of being rated as needing improvement, especially the pressure it puts administrators, teachers, and students. Next week, Ms. Brandstein talks about abolitionist education.


00:00-01:10 Intros

00:10-02:37 State Ed criteria for schools being in need of “Support and Improvement”

02:37-04:03 Ethical issues of categorization

04:03-10:13 The Renewal Program successes and weaknesses

10:13-13:48 Impacts on students and teachers of being on State lists

13:48-17:31 Effects of pandemic freeze on standardized testing

17:31-19:50 Alternatives to high-stakes testing

19:50-24:23 ELA Regents and English Learners

24:23-26:54 Other obstacles students face

26:54-29:54 Teacher turnover

29:54-32:43 Keeping experienced teachers

32:43-35:51 Parking; resources

35:51-38:08 Principal turnover

38:08-40:31 Outro


Click here to see the full transcript of this interview. 


Soundtrack by Poddington Bear

Photo from Greenhouse Schools by TNTP (2012)