News and views

  • What's new with dual language?

    Written by Pamela Wheaton
    Are you interested in your child learning a new language or solidifying his French or Spanish, or maybe Japanese? The city just added 40 new or expanded programs to its roster of more than 100 dual language programs and changed how incoming kindergartners apply. Here's what you need to know. Because the majority of the city's dual language programs begin in kindergarten, if you've got a child born in 2010, you need to apply now. Applications for…
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  • Will new DOE structure mean fewer runarounds for parents?

    Written by Clara Hemphill
    Don't expect miracles anytime soon, but the new organization of schools announced by schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña on Thursday may spell the beginning of the end to one of parents' most frustrating dilemmas: what to do when you can't get a problem resolved at your school.Under Mayor Mike Bloomberg's organization of the school system, if your principal couldn't—or wouldn't—fix a problem, you were pretty much out of luck. Principals were "empowered," which means they didn't have…
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  • Don't blame the Common Core

    Written by Aimee Sabo
    If the Common Core were a person, I think we could be friends. I’d call her CeeCee and take her out for a drink. She needs it. I imagine CeeCee sobbing on my shoulder, saying something like, “I’m just trying to give all our kids a fair shot. Really I am!” Poor CeeCee. She means well and I think she got a lot more right than anyone is willing to admit, but we’re all just…
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  • New FAFSA guide for students (& adults who help them!)

    Written by Insideschools staff
    Filling out the FAFSA form is the first step for most students seeking financial support to go to college. But the form can be complicated and intimidating, particularly for students who are new to the country or the first in their family to go to college. To help, the Center for New York City Affairs, home of Insideschools.org, has released a third edition of its popular book: FAFSA: The How-To Guide for High School Students…
  • Common Core leads to uncommon jargon in kindergarten

    Written by Lydie Raschka
    At the teacher's prompting, a kindergartner at PS 251 in Queens tries to define "text evidence" for the rest of the class. "Test ed-i-dence," says the 5-year-old, tripping over the unfamiliar words, "is something when you say the word and show the picture." "Text evidence"? What's with this incomprehensible jargon in kindergarten? This fall, I visited over a dozen elementary schools and saw firsthand how hard teachers are working to meet the new Common Core…
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  • HS Hustle: Finally, cell phone ban lifted; no more calls to "come and get it"

    Written by Liz Willen
    Now that bringing cell phones to school will soon be OK, the calls I dread are finally about to stop. "Hello, we have your son's cell phone,'' a voice from his high school says. "We had to confiscate it because he was using it. You can pick it up between 4 and 4:30 pm today." Routinely, the next call comes minutes later from my son, using a friend's cell phone. He'll be begging me to drop…
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How to apply to middle school

  • What to look for on a school tour.

    Most schools offer tours in the fall. Some districts offer middle school choice fairs in the evening or on a weekend where you can meet the principals and students of a number of schools. Here’s what to look for: Quality of teaching Try to look… Read more and watch video
  • Zoned schools and middle school choice

    In some of the city’s 32 school districts, children are assigned to a middle school according to their home address. In others, children must apply to middle school (although they are guaranteed a seat somewhere in the district.) To find out whether your child has… Read more and watch video