New York City’s libraries are open an average of 43 hours a week, about the same as a decade ago and down from a high of 47 hours. “Even the Detroit public library system stays open longer;” the report noted. Columbus’s libraries are open an average of 72 hours a week. Despite the relatively short hours, the study found, New York City’s libraries “have experienced a 40 percent spike in the number of people attending programs and a 59 percent increase in circulation over the past decade.” San Francisco’s government contributed $101 per capita to the city’s libraries, the highest of any city in the study, while New York’s library systems all received between $30 and $40 per capita, below Seattle, Boston, Detroit and others.

As Use of Libraries Grows, Government Support Has Eroded - NYTimes.com

Nearly Half the Teachers in New York City Are Denied Tenure in 2012

Nearly half of New York City teachers reaching the end of their probations were denied tenure this year, the Education Department said on Friday, marking the culmination of years of efforts toward Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s goal to end “tenure as we know it.”

Only 55 percent of eligible teachers, having worked for at least three years, earned tenure in 2012, compared with 97 percent in 2007.

An additional 42 percent this year were kept on probation for another year, and 3 percent were denied tenure and fired. Of those whose probations were extended last year, fewer than half won tenure this year, a third were given yet another year to prove themselves, and 16 percent were denied tenure or resigned.

The totals reflect a reversal in the way tenure is granted not only in New York City but around the country. While tenure was once considered nearly automatic, it has now become something teachers have to earn.

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Prekindergarten Costs in New York City Have Doubled in 6 Years

New York City is paying private contractors more than $1 billion this year to operate a little-known special education program for 3- and 4-year-olds, nearly double the amount it paid six years ago.

The program serves 25,000 children with physical, learning, developmental and other disabilities. While the number of children in the program has risen slowly in recent years, annual costs have soared to about $40,000 per child, according to an analysis of city education spending by The New York Times.

The city pays private contractors to provide classes, as well as individual instruction at homes, day care centers and nursery schools. Children may also be prescribed speech, physical and occupational therapy in half-hour sessions, several times a week.

The prekindergarten program is far more expensive in New York than it is elsewhere, and oversight by the city and state has often been lax, according to interviews with officials, regulators and contractors.

» via The New York Times (Subscription may be required for some content)

New York City imposes new social media rules for teachers

On Monday, the New York City Department of Education published its first set of guidelines for the use of social media, underscoring the importance for teachers and staff to keep a clear distinction between the use of their personal and professional accounts.

"In an increasingly digital world, we seek to provide our students with the opportunities that multi-media learning can provide—which is why we should allow and encourage the appropriate and accepted use of these powerful resources," schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said in an e-mail to principals, according to the Journal.

Mainly, teachers are expected to use common sense: inappropriate offline behavior would also be inappropriate online. However, teachers are being told that their interactions with students on professional social networking services will be monitored and that there is “no expectation of privacy,” and that administrators and officials should have access to the professional accounts.

» via ars technica

There are more and more people who are putting their kids through some sort of test preparation, whether it’s buying the materials or using the test-prep companies,” she said. “I think the nursery schools have begun to integrate some of the materials into their classes as well.” She added, “I also know people who have paid for test prep, and some of their kids did wonderfully and some did poorly.

As Ranks of Gifted Soar in N.Y., Fight Brews for Kindergarten Slots - NYTimes.com
Buildings with Libraries - A Soft-Spoken Amenity

WHEN Martin Semjen first looked at the Stanton, a co-op at Broadway and 94th Street, he was delighted by the sauna and fitness room. His wife, Lynn Schnurnberger, on the other hand, fell hard for an unpretentious basement library that doubles as a meeting room and is lined on three sides with floor-to-ceiling wood bookcases. Residents can choose volumes on law and art, popular novels like “The Da Vinci Code” and “Atonement” and, fittingly enough, a biography of the building’s namesake, Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
“I really don’t use the fabulous gym equipment, but I do go and look at the old books,” said Ms. Schnurnberger, the co-author of, among other novels, the bestseller “Botox Diaries.” “The existence of the library spoke to the fact that this was more than a building. It was a community of people who still read.”
Granted, in New York residential buildings, barbells carry far more weight than books. “The gym is still one of the most important amenities, and after that are things like roof decks or other outdoor space,” said Tami Shaoul, a senior vice president of the Corcoran Group. “No client has ever told me ‘I must have a library.’ But when we go somewhere and do a tour of the amenities, their eyes do light up if they actually see one,” she added. “It makes them feel good about the building because they imagine themselves having that quiet space.”

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Buildings with Libraries - A Soft-Spoken Amenity

WHEN Martin Semjen first looked at the Stanton, a co-op at Broadway and 94th Street, he was delighted by the sauna and fitness room. His wife, Lynn Schnurnberger, on the other hand, fell hard for an unpretentious basement library that doubles as a meeting room and is lined on three sides with floor-to-ceiling wood bookcases. Residents can choose volumes on law and art, popular novels like “The Da Vinci Code” and “Atonement” and, fittingly enough, a biography of the building’s namesake, Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

“I really don’t use the fabulous gym equipment, but I do go and look at the old books,” said Ms. Schnurnberger, the co-author of, among other novels, the bestseller “Botox Diaries.” “The existence of the library spoke to the fact that this was more than a building. It was a community of people who still read.”

Granted, in New York residential buildings, barbells carry far more weight than books. “The gym is still one of the most important amenities, and after that are things like roof decks or other outdoor space,” said Tami Shaoul, a senior vice president of the Corcoran Group. “No client has ever told me ‘I must have a library.’ But when we go somewhere and do a tour of the amenities, their eyes do light up if they actually see one,” she added. “It makes them feel good about the building because they imagine themselves having that quiet space.”

» via The New York Times (Subscription may be required for some content)

When reached by phone said Wineburg, after a brief pause on the line, “the purpose of education is to create unpleasant experiences in us. … The Latin meaning if education is ‘to go out.’ Education is not about making us feel warm and fuzzy inside.” Wineburg questioned the idea that the New York City Department of Education would want to “shield kids from these types of encounters.” He said the goal of education is to “prepare them,” adding “this is how we dumb down public schools.”

New York city schools want to ban ‘loaded words’ from tests – CNN Belief Blog - CNN.com Blogs

Bloomberg Says Social Media Can Hurt Governing

In a speech on Wednesday in Singapore, where he received a prize for urban sustainability, Mr. Bloomberg spoke about the difficulties of leading a city into the future amid a political culture that is often focused on the short term.

The mayor noted that technology, despite its benefits, can add new pitfalls to an already grueling process. “Social media is going to make it even more difficult to make long-term investments” in cities, Mr. Bloomberg said.

“We are basically having a referendum on every single thing that we do every day,” he said. “And it’s very hard for people to stand up to that and say, ‘No, no, this is what we’re going to do,’ when there’s constant criticism, and an election process that you have to look forward to and face periodically.”

» via The New York Times (Subscription may be required for some content)

New York City Seeks to Become a New Internet Address

Businesses have long jockeyed for an address on Fifth Avenue — and the city is now hoping it can create a similar phenomenon online.

New York City is gearing up to apply for a new Internet domain with a .nyc suffix, a move made possible by a recent decision by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which oversees the Internet address system, to approve the creation of a large number of new so-called top-level domains.

» via The New York Times (Subscription may be required for some content)

Scraping the $40,000 Ceiling at New York City Private Schools

Over the past 10 years, the median price of first grade in the city has gone up by 48 percent, adjusted for inflation, compared with a 35 percent increase at private schools nationally — and just 24 percent at an Ivy League college — according to tuition data provided by 41 New York City K-12 private schools to the National Association of Independent Schools.

Indeed, this year’s tuition at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory ($38,340 for 12th grade) and Horace Mann ($37,275 for the upper school) is higher than Harvard’s ($36,305). Those 41 schools (out of 61 New York City private schools in the national association) provided enough data to enable a 10-year analysis. (Over all, inflation caused prices in general to rise 27 percent over the past decade.)

The median 12th-grade tuition for the current school year was $36,970, up from $21,100 in 2001-2, according to the national association’s survey. Nationally, that figure rose to $24,240 from $14,583 a decade ago.

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