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Rise & Shine: Is the bar too low for New York City’s struggling schools?

Good morning!

Education officials released a new round of performance goals for the city's struggling Renewal schools. But the goals are low enough at some schools that they can lose ground on attendance, graduation rates, or test scores and still reach their targets.

Also in today's roundup, read about how one educator is trying to create authentic political conversations in his classroom that help students better articulate their own beliefs while learning about how the government affects their lives.

Finally, a New York Post investigation finds that school bus drivers are rarely barred from working with children even when they're punished for misconduct — and the unit of investigators working those cases is increasingly understaffed.

—Alex

‘RIGOROUS AND REALISTIC’ The city’s new performance goals for struggling Renewal schools are low enough that some schools can backslide and still hit them. Chalkbeat

CLASSROOM POLITICS At East Harlem’s Park East High School, teacher Steve Serling is working to help students solidify their own political principles while teaching them about how government affects their lives. Chalkbeat

DISCIPLINE DECISIONS Out of 281 incidents where the city’s education department punished bus drivers and attendants, only 32 cases resulted in the employee being barred from working with children. New York Post

The number of investigators assigned to cases involving bus drivers and attendants has dropped significantly, with each investigator responsible for roughly 200 open cases at a time. New York Post

UNFAIR PUNISHMENT J.H.S. 80 Principal Emmanuel Polanco allegedly barred a 13-year-old student from an advanced class for the remainder of the year for a dress code violation, the latest in a strong of accusations against the school leader. New York Post

TENURE TENSION Most teachers who were accused of misconduct by New York school districts returned to the classroom even after arbitrators found they committed wrongdoing in some cases, according to an advocacy group that has pushed for tenure reform. Wall Street Journal

PENSION PAYMENTS The proportion of New York City educators receiving pensions over $100,000 jumped 23 percent last year. New York Post

SEXUAL MISCONDUCT A 29-year-old Bronx social studies teacher pleaded not guilty after being accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student. New York Post, Associated Press, New York Daily News