New York

City Council moves to regulate city's placement of charter schools

The former chair of the City Council education committee, Eva Moskowitz, talked to the current chair, Robert Jackson, before today's hearing on charter schools. Moskowitz runs a charter school network, while Jackson said he is skeptical of charter schools. (<em>GothamSchools</em>, Flickr) City Council members today moved to regulate the process of placing charter schools in public school buildings, introducing a resolution that they said would avoid conflicts between families at neighborhood schools and new charter schools placed inside of them. Right now, Department of Education officials offer some charter schools space in public school buildings on their own, but the space-sharing arrangements are sometimes contentious. (Charter schools receive public funding, but operate outside of the DOE watch and are not guaranteed space in public school buildings.) The Council resolution would force the department to follow some kind of a regular procedure — probably involving a requirement to work with members of a neighborhood — before it could place a charter school in a public building. "Make community stakeholders part of that process," City Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo, of the Bronx, said. "You fail miserably at including the people that have to deal with the fallout of the decisions that you make." Council Member Jessica Lappin of Manhattan, who chairs the council's work on public land use issues, said that charter schools should be placed in the same way that new traditional public schools are placed. "I have worked very hard to bring community members, principals, and the Department of Education together so that we can resolve the issues that inevitably arise," Lappin said. Why, she asked, shouldn't charter schools be placed in the same way? Testifying before the council, Department of Education officials said they agree that they need to improve the way that they bring in new schools, but they declined to support the resolution that would force them to follow a new procedure when doing it.
New York

Fact-Checking the Educational Equality Project Fact Sheet

In honor of the Educational Equality Project conference this week—you remember the Educational Equality Project, don't you?  The unholy alliance between Rev. Al Sharpton and Chancellor Joel Klein, funded by a $500,000 tax-deductible gift from former Chancellor Harold Levy's Connecticut-based hedge fund to Sharpton's National Action Network that was laundered through Education Reform Now, a non-profit linked to Education Reform Now Advocacy Inc. (a lobbying group), and Democrats for Education Reform (a political action committee)?  Throw in how the gift helped to offset Sharpton's personal and organizational IRS tax woes—a $1 million settlement last July—and Levy's lobbying City Hall on a range of horseracing initiatives worth hundreds of millions to his company and its partners, and you have the making of a John Grisham novel.  All that's missing is a few hookers.   The Educational Equality Project, which has garnered signatories from a large number of prominent politicians and education leaders, recently launched its website.  At the top of the page is a rotating list of "facts," backed by a list of "all the facts," with links to references that presumably document or support the facts.  skoolboy decided to fact-check some of the facts.  Are they fact or fiction? Barely half of African-American and Latino students graduate from high school, while nearly 80% of white students do. Toss-Up:  These figures are accurate if we limit consideration to on-time graduation rates.  Chris Swanson of Editorial Projects in Education reports a Cumulative Promotion Index, an estimate of the four-year graduation rate, of 58% for Hispanics and 55% for African-Americans in the class of 2005.  These rates would likely increase if we extended the possible time to completion to five or six years.
New York

Harlem parents say they want their local schools shut down

New York

Sharpton: Union has given him more support than anyone

At an event with Chancellor Joel Klein and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today, the Rev. Al Sharpton turned his attention instead to another education activist in the room. "Nobody's supported us more financially than Randi Weingarten," he declared, speaking at a convention of the education group he runs with Klein. Sharpton then eyed Weingarten, the union president who was sitting in the audience, and ushered her onto the stage he was sharing with Duncan, Klein, and the local radio personality James Mtume. Weingarten stepped away from her spot in the audience and joined the men on the panel. Weingarten has had a warm relationship with Duncan so far, but she has vocally opposed the Sharpton and Klein's Education Equality Project, signing onto a rival effort instead. UPDATE: Weingarten told the Times reports that the union has given about $10,000 a year to Sharpton over the last eight years. The remarks came one day after the Daily News reported that he accepted a $50,000 $500,000 donation before working with Klein on the project that won them the title of "odd couple." Sharpton had kicked off the day, the first in a two-day convention his and Klein's group is throwing, with a warning. "I want some substantive discussion," he said before introducing Duncan and Klein to the stage. "But if you think this is your night for Star Time at the Apollo, the Apollo is on 125th Street." The rest of the event contained only the barest allusion to the Daily News column, by Juan Gonzalez.