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2013 mayoral race
October 25, 2013
Few parents join Lhota as he continues to push charter issue
Rose Lopez and her daughter, Stephanie Lopez, an eighth-grader at Harlem Village Leadership Academy, were among the few charter school families to join Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota at a campaign stop today. As Bill de Blasio prepared to visit a school — and snag a cheesecake — with President Barack Obama today, Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota took a few moments to attack de Blasio's position on charter schools in East Harlem this morning. Lhota's appearance outside the public school building that houses Harlem Village Leadership Academy, which was listed on his schedule as a "press conference with charter school parents," included only a few parents. It was a much less splashy moment than Lhota's appearance at the rally of charter school parents who marched across the Brooklyn Bridge earlier this month. There, he spent two hours talking with enthusiastic students and parents, many of which said they were frustrated with Bill de Blasio's statements that he would make well-financed charter schools pay rent to operate in public space.
October 21, 2013
Poll: NYers divided on whether charter schools should pay rent
For the last month, Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota has argued vociferously that Democrat Bill de Blasio doesn’t speak for the majority of New…
October 15, 2013
Dueling rallies set as charter schools emerge as campaign issue
Dueling rallies from rival advocacy groups and a new ad from Republican Joe Lhota are once again making charter schools a major issue in the city's mayoral race. Families for Excellent Schools, which organizes parents at charter schools, has called a press conference before tonight's mayoral debate between Lhota and Democrat Bill de Blasio. Organizers said their message will reiterate a call for the next mayor to open 100 new charter schools in his first four years in office. Around the same time in Brooklyn, New Yorkers for Great Public Schools, a coalition formed to oppose the Bloomberg administration's education policies during the campaign, will rally outside the Panel for Educational Policy meeting. The panel is expected to approve more than a dozen proposals to expand or open charter schools inside district buildings in 2014 and beyond, long after Mayor Bloomberg has exited office, and the group's press advisory says the protest will target "Bloomberg's 'lame-duck' proposals" and "Lhota’s charter-centric message of doubling down on failed and divisive Bloomberg policies." The two events come a day after Lhota released a new campaign ad highlighting the stark contrast between his charter school stances and Democrat Bill de Blasio's.
October 6, 2013
Joe Lhota slams Bill de Blasio’s “hypocrisy” on charter schools
On the eve of a citywide march to support charter schools, Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota is taking aim at Democrat Bill de Blasio’s position on the publicly financed but privately managed schools. De Blasio has said he does not want the city’s charter sector to expand, and he also has said he would charge rent to the roughly two thirds of city charter schools that currently operate rent-free in public space. (Lhota supports charter schools but is not attracting wide support from charter school advocates for pragmatic reasons, we reported on Friday.) In a Sunday press release, Lhota said those positions are at odds with de Blasio’s professed desire to reduce inequality in the city because charter schools, which on average have higher test scores than the other schools in their neighborhoods, serve mainly poor students. "There is no way he can be concerned about breaking the cycle of poverty while being opposed to charter schools," Lhota said in a statement. Calling de Blasio a “hypocrite,” Lhota also pointed out that de Blasio’s own high school alma mater in Cambridge, Mass., shares some similarities with contemporary charter schools. Lhota’s complete press release is below:
October 4, 2013
A year after pitching tax increase at ABNY, de Blasio remakes his case
One year ago today, Bill de Blasio appeared before the Association for a Better New York, a group of business and civic leaders, and told them he wanted to raise their taxes to pay for expanded pre-kindergarten and after-school programs. That statement became the backbone of de Blasio’s mayoral campaign, and this morning he returned to ABNY to underscore his argument. He said: Look, I know not everyone in this room agrees with every part of my plan.But I know we all share a set of values – that every child deserves a first rate education; that everyone who works hard and plays by the rules should be able to earn a wage that can support a family; that people should be able to live in the same neighborhoods they’ve spent their lives. Here are de Blasio’s complete remarks from this morning, as prepared for delivery:
October 4, 2013
Charter backers reluctantly embrace idea of "Mayor de Blasio"
As public advocate, Bill de Blasio presented reports about how to improve the process through which schools are awarded space inside city-owned buildings. In 2011, de Blasio presented reforms to the co-location process, which has benefitted charter schools under Bloomberg. Next week, thousands of parents will flood the Brooklyn Bridge to rally in support of the charter schools that their children attend. It's an aggressive — and divisive — approach meant to send a message to Democrat and mayoral frontronner Bill de Blasio, who says he wants to slow the growth of charter schools and charge rent to the ones operating in city-owned buildings. But a smaller group of school leaders and well-heeled charter backers are also taking a quieter approach in a hopeful attempt to seek influence with the Democratic mayoral nominee. Faced with increasing odds that de Blasio will be the next mayor — and the understanding that charter school parents are unlikely to support Republican Joe Lhota — they're lining his pockets with campaign donations. Some also attended a fundraiser Thursday to try to influence the likely mayor on education policy, which is being organized in part by Craig Johnson, a former Democratic state senator who now chairs the Democrats for Education Reform political action committee. "I think it's an opportunity for us to begin a dialogue around all the issues affecting kids, including universal pre-kindergarten, co-location, and all those issues," said Ian Rowe, CEO of Public Prep, a network that operates four charter schools in the city.
September 16, 2013
After Thompson concedes nomination, UFT to back de Blasio
Left, Bill Thompson conceded the race for the Democratic nomination for mayor today, calling on his supporters to back Public Advocate Bill de Blasio instead. UFT President Michael Mulgrew, right, said he would heed Thompson's request and ask teachers union members to reassign their allegiance to de Blasio. The next phase of the education election kicked off today as the UFT's pick for mayor conceded the Democratic nomination on the steps of City Hall. UFT President Michael Mulgrew, who was among Bill Thompson's supporters at the event this morning, threw his support behind Bill de Blasio, who finished last week's primary with a commanding lead. He said he would ask the union's leadership to endorse de Blasio this week. Thompson's loss was a significant blow for the UFT, which had declined to endorse mayoral candidates in the two previous mayoral elections and has not picked a winner since 1989. This year, the union decided to back Thompson, who ran unsuccessfully against Mayor Bloomberg in 2009, after determining in June that the former school board president and city comptroller had the best chance of winning in November.
September 6, 2013
GothamSchools voter guide: The NYC mayoral primaries
We've published story after story about where the mayoral candidates stand on education. But with the primary around the corner, who should education voters vote for? The Democratic front-runners share many of their positions of education—many of them pushing back against Bloomberg's legacy—but they also have some key differences. The Republican contenders, meanwhile, have offered fewer specifics but are looking to maintain the status quo. Here, we took a look at where the candidates diverge on crucial issues of education policy and compiled their top priorities to help if you haven't yet made a final pick.
September 5, 2013
A PAC of parents reluctantly endorses Bill de Blasio for mayor
From the press release sent out today by NYC Kids PAC, a political spending group that formed in 2009 (and endorsed Bill Thompson then):…
August 30, 2013
De Blasio and Quinn line up lawmakers in pre-K squabble
The mayoral campaigns of Bill de Blasio and Christine Quinn have each sent out press releases today touting legislative support for their positions on de…
August 19, 2013
State senator finds holes in de Blasio's plan for universal pre-K
From the office of Public Advocate Bill de Blasio State Sen. Diane Savino accused mayoral candidate and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio today of not understanding the legal issues behind providing universal pre-kindergarten to New York City students. De Blasio has proposed taxing households that make more than $500,000 to fund full-day pre-K for all New York City children. The senator, who spoke on a conference call set up by Bill Thompson's campaign team, said creating universal pre-K in the city is not a matter of getting more money, but rather changing laws in Albany. "Either Bill [de Blasio] doesn't know how we fund universal pre-K or he’s just pandering. Because the fact is we don’t need to spend more money on this program," she said.
August 15, 2013
On education, mayoral hopefuls don't talk about their limitations
One mayoral candidate wants to ban testing. Another has pledged to close charter schools. And one wants to raise city income taxes to fund early childhood education. Despite coming from different candidates, the pledges have one thing in common: They can't be fulfilled from inside City Hall, despite mayoral control of the city's schools. The legislature and the governor's office change tax laws and controls how school aid is spent. The Board of Regents and the State Education Department set policy and regulations around testing. And state's charter authorizing bodies control which charter schools stay open and which close. While the chief executive of New York City will always have clout in Albany and legislators might be inclined to go along with a newly elected mayor's proposals, some of the candidates' proposals would be hard sells. A review of candidates' education proposals shows that they have been less than eager to talk about these limitations on the campaign trail, leaving questions about their ability to follow through on key elements of their education platforms.
August 14, 2013
About that “major education announcement” de Blasio promised
DE BLASIO TO RENEW CALL FOR TAX ON WEALTHY TO FUND UNIVERSAL PRE-K, CONTRAST WITH SPEAKER QUINN’S PLAN TO SADDLE MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES WITH…
August 13, 2013
Albanese says he could offer both retroactive raises and pre-K
CUNY Institute of Education Policy head David Steiner spoke with mayoral candidate Sal Albanese this morning. Long-shot mayoral candidate Sal Albanese has a proposition for the city’s labor unions: Let me change your pension plans, and I’ll give you retroactive raises. “What I would propose in exchange for retroactive pay is reforming our pension system,” Albanese said today at a forum at Hunter College. “I want the unions to allow me to reform the pension system. We have a clunker of a system. It’s not modern.” One of the next mayor’s first responsibilities will be to negotiate new contracts with the city’s municipal unions, including the United Federation of Teachers. Mayor Bloomberg has allowed the contracts to expire, and many unions say they plan to push for back pay for their members once they get to the negotiating table. Albanese said offering the back pay, which Bloomberg says the city cannot afford, is possible if the unions agree to other changes to their benefits. Albanese cited a Toronto pension system as a model for reform, saying that it outperforms New York City’s. If New York City’s system functioned as well, he said, “we would save about $2.5 billion a year.” Albanese made the comments at the latest forum held by the CUNY Institute of Education Policy this morning at Hunter College. David Steiner, New York State’s former education chief, is hosting mayoral candidates to let them explain how they would run the city’s schools.
August 1, 2013
De Blasio lays out education policy platform
Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio is setting out four priorities in a speech this morning at CUNY’s new Institute for Education Policy, led by former State Education Commissioner David Steiner. Here they are, according to a press release from the de Blasio campaign: 100 New Community Schools in Four Years Schools can be more than just places of education – they can be vital epicenters of the community where students and their families receive the services they need. Bill de Blasio’s plan will streamline government bureaucracy and work with community stakeholders to develop 100 new community schools in his first term. Great Leaders to Lead Great Teachers in Every School Great schools need to be led by great leaders. Bill de Blasio’s plan will create a career ladder for new principals that have proven leadership potential and provide them with the resources and support they require to succeed. For those schools that are struggling, a Strategic Staffing Initiative will dedicate additional resources to the facilities that need it most.
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