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May 28, 2015
De Blasio defends parent input under city’s mayoral control structure
On a lobbying trip to Albany, Mayor de Blasio said he wanted mayoral control without any of the changes he advocated for prior to becoming mayor.
March 5, 2015
A day in photos: Thousands of charter school advocates rally in Albany
The “Don’t Steal Possible” rally – organized by charter school advocates – brought thousands of people to the Capitol to call attention to the city’s struggling schools.
March 27, 2013
Cuomo, GOP were StudentsFirstNY's top recipients in 2012
In the year that former Bloomberg aide Micah Lasher led StudentsFirstNY, the education advocacy group publicly lobbed fiery Twitter messages, published agenda-driven reports, and organized parents. Lobbying and political spending records offer a different, behind-the-scenes view into the group's activities under Lasher, a seasoned legislative director who abruptly announced this week that he is leaving to become state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's chief of staff. The records show that the group spent more than $100,000 in Albany, largely to bolster Republican legislators who frequently oppose policies that teachers unions support and who are seen as a bulwark against the erosion of mayoral control in New York City.
March 8, 2013
Democrats divided over push to restore NYC schools funding
Assembly Education Chair Catherine Nolan and other lawmakers speak in support of restoring funds to New York City at a press conference in the state capitol. Democrats in the Senate are split along new political fault lines over a push to restore state schools funds to New York City. Three city senators from a breakaway group of Democrats, formed as part of a power-sharing deal with Republicans, said this week that they would not join with party colleagues during upcoming budget negotiations in calling for increased aid for the city's schools. The state is planning to take back $260 million from the city after the city and its teachers union failed to reach a deal on evaluations before Jan. 17, a deadline mandated by law. The loss of funds would result in cuts to the school system's central offices, extracurricular programs, and school staff. The legislature passed the law last year, at Gov. Andrew Cuomo's urging, to incentivize local school districts to come to agreements over contentious teacher evaluation plans. Many of the same lawmakers who supported Cuomo's carrot-and-stick approach say they now made a mistake and want to reverse course. The law was meant to be more of a threat, some said Wednesday, and they never expected it to go this far.
January 30, 2013
Cuomo proposes state takeover in NYC teacher eval impasse
Appearing with legislative leaders this morning, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he would seek the right to take over teacher evaluation planning in New York City if local negotiations fall through again. Cuomo said he still hoped Mayor Bloomberg and teachers union president Michael Mulgrew can break their impasse and agree to a deal on their own terms. But the two sides have failed to reach a deal for more than a year, despite mounting financial penalties for the city, and they fiercely defended their positions in back-to-back legislative hearings this week. Negotiations resumed this week, and Cuomo said he's planning to "firmly request" they get a deal done. "If they don't, then let the state step in and let the state ... determine the evaluation process and impose it on the city of New York," said Cuomo, who was flanked at a press conference by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate leaders Jeff Klein and Dean Skelos.
January 25, 2013
New Brooklyn lawmaker wants first crack at school closure ban
Walter Mosley, with Hakeem Jeffries, speaking to supporters on Election Day last year. (Credit: The Local: Fort Greene / Clinton Hill) Brand new Brooklyn Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley wants to pick up where his high-profile predecessor left off: trying to block Mayor Bloomberg's efforts to close schools. Before he was elected to Congress last year, Hakeem Jeffries was the lead sponsor on a bill that called on a two-year moratorium for closures in New York City. It passed overwhelmingly in the Democratic-controlled Assembly, but then lost momentum. First, it died in the Republican-controlled Senate and then lost its sponsor when Jeffries headed to Washington, D.C. Now, union officials and other advocates who oppose the Bloomberg administration's school closure policies are looking for a new lawmaker to carry the torch for this year's session. “There’s quite a few people who are looking at doing it,” teachers union president Michael Mulgrew told GothamSchools this week.
August 24, 2012
Union endorses a candidate backed by StudentsFirstNY
It didn't take long for the complexities of New York State politics to make strange bedfellows out of two rival education advocacy groups. This week, New York State United Teachers endorsed Jeff Klein, a Democratic state Senator from the Bronx with a reputation for rebuffing teachers union interests. Earlier this summer, Klein also took in money from StudentsFirstNY, a group that a union-backed coalition is attacking for its board members' Republican ties. Over the past week, accepting money from StudentsFirstNY has received a lot of scrutiny from the coalition, called New Yorkers for Great Public Schools, which is made up of labor unions and community-based organizations. At protests, it has tacitly warned elected officials to reject StudentsFirstNY because some of its funding comes from people working in the private sector with ideologically different positions on education policy. And while most of their energy will be focused on the 2013 mayoral candidates, the coalition punctuated its point this week when it gleefully released a list of state and city politicians who agreed to reject contributions from StudentsFirstNY. "Taking StudentsFirst money is bad for New York," Billy Easton, executive director of Alliance for Quality Education, one of the groups that gets funding from the state teachers union, said last week.
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