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who rules the schools
February 25, 2015
De Blasio calls for permanent mayoral control of schools
De Blasio devoted more than 10 minutes of his state budget testimony to education policies, striking an aggressive tone similar to his predecessor, Bloomberg.
who rules the schools
February 25, 2015
Ahead of vote, a tech contract raises questions of transparency, oversight
The city wants to award a big contract to a firm with a spotty history, and a lack of transparency about the deal has fueled a debate about mayoral control.
Real (Estate) Talk
February 17, 2015
Pre-K push is up against citywide space crunch, deputy mayor says
Deputy Mayor Richard Buery said the city is searching for public and private space as it seeks to add some 17,000 new pre-K seats this year.
who rules the schools
November 4, 2014
Election sets the stage for fresh debate over mayoral control
Last November, Chalkbeat noted that a drag-out fight over mayoral control didn’t appear likely, given that most of its past opponents are now allies of City Hall.
March 31, 2014
In New York City, a new siting process paves the way for more charter schools
The state budget bill's expected passage includes several dramatic education policy shifts for the city, but perhaps none have been more fiercely debated than new provisions for providing new city charter schools with free or subsidized space.
December 2, 2013
De Blasio says he won't put chancellor finalists 'on display'
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio said during a press conference Monday that he would not submit his chancellor finalists to public scrutiny. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio said Monday that he would not publicize his top choices to head the school system, a year after promising a “public screening” process for schools chancellor. The incoming mayor said he is seeking counsel from his transition committee – which includes public-school parents and advocates – and from others as he chooses someone to take over the nation’s largest school system in January. But he said he would not subject his top picks to public scrutiny – a vetting process that some cities have adopted when selecting school chiefs and one that some New York advocates have demanded. “We’re not going to have a beauty contest,” de Blasio said Monday during a press conference near City Hall. “We’re not going to put the different finalists on display.”
November 4, 2013
De Blasio vs. Lhota: the edu-voter's guide to the final matchup
If you're like most New York City voters, you've already decided who you're voting for in tomorrow's mayoral election. (The latest poll puts support for frontrunner Bill de Blasio at 65 percent, and only 8 percent say they might change their minds before Election Day.) But if education is a top priority and you're still on the fence, here's the final rundown of what de Blasio and Republican candidate Joe Lhota say they would do as mayor and head of the nation's largest school system. Mayoral control Both don't want their power diluted significantly: De Blasio and Lhota have said that the mayor should appoint the majority of the members of the Panel for Educational Policy. But they also agree on that PEP members should serve fixed terms and not at the will of the mayor, which would give the body somewhat more autonomy from City Hall.
August 13, 2013
Hidary, vying to be an education mayor, lacks a college degree
He shares the mayor's background as a tech entrepreneur, but there are some differences between candidate Jack Hidary and Michael Bloomberg. For starters, Hidary does not have a college degree. A self-made entrepreneur, Hidary attended Columbia University and studied philosophy and neuroscience but left school to complete a fellowship in clinical neuroscience at the National Institutes of Health. He never graduated from Columbia or anywhere else, according to a spokesman for his campaign. The businessman also told GothamSchools that he would charge charter schools fees to use space in district school buildings, a move that would reverse Bloomberg's policy of letting the schools operate rent-free in public space. Charter advocates say that to charge rent would cripple charter schools' ability to serve students, but critics say space-sharing causes overcrowding and tension inside school buildings. "Charter co-location should continue as long as a reasonable cost is charged to such charters for co-location fees," Hidary said. "These fees can be phased in over the next few years to address any budget issues between public schools and charter schools." Hidary, who has raised more than $430,000 since entering the mayoral race in June, recently completed a GothamSchools questionnaire about how he would run the city's schools with answers that ranged from vague to decisive.
March 20, 2013
Latest PEP appointees' ties to charter schools are questioned
Mayor Bloomberg's latest appointments to the Panel for Educational Policy are two men with ties to charter schools that have faced panel votes. The appointments — made without fanfare — are drawing criticism from other panel members and critics of the panel, who say the new appointees' interests make them unable to assess proposed policies fairly. A proposal involving Success Academy Charter Schools, which one of the new board members has represented in legal proceedings, is up for a vote at tonight's panel meeting. Last month, Joseph Lewis, Jr., was appointed to replace Rosemarie Maldonado, an administrator at John Jay College who had been on the panel since last July. According to his biography on the PEP website, Lewis attended New York City schools; has served on the board of Leadership Prep Charter School; and is currently on the boards of several other education organizations, including NYCAN, a group that has advocated for public school parents to be able to turn their schools into charter schools. The other new appointee is David Brown, an attorney who works at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison LLP. While he mostly focuses on business litigation, according to the firm's website, he also does pro bono work for nonprofit clients, including the charter school network that most often seeks space in city school buildings.
March 14, 2013
UFT making governance a priority in Albany as new mayor nears
Members of the Campaign for Better Schools, a coalition of community groups, protested against mayoral control when it was up for renewal in 2009. With the city nine months from getting a new mayor, the United Federation of Teachers is gearing up to ask legislators to ensure that Mayor Bloomberg's brand of school governance cannot be repeated. The union wants legislation introduced that would significantly constrain the mayor's education authority. The proposal closely resembles the union's school governance platform from 2009, when the law giving control of the city's schools to the mayor was last revised. But it comes at a time when all of the leading mayoral candidates have pledged to move away from Bloomberg's imperious approach to school governance. Some pieces of the proposal, such as to give elected parent councils authority over decisions about where to locate schools, would be accomplished by legislation already pending in Albany. The rest — including stripping the majority vote on the Panel for Educational Policy from the mayor, would require a new bill. "Our lobbyists in Albany understand that this is now going to become a piece of legislation" in the current legislative session, UFT President Michael Mulgrew said in an interview.
October 17, 2012
Teacher group looks past 2013 to mayoral control's sunset date
Most education policy wonks in the city are focused on 2013, when New Yorkers will elect a replacement for Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But in a new report, a teacher advocacy group suggests that 2015 might be more important. That's when mayoral control, the city's school governance system since 2003, is set to expire. Bloomberg convinced lawmakers to grant him control over the city's schools early in his tenure, but they built a sunset clause into the law so they would have to reconsider the governance structure every six years. By the time of the first sunset in 2009, criticism that Bloomberg's school policies had marginalized communities had grown loud enough to derail a first effort to renew the governance law by the June 30 deadline. Mayoral control technically ended then, although a hastily constituted Board of Education effectively extended it in a nine-minute meeting, its first in six years. But lawmakers reinstated the law, with some tweaks, a month later. It is next due to sunset on June 30, 2015. Teachers Unite, a group that emphasizes social justice in education, wants to start laying the groundwork for a post-mayoral control future now.
May 24, 2012
As mayor, Allon would oppose testing but keep mayoral control
Tom Allon speaks about education policy at the New School near Union Square. Upper West Sider and mayoral hopeful Tom Allon would oppose testing in elementary schools — even though the state, not the city, sets the testing schedule. That was one of several policy positions he outlined for a sparse crowd of principals, campaign volunteers, and teachers’ union leader Michael Mulgrew yesterday evening who gathered to hear his first policy speech about education. Allon, a former teacher and political outsider, said he wants to be the “education mayor” — a mantle Bloomberg sought early in his administration. Allon briefly taught English and journalism at his alma mater, Stuyvesant High School; aided city officials in the creation two small high schools in Manhattan; and sent three daughters to public schools. The speech itself contained few hard proposals but instead focused on challenges facing the school system and a handful of small-scale solutions that are already in place, such as teacher mentoring programs that the UFT runs. It was when audience members pressed Allon for specifics that he offered ideas of what an Allon administration might look like. (His five likely competitors in the Democratic primary have also started to stake out their education platforms, but none has yet delivered a policy address on the subject.) Like Mayor Bloomberg, he would favor mayoral control and school choice. But like some of Bloomberg's fiercest critics, he would slash the Department of Education's central bureaucracy and reduce the emphasis on standardized testing. And on some issues, he would strike out for a middle ground.
April 19, 2012
City Council's hearing on co-locations airs persistent concerns
Department of Education officials Marc Sternberg and Paymon Rouhanifard address questions at a City Council hearing on school colocations. Persistent concerns about school space-sharing got a fresh airing today at a City Council hearing about the Department of Education's approach to co-locations. The process by which multiple schools are placed in a shared building is at times controversial, most frequently when the department has proposed moving a privately managed charter school into an existing school's building. It is also a cornerstone of the city's efforts to expand school choice by opening hundreds of small schools. Who decides where and when schools should share space could prove to be a litmus test for Democratic mayoral candidates, but so far, likely candidates have been hesitant to say where they stand. At a policy breakfast earlier this week, three of the candidates said they would consider giving district parent councils more of a decision-making role in school closures, openings, and colocations, but none said specifically that he would want the councils to be able to veto city plans. Several State Assemblymen recently proposed a bill that would endow the councils with veto power. Separately, City Councilman Al Vann is drafting a city resolution that would call on the state legislators to amend the city's school governance law to give the parent councils the ability to vote on both co-locations and school closure decisions. At today's City Council hearing, Education Committee Chair Robert Jackson argued that co-locations disrupt learning and exacerbate unequal distributions of resources.
February 28, 2012
For opponents of mayoral control, fight starts with co-locations
District 3 CEC member Noah Gotbaum and Sonya Hampton, a parent from P.S./M.S. 149 and vocal charter school critic, lead chants against co-locations at rally. When the Bloomberg Administration threatened to shut down a school in Assemblyman Keith Wright’s district this year, Wright vowed to create legislation to repeal mayoral control of the schools. The city didn't go through with the closure, but Wright is making good on his word — at least to a degree — by introducing a bill that would chip away at one of the mayor's most controversial powers: the ability to install schools inside other schools' buildings. The bill would require elected parent councils known as Community Education Councils to approve any co-location proposal before it may go into effect. Co-location proposals often generate heated debate within districts, particularly when the city is proposing to move a charter school into a district building. The CECs regularly play a vocal role in opposing charter school co-locations within their district schools, but they have no power to stop them or any other co-location. Instead, the Panel for Educational Policy, which has never rejected a city proposal, must approve co-locations. Parents, politicians, advocacy groups and representatives of at least three CECs rallied infront of Department of Education headquarters this morning to show their support for Wright's bill, saying they hope it will pass because the CECs already must vote on zone lines within their districts. Co-locations were the only subject of today's rally; but according to Noah Gotbaum, a member of CEC for District 3, the CECs are hoping the co-location bill will be the first step toward legislation restricting the city's ability to close schools, and eventually leading to the outright end of mayoral control.
January 24, 2012
UFT's new TV ad buy takes aim at Bloomberg's schools record
The United Federation of Teachers is turning up the heat on Mayor Bloomberg with a new television ad marking mayoral control's double-digit birthday. In a separate ad appearing in print today, the union is also continuing its appeal to parents in the ongoing fight over teacher evaluations.
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