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December 30, 2013
Carmen Fariña said to be de Blasio's choice for schools chief
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is finally poised to name a schools chancellor, just days before he formally assumes control of the country's largest school system.
December 20, 2013
Pre-K campaign kickoff continues with a new video
The official campaign for universal pre-kindergarten that Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio launched on Thursday got its first lobbying video today, seen above. The video highlights support…
December 3, 2013
De Blasio tabs team tasked with making pre-K plan a reality
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio with members of his early education working group. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio's ever-expanding transition team just got a little bigger. De Blasio today introduced the six-person group in charge of figuring out how to make a reality out of his campaign's boldest pledge, to provide full-day pre-kindergarten to nearly 70,000 four-year-olds. De Blasio first announced he would convene the group last week in a speech to build support for his plan. Much attention up to now has been focused on how de Blasio wants to fund the expansion, an income tax hike that first needs approval from the state legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. And while that part of the plan remains in doubt, a series of logistical hurdles also await de Blasio even after he secures funding from Albany. De Blasio's "all-star" working group will be tasked with advising him on those challenges. They include finding and renovating space to make room for 50,000 students who aren't currently in full-day programs, hiring new teachers to teach those students, and setting standards to ensure New York City's pre-K programs deliver a high-quality education. "To achieve that pre-K initiative, we need some of the best minds in the city to start work right now on developing the practical approaches of making sure that we're ready to go as soon as legislation is approved in Albany," de Blasio said at a press conference inside of a crowded Head Start classroom in East Harlem.
November 30, 2013
Ravitch, parent activist on de Blasio’s inaugural committee
Diane Ravitch, an outspoken critic of the Bloomberg administration’s school policies, is helping Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio plan his inauguration, according to de Blasio’s transition…
November 26, 2013
What New Yorkers say they want from de Blasio on education
"Get rid of Regents tests." "Higher pay for teachers." "Increase $ and access for arts education." Those are just a few of the hundreds of education suggestions that New Yorkers left for Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio in the last couple of weeks at the Talking Transitions tent, a temporary structure erected in Tribeca to host conversations about the city's next phase.
November 20, 2013
Architects of school grades concede errors as overhaul looms
Warren Simmons, of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, speaks during a panel discussion about New York City's accountability system. Two architects of New York City's controversial school progress reports acknowledged on Tuesday that the accountability system they developed needs to change. Law school professor James Liebman, who devised the A-F grading system "from scratch" in 2007, said the school grades were initially useful as a "powerful motivator of educators to take responsibility" for student learning in their schools. But after six years of relying on a narrow set of data — primarily state test scores and graduation rates — to hold schools accountable, Liebman said now is a good moment for "toning down on performance management." Liebman's suggestions, which hewed closely to recommendations offered Tuesday by the Department of Education's chief academic officer Shael Polakow-Suransky, come as an overhaul looms for the controversial grading system. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has said he would do away with the school grades, although he hasn't yet said whether he would maintain the underlying data that contributes to them. Liebman and Polakow-Suransky appeared on a panel discussion hosted by the CUNY Institute for Education Policy, a think tank run by former state education chief David Steiner, at which Polakow-Suransky released a report called "What's Next for School Accountability in New York City?" The report outlined six areas for de Blasio to consider when he takes over in January.
November 20, 2013
De Blasio advisors include critics of Bloomberg school policies
A leading special education advocate and a PTA president are among the 60 people that Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has named to his "transition committee." The committee will advise de Blasio as he crafts policies for his administration, which begins Jan. 1. Its composition signals de Blasio's priorities now that campaigning has given way to governing — and the names on the list suggest that, on education especially, de Blasio plans to stick with the profile of staunch progressive that he cultivated on the campaign trail. The committee includes Zakiyah Ansari, the Alliance for Quality Education's advocacy director and a leading critic of the Bloomberg's education policies; Cynthia Nixon, an actress who herself has worked with AQE; and Kim Sweet, a special education advocate whose organization has repeatedly sued the city under Bloomberg. All are public school parents.
November 13, 2013
At City Hall, coalition urges de Blasio to stick to his pre-K pledge
Wayne Ho, of the Campaign for Children, stands in front of some 20 children from the Chung Pak Daycare Center who made a silent plea for funding. Rows of tiny children shivered inside puffy coats on the steps of City Hall Wednesday to make the cutest case possible for daycare, after-school, and full-day preschool funding. Their plea wasn’t directed at the outgoing mayor, but the incoming one, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, whose campaign was fueled by a pledge to tax the rich to pay for full-day pre-kindergarten for all 4-year-olds and after-school programs for all middle-school students. “We are here today ... to say: take your campaign promise and turn it into a reality,” said Wayne Ho, chief policy officer for Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, one of more than 150 advocacy groups and service providers in the Campaign for Children, a coalition formed to fight cuts to early-childhood and after-school programs.
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