Posts tagged "bill de blasio"
November 20, 2013
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. (more…)
November 13, 2013
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. (more…)
November 12, 2013
The city’s next public advocate isn’t afraid to raise her voice on education issues.
Letitia James’ aggressive oratory against charter schools and co-locations has earned her standing ovations in crowded school auditoriums, effusive praise from Diane Ravitch, and skepticism among charter school parents. And her increasingly vocal presence in education activism provides a clear glimpse into what mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s closest progressive allies want from him on education.
“I think you can view me as a partner in ensuring that the mayor of the city of New York honors his commitment to reform the school system as we know it,” James said in a recent interview. “Now it’s time to put the rhetoric into action. And my role is to ensure that in fact the rhetoric is actualized.”
Currently a City Councilmember representing Fort Greene, Prospect Heights and much of Crown Heights, James will soon be the city’s second highest-ranking official. Though the power of the public advocate has historically been limited, she may end up playing a larger role given her close relationship with de Blasio.
But James, an outspoken critic of charter schools eager for large-scale shifts in the city’s education policies, has been more condemnatory than de Blasio when speaking out about the city’s public schools. ”They have pretty much dismantled public education,” she said of the Bloomberg administration. “I see it wherever I go, and I just see the inequities.”
November 12, 2013
She says she’s not interested in the job herself, but Carmen Farina has a clear vision for how Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio’s chancellor should lead the city’s schools.
That vision includes some big ideas — including converting empty classrooms into dormitories for homeless students to forcing real estate developers to build space for early education — that the retired educator says have been on her mind recently. On Monday, Farina shared her thoughts publicly on an education panel about the transition underway at City Hall between the Bloomberg and de Blasio administrations.
Farina said her philosophy around education policymaking represents an approach that’s been absent at the Department of Education in recent years.
“I want to see us have a system where people do things because they have a sense of joy about it, not because they have a sense of fear,” Farina said during the panel, which was part of a daylong conference about the transition at the CUNY Graduate Center. (more…)
November 8, 2013
With a new mayor who opposes school closures headed to City Hall within weeks, the Department of Education won’t move to shutter any low-performing schools this year for the first time in more than a decade.
“Closure or phase-out is not part of our agenda,” Chancellor Dennis Walcott said on a school visit in Brooklyn today, adding that his successor could carry the torch once he and Mayor Bloomberg leave office at the end of the year: “We’ll see what the new chancellor will do.”
Bloomberg has closed 164 schools since he took over the school system in 2002. The schools have been replaced with more than 650 new schools staffed with different principals and teachers, an aggressive — and controversial — intervention that has been a signature policy in Bloomberg’s brand of education reform.
This year’s closure reprieve doesn’t mean that the city is giving a free pass to schools that meet its closure criteria. Walcott said department officials still plan to meet with schools that earned low letter grades on their annual progress reports, which are set to be released next week for a sixth straight year.
“You’ll see a very rigorous approach … to address shortcomings at those schools,” Walcott added. (more…)
November 6, 2013
As mayor-elect Bill de Blasio hashes out his administration’s education to-do list, teachers union chief Michael Mulgrew was ready Wednesday to suggest a top priority – revise the new teacher-evaluation system that the state imposed this June to break a long city-union impasse.
“I’ve got to get evals straightened out quickly, because it’s an unmitigated disaster,” said Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, which filed 17 formal grievances last month over the evaluation system’s rollout.
Mulgrew also suggested that the de Blasio administration reconsider the structure of the school system, which groups schools into multi-borough support networks.
“We’ve got to restructure,” Mulgrew said, adding that the networks do more to enforce school compliance with department regulations than to assist them with instruction.
The DOE “designed a system that’s not about supporting schools,” he said. “They designed a system that’s about accountability.” (more…)
November 5, 2013
For the two leading candidates for mayor, voting this morning was something of a final exam — even though neither cast his vote at a school.
“I feel like I’m taking a standardized test,” Democrat Bill de Blasio said as he filled out the ballot at a library near his home in Park Slope. (De Blasio has pledged to “put the standardized testing machine in reverse” if he’s elected.)
In Brooklyn Heights, Republican Joe Lhota cast his ballot at the polling site at Congregation Mount Sinai. He said he was “very optimistic” about the election results, which are projected to have him losing to de Blasio by a potentially historic margin. (more…)
November 5, 2013
Eva Moskowitz, whose charter school network launched in Harlem, helped lead opposition to Democrat Bill de Blasio’s plan to charge rent to charter schools that use space in public school buildings, while Republican Joe Lhota chose a charter school in the area to remind voters that he would continue the Bloomberg administration’s policy of letting co-located charter schools operate rent-free.
But even though the neighborhood has one of the highest charter-school enrollment rates in the city, most voters there today — but not all — said they were casting their ballots for de Blasio. (more…)
November 4, 2013
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.
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. (more…)
October 31, 2013
Exiled arts programs. Cramped classrooms. Distressed students.
Families and faculty predicted grim futures for the soon-to-be space-sharing schools during the Panel for Educational Policy meeting Wednesday evening, before the mainly mayor-appointed panel approved 20 new co-locations, just two weeks after it authorized 17 others.
The PEP-backed proposals Wednesday included 11 new district schools and four new charter schools that will open next year, along with several other schools that will expand.
While many at the meeting accused the Bloomberg administration of rushing to enact school changes that will preserve its policies after its tenure ends this year, others turned their attention to the next mayor – widely expected to be Bill de Blasio – imploring him to reverse course.
“He’s got to overturn what’s happening here,” said Noah Gotbaum, vice president of Community Education Council 3 in Manhattan. “Otherwise, Bloomberg will be getting a fourth term.” (more…)