Posts tagged "charter schools"
November 20, 2013
Jason Griffiths, who left one of the city’s most selective high schools to take over at Harlem Village Academy High School over the summer, is no longer at the charter school, according to a letter sent to families on Tuesday. The school’s academic dean, who came to HVA with Griffiths from Brooklyn Latin School, will take over for now.
Griffiths resigned because of “personal reasons related to his family and his health,” according to the letter sent to families. Griffiths, who became a father this summer, did not respond to requests for comment. The school also did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Hiring Griffiths was a coup for the school, which boasts some impressive student achievement data and its own East Harlem building but has struggled to maintain enrollment, retain teachers, and keep discipline under control.
Its previous principal, Laurie Warner, resigned in February and the school operated without a leader until Griffiths came on over the summer. An HVA official said earlier this year that she left for personal reasons.
Now, Griffiths’ resignation is a blow that comes at a time when Harlem Village Academies, the network that operates the high school, needs to prove that its struggles are in the past. The network announced this fall that it aspires to open a graduate school to train teachers.
Parents and students outside the school on Wednesday said the latest departure is unsettling. (more…)
November 18, 2013
Chancellor Dennis Walcott gave an incomplete answer when he said earlier this month that the city would not close any schools this year.
In fact, the Department of Education has moved to shutter one school — a charter school that it put on probation last year amid concerns that included sky-high teacher and student attrition.
The school, Fahari Academy Charter School, posted the lowest marks of all middle schools on the city progress reports released last week. The department told the school’s board last week that it would recommend Fahari’s closure.
Under charter law, the state Board of Regents must revoke Fahari’s charter, after which the it no longer has the legal right to operate. Since the school’s charter expires in the middle of the school year — next month — the city is hoping to get state approval to wait until June to shutter the school.
The city failed to get the proposal onto the agenda for this week’s Regents meeting in Albany, so that leaves December as the last chance for the city to get final approval before Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who opposes school closures, takes over at the Department of Education.
In the meantime, officials at the school say they plan to fight back, if necessary in court, a process that has fared well for charter schools targeted for closure by the city in the past. (more…)
November 6, 2013
The UFT Charter School is reassuring families that a new round of changes will turn the tide at the long-struggling school, which is on the hook to improve test scores by 2015 or shut down forever.
In a letter sent home to families today, the president of the union-run school’s board explains that it consolidated its elementary and middle school over the summer in an effort to boost student performance in the middle grades. The board president, Evelyn DeJesus, also said that the high school’s first cohort posted a 93 percent graduation rate.
State authorizers were on the fence about continuing to allow the school to operate when its charter came up for renewal earlier this year. Committee members said the school’s middle grades did not deserve to stay open, but they said that closing the middle school would have left a “donut hole” between the higher-performing elementary school grades and the relatively new high school grades, where achievement was less clear. (more…)
October 30, 2013
There are fundamental and meaningful differences between district-run schools and charter schools, which can include curricular choices, autonomy and level of union involvement. But the political fights focusing on the differences draw attention away from another important conversation that needs to be taking place, about what we have in common. (more…)
October 25, 2013
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. (more…)
October 21, 2013
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 Yorkers when it comes to charter schools.
He got an assist from thousands of charter school parents, teachers, and students who marched across the Brooklyn Bridge two weeks ago to protest de Blasio’s proposal to charge rent to charter schools that operate in public space. That rally made it into a fiery campaign ad last week.
But a new poll finds that likely voters are on de Blasio’s side as much, or more, as they are on Lhota’s.
The poll, out today from the Quinnipiac Polling Institute, finds that 47 percent of New Yorkers think charter schools should be required to pay rent, while 43 percent say the schools should be able to operate in public space rent-free and 10 percent said they did not know what they thought. (more…)
October 16, 2013
As expected, charter schools were an early and significant point of disagreement between Democrat Bill de Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota during the first of three televised mayoral debates Tuesday evening.
The candidates share starkly different visions for the role of charter schools in the city’s school system. But their dispute on Tuesday night also hinged on a new issue — whether de Blasio had “flip-flopped” on the issue, a charge that he batted away as a page “out of the Republican playbook.” (more…)
October 15, 2013
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.”
October 8, 2013
A political rally turned out thousands of parents, students, and staff from the city’s most prominent charter schools for a march across the Brooklyn Bridge and a plea for support from whoever next occupies City Hall.
Dressed in neon yellow shirts and carrying signs to summarize their demands, crowds began assembling in Cadman Plaza around 7:30 a.m and swelled as one chartered bus after another dropped off a new group from a different corner from the city. A stage on the west end of the park blasted music and personal testimonies from teachers, parents, and school leaders invited to speak.
Dozens of schools from at least 11 charter networks were represented at the rally, according to organizers. They estimated that 17,500 people attended.
As the crowd waited to funnel onto the bridge’s walkway — a process that lasted more than two hours because of the mass of participants — parents were unified when asked why they attended.
“We love the school and we just want to make sure the next mayor gets the message,” said Aaron Lieberman, who has two children who attend Harlem Success Academy. (more…)
October 8, 2013
Saying that today’s rally to support charter schools “sends entirely the wrong message,” a group of charter school advocates is publicly opting out.
In an open letter, five charter school operators and two people who help charter schools operate say they disagree with the premise of the rally, to send a strong message to Democratic mayoral frontrunner Bill de Blasio that he should support the city’s charter sector. They say they would rather wait to see what de Blasio does if he is elected and build a relationship with him then than take to the streets against him now.
“First, such a march seems at best premature,” the letter reads. It adds, “Second, if we focus on the substance of Mr. de Blasio’s platform, it would seem that there is much to celebrate, not protest.” (more…)