Posts tagged "daniel squadron"
March 14, 2012
Funding for statewide erasure analysis and other test security measures was omitted from early drafts of the 2012-2013 budget, meaning a major initiative by the state education department could be shelved indefinitely.
Back in October, the Board of Regents signed off on a plan to request $2.1 million in the 2012-2013 budget for erasure analysis as part of changes to address concerns that state tests were not secure. State education officials lobbied the Governor’s office for the funding, but when Cuomo released his $132.5 billion preliminary budget in January, the line item was not included.
Funding for the initiatives was also left out of budget proposals submitted this week by the Assembly and Senate.
“The legislature said it’s obviously not a priority for them,” SED spokesman Dennis Tompkins said of the test security proposals.
Every spring, state agencies lobby Cuomo’s budget office for their legislative priorities. In addition to funding for test security, SED officials also wanted a budget amendment to reduce costs and shorten the length of time it takes to complete disciplinary hearings for tenured teachers, a wish that Cuomo granted.
The omission of test security proposals came at the same time as Cuomo used the budget process to push districts and teachers unions to accept an evaluation system that makes test scores a part of teacher ratings.
Some legislators said test security got short shrift during the budgetary process.
“As more and more importance is placed on state tests, there needs to be real reform: higher quality tests, better formats, and improved test integrity,” said Senator Daniel Squadron. “The only way to improve the quality of the tests and the integrity of the scoring is to invest more dollars to move beyond oversimplified multiple choice, and to professionalize assessment.” (more…)
November 21, 2011
To ease crowding in Lower Manhattan, the Department of Education could move offices out of its headquarters.
That’s the suggestion of State Sen. Daniel Squadron, who argues in a letter to Chancellor Dennis Walcott that DOE officials would do well to clear out to make space for children.
The letter comes days after the elected parent council for Manhattan’s District 2 rejected a DOE plan that would have tweaked zones for some overcrowded schools and created a zone for a new school set to open next year.
That school, Peck Slip School, is set to spend its first year in the basement of Tweed Courthouse, the DOE’s headquarters ever since Mayor Bloomberg relocated the education department’s offices from Brooklyn when he first gained control of the schools. The ornate building mostly contains administrative offices, but for the last several years, its basement has housed just-starting-out schools. Ross Global Charter School and the Spruce Street School have occupied the space while waiting for permanent sites, and Innovate Manhattan Charter School opened there this year.
Since the space is certified for public school occupancy — an obstacle the city has run up against when surveying other vacant buildings in Manhattan — Squadron says the DOE should convert more offices into classrooms and send the adults elsewhere. (more…)
December 10, 2009
Lower East Side parents who want to ensure their pre-k students stay in the same school for kindergarten will now be able to do so, though a citywide policy bans schools from giving admissions preference to their own pre-k students.
Parents in Manhattan’s District 1 have been lobbying for the exemption for more than a year. The district’s parent council, elected officials and the Department of Education have hammered out a nearly-final deal, presented to parents at a public meeting last night.
Last school year the DOE began barring schools from giving admissions preference to students already enrolled in their own pre-k programs.
Lisa Donlan, the president of the parent’s council, said that the policy ran counter to the district’s historical commitment to having full-day pre-k programs that are considered fully integrated into the school’s culture, whereas many districts have half-day pre-k programs that are almost considered separate from the school itself. (more…)
August 6, 2009
New York state senators resurrected mayoral control today, voting 47 against 8 to pass the legislation this afternoon.
According to the Daily News’ Liz Benjamin, debate over the bill lasted for two hours and turned personal when critics of mayoral control attacked the bill’s supporters, Sens. Daniel Squadron and Frank Padavan. The Senate also passed four amendments that will create a parent training center, an arts council, yearly school safety meetings, and expanded oversight of principals by superintendents.
Jimmy Vielkind at Politicker reports that the dissenting senators were Bill Perkins, Ruben Diaz Sr., Shirley Huntley, Kevin Parker, Velmanette Montgomery, Eric Adams, Carl Kruger, and Tom Duane. Perkins and Diaz also voted against all four amendments.
Standing on the Senate floor, Diaz forecast how tomorrow’s editorials would receive his vote. “You read it, tomorrow they’re going to call me a monkey, they’re going to call me a clown, they’re going to call me stupid. They’re going to call me all kinds of things,” he said.
The NY Post, which has been mayoral control’s biggest cheerleader, is reporting the news with an exclamation point in its lede.
“Mayor Bloomberg is still the undisputed educator-in-chief of New York City public schools!”
May 14, 2009
Last week one state politician said he would revamp mayoral control by changing who makes decisions about school policy. Two others said they are proposing legislation that would take a different approach to reforming school governance, by clarifying the constraints under which current decision-makers must operate.
Two state politicians, Assemblyman Rory Lancman and Sen. Daniel Squadron of Brooklyn, announced last week that they have introduced legislation that would require the city Department of Education to be treated just like any other city agency when it comes to budgeting, oversight by the comptroller and public advocate, and public notification about policy changes. Currently, the department occupies a no-man’s-land between city and state authority, a position that has allowed the DOE to escape some of the scrutiny regularly applied to other city agencies and to avoid following laws passed by the City Council.
Lancman and Squadron say their bill is not meant as a comprehensive way to address the school governance question, which lawmakers must tackle by the end of next month. Instead, they say, it’s meant to close a big loophole in the law that has been open since 2002, when the state gave control of the city schools to Mayor Bloomberg. The loophole allowed the nonprofit organization that raises money for the DOE, the Fund for Public Schools, to avoid disclosing its donors, saying that disclosure rules apply only to groups working with city agencies. The DOE has also used the loophole to justify its decision not to follow state law that says elected parent councils must be consulted before the department can close schools.
Lancman told me he doesn’t expect the bill to become law, in part because it addresses only one component of the school governance question. The final school governance bill will deal with other issues including the makeup of the school board, currently known as the Panel for Educational Policy, and how much input parents should have in DOE decisions. Lancman told me he sponsored a partial bill to raise awareness about the particular issue of whether the DOE should be a city agency. “This legislation is a vehicle for driving this issue into the final bill,” he said.
Lancman and Squadron’s bill would firmly establish the DOE as a city agency. (more…)