Posts tagged "karim camara"
March 15, 2013
During a year when the racial composition of the student bodies at the city’s most selective high schools came under harsh new scrutiny, the number of black and Hispanic students admitted to the schools fell sharply.
Of the 5,229 students accepted to the city’s eight specialized high schools this year, 618 were black or Hispanic, according to data the Department of Education released today, the day that eighth-graders learned their high school placement. Last year, the schools accepted 733 black and Hispanic students, more than in the recent past.
The sharpest declines came at the city’s most selective schools. Out of 963 students accepted to ultra-elite Stuyvesant High School, just nine are black and 24 are Hispanic. Last year, the school accepted 51 black and Hispanic students. At Brooklyn Technical High School, the largest of the specialized schools, the number of black and Hispanic students accepted fell by 22 percent. (more…)
June 20, 2012
Under pressure from the for-profit tutoring industry, lawmakers in Albany are backing a bill that would subvert the state’s efforts to change the way extra help is delivered to needy students.
Last month, New York won permission from the Obama administration to give federal funds that had gone to the tutoring companies to a group of organizations that state officials would vet.
Under the legislation promoted by the tutoring companies and peddled to lawmakers, that change would be revoked. State lobbying records show that the legislation followed a spending spree of tens of thousands of dollars in the last six months by the tutoring industry.
The sponsor of the bill in the Assembly, Karim Camara, said in an interview today that he decided to introduce the legislation after a lobbyist hired by a Miami-based tutoring company brought it to him.
“I saw the bill, I read the bill. So I decided to introduce this bill,” Camara said.
Education committee chair John Flanagan sponsored a companion bill in the State Senate. (more…)
June 18, 2012
The state teachers union is lobbying against a bill that would allow charter schools to serve students with special needs more readily.
The bill would allow charter schools, which essentially operate as one-school districts now, to pool their resources to offer special services to students with disabilities and English language learners. The bill was introduced in April, just weeks before state charter school authorizers proposed enrollment targets to comply with a requirement added to the state’s charter school law in 2010 that the schools serve “comparable” numbers of students with special needs.
Charter school advocates have spent recent weeks lobbying for The Charter School Students With Special Needs Act and until now had encountered little resistance in Albany. The bill sailed through the State Senate’s education committee, and Assemblyman Karim Camara introduced an Assembly version two weeks ago.
But last week, NYSUT circulated a memo urging lawmakers to reject the bill. The memo lauded the bill’s sponsors and acknowledged charter schools’ challenges in serving special needs student populations. But it also warned that the bill could result in ”a huge expansion of charter schools” and create an arrangement in which charter schools “segregate all of their students with disabilities to one site.” (more…)
June 1, 2012
The charter sector is ramping up its efforts to serve high-needs students with a state legislative proposal that would help charter schools pool their resources.
One obstacle to serving students with disabilities and English language learners, charter operators have said, is that the schools are islands: Every school operates independently, so it is costly for any charter school to serve small populations of students with diverse needs.
Critics have accused charter operators with using this explanation as an excuse for not serving more students with disabilities and ELLs. But in fact some charter school lobbyists have pushed for years to be able to work together to pool resources.
In 2010, when legislators added special education enrollment targets to the state’s charter school law, revised in order to qualify the state for the federal Race to the Top competition, charter advocates asked for a legal change. But it was one of several proposals that didn’t cross the finish line in the frenzy to pass the law, according to officials from the New York State Charter Association, which is currying support for the bill.
Now, legislators are trying again. The Charter School Students With Special Needs Act would allow charter schools across the state to create consortia to serve students with disabilities. State Sen. John Flanagan, chair of the education committee, proposed the bill last month and moved it through his committee yesterday. In the Assembly, Karim Camara, a city representative, has introduced an identical bill. (more…)
October 31, 2011
Attendance was down at schools across the city today, an annual Halloween phenomenon that teachers said is driven by rumors of gang violence.
Eighty-two percent of students came to school today citywide, well below the average daily rate of 92 percent, according to preliminary attendance data posted on the Department of Education’s website.
Attendance was lowest at high schools and in pockets of Brooklyn and the Bronx. At several schools where daily attendance averages about 75 percent, including Banana Kelly High School and Lehman High School in the Bronx, only about 40 percent of students showed up today.
Assemblyman Karim Camara told GothamSchools that parents reported low attendance in many Central Brooklyn schools. On Twitter, Brooklyn high school teacher Stephen Lazar said only 50 to 60 percent of his students had come to school today. Another teacher, Janine Whitman, said only 2 of her 12 students were in class this morning. ”We were missing many students AND teachers today!” wrote Mark Anderson, who teaches at an elementary school in the Bronx. (more…)
June 26, 2009
A 1998 agreement that gives the city’s police department control over school safety is still in effect, despite city officials’ insistence that it had expired more than six years ago.
The revelation has advocates and elected officials lambasting the city for not disclosing the agreement’s extension.
The original agreement, between Mayor Rudy Giuliani and then-Board of Education President William Thompson, was set to expire in 2002 and was widely assumed to have done so. But in fact, Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein quietly renewed the agreement in January 2003.
The renewal came to light for the first time this month, after Assemblyman Karim Camara urged his colleagues to consider school safety issues when deciding how to vote on mayoral control, according to Udi Ofer, director of advocacy for the New York Civil Liberties Union. The NYCLU was working with legislators to raise the profile of school safety in the mayoral control fight.
When Camara met with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Silver showed him a copy of the memorandum’s renewal, Ofer said. The paragraph-long agreement was signed by Bloomberg and Klein on Jan. 22, 2003, and does not include an expiration date.
The renewal contradicts information the City Council received during a 2007 hearing on school safety, where council members repeatedly asked whether any formal document existed to define the relationship between the city schools and the police department. (more…)