Posts tagged "Keith Wright"
February 6, 2013
When the roles are reversed — as they were on Tuesday, when hundreds of charter school parents, students, and teachers convened in Albany to lobby lawmakers — the conversations aren’t always so predictable.
Some of the charter school advocates stuck to talking points determined in advance by the lobby day’s organizers. The New York City Charter Center and the New York Charter School Association want the legislature to give charter schools the right to operate pre-kindergarten programs, something state law currently precludes. The agenda is a response to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to give $25 million to district schools that offer more full-day pre-K seats.
But in interviews and individual meetings with lawmakers, students and parents spoke about education issues that affected them personally. Almost all said they love the schools they attend, but they expressed concerns about their schools’ safety, space, and resources. One parent from an upstate charter school said her child’s special needs were not being adequately addressed. (more…)
January 25, 2013
Brand new Brooklyn Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley wants to pick up where his high-profile predecessor left off: trying to block Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to close schools.
Before he was elected to Congress last year, Hakeem Jeffries was the lead sponsor on a bill that called on a two-year moratorium for closures in New York City. It passed overwhelmingly in the Democratic-controlled Assembly, but then lost momentum. First, it died in the Republican-controlled Senate and then lost its sponsor when Jeffries headed to Washington, D.C.
Now, union officials and other advocates who oppose the Bloomberg administration’s school closure policies are looking for a new lawmaker to carry the torch for this year’s session.
September 21, 2012
West Harlem community leaders heralded the coming of the year-old Teachers College Community School yesterday as a new district school option for a neighborhood packed with charter schools.
The elementary school, which opened in East Harlem last year and moved to Manhattanville this fall, is managed by Columbia University’s school of education.
In recent years, many new schools have come to West Harlem in the form of high-profile charter school networks that have brought both educational opportunities and controversy to the neighborhood. Like those schools, the fledgling elementary school admits students randomly through a lottery process, and it relies on a mix of public and private funding to operate.
But it also has the widespread support of political leaders who have served as some of the most vocal critics of the city’s charter school policies, among them State Assemblyman Keith Wright. Wright has proposed legislation to give parent councils veto power over city plans to require district and charter schools to share space.
A range of Harlem community leaders, including City Councilman Robert Jackson and Donald Notice, president of the West Harlem Development Corporation, turned out to the school’s opening ceremony yesterday to laud the effort Columbia has made to support the school and help renovate its new, permanent home on Manhattanville’s Morningside Avenue. (more…)
June 22, 2012
All eyes might have been on the teacher evaluation shield bill this week, but that wasn’t the only education issue lawmakers tackled this spring. A host of other education bills traveled through both houses of the legislature in recent months, with varying success. Here’s a brief rundown of those bills and how they fared:
Senate, Assembly pave way for universal kindergarten in New York City
In New York City, more than 3,000 children — or 4 percent — of all five-year-olds are not enrolled in kindergarten. Expanding that service has become a pet issue for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other council members, but it first required a change to state law that would allow the city to revise age regulations. Currently, the city requires only that six-year-olds attend school.
The bill passed easily through the Assembly earlier this month, 141-1, and passed in the Senate Thursday just after 9 p.m. The passage doesn’t automatically enact universal kindergarten, however. To do that, city officials will have to agree to new age regulations. Mayor Bloomberg initially raised questions about the expansion’s cost — he estimated the additional enrollment could run $30 million a year — but the city Department of Education has since come out in support of the legislation.
The bill still needs a final signature from Gov. Andrew Cuomo in order to become a law. “We are reviewing the legislation,” said a Cuomo spokesman. (more…)
February 28, 2012
When the Bloomberg Administration threatened to shut down a school in Assemblyman Keith Wright’s district this year, Wright vowed to create legislation to repeal mayoral control of the schools.
The city didn’t go through with the closure, but Wright is making good on his word — at least to a degree — by introducing a bill that would chip away at one of the mayor’s most controversial powers: the ability to install schools inside other schools’ buildings.
The bill would require elected parent councils known as Community Education Councils to approve any co-location proposal before it may go into effect.
Co-location proposals often generate heated debate within districts, particularly when the city is proposing to move a charter school into a district building. The CECs regularly play a vocal role in opposing charter school co-locations within their district schools, but they have no power to stop them or any other co-location.
Instead, the Panel for Educational Policy, which has never rejected a city proposal, must approve co-locations.
Parents, politicians, advocacy groups and representatives of at least three CECs rallied infront of Department of Education headquarters this morning to show their support for Wright’s bill, saying they hope it will pass because the CECs already must vote on zone lines within their districts.
Co-locations were the only subject of today’s rally; but according to Noah Gotbaum, a member of CEC for District 3, the CECs are hoping the co-location bill will be the first step toward legislation restricting the city’s ability to close schools, and eventually leading to the outright end of mayoral control. (more…)
February 8, 2012
Two schools that had faced closure votes this week are being taken off the chopping block.
The Department of Education said today it would no longer seek to close the middle grades of Wadleigh Secondary School of Performing and Visual Arts or the KAPPA VII middle school in Brooklyn. Teachers reported getting the news at the end of the day today, one day before the citywide school board was set to vote on the closure proposals.
Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the department had made the decision after listening to community input at public meetings and behind the scenes.
“While these two schools continue to struggle, what we learned is that they are also poised to quickly improve,” he said in a statement.
But supporters of the schools, particularly Wadleigh, said the city’s statement was a smokescreen and said they would still travel to Thursday’s Panel for Educational Policy meeting in Brooklyn to protest closure votes for 23 other schools.
The real reason for the unusual reversal, they said, was that influential politicians in Harlem had sprung to Wadleigh’s aid — and threatened the Bloomberg administration in the process. (more…)
July 8, 2009
The next front for the Harlem school wars could be Albany.
City Council member Inez Dickens yesterday proposed changing the state law to cap the number of charter schools that a single operator can open in a given school district.
She was speaking at a protest against the Success charter school network’s expansion into a traditional Harlem public school, P.S. 123.
Dickens said she had the support of state Sen. Bill Perkins, and Keith Wright, an Assemblyman representing Harlem, said he would introduce legislation to make that change on his side of the legislature.
A neighborhood- and operator-specific cap would add to what exists now, a cap on the number of charter schools across New York state at 200. There are 1,500 public schools in the city.
Such a cap would also squarely challenge the strategy the Success Charter Network has pursued of opening a large number of charter schools in a designated area; Eva Moskowitz, the network’s CEO, has said her goal is to open 40 Harlem charter schools in the next 10 years. (more…)