Posts tagged "New York Daily News"
April 1, 2011
Responding to criticisms of a program created to diversify the city’s elite high schools, school officials are highlighting a surprising fact: The program no longer gives special preference to the black and Hispanic students it was built to serve.
The city launched the Specialized High School Institute in 1995 to help get more black and Hispanic students admitted to schools such as Stuyvesant and Bronx Science. Black and Hispanic specialized high school applicants who attended the institute have been more likely to get in than those who didn’t attend.
But fewer black and Hispanic students have gotten that chance since a 2007 lawsuit forced the city to give equal access to the program to all students. Department officials drew attention to the policy change after the Daily News reported last week that fewer black and Latino students who completed the program last year scored high enough on the city’s high school exam to be admitted to elite schools.
Indeed, the new policy appears to have transformed the makeup of the institute. Between 2009, when students admitted prior to the policy change completed the program, and 2010, Hispanic enrollment dropped by more than half, from 414 to 155, while Asian enrollment more than doubled, from 156 to 481. (more…)
May 6, 2009
With the deadline for next year’s city budget looming, elected officials are eyeing early-childhood centers slated to be cut under Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed budget as a key reduction to reverse. More than a dozen officials, including two mayoral candidates and three out of five borough presidents, decried the possible cuts today at a City Hall rally alongside hundreds of parents and workers associated with the centers.
The proposal would cut the budgets of early-childhood programs and replace kindergarten programs currently operated outside of the school system with Department of Education kindergarten classes. The city says that moving the kindergartens is necessary in order to save the Administration for Children’s Services $15 million.
But parents today said that the current programs cover the burden of child-care in a way that schools, which end at 3 p.m. and are shuttered on holidays, cannot. The programs at risk of being shut are operated out of ACS, the city’s social services arm for children, as part of larger daycare operations. Head Start, the early childhood program, is also slated to see its budget slashed by 3 percent.
Desiree Jean-Mary said she is upset that her son, Joshua, who attends a Head Start program in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, might not be able to continue there next year when he enters kindergarten. Right now, Jean-Mary, who has two other children, picks Joshua up at 5 p.m. after her job as a home health aide is over for the day. “It would be really hard if I had to find somewhere else for him to go — I don’t want that,” she said. (more…)
April 9, 2009
Union president Randi Weingarten said that she is going to “make some changes in the union” to correct the cue-card lobbying that happened at Monday’s City Council hearing, which she called inappropriate. Weingarten made the comments on Fox 5′s Good Day New York. (Here’s where you can view our slideshow of exactly what the cards the union sent to council members said.)
Yet despite her mea culpa, Weingarten defended the union’s right to help elected officials prepare for hearings:
You do your job as advocates — and we are fierce advocates — when you do everything you can to make sure that people are prepared. That’s your job. But you don’t do something that creates the appearance of impropriety.
I wrote to some union officials asking what exactly will change in the union’s lobbying practice, which they have argued is not the way they usually do business. I haven’t heard back.
April 8, 2009
The story I broke yesterday morning about the United Federation of Teachers sending City Council members pre-scripted questions on charter schools is now filling the pages of the New York Post and the Daily News.
As Philissa pointed out in the morning roundup today, each paper (A) covered the story and (B) editorialized about the shameless things it says about the teachers union. They both also (C) did not give credit to GothamSchools for breaking the story, despite happily quoting the card text that only I obtained.
C’est la vie.
The important thing, of course, is to keep our eyes on the ball. One take-away here is pretty obvious. The teachers union peddles its influence in pretty clever ways!
Equally important, I think, is another point that shouldn’t get lost in this tangle. That’s the fact that, on the question of charter schools, the union is walking an astoundingly precarious tightrope. (more…)
February 27, 2009
Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez, who has done some seriously good work in the past, this week took his pistol-like investigative skills to the skull of charter school operator and eternal politician Eva Moskowitz — first in a story on the erosion of parent voices in the city schools, and then in a story on Moskowitz’s salary. Gonzalez challenges the salary, which he reports as $371,000 last year (Moskowitz says the real figure is $250,000 plus a $60,000 bonus), suggesting that she should give some of her pay back to her charter schools.
This is hardly the first criticism that’s been thrown at Moskowitz, who previously served as the chair of the City Council’s education committee and ran for borough president of Manhattan, losing to Scott Stringer after the teachers union campaigned against her. As Gonzalez reports, her critics include “educators, parents, the teachers’ union and Harlem political leaders.”
Why’s there so much hate for a woman who has decided to spend her days starting schools for poor and mostly black children in Harlem? There are now many charter school operators in this city. Why focus on Moskowitz? I asked around today and collected three different theories: (more…)
February 13, 2009
All school bus drivers would have to be re-trained immediately and citizens could call in concerns about individual drivers to a city hotline, if the city followed a list of demands Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum issued yesterday. The demands come on the heels of reports of school bus abuse, including a 7-year-old stranded on a bus in Queens this month, a four-year-old Brooklyn child stranded on a school bus last month, and a severely disabled 22-year-old left on a freezing school bus overnight January 1.
Asked whether the city will follow Gotbaum’s demands, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education, Marge Feinberg, said, “We have an effective policy in place that suspends bus personnel for half a year for the first infraction and decertifies them if it happens again.” According to the policy, drivers who leave children alone on a bus have their licenses suspended for 180 days. The licenses are revoked if they commit an error a second time. School officials also pointed out that two of the three most recent cases of abuse happened on private buses, not school buses run by the DOE. (The 4-year-old in Brooklyn was riding a DOE school bus.)
In a press release, Gotbaum points out that while cosmetologists in the city have to register 1,000 hours of training, school bus drivers are required to put in just 10 hours of training and two three-hour refresher courses a year. She also cites a 2007 Daily News investigation that found that the Department of Education hid 225 cases of bus abuse, including one case where a bus driver beat a student with special needs. (Since then, the Department of Education has taken steps to prevent hidden abuse in the future, hiring a new chief manager of the investigative unit and a slew of experienced investigators, Feinberg said.)
Gotbaum’s full list of demands is below the jump. (more…)
December 16, 2008
The Daily News reports this morning that Governor Paterson will propose cutting $206 million from the New York City schools. Mayor Bloomberg has already guess-timated his likely cut to the schools next year at $385 million. Both numbers are moving targets, changeable if the two executives’ legislative bodies push to do so. (Recall that just a few months ago, the state legislature axed a plan by Paterson to cut state funding to schools in the middle of this school year.)
But let’s assume that the mayor and governor do get what they’re asking for. That would be a grand total of $591 million slashed from city schools budgets in the 2009-2010 school year. We can get an extremely rough estimate of what that might look like on the ground by thinking about the cuts the mayor ordered in the middle of this school year. The cut, of $181 million, happened by eliminating 475 bureaucratic jobs; delaying or cutting a half-dozen or so small centrally administered programs; and slicing 1.3% from school budgets. If we scale each of these up by a factor of 3.2 (the amount by which $591 million is larger than $181 million), we get:
- 1,550 jobs cut from central (more…)
October 31, 2008
We covered the Daily News’s story on the “fat cat lives” of top school officials because the story was killed, which aroused our curiosity.
Now that we see the story, the question we’re asking at our office is, so what?
Some have seen the News story as exposing corruption. That’s wrong. The story reports no evidence that school officials are being paid too much or improperly collecting assets that present conflicts of interest. What it does report is essentially what we already knew: Top school officials in the Bloomberg administration took nontraditional routes into public education. We learn that Chancellor Joel Klein, a former CEO, lives on Park Avenue, and that Garth Harries must have a trust fund. (How else could an early-30′s guy whose glitziest resume bullet is a consulting job at McKinsey have assets between $3.9 and $6 million?)
There are some reasonable questions to pull out of the story. There’s nothing wrong with asking whether a former McKinsey consultant and a former CEO are the most qualified people to run the nation’s largest public school system, or whether $250,000 is too much to pay a schools chancellor (Randi Weingarten, the teachers union leader, makes $350,000) — or even whether affluent people with sparse ties to public schools and public schoolchildren should run them.
Another fair question is whether there is a conflict of interest in a top school official coming from the ranks of a top Department of Education contracting company. Photo Anagnostopoulos, the DOE’s chief operating officer, previously was president of McGraw-Hill Digital Learning, which has an $80 million contract with the department to produce interim assessments — the same ones that racked up courier costs.
But the biggest takeaway here is not that affluent business-world transplants are running the public schools; it’s the likelihood that, by putting in a phone call, the same affluent people were able to go over the heads of reporters and editors and get a story killed.
October 31, 2008
Someone had the Daily News story about Department of Education officials’ personal wealth killed the other night, but not before Google stored a copy in its cache. You can read the story in full online now. Thanks to the reader who helped us figure this out. (NYC Public School Parents also captured the cached story.)
October 30, 2008
Parents are outraged about those fat cat educrats at Tweed Courthouse, at least five of whom earned between $1.7 and $6 million in salaries and investments last year, the Daily News was supposed to report in today’s newspaper — but didn’t, after a late-night move killed the story.
Here’s what I saw on my Google Reader when I woke up this morning:
And here’s what popped up when I clicked the story:
My understanding is that the story was slated to run today both in the newspaper and online, but then got scrapped late last night. This appears to have happened because of an outside intervention, since the story had already been uploaded to the paper’s Web site, meaning it had gone all the way through the editing process. Word of the decision to kill the story — not postpone or delay or just put on the Web, but kill — came to both print and Web designers, who dutifully destroyed it, except for one thing: the Web headline, which was still visible this morning.
Did reporter Meredith Kolodner find something that was so juicy it had to be killed? I know when I was at the New York Sun Chancellor Joel Klein would sometimes learn about a scheduled story, dislike it, and make a phone call to the newspaper’s leadership to complain about it. To the paper’s credit, no story was ever killed.
David Cantor, a Department of Education spokesman, declined to comment on both how the story was killed and what it contained.