News

Latest News

State Orders Buffalo to Send Students From Two Failing Schools to BOCES

State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. is forcing Buffalo to send students from two high schools to take classes outside of the district. The state has recently denied Lafayette and East millions in federal school-improvement money and directed the district to have some students take classes out of the district. The students will be educated by Erie 1 Board of Cooperative Educational Services, a regional education service provider.

According to The Buffalo News, King has directed Buffalo to either:

• Enter into an agreement with Erie 1 BOCES to provide career and vocational programs to any student from East or Lafayette who wishes to enroll in such programs this coming school year.

• Enter into an agreement with a BOCES program to serve as the lead administrators of Lafayette and East, similar to the role that Johns Hopkins originally was supposed to serve.

The city's plan must be submitted by August 12th.

Share

Campbell Brown, Co-Founder of the Parents' Transparency Project, Talks with City & State

Campbell Brown, co-founder of the Parents’ Transparency Project, talks with City & State’s Morgan Pehme about her new organization whose members are working to shine light on issues affecting education – particularly teachers committing sexual misconduct against students, but are still in the classroom because they are protected by the teachers’ union.

Brown, a former CNN anchor, said eliminating sexual predators in the classroom can be easily addressed by changing the state law with legislation that’s already been introduced, but the United Federation of Teachers is fighting the change.

View the full interview here.

Share

StudentsFirstNY to File a Complaint Over Unsatisfactory Teacher Distribution

In a complaint scheduled to be filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, StudentsFirstNY will ask the office to investigate the distribution of teacher quality in NYC schools. In January, StudentsFirstNY released a report that found only three percent of teachers were rated “unsatisfactory” last year and that those who received this rating worked disproportionately in schools with many poor and minority students. According to a recent article from Gotham Schools, the complaint asserts that the unequal distribution is the result of discriminatory city policies.

StudentsFirstNY Acting Executive Director Glen Weiner attended a protest outside the Department of Education’s headquarters at Tweed Courthouse and commented on teachers rated as "unsatisfactory" under the old evaluation system:

“The problem was that everybody is rated satisfactory. If you think about what it takes for a teacher to be rated unsatisfactory in the old model, it has to say something about those teachers”

Share

A Timeline of the NYC School System Under Mayor Bloomberg

New York City's school system has been completely remade in the 12 years under Mayor Mike Bloomberg. In 2002, Mayor Bloomberg's first step was to take control of the City Department of Education in 2002. Since then, his administration has opened hundreds of new schools, closed dozens of failing schools, fostered charter school growth, raised achievement standards and implemented meaningful teacher evaluations.

Explore the comprehensive timeline courtesy of WNYC.

Share

The Next Education Mayor

The next mayor of NYC will have the challenge of managing the largest school system in the country, which consists of 1.1 million students, 75,000 teachers and about 1,800 schools. The new NYC mayor will be responsible for the installation of the new Common Core learning standards and curriculum tests, negotiating a new contract with teachers, installing a new teacher evaluation system, while improving the percentage of students who are college-ready upon high school graduation. 

The New York Times’ Editorial Board discussed what the city should expect to hear in the NYC mayoral campaign as candidates compete for the opportunity to implement their education policies. The editorial board wrote that the three major educational issues of the NYC mayoral campaign surrounds the mayor’s role in the education policy, failing schools and charter schools. 

According to the New York Times’ Editorial Board:

“Nearly all of the candidates speak passionately about education. And some — notably Bill de Blasio, Christine Quinn and William Thompson Jr. — have been thoughtful and specific in terms of what they would do to move the system forward. But emotional flash points in this campaign have centered on three issues: mayoral control, specifically whether the State Legislature gave Mayor Michael Bloomberg too much power when it consolidated authority over the schools in City Hall in 2002; failing schools and when to close them; and the role of charter schools, which receive public money but are exempt from some state regulations.”

Share

Former NYC Chancellor Says Mayoral Candidates Lack "Courage"

Former New York City Schools Chancellor and StudentsFirstNY Board Chair Joel Klein spoke about the future of NYC charter schools and the NYC mayoral candidates in a speech delivered to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. His speech highlighted the expansion of NYC charter schools from 18 to 125 during his time as chancellor, while discussing the lack of “courage” among NYC mayoral hopefuls.

According to by WNYC’s SchoolBook, Klein said:

"The key ingredient to that work was courage. And courage to tell political special interests, 'no thanks, we’re putting the children first.'"

"For example, some of these people want to turn back the clock and take choice and opportunity away from parents by ending or freezing the charter co-location policies that proved so critical to students and families in Harlem and around New York City. They may say they support charters, but without co-location these schools have no place to go and would effectively disappear.

"I think some folks might ignore these children and their families because they don’t have political action committees or City Hall lobbyists."

Share

Former NYC Schools Chancellor Praises Bloomberg’s Education Policies

Former NYC Schools Chancellor and StudentsFirstNY Board Chair Joel Klein will be giving a speech at the annual meeting of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools today. His speech will discuss the positive impacts of the Bloomberg administration's school policies while noting that most current mayoral candidates have a "complete lack of courage" on education.

According to a copy of prepared remarks reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Klein plans to say:

“It saddens me to see, as we approach the end of the Bloomberg administration, a complete lack of courage among most of the candidates running to replace him when it comes to choice in education" 

Although Mr. Klein does not name any specific candidates in his speech, he warns against turning back the clock on school choice by undoing the practice of offering charter schools free space in traditional public schools.

Share

Former NYC Schools Chancellor Praises Bloomberg’s Education Policies

Former NYC Schools Chancellor and StudentsFirstNY Board Chair Joel Klein will be giving a speech at the annual meeting of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools today. His speech will discuss the positive impacts of the Bloomberg administration's school policies while noting that most current mayoral candidates have a "complete lack of courage" on education.

According to a copy of prepared remarks reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Klein plans to say:

“It saddens me to see, as we approach the end of the Bloomberg administration, a complete lack of courage among most of the candidates running to replace him when it comes to choice in education" 

Although Mr. Klein does not name any specific candidates in his speech, he warns against turning back the clock on school choice by undoing the practice of offering charter schools free space in traditional public schools.

Share

Parents Group Challenges UFT and Candidates on Teacher Misconduct

The Parents’ Transparency Project wrote a letter to United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew in response to a report that found sexual predators still working in city schools. The letter charges that teachers accused of misconduct keep their jobs because of a faulty disciplinary system and the union contract's definition of sexual misconduct.

In the letter to UFT President Michael Mulgrew obtained by the New York Daily News, Campbell Brown of The Parents’ Transparency Project writes:

“You have repeatedly written or said that the UFT contract has ‘zero tolerance on the issue of sexual misconduct with children. Unfortunately, the record does not support that claim.”

 “A lawyer may parse words and play semantics in determining whether these incidents may be defined as ‘sexual contact,’ but parents cannot”

The Parents’ Transparency Project also sent six of the mayoral candidates a survey asking whether they would press for reforms to make it easier to fire teachers who have been accused of sexual misconduct. Candidates Christine Quinn and Joe Lhota both said yes, while representatives for candidates John Liu and Bill Thompson said they had not seen the survey.

Anthony Weiner’s spokeswoman said the candidate "believes the issue of New York City education — including teacher discipline — should be left to New York City citizens and their lawmakers."

Candidate Bill de Blasio’s spokesman gave this statement:

"Bill believes there should be zero tolerance when it comes to sexual misconduct. Anyone facing allegations should immediately be removed from the classroom, and anyone found guilty of abuse should face immediate dismissal. We need a speedier process to reach those judgments more quickly so we can dramatically reduce the time it takes to make a decision — but Bill doesn't support unilaterally firing a teacher based on allegations alone."

Share

StudentsFirstNY Weekly Education News Roundup: June 24-28, 2013

In this week's education news: a call for better teacher training, NYC Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson is concerned that the UFT and NYC mayoral candidate Bill Thompson will turn back the clock on education reform, and NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott calls out the UFT for defending teachers accused of sexual misconduct.

A Call for Better Teacher Training

NY Daily News // June 24, 2013

According to a recent evaluation of education schools by the National Council on Teacher Quality, the low assessment scores of public school children in the United States can be attributed to a lack of teacher preparation and standards in the process of recruiting teaching candidates.

In an opinion piece in the Daily News, former NYC Schools Chancellor and StudentsFirstNY Board Chair Joel Klein writes: 

Only one in four programs limits admissions to even the top half of the college-going population, and less than half of all programs adequately prepare teachers in the subjects they will teach.

These are ominous findings, but not especially surprising, given years of national and international assessments showing American students trailing their international peers. Among the 1,200 programs evaluated, few won high marks and most were rated mediocre or worse.

UFT and Bill Thompson Want to Turn Back the Clock on Education Reform

NY Daily News // June 24, 2013

Howard Wolfson, a deputy mayor for government affairs and communications in the Bloomberg administration, describes the transformation of NYC schools since Mike Bloomberg became mayor in 2001 and how the UFT and its candidate Bill Thompson could turn back the clock on progress.

In an opinion piece in the New York Daily News, Wolfson writes:

What the UFT and its choice for mayor are offering is nothing more than a union wish list of measures to roll back the reforms that have benefited our kids during the last decade.

That risks returning to the days when our schools were a national disgrace.

Since there are no more school board members he can hand-pick — the mayor abolished the corrupt school board system — the UFT leader has set his sights far higher, promising millions of dollars to Thompson’s campaign and forming a sophisticated polling and get-out-the-vote operation.

What kind of mayor will the UFT make? With Thompson’s selection, the central question in the campaign has become: Who will run the school system — the union or the mayor? And will it be run for the children it serves or the adults who work in it?

UFT to Blame for Teachers in Classroom Accused of Sexual Misconduct

NY Daily News // June 26, 2013

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott blames the teachers union for making it difficult for the city to fire teachers who have been accused of sexual misconduct. Teachers can only  be fired by an independent hearing officers chosen by the city and union.

According to the Daily News:

“It’s appalling to me that a union representing teachers is the biggest obstacle to getting those accused of sexual misconduct out of our classrooms,” said Walcott, who has fought for legislation to grant firing power to education officials instead of independent hearing officers paid by the state.

Share

Join StudentsFirstNY

Connect With Us

New Report