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StudentsFirstNY Weekly Education News Roundup: July 12-19, 2013

In this week's education news: NYC’s Charter School Center expands to other U.S. cities, the Parents Transparency Project targets four NYC mayoral candidates, State Controller DiNapoli targets charter schools with audits and the UFT faces opposition over its charter school co-location:

NYC's Charter School Center Expands to Other U.S. Cities
GothamSchools // July 12, 2013

The New York City Charter School Center announced plans to expand its "Replicating Quality Schools" program to cities across the United States. The Center will visit four cities, starting with New Orleans, and run an eight-week program in each city.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been an outspoken advocate of charter schools during his 12 years in office. According to Gotham Schools, it is unlikely that the next mayor of NYC will be as friendly to charter schools:

"Elsewhere in the country, the outlook for the publicly financed but privately managed schools is more favorable. So the charter center announced this week that it plans to help charter operators set up new schools in other cities, using a 2011 program for city charter schools that aimed to duplicate as a blueprint."

Parents Transparency Project Targets Four NYC Mayoral Candidates in Ad 
NY Daily News // July 15, 2013

The Parents Transparency Project, a parents advocacy group headed by former CNN anchor Campbell Brown, will begin airing an ad that portrays mayoral candidates William Thompson, Anthony Weiner, Bill de Blasio and John Liu as afraid to protect city students from sexual predators because of the teachers union.

The group will not target the remain candidates according to the NY Daily News:

"Four other candidates — Christine Quinn, Sal Albanese, Joe Lhota and George McDonald — signed the group’s pledge to not sign a new contract with teachers until the process for removing teachers accused of inappropriate behavior is overhauled. The union, which endorsed Thompson, has opposed legislation to streamline the process."

State Controller Tom DiNapoli Targets Charter Schools with Audits
NY Daily News // July 17, 2013

State Controller Tom DiNapoli is targeting charter schools through audits despite a court ruling stating he lacked the authority to do so. DiNapoli has targeted twelve charter schools since 2011 and is now auditing a Success Academy elementary school in Harlem.

DiNapoli’s audits are clearly political for two reasons according to a recent opinion piece in the NY Daily News:

“First, DiNapoli does not audit traditional public schools individually. Second, he announced his first charter audits at a meeting of the New York State United Teachers, which loathes charters because most are not unionized. His audience heartily applauded.”

UFT Faces Opposition Over its Charter School Co-location
GothamSchools // July 18, 2013

The United Federation of Teachers has been strongly opposed to the city’s space-sharing arrangements within school buildings in the past.

The union however now finds itself in the very situation it has regularly protested as the UFT Charter middle school is preparing to move into J.H.S. 292 while its students, teachers and administration have spoken out against the move.

According to GothamSchools, Gloria Williams Nandan, the principal of J.H.S. 292, expressed her opposition to the space-sharing plan on Wednesday at a public hearing:

“Come September, our teachers will lose their classrooms and there begins their dilemma, for when our teachers are kicked out of their classrooms, to whom will they turn? Their union? Oops, sorry, it’s their school that would have taken over their classrooms.”

StudentsFirstNY Criticizes UFT Lawsuit
GothamSchools // July 18, 2013

On Thursday, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) filed a lawsuit against the New York City Department of Education to halt the city's plans for charter school colocations after Mayor Mike Bloomberg leaves office. Currently, the Bloomberg administration is planning charter school co-locations into 2015.

According to GothamSchools, charter school groups and parental choice organizations blasted the lawsuit as a way to halt the growth of charter schools until a more union-friendly mayor enters City Hall next year. StudentsFirstNY's Interim Executive Director Glen Weiner said the lawsuit could trap students at failing public schools with no other alternatives:

"With this lawsuit, the UFT is telling the tens of thousands of parents looking for a better option for their children that the doors of public school buildings are closed to them," said Glen Weiner, interim executive director of StudentsFirstNY, in a statement. "We will do everything in our power to ensure that the judicial process is informed by the view of parents who do not want to see the clock rolled back on their kids."

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