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New York Post Editorial: Public Schools are Failing NYC Students

At many New York City-run public schools, a majority of students are not passing statewide tests. Many more African-American and Latino students are failing than their white counterparts, however.

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NY Daily News Editorial: Saving NYC Charter Schools

Thousands of New York City parents and students fear that Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will curtail the charter school movement.

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Union Leaders Criticize Common Core Implementation

Recently, National Education Association president Dennis Van Roekel released a statement condemning the implementation of the Common Core standards. American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten has previously expressed similar sentiment about the standards.

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Why Don't Progressives Support Charter Schools?

Charter schools, as an alternative to traditional public schools, deliver results for the students they serve. A large portion of successful students in charters schools are African-American and Latino, who struggle in public schools - four out of every five of these students are failing to meet proficiency standards.

So why do progressives like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stand against charter schools?

A New York Post columnist states that progressives are often champions of "alternative" systems. But when it comes to charter schools, these same politicians will only support traditional public schools:

A progressive might see in charters the beginnings of a new structure for public education that abandons the highly centralized, top-down, one-size-fits-all system of the traditional schools in favor of a concept that offers citizens more options for their children and more accountability for those who provide them. Instead, we have a mayor who's going to keep failing schools going so long as they are traditionals and curtail the expansion of the successful if they are alternatives.

For a man who likes to talk about New York's "progressive future," Bill de Blasio sure does seem awfully wed to the past.


Brooklyn Politician Seeks Charter School Support from State

On Thursday, Brooklyn Assemblyman Karim Camara led a pro-charter school rally.

According to the New York Post, Mayor de Blasio has indicated plans of limiting charter school expansion in New York City. Camara seeks to receive help from the state should de Blasio move forward with his plans:

“We should not criticize, scrutinize or punish charter schools that are giving a great education to children,” Camara said Thursday at a pro-charter rally in Downtown Brooklyn.

“We should be doing ­everything in our power to support them. These policies that have been advocated by the city administration will be to the detriment, not just to the schools, but to the students who are getting an excellent education,” he added.

Camara, chairman of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Caucus, said he would seek a “legislative remedy” through the state-run Dormitory Authority to provide funding for charter-school expansion if the city fails to accommodate charters.


Opinion: Common Core Critics Need a Better Solution

The Common Core standards raise the educational bar for New York students, better preparing them for college-level work and decent-paying jobs. While Common Core opponents have sternly criticized the initiative, they have failed to provide a superior alternative for New York education.

An opinion piece in the New York Daily News urges New York citizens to support the Common Core until there is a better solution for education reform:

We welcome debate over the Common Core, but the facts are clear: New York, to its credit, has opted to set a higher bar for student learning. Opponents have an obligation to say what they would do instead. Settle for yesterday’s weak standards and today’s lackluster performance?

If someone offers a better option, we will support it. If states choose to use flexibility built into the Common Core to improve their standards even more, we will support that, too.

In the meantime, however, something very promising is on the table. Attention and energy should go into devising the best way to put it into practice in New York. New York made a choice for the better when it adopted the Common Core. It must not turn back now, especially under pressure from a few loud opponents without a better plan.


U.S. Teacher Placement Gets Scrutinized

The U.S. Department of Education is producing a 50-state plan that will address the inequitable placement of teachers.

According to Education Week, the federal plan is intended to prevent poor and minority students from being taught by ineffective teachers.

The article discusses how teacher evaluations are an important factor in the creation of this plan:

What's more, policymakers are only now getting a handle on how to judge effectiveness, as states continue to work on more sophisticated evaluation systems that judge teachers on student growth. For years, state and federal law have focused on easier-to-measure factors such as years of experience.

"What we advocate is using those indicators that we know are solid as soon as possible," said Daria Hall, the director of K-12 policy development for the Education Trust, a Washington organization that advocates on behalf of at-risk students. "As evaluation systems get on their feet and fully functioning, then we should look at evaluation results."

For more information on the distribution of teacher quality in New York City, read our Unsatisfactory Report.


Minority Caucus Chairs in NY Legislature Support State Education Commissioner John King

Despite political opposition, New York State Education Commissioner John King has been working to raise standards for students.

While the debate continues around Common Core, two New York lawmakers recently expressed their support for Commissioner King. Assemblyman Karim Camara chairs the state Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus. State Senator Adriano Espaillat chairs the state Senate Puerto Rican and Latino Caucus. According to City & State, the two issued a joint statement that reads in part:

“While this has been an emotional debate with marked differences in public policy, there is no doubt that Commissioner King remains a public servant devoted to improving the education and welfare of New York’s kids. We will continue to work towards closing the achievement gap and other urgent issues with Commissioner King and other stakeholders.”

Opinion: We Must Improve the Common Core, Not Halt It

The New York State Education Department has indicated plans to slow down the implementation of the Common Core standards. Nancy Zimpher, State University of New York chancellor, writes an opinion piece explaining why a moratorium of the Common Core would be a bad decision for New York education.

In an opinion piece for The Buffalo News, Zimpher advocates for the Common Core:

We must not turn our back on the opportunity that the Common Core presents. Now is our chance to have a significant, lasting impact on student achievement and success while repositioning our nation as a global leader in education.

Outdated learning standards just won’t get the job done. Instead of halting our progress, let’s focus on ways to work together to strengthen the implementation of the Common Core. Our children deserve no less than a concerted effort to get this right.


Despite Charter School Success, NYC Mayor Wants to Slow Down Growth

According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), New York City is one of the biggest school districts in the country that enrolls a large number of students into charter schools. Despite continued success, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is trying to slow down the growth of charter schools.

According to the Economist, de Blasio plans to divert $210 million allocated for charter schools to help fund a universal prekindergarten program. Also, de Blasio is charging charter schools rent for the space they share with public schools:

Mr de Blasio wants to charge charters rent if they are sharing space with the 1.1m pupils in district schools. Because charters receive no state funding for facility costs and rents in the Big Apple are so high, Michael Bloomberg, Mr de Blasio’s predecessor, allowed them free use of under-utilised space in traditional public schools. Of the 183 charters in New York City, 115 are “co-located”, sharing canteens, libraries and gyms. If they were suddenly charged rent, many would struggle. The 68 charters not sharing space with a district school have to fork out an average of $515,137 for facilities each year. The Manhattan Institute, a conservative think-tank, calculates that charging rent could force 71% of co-located charters into deficit.

The article goes on to discuss why slowing charter school growth will harm New York City education:

These new policies are likely to be unpopular. New York City’s charter schools generally outperform their neighbouring district schools. In some cases charters have not merely closed the racial achievement gap, but actually reversed it. Most New Yorkers want more of them.


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