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Education

Education

  • Celebrating ‘Renewal’ Success as We Acknowledge More Work To Do

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    Mayor de Blasio & Chancellor Fariña on a school visit (photo: Rob Bennett/Mayor's Office)


    School is back in session after an eventful December and long break. As students returned to our community schools, so many were grateful to be back where supports and resources are in place. For many of our students, community schools provide additional support services; food pantries; mental health and social-emotional learning programs; and family support aligned to what’s happening in the classroom. In other words, they focus on educating the “whole

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  • Our School Governance Isn’t Working, and It’s the Perfect Time for Change

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    Mayor de Blasio visits a school (photo: Rob Bennett/Mayor's Office)


    With the announcement that Carmen Fariña will retire in early this new year, Mayor de Blasio has an opportunity to improve the way that New York City public schools are governed, and he should take this chance.

    Many New Yorkers have lost their patience with the mayor on this important issue. In addition to Fariña’s retirement news, we learned just one day earlier that the DOE spent a mind-blowing 600 million taxpayer dollars to improve just 94 struggling schools over three

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  • How Bill de Blasio Can Redeem His Education Record

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    Mayor de Blasio at a town hall (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)


    Bill de Blasio was re-elected as mayor and will remain in control of our public schools for four more years, unless the Legislature amends mayoral control or allows it to expire in 2019. It was recently announcedthat Carmen Fariña, de Blasio’s hand-picked schools chancellor, will be leaving

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  • Stop the Yeshiva Madness

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    (photo: Office of the Governor - Kevin P. Coughlin)


    In recent weeks, the distortions and misinformation about the education our yeshivas provide to our students has grown exponentially. The absurdity hit a new high two weeks ago, when David Bloomfield argued in a Gotham Gazette op-ed that Mayor de Blasio and other elected officials could face arrest over the issue.

    Two years ago, a former yeshiva student sent a short letter to the city’s Department of Education

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  • Yeshiva-Gate Could Imperil De Blasio’s Second Term

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    Mayor de Blasio (photo via The Mayor's Office)


    For Mayor de Blasio, controversy over some ultra-Orthodox Jewish day schools’ duty to provide students with required secular studies may turn into a significant second term scandal. Yeshiva-gate, as it could be called, may imperil de Blasio’s next four years, after the mayor kicked the can down the road throughout his first term, with a long-stalled investigation still incomplete.

    The Mayor-controlled city Department of Education is obligated under ...

  • Teaching Our Children Democracy

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    (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)


    People marching in the streets to protest the Trump administration’s policies often chant “This is what democracy looks like!” It’s a good reminder because many Americans have forgotten. Too many of us have taken for granted the rights and freedoms guaranteed us by the United States Constitution. But not anymore. Not when states threaten to arrest people who exercise their right to assemble and a president uses his office to bludgeon people whom he calls “losers.”

    The New York Society for Ethical

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  • The Dangerous Gutting of ESL Instruction Must Be Reversed

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    (photo via NYC Schools on flickr)


    High school can be rough. Our children and students are frequently insecure, uncertain, and grasping to find their way in a new and unfamiliar environment. Some students have to deal with not only that, but also the fact that they don’t speak English.

    For most English Language Learners (ELLs), one safe haven has been their English classroom, where a teacher understood their special needs and made sure no one made fun of their inevitable errors and struggles with a new

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  • Paid Family Leave for City Teachers Now

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    Mayor de Blasio visits a classroom (photo: Rob Bennett/Mayor's Office)


    Every work day for the past nine school years, I have taught and learned with young people from stressed economic backgrounds as a New York City public school teacher. Every day, I confront the realities of a system that puts short-term profits over children’s well-being and the long-term health of our city’s families.

    I see scars on adolescents whose parents were forced into a bind that Mayor de Blasio has ...

  • Our Youngest Students Deserve Great Teachers Too

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    (photo via @nycgob)


    When your child starts his or her very first day of school, you do everything you can to prepare them for the beginning of their educational journey. But you might be surprised to find out that a new study shows there’s a good chance your school assigns one of their lower-performing teachers to kindergarten or other earliest grades. Although research shows

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  • The Most Important Step to Reinvigorating Our Democracy

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    Council Speaker Mark-Viverito (in green) visits a school (photo: William Alatriste)


    As we reflect on the recent September primary election in New York City -- where only 14% of active registered Democrats actually cast a ballot, a 53 percent drop in turnout compared to the 2016 Democratic presidential primary -- we are concerned that the city citizenry is not adequately prepared for responsible voting. But, how can we expect young people, or adults for that matter, to participate in our democracy if we have not educated them to do so?

    Many have blamed turnout woes on a

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  • Positive School Culture, Not Metal Detectors, Keeps Kids Safe

    Gotham Gazette

    (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    Two boys’ lives are obliterated after Abel Cedeno, age 18, used a switchblade to stab Matthew McCree, 15, and another boy who had reportedly been bullying Cedeno during their history class, as classmates looked on. McCree was pronounced dead shortly after. Cedeno was arrested on charges of murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, attempted manslaughter, assault and criminal possession of a weapon. After a brief court appearance Cedeno was held without bail and his lawyer

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  • My Crowded School, Like Many Others, Needs a Plan

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    (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Well-regarded New York City schools are super, and they can do anything. At least that's what they seem to think over at Tweed, home of the Department of Education (DOE). That's why my school, Francis Lewis High School, has 4,683 students at my last count, more than ever, in a building designed for 2,400. We're seen as successful, so a lot of families want their kids to go there. Generally I've agreed, but it's getting to a point where I'm not sure.

    I’ll admit outright that I’m partial to

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  • Support, Not Trouble, for a School Successfully Teaching Students with Disabilities

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    Opportunity Charter School leader Leonard Goldberg, middle, the author


    A new report from the city's Comptroller showed once again that the City is unable to fulfill its responsibility to provide the necessary services to students with disabilities, failing to track $84 million allocated for disabled student services. Worse still, these findings come on the heels of the Public Advocate's report that revealed a troubling trend whereby the city offers parents vouchers instead of the necessary, required services for children with special needs. Troubling, but not surprising.

    It’s

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  • Children Lose in Faulty Charter School Accounting

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    A charter school rally (photo: @SuccessAcademy)


    Questions: How do you turn a 25 percent graduation rate into a misleading claim of 100 percent success? When does a school’s 30 percent proficiency rate on an 8th grade reading test translate into the assertion that nearly half of the students passed?

    Answer: when charter schools do their own accounting, and authorizers allow them to paper over the fact that huge percentages of the children who start in charter schools get driven or eased out.

    Charters claim that they serve the same children

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  • What’s The [DATA] Point? $66 billion

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    What's The Data Point? Episode 11 - $66 billion - a Back to School episode with CBC's Dave Friedfel & Riley Edwards  [You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]

    This week we're back to school and the data point is $66 billion: the amount New York's school districts received in revenue during the 2015-2016 school year. Gotham Gazette's Ben Max and CBC's Director of State Studies Dave Friedfel discuss school funding: how much districts receive and whether

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  • A Victory for School Based Health Centers, But More To Do

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    Assemblymembers Carroll & Simon, the authors (photo via @Bobby4Brooklyn)


    School based health centers (SBHCs) are a critical safety net for immigrants and the uninsured. There are 145 SBHCs serving students in more than 345 schools across the city, regardless of their ability to pay. SBHCs provide primary and preventive care, reproductive and mental health care, and first aid; manage chronic illnesses; and more. From asthma and diabetes to food allergies and anxiety, these clinics can make the difference between life and death for many of our schoolchildren.

    The

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  • ‘Zombie’ Charter School Agreement Rests on Interpretation of Ambiguous Law

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    (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    A much talked-about provision of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 13th-hour deal to have his control over city schools extended was the agreement that 22 revoked or surrendered charter school charters could be reissued without counting towards the predetermined state cap on the number of charter schools.

    In exchange for a two-year extension of mayoral control of city

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  • 5 Reasons Mayoral Control is on the Verge of Lapsing

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    Mayor de Blasio in Albany (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio’s control of the New York City school system is only good for the rest of this week. The state Legislature ended its scheduled legislative session last Wednesday without a deal on an extension, something Governor Andrew Cuomo called “dereliction of duty,” and de Blasio has said puts the futures of 1.1 million schoolchildren at risk.

    The New York Times ...

  • Balanced Approach Awaits Lapse of Mayoral Control

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    Mayor Bloomberg at a school (photo: Spencer T. Tucker)


    Mark Twain’s reproach against “Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics” could easily be reformulated against Lies, Damn Lies, and Statutes.  Such are the many inflammatory statements against reversion to the old Board of Education made by Mayor de Blasio and his allies as they seek renewal of mayoral control of New York City’s public schools. This fear-mongering against a return to the old system, so-called school decentralization or community control, employs caricature rather than truth

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  • The Mayoral Control Debate We Should Be Having

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    (Credit: Edwin J. Torres/ Mayoral Photography Office)


    The annual Rite of Bashage on mayoral control of city schools is upon us. This month, Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan will beat up on Mayor Bill de Blasio for all manner of supposed educational sins before caving to an inevitable extension of mayoral control. Having been soundly whipped by the senatorial wet noodle, de Blasio will walk away a winner.

    But there is a real education issue this re-election year that the mayor should be pushed on: the matter of a Chancellor search. The public has a

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  • We Must Pair Raise the Age with Restorative Justice

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    Mayor de Blasio in a restorative circle (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor’s Office)


    There has been a great deal of celebration following passage of “Raise the Age,” legislation in New York that will end the practice of trying 16- and 17-year-old criminal defendants as adults. And rightfully so -- this will go a long way to dam the school-to-prison pipeline; we should be cheering. But rarely does a key strategy that helps students make better decisions and avoid arrest make headlines: restorative justice.

    Like our justice system, our

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  • Passing New York’s Next School Discipline Test

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    A charter school rally at the Capitol (photo: The Governor's Office)


    UFT President Michael Mulgrew raises important points about the negative impact of suspensions in his recent op-ed, “Charter Schools Can’t Suspend Their Way to Success.

    There is no disputing Mr. Mulgrew’s argument that the excessive use of suspensions and other exclusionary disciplinary practices means that students (and especially

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  • Charter Schools Can't Suspend Their Way to Success

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    Michael Mulgrew, the author (photo: UFT)


    Children who miss 20 or more days of school in New York City have lost so much instruction time that they are classified as chronically absent, which studies have linked to lower test scores and higher dropout rates.

    So it is hard to see the educational purpose behind Success Academy's suspending a special-needs 7-year-old for 45 days, even if some form of alternative instruction was provided. This one recent example is part of a much larger pattern, both for Success Academy and the larger charter school sector

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  • A Constitutional Right to Healthy Schools?

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    (Photo: @NYSEDNEWS)


    When voting Nov. 7, 2017 on whether to call a state constitutional convention, New Yorkers should consider enhancing social welfare rights

    New York’s Constitution mandates that every 20 years New Yorkers be asked via a statewide ballot referendum whether they want to call a state constitutional convention. The next such referendum is on the ballot on November 7. If passed, the

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  • Requiem For A School That Works

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    David Baiz, right, with students


    Eight years ago, I had a front-row seat at the birth of a new small school in East Harlem. Global Technology Preparatory was crafted by its founding teachers over Sunday brunches at the home of Jacqueline Pryce-Harvey, who would go on to become the school’s assistant principal.

    Featuring, among other things, a one-to-one laptop program for its poor students and an after-school program—the result of a partnership with Citizens Schools, a Boston-based nonprofit—Global Tech, as it is known, came to be heralded as one of a slew of

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