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Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

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public school system

  • A Budget for the City of Immigrants

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    Students of an adult literacy class (photo: Make the Road New York)


    In recent years, New York City has taken major strides forward in its engagement with immigrant communities. Under the leadership of Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and the Council as a whole, our city has adopted and invested in new initiatives to welcome and protect immigrants and embrace their tremendous economic, cultural, and political contributions.

    Now, with the 2017 budget process in final negotiations, our leaders have a key

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  • School Diversity Benefits All Children - and Parents

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    Mayor de Blasio on a school visit (photo: Rob Bennett, Mayor's Office)


    My four-year-old daughter has a good friend at preschool who happens to have the same name. I'll call them both "Maya." My daughter is Asian, and her friend is Latino. Recently, a classmate said, "There are two Mayas in our class. One is white and the other is brown." My Asian daughter is the "white" Maya. The classmate's mom probed why he categorized the two Mayas this way, but didn't get much of an answer. Innocently, the boy didn't realize why his categorization was inaccurate or

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  • The Right Model to Follow for Diversity at Specialized High Schools

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    Student debaters (photo: @NYCschools)

     


     

    Last week, 5,000 eighth graders got the exciting news that they were offered admission to one of the city's eight test-in Specialized High Schools, which offer a quality public school education unmatched in the country. But while the vast majority come from poor, working class and immigrant families, as has always been the case, once again far too few come from the black and Latino communities.

    Black and Latino students comprise a large majority in the city's public school system and should

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  • Addressing NYC's School Overcrowding Crisis

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    Protesting school overcrowding in Queens


    All parents in New York City deserve the peace of mind that their children will be able to attend a school where they can thrive and grow. Unfortunately, following years of neglect from the Bloomberg administration, our city's school system is plagued by school overcrowding and excessive class sizes, where hundreds of thousands of our children simply don't have adequate space to learn.

    With education a top priority for the city, it's critical that our leaders take strong action to address the chronic underfunding of our city's school

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  • Is Mayor De Blasio Putting Students First?

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


    Mayor de Blasio's annual State of the City address is a natural time to take a step back and review his performance running the largest school system in the United States. For StudentsFirstNY, our most basic litmus test for policymakers is a simple question – are they putting the interests of students first? After two full years with Mayor de Blasio, we can definitively say that the answer is "no."

    In analyzing Mayor de Blasio's stewardship of city schools, there are several themes that

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  • Time to Support New York Students with Billions Still Owed from Campaign for Fiscal Equity

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    Council Member Dromm (middle), the author, at the Queens Library


    Governor Andrew Cuomo's recently proposed budget plan for education is a mixed bag, but represents a major shift from his attacks on public education in years past. Ultimately, however, his plan falls short by allocating less than $1 billion in new education money this year at a time when public schools are still owed more than $4.4 billion in Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) funding.

    The CFE was a lawsuit brought by parents against the State of New York over a decade ago. These

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  • DOE Language Access Expansion Builds Bridges to City Families

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    Steven Choi, the author 


    For years, advocates and community based organizations have urged the New York City Department of Education to increase translation and interpretation services to public school parents and guardians with limited English proficiency. Last week, I was honored to join schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, a true champion for the immigrant community to announce a series of initiatives aimed at easing language access for parents in schools.

    Immigrant families face tremendous obstacles – speaking to their child's teacher or principal should not

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  • Brooklyn Neighborhoods Look to Address School Overcrowding, Avoid Rezoning Issues Seen Elsewhere

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    The community school forum (photo: @JoAnneSimonBK52) 


    As rezoning problems plague some city school districts, leaders in one area of Brooklyn are looking to avoid similar pitfalls while reducing overcrowding.

    In Carroll Gardens last week, local officials and parents gathered in the PS 58 auditorium to discuss overcrowding issues facing three elementary schools. Like others across the city, District 15 - which includes the schools at

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  • Measuring the Mayor’s Education Agenda

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    De Blasio at a parents' night (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office via flickr)


    There are three main data points by which New York City mayors are usually judged on their management of city schools: state standardized test scores; and rates of student graduation and college-readiness. As Mayor Bill de Blasio is now in his second year at the helm of the city’s 1,800 schools and 1.1 million

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  • In End of Session 'Scorecard,' Plenty for Next Year's Albany Agenda

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    Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan (L-R) (photo: Governor's Office via flickr)


    In the Democrat-controlled Assembly, it was 122-13; in the Republican-controlled Senate, 47-12. With those votes and a Governor Andrew Cuomo signature, a final policy package brought an underwhelming end to a tumultuous 2015 legislative session in New York's capital. 

    Look at ...

  • School Meals in the Budget: Applause for Breakfast, Groans for Lunch

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    Lunch 4 Learning at City Hall (photo: Zehra Rehman)


    Supporters of expanding free school meals in New York City are expressing mixed reactions to the city budget agreement announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito on Monday night.

    The fiscal year 2016 budget, at $78.5 billion of spending soon to be officially approved,

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