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Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

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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 ...

  • 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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  • With Some Contracts Now Expired, De Blasio Administration Begins Next Labor Negotiations

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    Mayor de Blasio at DC 37's union headquarters (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    As numerous labor contracts for thousands of city employees begin to expire, the de Blasio administration is already in the midst of new talks with municipal unions. The process revisits a key element of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s early tenure -- when the city faced an unprecedented situation wherein all the city’s labor contracts were expired -- and of the incumbent mayor’s first-term record: de Blasio regularly boasts of bringing to terms the outstanding workforce uncertainty

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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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  • Facts About Fair Student Funding in New York City

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    James Merriman, the author


    The New York City Independent Budget Office, the nonpartisan government watchdog, recently issued a report with some startling findings: Students in public charter schools will receive a lot less public funding and support this year than students in district schools. How much less? The IBO found that the gap started at $1,100 per student if the charter school is co-located in a public school building and shot up to nearly $5,000 if it isn’t.

    And, the IBO found that the future is even grimmer—that gap will grow in

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  • Charters: Flush With Cash, Yet Still Trying to Pull Funds from Neighborhood Public Schools

    uft teacher floor

    (photo: UFT)


    Even as they are pleading poverty to the Legislature in Albany, charter schools across New York State are sitting on nearly half a billion dollars in cash and unrestricted assets.

    An investigation by the state teachers union has shown that New York City charter schools alone have at least $323 million in unrestricted net assets, most of it in cash. When you add in charters in the rest of New York State, the sector as a whole has unrestricted assets of more than $450 million.

    Those are resources that can be used to pay for academic

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  • Players in 2009 Mayoral Control Fight Take Different Positions in 2016

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    De Blasio testifies in Albany, May 4 (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    In 2009, then rank-and-file Assembly Member Carl Heastie was the lead sponsor of a bill designed to weaken then Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ability to determine education policy in New York City. Seven years later, Assembly Speaker Heastie is thought to be Mayor Bill de Blasio’s greatest ally in the fight to renew the system of mayoral control of city schools as is.

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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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  • Klein's 'Newspaper' Touts His Ability to Bring Home the Bacon

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    Sen. Klein's "newspaper"


    The latest edition of the "newspaper" being published by state Senator Jeff Klein features frontpage news celebrating his ability to bring cash home to his Bronx district.

    "UFT, educators herald Klein's $1.5M support for community schools," reads one frontpage headline.

    Another: "Community applauds Klein for securing $250K for Hudson River Greenway study."

    The timing is interesting given that the latest edition of "Riverdale Record" - circulation 37,000 - hit mailboxes just as Klein and the large sums

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  • How To Become a New York City Council Member

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    Mayor de Blasio, a former Council member, with several current CMs (William Alatriste)


    Ask any New York City Council member and they'll tell you— there is no set formula that will send an aspiring candidate to City Hall.

    "If you want to be a lawyer, the path is the same: get a bachelor's degree, take the LSATs, go to law school, take the bar exam, and voila, you're a lawyer," Ritchie Torres, the 51-member Council's youngest rep, told Gotham Gazette. "Whereas in politics, there is no single path."

    Torres'

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  • As He Campaigns for Top Priorities, Many Wonder Where Cuomo is on DREAM

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    Gov. Cuomo on Sunday in Brooklyn (photo: Office of the Governor - Kevin P. Coughlin)


    It was as if Gov. Andrew Cuomo was on the campaign trail again last week, visiting Long Island and Buffalo one day and then four churches and a Yeshiva in Brooklyn on another. Cuomo doesn't have to run for office again for another three years, of course, but his barnstorming last week

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  • Strategy Meetings Signal Coming Flurry of Rent Law Lobbying

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    A housing-related rally at City Hall (photo: @AffordabilityNY)


    On Friday, tenant advocates, union representatives, and elected officials gathered in two separate meetings to discuss the renewal and strengthening of state rent laws. There is a sense of urgency among city-based legislators and tenant advocates as the laws regulating many thousands of apartments are set to expire in six weeks and legislative debate on the topic is non-existent.

    One meeting took place at the United Federation of Teachers (UFT)

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 16

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week will again be dominated by budget negotiations - especially in Albany, where a budget is due by the end of the month, which is rapidly approaching. In New York City, City Council hearings will continue on Mayor Bill de Blasio's preliminary fiscal year 2016 budget - once those hearings wrap up at the end of the month, the Council will craft its response to de Blasio, negotiations will continue, and the mayor

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