Gotham Gazette

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Education

Education

  • Gubernatorial Candidate Larry Sharpe Wants to Reinvent New York's Education System

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    Larry Sharpe on the trail (photo: @Sharpe4Gov)


    Larry Sharpe has a radical plan to reshape New York’s education system. The Libertarian candidate for governor, Sharpe has been campaigning vigorously around the state, making lively and entertaining media appearances, and putting forth substantive policy proposals far different from those typically discussed in mainstream state politics by the two major political parties.

    Among those is Sharpe’s education plan. A former marine and University of

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  • Fostering Feeder Schools Will Improve Diversity at the Specialized High Schools

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    students (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The public education system in New York City remains one of the most segregated and unequally resourced school systems in the country, reflective of segregation and inequality in other areas of our civic life.

    That segregation is starkly obvious in our specialized high schools. In a city where two out of three public high school students are black or Latino, it is unacceptable that they comprise only 10% of the student body across all eight of our elite high schools.

    Much has been made recently of

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  • I’m with Cynthia Because She Stands for Schools, Not Jails

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    Antonio Reynoso, the author, endorses Cynthia Nixon (photo: @CMReynoso34)


    Last week, I endorsed Cynthia Nixon for Governor because her campaign is focused on making sure young people of color across New York thrive in school, rather than wither away in jail. As a City Council member from a predominantly black and brown community in Brooklyn, I constantly hear from young people who know what they need to succeed in school and what stands in their way.

    Right now, there are more police in New York City schools than there are guidance counselors

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  • Missing Pieces of the Discussion Around Specialized High Schools and City Education

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    Mayor de Blasio's announcement (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)


    On June 2, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in Chalkbeat that he was urging the State Legislature to change the admissions system at the city’s eight specialized high schools, which relies on a single high-stakes exam called the SHSAT. Only 10 percent of students admitted to these

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  • What Stuyvesant High School Was For Me

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    Stuyvesant High School (photo: Jim Henderson via Wikipedia)


    When I graduated from Stuyvesant High School in June of 2001, I remember feeling sad to be moving on from my friends and excited to be moving on to college. But I also remember an overwhelming sense of relief that I would no longer have to deal with the tests that formed the backbone of the Stuyvesant High School experience.

    The tests didn’t start at the end of the first semester or even during midterms freshman year. They did not even start on the day that I made the trip down to Battery Park to

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  • Former Top DOE Official: Time to Move Beyond ‘Relic’ of Specialized High School Test

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    Shael Polakow-Suransky, right, with Carmen Farina (photo: Bank Street College)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan earlier this week to diversify the city’s elite specialized high schools through changes in admissions policies. The schools currently enroll very few black and Latino students, while, relative to their numbers in the larger school system, white and Asian students

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  • A Chance for Chancellor Carranza to Restore Teacher Trust

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    Schools Chancellor Carranza (photo: New York City Council)


    I read a lot of stories about the perfidy of teachers. We aren’t perfect. Like in every line of work, some among us do bad things. Often we’re stereotyped for the actions of a few. Despite the frequent and excellent reporting of Sue Edelman in The New York Post, most people don’t know much about administrative malfeasance, however, which exists from school level right up to Tweed Courthouse, home of the Department of Education’s top staff.

    Let’s say my

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  • The Mayor’s Much-Needed Investment in Culturally Responsive Education

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    Mayor de Blasio & Chancellor Carranza visit a school (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement last week that the City is investing $23 million in culturally responsive education and anti-bias training in schools -- likely the largest investment of its type nationally -- is welcome news for New York City parents, educators, and researchers.

    Education researchers have long-known that culturally responsive education (CRE) -- the practice of aligning curriculum and instruction with students’ backgrounds, life

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  • A Closer Look at This Year’s Specialized High School Admissions

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    (Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Critics of the test used for admitting students to New York City’s specialized high schools -- Brooklyn Tech, Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, and five others -- failed to properly assess this year’s test and admission results because they yearned for a more robust increase in offers to black and Latino students, when compared to the year before. The city had improved the test and increased outreach and free test prep, all efforts intended to redress their underrepresentation, but in a school system where more than

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  • Assignment for the New Schools Chancellor: Address Race Head-On

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    (Credit: Photographer/Mayoral Photography Office)


    When I was in 5th grade at a public elementary school in Manhattan, my teacher was Mrs. Camiji, and I loved her. She taught us about diverse cultures all over the world, and pushed us to think about what roles we could serve in our community. It was empowering to see her in front of the classroom. She was the first African-American classroom teacher I ever had, and the last African-American classroom teacher I had until college.

    Ms. Camiji was part of the reason I have been so committed to education as an

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  • Nixon Candidacy Spotlights Education Advocacy Group

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    Cynthia Nixon, right, with Assemblymember Felix Ortiz in 2014 (photo: Ortiz's office)


    When actor and activist Cynthia Nixon held her first news conference as a gubernatorial candidate, at a Pentecostal church in Brownsville, Brooklyn, she was introduced by Zakiyah Ansari, an education activist and longtime ally.

    In New York’s advocacy ecosystem, Ansari and her organization, the Alliance for Quality Education, have long held prominence in outspoken fashion. The group, a nonprofit advocacy organization formed in 2001 and historically funded by

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  • Let Carranza Lead

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    Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    According to press reports, Mayor de Blasio, First Lady McCray, and First Deputy Mayor Fuleihan were the key decision-makers in appointing our new schools Chancellor, Richard Carranza. They now must let Carranza lead.

    De Blasio had worked with Carmen Fariña for decades, so her appointment was a no-brainer. But when it came to finding her replacement, his secretive process blew up. Alberto Carvalho, the mayor’s first choice, publicly repudiated the job after taking it, reportedly because

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  • Attacks on Yeshivas Present a Dangerous Slippery Slope

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    Eric Ulrich, the author, right, and Cardinal Dolan (photo: @eric_ulrich)


    In the coming months, the city and state education departments are expected to rule on an issue that may have huge repercussions for parental school choice and religious freedom. A small group of former yeshiva graduates have alleged that religious schools in Orthodox Jewish communities are failing to provide adequate education to students. As an avid supporter of parental choice, I worry education leaders will side with these critics, posing a threat to private schools well beyond the

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  • Segregation is Not an Excuse, Mr. Mayor; It’s Opportunity to Lead

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    (Photo via Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Curbed NY recently reported that the vast majority of the affordable-housing units created under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York plan are unaffordable to large swaths of the population. The ironic response from New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) was that the policy promotes “diverse and integrated neighborhoods.”

    This explanation is

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  • The Fallacy of Janus at The Supreme Court

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    photo: @UFT


    The Supreme Court of the United States will shortly rule on the Janus v. AFSCME case. Janus contends that any and all union activity is inherently political, that no one should have to contribute anything to union activity, and that we should therefore become a “right to work” nation. That’s an interesting concept.

    My union, the United Federation of Teachers, has a political fund called COPE, and I contribute. I frequently disagree with UFT candidate endorsements and decisions, but I believe it’s important to empower our union.

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  • The Failure of 'Renewal Schools'

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    Mayor de Blasio on a school visit (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    My daughter is a third-grader in one of Mayor de Blasio’s so-called Renewal Schools in Harlem. When I first heard about the program, I was hopeful: P.S. 149 needed attention and change to become the kind of school I wanted for my daughter. But, as a parent, I have not seen much renewal.

    Since the program started, enrollment at P.S. 149 has dropped 25 percent. For the kids who have stayed, scores haven’t improved much – students passing the English Language Arts

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  • Teaching Black History in Our Schools

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    Senator Jesse Hamilton, the author (middle)


    Last summer, I hosted a hackathon for middle school students at Medgar Evers College. Picture 40 enthusiastic young people ready to learn about coding, computer science, and technology, along with CodeEd educators and the welcoming college staff.

    In an effort to be as educational as possible, I like to do a little history quiz when we host young people. My quiz features questions like, “Who was the first African-American woman elected to Congress?” That day, I asked, “Who was Medgar Evers?” Silence.

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  • Education Adrift: New Chancellors Needed for City School, University Systems

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    Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Fariña & others (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Lame duck chancellors now lead New York’s school and university systems. Governor Cuomo, who controls the CUNY board, and Mayor de Blasio, who appoints the schools chancellor, each show a shocking lack of urgency to fill these critical posts.

    This is intolerable. Education is the driver of our information age. Social progress and economic prosperity depend on a vibrant public sector commitment. The city Department of Education

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: Education in De Blasio's Second Term

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    Ben Max, left, of Gotham Gazette, and Jarrett Murphy, right, of City Limits


    January 30, 2018 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Monica Disare of Chalkbeat-NY and Eliza Shapiro of Politico New York

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    The day after he won reelection in November, Mayor de Blasio said, "We have to achieve 3-K in the next four years...We have to get our kids reading on grade level by third grade. We need the school

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  • Death of Bloomberg-Era School Roils East Harlem

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    Protesting school closure (photo: Andrea Gabor)


    Earlier this month, Kevin Medina, a high-school sophomore, stepped up to the microphone at a crowded public hearing to defend the East Harlem middle school that, he says, changed his life.

    “I’m a Hispanic kid,” said Medina, who now attends Urban Assembly Gateway School for Technology. “I live with my grandmother, who is disabled and who is on welfare. We have nothing. But because of this school I may go to M.I.T. for free. Because of these teachers, who made sure we have everything we

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  • 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 ...