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the future of advocacy


New York

New advocacy group with city roots enters state's reform fray

The latest entrant into New York's crowded field of education advocacy groups won't immediately be lobbying for new policies in New York City. Instead, the new nationally-backed group, New York Campaign for Achievement Now, or NYCAN, plans to push for a law that would enable parents to vote on ways to improve their struggling district schools. The policy was backed heavily by upstate New York reform groups last year, but a proposed bill did in the state legislature failed to garner enough support. The policy, known as parent trigger is at the top of NYCAN's 2012 legislative agenda, which the group released today as part of its official launch. NYCAN is one of four state affiliates of 50CAN, an organization founded on a model that started in Connecticut. The New York group is headed by Christina Grant, a former New York City teacher and a one-time director for the charter school office in the Department of Education. But despite her close ties to New York City, Grant said she planned to spend a lot of her time in Albany and focus primarily on statewide issues, something she said separates her group from other education reform groups in the state. "We have a huge state and NYCAN exists to be a coalition builder throughout the state," Grant said on a conference call with reporters this morning. "Our goal is to really draw attention to statewide issues." What exactly those issues are remained in flux in recent weeks, even as NYCAN pushed forward with its plans to launch. Grant said she wouldn't enter the battle over teacher evaluations, a debate that promises to be one of the biggest issues this spring in Albany.