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January 19, 2017
UFT files labor complaint against KIPP charter school
"The UFT has never been involved in our school or raised any issues or concerns before now."
Let's be friends
September 8, 2016
After blistering charter critique, de Blasio visits KIPP middle school
“I think it’s really exciting the way you’re leading this classroom,” de Blasio said.
February 13, 2012
City's top TFA official says he's resigning to return to teaching
TFA New York Executive Director Jeff Li, who is leaving TFA to return to the classroom New York's Teach for America executive director has taken the term "lead by example" very literally. Jeff Li announced last week that he is resigning from his top post at Teach For America after less than two years on the job and returning to the classroom as a teacher. The announcement comes just days before his organization is set to announce a campaign meant to encourage alumni to stay in the teaching profession, rather than leave for other professions. "A funny thing happened along the way as our team thought through this campaign," Li wrote in an email to TFA alumni teachers on Thursday. "As I personally thought more about teaching beyond two years, and all that can be accomplished by doing so, I became truly re-inspired myself." The program that TFA is launching is called "Teach Beyond 2," a not-so-subtle reminder for its alumni that even though their TFA commitment is technically only two years long, they should consider teaching to be a longer-term pursuit. More than 40 percent of all TFA corps members in New York City stop teaching once their two-year requirement is fulfilled — a number that is consistent with nationwide TFA studies and only slightly higher than the 50 percent three-year departure rate for all teachers in urban schools. TFA's critics say the high attrition shows that teaching is merely a resume-builder for some young college graduates before they move onto graduate school programs or higher-paying jobs.
January 25, 2012
Event unites charter, district teachers under instructional focus
Courtesy: KIPP A few months ago, teachers from KIPP charter schools approached the network's co-founder Dave Levin to say that they were restless with the training they were getting. Despite weekly observations and extensive support, the teachers wanted to talk to educators from outside the KIPP organization to find out what they considered best practices for classroom teaching. Levin took that idea and developed it into the "What's Works in Urban Schools," a conference that took place Saturday at New York University. The purpose of the event, Levin said, was to forge better working relationships between district and charter school teachers. "Too often the broader structural debate has nothing to do with the great things that are happening in classrooms across New York City," Levin said. "Whether you teach in a charter school or a district school, good teachers have the same goals." On Saturday, hundreds of teachers braved inclement weather, an early morning wake-up, and a $35 entry fee to attend the event, which was sponsored by KIPP, Google, TNTP (formerly The New Teacher Project), Teaching Matters, and Scholastic.
February 14, 2011
A new graduate school of education, Relay, to open next fall
The logo of Teacher U, whose founders will create a stand-alone graduate school of education called Relay. The founders of Teacher U, the nonprofit organization that developed a novel way of preparing teachers for low-income schools, will create their own graduate school of education, following a vote by the Board of Regents last week. The new Relay School of Education will be the first stand-alone graduate school of education to open in New York since 1916, when Bank Street College of Education was founded, and the first in memory to prepare teachers while they are serving full-time in classrooms. The new institution will open its doors next fall; current Teacher U students will remain enrolled at their partner school of education, the City University of New York's Hunter College. The Regents' decision inserts a new model for preparing K-12 teachers into New York's education landscape. Unlike alternative certification programs such as Teach for America and the New York City Teaching Fellows, Relay will not rely on existing colleges to provide its teachers with coursework required for certification; the new graduate school of education will design and deliver all of those courses itself. And Relay will likely take teachers who come into the school system through alternative programs like TFA. Meanwhile, unlike most traditional schools of education, Relay will make training teachers its sole priority and will make proven student learning gains a requirement of receiving a Master's degree. The new school has already generated opposition from several existing schools of education, including from a top official at CUNY. In formal responses to the Teacher U group's proposal, leaders of existing schools cited concerns about quality and the fact that, as officials at Fordham University put it, a new graduate school of education would be "duplicative in a market with sufficient program offerings," according to a summary of concerns(PDF) made public by the Regents. The Board of Regents approved the proposal with a unanimous vote and one abstention last week nevertheless, said Tom Dunn, a spokesman for the state education department. He added that State Education Commissioner David Steiner, who helped form Teacher U in his last job as dean of the school of education at Hunter College, recused himself from discussions about the application. During recent visits to Teacher U's current program, instruction topics ranged from how to tailor reading discussions to the racial and class backgrounds of students to how to write on a white board without covering your face with your writing arm. Much of Teacher U's curriculum is devoted to passing on lessons learned by teachers at the charter schools that founded Teacher U, such as those collected by Uncommon Schools managing director Doug Lemov in his book Teach Like a Champion.
April 23, 2010
After opting in, KIPP staff vote themselves out of teachers union
KIPP New York City's logo, from its web site. Middle school teachers at a KIPP charter school in Brooklyn asked the state this week to let them split from the city teachers union, more than a year after teachers at the same school voted to unionize. The union plans to fight the decision, saying that a group of teachers remain committed to becoming United Federation of Teachers members. Sixteen staff members signed the petition to break from the UFT. The petition was spearheaded by a guidance counselor named Dameon Clay, his attorney said. Staff who signed the petition include classroom teachers as well as social workers, the dean of teaching and learning, an operations manager, and the office manager. I couldn't reach any of the teachers for comment, but Lyle Zuckerman, the attorney representing Clay, said the decision was a judgment about how the teachers could best help themselves and their students. "I think they've come to the conclusion that their goals and the educational mission of the school is just going to best be served by them having a direct relationship with the school's administration," Zuckerman said. When they first voted to unionize, teachers at KIPP AMP said they wanted to “create a more sustainable culture so that we can better serve our students and reduce teacher turnover.” At least three teachers who had formed the initial organizing committee at the school are now signing the petition to break from the union. One is Kashi Nelson, a classroom teacher who also sends her daughter to KIPP AMP and who explained her reversal to Alexander Russo last year.
April 23, 2009
With union decision imminent, KIPP is ready to start bargaining
A KIPP charter school in the Bronx. (By ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/mlleleela/##Leila Haddouche##, via ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/mlleleela/2711133829/##Flickr Creative Commons##) The next front in the tug of war between teachers unions and charter schools is about to commence, and this development will occur at the bargaining table. The game: UFT vs. KIPP. There's been no official word yet, but everyone involved in the saga between the politically powerful teachers union and the prominent charter school network is expecting that 16 KIPP teachers in Brooklyn will become official members of the city teachers union today. UPDATE: It's now official, confirmed by both the union and KIPP. Press releases from both parties are below. And here is the PERB decision. David Levin, KIPP's co-founder and the superintendent of New York City KIPP schools, told me this afternoon that he hopes negotiations will begin as soon as next week. Teachers at the charter school, KIPP AMP, petitioned to form a union in January, but their pitch has to be accepted by the Public Employee Relations Board before the union becomes official. Reports had said a final decision would come yesterday, but both the union and KIPP officials were still waiting for word this morning. Now, all signs point to PERB sending the green light to the union today.
March 30, 2009
One KIPP Academy employee did ask for the union's help
One confusing point in the ongoing saga between the KIPP charter schools and the city teachers union is exactly how many KIPP teachers actually want to belong to the union. While 16 teachers at the KIPP AMP school in Brooklyn submitted cards to the state labor board saying they want to join the United Federation of Teachers, at least one of those teachers changed her mind after submitting the card, and teachers at two other KIPP schools the union has tried to represent are resisting the push. Yoav Gonen described the union's effort at those schools as "meddling" in today's New York Post. But add at least one more person to the ranks of KIPP teachers who are actively seeking union help: A staff member on the payroll of KIPP Academy, one of the original KIPP schools, who turned to the union after the charter school network allegedly decided to move him to a new school and dock his pay. The teacher detailed his complaint in a January letter asking KIPP Academy's principal, Blanca Ruiz, for a meeting where he would be represented by a UFT official. The union sent me the letter but whited out the name of the teacher who filed the grievance, and the union did not make him available for an interview.
March 18, 2009
Lil Mama and the mayor will rally for charter schools tonight
If you can, make sure to stop by the Harlem Armory tonight for an evening that charter school advocates are billing as the largest gathering of New York City parents ever in one space. The point is to show support for charter schools, which are proliferating in Harlem — to the delight of some parents, but not to the liking of a coterie of teachers and elected officials who have protested the schools' growth. Hosting tonight's event are Harlem Children's Zone C.E.O. Geoffrey Canada and KIPP co-founder David Levin. Similar events have been held recently by Harlem Success Academy, the network of four charter schools founded by former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz that has been at the center of the political fight. A Harlem Success official says she expects 6,000 7,000 charter school parents to attend tonight, plus some parochial school and traditional public school parents. Also scheduled to attend are the rapper Lil Mama, whose adoptive mom is a board member of Harlem Success, Mayor Bloomberg, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, and school choice advocate Howard Fuller. Among the political currents swirling tonight will be Canada's outspoken support for mayoral control of the public schools, which some Harlem elected officials have indicated they'd like to see curtailed; Levin's ongoing saga with a group of his teachers who are trying to unionize; and Harlem Success's struggle to get space inside a traditional public school.
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