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December 18, 2018
Lawmakers pledge to ‘put some legs’ to new Colorado education plan
The legislators who served on the Education Leadership Council promised the final product wouldn’t languish on a shelf.
November 20, 2018
Chicago mayoral hopefuls vow to invest in schools, but skirt enrollment crisis
While the union-backed forum focused on the exodus of black families from Chicago, education found its way into the conversation.
Testing the Candidates
November 1, 2018
Care about education? A Chalkbeat voter guide to the Illinois governor’s race
Between the candidates’ barbs, and the back-and-forth over tax breaks and toilets, the candidates for Illinois governor have occasionally been spotted talking real…
June 7, 2018
Fact checking the Colorado governor’s race: The truth behind 5 claims dividing Democratic contenders
As the Colorado Democratic primary nears, candidates for governor are using old education positions to highlight small policy differences.
October 14, 2016
In a tumultuous presidential campaign season, a rare spotlight on education issues
A senior policy advisor to the Hillary Clinton campaign channeled the Democratic presidential candidate at an intimate question-and-answer session on Thursday hosted by Teachers…
June 26, 2013
Wrapping up an unproductive-on-education legislative session
The waning days of the 2013 legislative session in Albany were, as expected, unproductive when it came to education. In fact, in most arenas, the session was marked more by what didn't get done than by what did. Many of the big-ticket items on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's agenda, including a Women's Equality Act and reforms to campaign finance and ethics laws, appear dead after failing to pass in the final days and hours of the session. For education, which was not a priority, most of the work was done when the budget passed in April. The highlights included a boost to state education aid, another round of competitive education grants, and yet another round of changes to the state's troubled teacher evaluation law. As we rounded up last year, here are some of the education highlights and lowlights of the legislative session. 1. Budget or bust
May 28, 2013
Weiner steps out, and against competitors, at education debate
In his first debate as a mayoral candidate, former congressman Anthony Weiner distinguished himself from his Democratic rivals and made it clear he was not going to tell the event's organizers what they wanted to hear. The debate Tuesday afternoon was organized by New Yorkers for Great Public Schools, a group that formed to oppose the Bloomberg administration's school policies, and questions were tilted heavily toward the group's agenda. Weiner and all the other Democratic candidates, except City Council Speaker Christine Quinn who dropped out over the weekend, answered questions from moderator Zakiyah Ansari, a parent activist and spokeswoman for NY-GPS. Most of the candidates spent the debate reiterating positions they've taken in the past that fall close to what the group says it wants from the next mayor. They promised to refrain from closing schools and curbing school space-sharing arrangements, for example. But Weiner stood apart from his competitors, both by rising each time he answered a question and by staking out unpopular positions. He was the only candidate to say he would not shift control of school discipline from the New York Police Department to principals and would not earmark special funding for arts education in schools.
October 11, 2012
City slowly backs up shifted rhetoric on parents, needy students
Like the Bloomberg administration's schools reform efforts, our series tracking the city's progress toward fulfilling its recent education policy promises started last month with teachers and schools. Now we are turning toward the students and families they serve. It's a shift that city officials also made in the last year. For nearly a decade, the Department of Education's approach to helping needy students focused largely on creating excellent new schools and closing ones that don't work. But its policies drew fierce criticism that families were shut out of decisions and that some student groups had not benefited from years of initiatives. Last year, the first that Chancellor Dennis Walcott led in full, city officials announced some changes to its approach, introducing policies aimed at helping students and parents. Concrete actions have been slow to come, but we found that the department is slowly plugging away at creating programs to back up last year's rhetoric shifts. (Each promise is in bold, followed by an explanation of how far the city has come toward meeting it.) On students: The city will study high schools that graduate black and Latino students at high rates to find out what they are doing right. (Mayor Bloomberg's Young Men's Initiative speech, August 2011) The study is the intended outcome of the Expanded Success Initiative, the flagship education program of Mayor Bloomberg's recent effort to help black and Latino young men. The three-year, $24 million program got underway in June, when the city named 40 schools to monitor as they pioneer new college-readiness strategies funded with grants of $250,000 each. The city will decrease the concentration of high-need students in some schools. (Communication with the state, June 2012) Responding to pressure from State Education Commissioner John King, the city quietly embarked on a pilot program to distribute students who enroll during the school year and summer over a wider swath of schools, despite steadfastly maintaining that high concentrations of needy students do not make it harder for schools to succeed. The city gets about 20,000 new high school students, called "over-the-counters," each year, and they have traditionally wound up in a small number of struggling schools. Last year, about 800 of them went to 54 high schools that have not usually accepted midyear arrivals. But many schools still receive few or no over-the-counter students, while others complain they receive more than they can handle. All city high schools, even those with selective admissions processes, will accept students with disabilities. (Directive to schools, June 2012)
October 4, 2012
City comptroller proposes hiring 1,600 new guidance counselors
Comptroller John Liu proposed hiring more guidance counselors today at a press conference where he was flanked by union officials and education advocates. The education policy proposal that Comptroller John Liu put forth today sounded strange coming from the man charged with ensuring the city's financial health: Add $176 million a year to the Department of Education's payroll. But Liu said city students so badly need more help applying to college that it would be worth spending the money to bring on more than 1,500 new guidance counselors, even if he didn't think the funds could be freed up elsewhere within the department's $23 billion budget. "Investment in education today is the best economic development policy for tomorrow," said Liu, a likely mayoral candidate, at a press conference that also featured union officials and education advocates. "The economic challenges facing our city can best be addressed by educating many more New Yorkers beyond high school," he added. The proposal is the first in the comptroller's "Beyond High School NYC" initiative, which Liu said today would use research to propose "strategic investments in public education" to raise the college-graduation rate for New York City public school students. Liu's office calculated that just 21 percent of students who enter city high schools later graduate from college, echoing the city's own determination that just 21 percent of students are college-ready.
September 17, 2012
On teacher quality, city has so far fulfilled few of last year's vows
Chancellor Dennis Walcott made several policy promises during a May 2012 speech to ABNY. In the 2011-2012 school year, Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Dennis Walcott vowed to push forward an array of policy changes — from the way teachers are hired and fired to the ways schools prepare boys of color for graduation and college. So how did they do? We've rounded up all of last year's policy promises and checked up on the city's progress on each. Today, we’re looking at proposals to bolster teacher quality, a longtime pet issue for the Bloomberg administration. We found that the city has fulfilled one promise completely, to create a new Teaching Fellows program just for middle schools, but several others fell off the radar or were pushed to the margins by ongoing negotiations over new teacher evaluations. Each promise is in bold, followed by an explanation of how far the city has come toward meeting it. In future posts, we'll tally the city's progress on creating new schools, engaging parents, helping high-needs students, and improving middle schools. The city will adopt new teacher evaluations that adhere to the state’s new evaluation law. (When: Many times) Anyone who hasn't been living under a rock should know the answer: not yet, despite one close call and a helping hand from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. City and union officials are meeting regularly to negotiate an evaluation deal, this time in hopes of meeting the state's January deadline. They say they are "optimistic" and "hopeful" they'll reach an agreement in time to qualify for state funds. Teachers with top ratings on teacher evaluations will get a $20,000 pay raise. (Bloomberg's State of the City speech, January 2012) The city still has not adopted new teacher evaluations, so the proposal is moot. But the teachers union, a longtime opponent of individual merit pay, quickly passed a resolution opposing it, so its future prospects are not bright. The city will repay up to $25,000 in student loans of teachers who are in the top of their college classes. (State of the City)
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