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September 24, 2018
Facing his first crisis, Carranza fired a top official. But can he fix New York City’s yellow bus system?
The busing problems are the first significant test of Carranza’s leadership during a crisis since taking the helm of the nation’s largest school system last April.
October 11, 2017
Three things to know about the record number of homeless students in New York City schools
One in ten New York City students experienced homelessness last school year.
September 20, 2017
Here’s what Carmen Fariña’s top deputies have on their plates this school year
Community schools, 3-K, and school diversity are all on the list.
June 17, 2015
City officials discuss proposed P.E. transparency bill
This bill is a reaction to the reality that many city schools fall short of state requirements for keeping students moving.
sultan of strategy
April 3, 2015
Fariña appoints top DOE strategist Josh Wallack to deputy chancellor
Chancellor Carmen Fariña's leadership cabinet is getting bigger in her second year.
where the money goes
March 26, 2015
Officials vow to release contracts info earlier; take heat for budget delay
The promises come weeks after the department faced criticism for its handling of a contract worth up to $637 million from a company implicated in an earlier scandal.
July 19, 2012
DOE's public affairs director leaving to teach in Central America
Lenny Speiller, the education department's head of public affairs whose stint was checkered by a lobbying incident that got him into trouble with city investigators, is making an unusual career move. He's moving to Honduras to become a teacher. Speiller's exit is part of a restructuring within the Department of Education's communication and legislative offices meant to improve how the DOE communicates with members of the public, Chief Operating Officer Veronica Conforme told staff in an email this week. Speiller's role in charge of public affairs was to work with elected officials and community-based organizations on DOE initiatives and to curry support for the department's legislative goals. Under a four-office merger, public affairs will be folded into the External Affairs office. The other public-facing shops getting absorbed are: Communications, Digital Communications, and the Chancellor's Strategic Communications Group (a spokeswoman said the last one helps Dennis Walcott read and respond to emails from the public). Jessica Scaperotti, a former Cuomo and Bloomberg aide who joined the department in April, will over see the new streamlined office. Elizabeth Rose, a public affairs official, will temporarily fill in for Speiller while a permanent replacement is found. In announcing Speiller's departure to staff, Conforme didn't offer much of a reflection on his two-and-a-half year tenure, which was filled with a busy legislative agenda. During his time, Speiller worked on the successful push to raise the state's cap on charter schools and on the less-successful effort to reform teacher tenure laws. But it was his work on the issue of seniority-based layoff laws that got him into trouble.
October 5, 2011
Downtown residents disappointed by school zones proposal
A map of proposed new school zones for Lower Manhattan Tribeca’s P.S. 234 is no stranger to overcrowding, but last night the packed auditorium was full of stressed downtown parents instead of their children. The parents were there to speak out on the Department of Education’s rezoning proposal for downtown Manhattan during the first of multiple public hearings held by the Community Education Council for District 2. It is the third time District 2 has been rezoned in as many years as new schools have come online to serve the district's growing number of families. In 2009, the department offered up multiple rezoning options, pitting parents against each other based on how their children would be affected. This year, the department released a single proposal for the council to revise and approve. “We went through some wars together,” Elizabeth Rose, from the DOE’s department of portfolio management, told the parents at last night's meeting. “Tonight, I’m mostly here to listen.” Rose, CEC members, and other officials heard parents complain that they had moved to Tribeca in order to send their children to the popular P.S. 234, only to find out that they could be rezoned and see the value of their homes fall. They heard concerns about changes to a longstanding policy of treating the West Village as a single zone shared by multiple schools. And they heard worries about the "sketchy" neighborhood that students might have to walk through to get from Tribeca to P.S. 3 in the West Village. Together, the parents argued that the rezoning proposal did not meet downtown's real needs: for the DOE to bring school zones in line with neighborhood boundaries, ensure students' safety during their commutes, and build more schools in Lower Manhattan.
May 15, 2009
To kindergarten shutouts, top schools official says, "I'm sorry"
Anyone who stayed until the bitter end of a three-hour meeting last night about kindergarten waitlists in Manhattan got a surprise: an uncharacteristic apology from a top DOE official. Hundreds of parents turned out for a meeting of the parent council for District 2 to vent about having been shut out, at least for now, of their neighborhood schools. Last week, Manhattan parents protested at City Hall after 273 children were put on waiting lists at many elementary schools. Deputy Chancellor Kathleen Grimm arrived late to the meeting after spending her afternoon dealing with the swine flu outbreak in Queens. She sat quietly in the audience and listened to a tense back and forth between school officials and angry parents. The auditorium had mostly emptied and council members were preparing to adjourn when Grimm approached the microphone to make a surprise statement, which I captured on video above. Here's a key part of what she said: I also want to say something that I thought I heard people from the DOE say tonight, but just in case you didn't, I want to say, I'm sorry. We're sorry. We have stumbled on some of this planning. The two officials leading the meeting told parents during the meeting that most schools should be able to eliminate their wait lists by the middle of June, after families find out where they've been offered seats in gifted and talented programs. John White, who heads the Department of Education's efforts to manage school space, said that more children in each area qualified for gifted admissions than there are children on the waiting list.
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