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May 22, 2018
Charter schools advocates’ next push: Funding for school security
Advocates are asking the City Council to revise a city law in order to help fund charter school security needs.
April 13, 2015
Proposal would let pre-K parents join local education councils
The change would let pre-K parents apply for spots on the city's 32 district Community Education Councils, which are currently open to K-8 parents.
June 6, 2011
Rhee's Students First campaign tries to pressure politicians
Screenshot of the campaign page against the UFT/NAACP lawsuit (click to enlarge) Michelle Rhee’s new advocacy organization is jumping into the fight between the NAACP and charter school families with a new email campaign that has been flooding elected officials' inboxes since Friday. The campaign targets elected officials who co-signed a lawsuit, along with the teachers union and the NAACP, demanding that the Bloomberg administration halt its plans to close struggling district schools and replace them with charters. Students First, which Rhee founded last year, sponsored the campaign, titled "Tell NYC Officials: Don't Decrease Charter School Space." “Remove Your Name from the Charter School Lawsuit,” reads the subject line in the identical emails, which has been sent to the dozen officials listed as plaintiffs in the suit. In four days, more than 550 emails have been sent from people from all over New York State. "New York needs more quality public school options,” the email reads. "That is why I ask that you remove your name from the lawsuit that threatens to close several existing charter s ychools [sic] and to prevent others from enrolling new children. This action is tantamount to condemning thousands of kids to failing schools who otherwise would have an opportunity at a great education."
August 31, 2009
Advocacy group vows to carry control fight into new school year
The fight over mayoral control isn't over, according to a stalwart group of activists who convened a meeting Saturday to plan how to increase local control of city schools. Comptroller candidate John Liu and mayoral candidate Tony Avella joined an energized and sometimes raucous crowd of around 70 public school parents, teachers and advocates at the launch event for the Coalition for Public Education, held at the lower Manhattan headquarters of the municipal union District Council 37. The coalition could be one legacy of this spring's protracted debate over school governance. That debate was finally settled, at least for the next six years, when Gov. Paterson signed into law a new bill that continues a modified version of mayoral control. Vowing to keep the fight against mayoral control going into the new school year, coalition organizers announced rallies in four boroughs for the first day of school next week. "The struggle continues on this battle," said Esmeralda Simmons, director of the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College. "Do not be fooled into thinking that because something has happened in Albany, there's nothing else that can be done."
August 5, 2009
On the Senate's plate tomorrow: mayoral control and amendments
To the great relief of City Hall and Tweed Courthouse, the New York state Senate intends to pass the Assembly's version of mayoral control tomorrow. As part of the deal enabling this basic but, for the Senate, extraordinarily difficult accomplishment, senators will also take up four amendments that appeared on paper for the first time today. The amendments include no surprises, and outline only slightly more detail about the agreement than had previously been disclosed. Sponsored by Senator Shirley Huntley and several other senators, including Eric Adams, Martin Dilan, and Jose Serrano, the amendments would create a $1.6 million parent training center, an arts council, yearly school safety meetings, and an additional supervision requirement for superintendents. Democratic senators agreed to vote for the Assembly's bill in return for the passage of these four amendments. The newest details are in a bill to create a parent training center, which has already garnered some criticism from Assembly members. According to language in the bill, the center will have many arms, each of which are thinly outlined. While offering basic guidance to parents on how to enroll their children in special education or gifted programs, the center will also recruit parents for community education councils and school leadership teams. It also aims to support college counseling initiatives. Housed at CUNY (though at which college the bill doesn't say), the center will be nonpartisan. The state will fund the center and the city will match that funding up to, but not above $800,000.
July 23, 2009
Angry senators call for negotiations that are already happening
Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. delivered a speech in Spanish against no-bid contracts. (<em>GothamSchools</em>) The circus around the State Senate intensified today as half a dozen senators gathered to complain that Mayor Bloomberg would not meet them at the bargaining table. Immediately afterward, senators confirmed that negotiations are, in fact, ongoing. "We will not be dictated to, we will be negotiated with," said Senator Bill Perkins, a persistent critic of mayoral control. Joining Perkins on the steps of City Hall were Sens. Shirley Huntley, Hiram Monserrate, Pedro Espada, Eric Adams, Ruben Diaz Sr., and City Councilman Robert Jackson. All of the senators were among those who supported a failed bill that would have curtailed mayoral control. After the press conference, Monserrate acknowledged to reporters that negotiations were already in progress. "We're at the table," he said. "There are some meetings occurring." Those meetings, which began on Monday after mayoral control talks fell apart last week, are being held by Democratic conference leader John Sampson's staff and deputy schools chancellor Christopher Cerf. Senators would not discuss the details of the negotiations today, but they reiterated their support for increased parent involvement, funding for art programs, and fixed terms for citywide school board members. A source close to the discussions described the talks as "fragile."
July 20, 2009
Mayoral control talks going "extremely well" despite public jabs
Senators and Bloomberg administration officials met last night and this morning to resuscitate the mayoral control negotiations that collapsed last week. Democratic conference leader John Sampson and senators Shirley Huntley and Martin Dilan met with advocacy groups and City Hall officials last night to restart negotiations, according to Senator Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn). And early this morning, members of Sampson's staff met with deputy schools chancellor Christopher Cerf, according to a source close to the discussions. Cerf did not return requests for comment late this afternoon. "There was a meeting held today with the mayor's office that we believe went extremely well," the source said. "There was no agreement, but they're moving forward. We're hopeful that we'll have something in the upcoming days." Sources said that Bloomberg did not attend either of the meetings. A spokesperson for the mayor's office declined to comment on the negotiations. Adams said he had "no idea," whether the school governance fight would be resolved before the Fall. "We're not scheduled to go back up to Albany until it's time to deal with the deficit," he said. "So I don't know if we're going to make a special trip."
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