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May 22, 2018
Strange graffiti scrawled on New York City education department headquarters, police say
Before 7 a.m. on Tuesday, cryptic messages were scrawled on the Corinthian columns of Tweed Courthouse, the historic education…
Leadership & Management
December 22, 2014
After 40 years, official in charge of Office of Safety and Youth Development to retire
The official who has overseen the Department of Education’s Office of Safety and Youth Development for the last decade is preparing to leave the department.
April 11, 2014
Major power restructuring underway at city education department
Tweed's No. 2 Dorita Gibson told staff this week that she's taking over a significant chunk of the education department's operations, a consolidation that had been expected since Chancellor Carmen Fariña reshuffled her leadership team in January.
November 21, 2011
To ease school crowding, legislator urges DOE to rezone itself
Tweed Courthouse, the Department of Education's headquarters, regularly houses just-starting-out schools in its basement. To ease crowding in Lower Manhattan, the Department of Education could move offices out of its headquarters. That's the suggestion of State Sen. Daniel Squadron, who argues in a letter to Chancellor Dennis Walcott that DOE officials would do well to clear out to make space for children. The letter comes days after the elected parent council for Manhattan's District 2 rejected a DOE plan that would have tweaked zones for some overcrowded schools and created a zone for a new school set to open next year. That school, Peck Slip School, is set to spend its first year in the basement of Tweed Courthouse, the DOE's headquarters ever since Mayor Bloomberg relocated the education department's offices from Brooklyn when he first gained control of the schools. The ornate building mostly contains administrative offices, but for the last several years, its basement has housed just-starting-out schools. Ross Global Charter School and the Spruce Street School have occupied the space while waiting for permanent sites, and Innovate Manhattan Charter School opened there this year. Since the space is certified for public school occupancy — an obstacle the city has run up against when surveying other vacant buildings in Manhattan — Squadron says the DOE should convert more offices into classrooms and send the adults elsewhere.
November 17, 2011
Tweed serves as "Occupy" stop on way to Foley Square protest
It’s been two months since anti-inequality protesters first settled in at Zuccotti Park in a movement that became known as “Occupy Wall Street.” To…
November 7, 2011
'Occupy' protesters join teachers and parents on Tweed steps
More than 100 activists took to the steps of Tweed Courthouse shortly after 5 p.m. today to repeat the Occupy Wall Street-inspired protest-style that cut short an October Panel for Education Policy meeting. Calling themselves "Occupy the DOE," the protesters included a Baruch College professor, a trio of high school students from Paul Robeson High School, a Brooklyn College graduate student, and teachers from across the city. They mingled with veteran education activists from the Grassroots Education Movement and Occupy Wall Street organizers in front of the Department of Education headquarters for two hours while more than one dozen police officers looked on.
June 15, 2010
David Cantor, Department of Education press secretary, resigns
David Cantor, head of the Department of Education's press juggernaut, is leaving. (Courtesy of Cantor.) After five years of taking our phone calls and returning most of them, Department of Education Press Secretary David Cantor is moving on. He had the job longer than any of his predecessors, overseeing both periods of high-frequency press outreach and long droughts of stay-the-course defense. His departure will make it even harder for reporters to extract information out of an opaque organization, especially considering he's leaving behind an office full of recent hires. It will also finally allow him to escape from complaints — sure to return given the dismal budget climate — that the school system spends too much money staffing its press office. Cantor is going over to Widmeyer Communications, where he'll remain on the education beat as the senior vice president in charge of PreK-12 education, arts, and philanthropy. Widmeyer was founded by Scott Widmeyer, an operator in the education world who cut his teeth working for teachers union president Al Shanker. But it does work for the non-union side of things, too, including the Gates Foundation and Pearson. Cantor sent over this statement:
July 7, 2009
Charles Barron: Chancellor Klein is illegally occupying Tweed
City Council member Charles Barron outside Tweed Courthouse yesterday. (GothamSchools Flickr) City Councilman Charles Barron tried to haul Schools Chancellor Joel Klein off to jail yesterday but left Tweed Courthouse empty-handed. His attempted citizen's arrest came during a rally yesterday to protest Mayor Bloomberg's continued school control even after mayoral control legally expired last week. Midway through event, Barron took the microphone and ascended Tweed's steps, some of the crowd following him. "They are in there illegally," he said when he got to the doors, which were closed. "They should have to leave. This is the people's building now." The doors had been open earlier during the event. "This is a citizen's arrest," he declared, ostensibly because Klein did not vacate his offices after mayoral control technically ended. (In fact, the newly convened Board of Education voted the next day to rehire Klein as chancellor and give him the same authority he had before the mayoral control law expired.) "Is the chancellor in there?" he asked the security guards on the other side of the glass doors. "No? Tell him I'm looking for him." Barron, who has called for Klein to be fired before, said a longtime community activist, Jitu Weusi, should be the chancellor. Weusi was a lead organizer of yesterday's event, which attracted about 100 people from across the city. (View more pictures from the rally.)
July 1, 2009
Board of Education meeting today for first time in 7 years
It's all happening: The newly recreated Board of Education is meeting today at noon, inside Tweed Courthouse, the headquarters of the city schools administration. As we reported last night, convening the board is the first step to getting the new, post-mayoral control governance system up and running. The media advisory I received underscores the confusion that is sure to rule today: The event is billed as an emergency meeting of the Board of Education, but the logo in the e-mail is the multi-colored one used by the Department of Education. We know three of the seven people who will be sitting on the board when it meets: We reported yesterday that Dolores Fernandez, a former college president and critic of the mayor's policies, is Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr's pick. Scott Stringer of Manhattan is appointing his counsel, Jimmy Yan, on an interim basis and Brooklyn's Marty Markowitz picked his chief of staff, Carlo Scissura, according to the New York Times. Queens Borough President Helen Marshall is announcing her pick right now and Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro will name his nominee at noon. Mayor Bloomberg hasn't yet said who he'll choose to fill the two seats he controls. Update: The DOE just sent out the full line up and there are some interesting choices. First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris (Mayoral appointee) Deputy Mayor for Operations Edward Skyler (Mayoral appointee) Dr. Dolores Fernandez (Bronx appointee) Carlo Scissura (Brooklyn appointee) Jimmy Yan (Manhattan appointee) Deputy Borough President Edward Burke (Staten Island appointee) Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development Dennis M. Walcott (Queens appointee) Here's the announcement that just came from the communications office at "NYC DOE":
March 16, 2009
Among bureaucrats, curriculum jobs down, accountability is up
I reported in February that the degree to which the Department of Education's bureaucracy is growing depends on which bureaucracy you're talking about: the central brain at Tweed Courthouse has gained members, but the nervous system known as "the field," whose suited desk-sitters are located throughout the five boroughs, is shrinking in size. The degree of growth also depends on the kind of bureaucrat, and the way the kinds shake out — which have been kept and which have not — sheds some light on the Bloomberg administration's priorities. (Recall that all departments inside the DOE were asked to write plans for budget cuts, but not all had to enact them.) While those specializing in areas such as teaching and learning, food and nutrition, family engagement, and operations are losing ground, officials who work in accountability, budget, and transportation matters proliferate, according to new, more detailed numbers the department (finally) disclosed to me.
March 9, 2009
Mapping out exactly who reports to whom at Tweed Courthouse
The Department of Education's new organizational chart. After reshuffling its internal bureaucracy, the Department of Education will publish a run-down of the changes on its web site in the next few weeks, in the form of the following flow chart — or, to be precise, a small variation of this flow chart. (A DOE spokeswoman, Ann Forte, says small parts of the chart still need to be fleshed out, such as the labor strategy team.) The chart lays out the new internal structure of the people who work at DOE's Tweed Courthouse headquarters, with only six people reporting directly to Chancellor Joel Klein, down from a number that had been around 20. Publishing such detailed information in chart form, and on the DOE's web site, comes after critics charged the department with being obtuse about its internal makeup. Right now, the web site offers only a list of the names and titles of people who report to Klein, without clarifying how the department is organized. The last time the department published an actual chart mapping out this structure was in 2004, after a reporter filed a request asking for one. The most notable change is the new spot for Garth Harries, whose office of new schools is now folded under Kathleen Grimm, the deputy chancellor for infrastructure and planning, under the title "system planning." John White, a top aide in the old new school office, now oversees that team, while Harries is on a special assignment to rethink special education. Here's the full chart, below the jump:
February 25, 2009
To choose what to cut, officials crafted a priorities chart
Earlier today I wrote about budget cuts at Tweed Courthouse, the Department of Education’s headquarters, which have somehow managed to coincide with an increase…
February 12, 2009
Rhee: Bloomberg asked Klein to bring her red/green plan to NYC
Michelle Rhee touted her red-track/green-track teacher pay proposal last night at Pace University, saying it's made such a splash that Mayor Bloomberg asked Chancellor Joel Klein if they could bring a similar model to New York. The proposal, which is being negotiated with the D.C. teachers union right now, would award some first-year teachers nearly $40,000 raises in exchange for giving up their tenure rights — while others could choose a "red" path where they retain tenure but are paid less. Rhee said the model came up in a recent chat with Klein, who she said she speaks to regularly to share "best practices" and to commiserate. Klein told her that Mayor Bloomberg had asked if they could bring the red/green plan to New York. "Apparently Klein said to him, 'Not even you have enough money to do all of that in New York City,'" she said. Rhee's plan, if passed, will be financed by private philanthropy for the first five years, she said. A spokesman for the Department of Education, David Cantor, said the story is true. Rhee spent part of her talk referencing the divide within the Democratic Party, where some education experts argue focus should be on improving schools and schools alone and others push for a broader focus. Rhee, who is firmly in the first camp, along with Klein, explained her objections to the second group by describing her experience as a second-year teacher.
November 5, 2008
Jobless Teaching Fellows rally at Tweed as firing deadline looms
People inside Department of Education headquarters weren’t the only ones fretting about the possibility of losing their jobs today. Afraid they’re just a…
November 5, 2008
At Tweed, people wonder who will be fired and when
DOE headquarters at Tweed Courthouse Who is getting fired and when? That's the question on everyone's mind at Tweed Courthouse today. As Elizabeth already reported, as part of the mayor's citywide budget cuts, the Department of Education is cutting 6.6 percent of its budget centrally and passing down 1.3 percent cuts to individual schools. That means 475 DOE jobs are going to be lost. The bulk of those jobs — nearly 300 — will be cut from the department's central administration, housed at Tweed. In a conversation with reporters outside City Hall this afternoon, Chancellor Joel Klein said he has already asked his senior leadership team — heads of departments and other top DOE officials — to identify positions they might eliminate. In addition, department officials are looking at "every program" to identify which are "less vital" or possible to streamline, he said. No one has yet been fired, the chancellor said, but layoffs will begin within the next few days. All of the positions will be eliminated by the end of 2008. DOE officials chose to make the majority of the department's cuts centrally because doing so is in line with the DOE's focus on children, who "didn't create the current financial crisis," the chancellor said. Still, schools will lose 1.3 percent of their budgets for this school year.
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