Support independent journalism.
Education news. In context.
Building Better Schools
From the Statehouse
Beyond High School
Funding & Finance
In the Classroom
Politics & Policy
Sorting the Students
Rise & Shine
Building Better Teachers
Support independent journalism.
February 16, 2017
‘It’s not a solution’: How a Harlem co-location proposal is highlighting disparities between two schools
Parents blasted a co-location proposal and accused the department of letting P.S. 36 languish until its space became needed by a wealthier, whiter school community.
June 29, 2016
Years after co-location controversy, two principals say sharing space has made both schools better
Although some objected to Success Academy's co-location, as school leaders, we felt it was our responsibility to make the best of sharing our space.
clashes in the space wars
September 21, 2015
Charter leaders continue to battle de Blasio over space in public school buildings
At the heart of their criticism is the battle for limited space in city-owned buildings, which the de Blasio administration has been reluctant to offer to charters.
August 28, 2015
What makes a charter school co-location work? Two Bronx buildings offer answers
School leaders who respect each other; facilities large enough to require compromises, but not impossible ones; and time to grow accustomed to each other are key, educators said.
on the money
July 23, 2015
IBO: Funding gap between district schools, co-located charters has closed
The numbers are the first comparisons of district and charter-school funding since 2011, when the IBO’s calculations found that co-located charter schools received nearly $650 more per student.
raise your hand
June 26, 2015
Raise Your Hand: Where are co-located schools working well together?
Help report Chalkbeat’s first Raise Your Hand investigation, and help us determine what stories we pursue next.
June 2, 2015
As Nashville charter school conversion begins, administrators must overcome confusion
After a rocky start, co-principals at Nashville's Neely's Bend Middle Prep School are working together to make the transition to a charter school a success.
avoiding the space wars
March 6, 2015
After pushback, Bronx charter replaced with D75 school in co-location plan
The earlier P.S. 277 co-location plan never sat well with parents and staff, who testified in January that it would mean giving up a valuable technology room.
March 3, 2015
As enrollment climbs, city struggles to keep overcrowding from growing, too
Forty-four percent of the city's school buildings are overcrowded, according to city officials, a figure up from 36 percent in the 2011-12 school year.
February 26, 2015
Three delayed co-locations approved after Fariña reins in concerns
The plans were approved only after a debate about how to make sure they wouldn't impede the city’s efforts to turn around other struggling schools.
January 30, 2015
Four co-location votes delayed as Fariña cites need for more input
During what was perhaps the most contentious Panel for Educational Policy meeting of her tenure, Chancellor Carmen Fariña asked the advisory board to delay its votes on co-location plans for four charter schools.
January 27, 2015
Tensions still simmering around two co-locations set for vote
The concerns and occasional hostility voiced at the hearings offer a reminder of the discord that can come from the city's policy of co-locating schools, even as the de Blasio administration has committed to reducing those tensions.
January 9, 2015
After Success Academy nixes plan for LES school, parents add to opposition at makeshift hearing
After the city abruptly canceled a hearing Wednesday night, District 1 parents hosted one on their own, focused on their opposition to the possibility of Success Academy opening a school in the area in the future.
October 10, 2014
Co-located 'Learning Partners' forge bonds as they swap ideas
Three of the seven schools in the Bronx's John F. Kennedy High School campus are building a community as they trade ideas through the Learning Partners program.
September 8, 2014
As city revamps space-sharing rules, Fariña finds two principals embracing co-location
Chancellor Carmen Fariña met with the principals of two co-located middle schools on Staten Island who are sharing facilities, faculty members, and advice.
June 27, 2014
Released earlier than usual, Blue Book now counts students in trailers
The city Department of Education released its annual school-space tally on Friday, months earlier than usual and featuring some changes recommended by an…
June 11, 2014
New law requires department to report data from co-located schools
City Council members passed a bill on Wednesday that would require the Department of Education to publish demographic and academic information on co-located schools.
the new space wars
June 6, 2014
As charter sector continues to swell, a space dilemma grows for de Blasio
Mayor Bill de Blasio is in an increasingly difficult position, given the continued growth of charter schools—which city officials do not control—and new charter school legislation that will make co-locations financially advantageous.
April 26, 2014
City finds private space for Success Academy schools whose co-locations it blocked
The city will provide private space for three Success Academy charter schools, City Hall announced Saturday, just two months after blocking those…
April 4, 2014
Principals, charter leaders, real estate experts, and others to tackle school-space issues
Principals, charter school leaders, real estate experts, special education advocates, and others will join together to try to untangle knotty matters involving school space,…
March 21, 2014
Five things we learned from Fariña's City Council testimony
Here are a some changes (and potential changes) Fariña mentioned in nearly three hours of testimony, including new co-location peacemakers and new incentives for arts education.
March 10, 2014
Here is Success’ legal case against the city’s co-location decision
Lawyers for Success Academy argued in a legal petition filed Monday that the city “arbitrarily” targeted the charter network in its decision…
March 3, 2014
Co-location backlash turns de Blasio allies quickly into critics
Parents and politicians alike say Mayor Bill de Blasio's decision to allow almost all Bloomberg-era co-location plans to go forward represents a breach of a promise to consider public input when making school decisions.
October 24, 2013
Protest at John Dewey High School against co-location plan
A public hearing Wednesday evening at Brooklyn’s John Dewey High School attracted hundreds of teachers, students, families, and graduates to protest the Department of…
October 9, 2013
The Phone Calls That Ask, “What Happened To Tilden?”
For several years, when the phone rang in my classroom, I instructed students not to answer it. "They're not calling for us," I'd explain. At first this was an annoyance. Today, it reminds me of the complexity of working in the ever-changing landscape of schools in New York City: in my case, of the hubris that comes with being a founding staff member of something “new” in something old, and then fighting to defend that new thing against something newer.
July 18, 2013
UFT lawsuit to stop changes in school utilization
Link: UFT lawsuit to stop changes in school utilization The UFT has filed the lawsuit that it said it would today, to…
May 23, 2013
Weiner supports co-locations, Catholic schools on first day out
Anthony Weiner's views on education policy became a little clearer on his first full day on the campaign trail, when he told WNYC's Brian Lehrer that he supports letting charter schools use space in public school buildings. The issue puts him at odds with several of his Democratic competitors for mayor, who have said they would impose a moratorium on the space-sharing arrangements. Co-location has induced tension in many school buildings, but it has also allowed the city's charter school sector to thrive, and whether to continue the practice is a major decision facing the next mayor. In fact, on the issue of school choice, Weiner suggested that his support extends well beyond the public school system. He proposed helping non-public schools — he cited cash-strapped Catholic schools in particular — with publicly funded support that they are already entitled to, including technology, health care and security. He first floated the idea in his 2009 policy book "Keys to the City," which he re-released last month.
February 26, 2013
UFT Charter School to stay open with conditions and co-location
Students read books at the UFT Charter School, which narrowly escaped closure today. The struggling school will be allowed to stay open for at least another two years. The UFT Charter School received a two-year lifeline today, thanks in part to a city policy that the teachers union has opposed in the past. The Department of Education's proposal to move the school's struggling middle grades under the same roof as the elementary school next year was an important reason that authorizers voted to renew the school's charter for two more years, state officials said today. The school now faces an automatic "death penalty" in 2015 if academic performance doesn't improve. "I don't want to have another round of this," said Joseph Belluck, chairman of SUNY's Charter Schools Committee. "Now is their time to show they can do this."
February 13, 2013
After One Space Shift, Our School Contemplates Another
Even if the negative consequences of sharing space are unintended, they are deep and wide — and can truly change a school. I’ve seen it happen, and so have my students.
July 24, 2012
Education donors laid low in recent mayoral fundraising push
Council Speaker and mayoral frontrunner Christine Quinn with UFT President Michael Mulgrew at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year. Michael Duffy remembers the moment he decided City Council Speaker Christine Quinn was his pick for mayor. It was in the summer of 2011, at an informal lunch with community leaders that Duffy attended. Duffy, who formerly oversaw the city's charter schools office, said Quinn gave her unqualified support for the controversial practice of giving charter schools free space in public schools. "She went right to the issue and said that charters couldn't grow in the way that they have been able to without co-location and that's why she thought it was a good policy," Duffy said last week. Duffy, now the managing director at Victory Education Partners, went on to contribute $1,250 to Quinn's campaign and has helped her raise thousands more from charter school leaders. Most of those contributions came in 2011, however. Donors from the education world largely sat out of mayoral fundraising activities over the past six months, according to campaign filings released last week. Duffy, who is planning to open a charter school in New York City in 2013, contributed $250 to Quinn this year. The small donation made him one of the only charter school leaders to give to any prospective mayoral campaign so far in 2012. "Folks are all over the map in terms of their views of the mayoral candidates," said Joe Williams, executive director of Democrats for Education Reform, a political action committee that supports candidates who favor the expansion of charter schools.
March 9, 2012
Siting process for Lower East Side charter co-location draws ire
Teachers and students crowd the panelist table at a public hearing to demonstrate overcrowding inside a Henry Street building where a charter co-location is proposed. Confusion over where a new elementary charter school was supposed to be sited on the Lower East Side — and the co-location plan that ultimately emerged — has prompted widespread opposition from the community. Up until four months ago, Manhattan Charter School II was bound for private space in District 1 — or at least that's what its founders were hoping for and told local elected officials. But after those plans fell through, the Department of Education moved quickly to offer up public space in a Henry Street building that already housed three middle schools and a high school. Now that plan is under attack by teachers and administrators at the schools, as well as the elected officials who originally were under the impression that there would be no co-location. City Councilwoman Margaret Chin said she initially supported the school's opening, and even helped connect the school to a couple of viable private facility options last year. MCS II was hoping to lease a building owned by the Archdiocese of New York, but lost out on its bid. Chin said she felt deceived by the charter school after reading its original charter application for the first time in recent days. In the application, she discovered that the school "seeks to be located in public school space" in District 1. “I was shocked when I read it,” Chin said. “When they came to ask for help, they said they were looking for private sites only. I’m just very disappointed to find out that they intentionally, all along, were looking for public space."
January 3, 2012
Judge issues setback in effort to make charter schools pay rent
A judge today rejected a midyear effort to collect more than $100 million in rent and facility fees from co-located charter schools. The ruling is at least a temporary blow for parent activists who filed a lawsuit last year that challenged a long-standing Department of Education policy to give rent-free public school space to charter schools. The judge hasn't ruled on that larger issue, but he said today that the merits of the lawsuit weren't strong enough to immediately force the DOE to begin collecting rent before a final decision is made. "It would be extremely harmful to wrench charter school students from their school of choice during a school year, should any charter school be unable to pay for renting public school space, forcing these students to seek placement elsewhere," New York State Supreme Court Judge Paul Feinman wrote in his decision today. About two-thirds of the city's 136 charter schools are currently sited in public space and the lawsuit claims that the DOE has an obligation, based on state law, to charge rent. Class Size Matters' Leonie Haimson, a lead plaintiff on the lawsuit, has estimated that the DOE has lost out on more than $100 million, which she has said could be used to reduce class sizes by hiring more teachers.
September 15, 2011
Taking DOE to court, parents resurrect battle over co-locations
Lawyers for the Department of Education were back on the defense in Judge Paul Feinman's courtroom on Thursday morning to argue a new twist on an old charter school co-location debate. A new lawsuit argues that more than 80 charter schools sited in public school buildings have gotten free rides on facilities expenses such as utilities and building maintenance. Parent groups who brought the lawsuit earlier this summer are suing want the DOE to collect more than $100 million in rent money that they say should have been charged. Today's hearing on the lawsuit, which did not yield an immediate decision, comes less than two months after the same judge rejected the United Federation of Teachers and NAACP's request to halt all charter school co-locations. That lawsuit argued that the co-location plans favored the charter schools. In today's hearing, arguments focused on the city's policy, in place since 2003, that lets charter schools share space free of charge. Eighty two charter schools are now occupied in public buildings that house an estimated 27,500 students, according to court papers. New York State charter law, first written in 1999, states that charter schools can be located within a public school building "at cost" based on what they are charged to rent, lease or own private or public space. How much "at cost" should be worth – if anything at all – was a major source of disagreement between the sides. Arthur Schwartz, arguing for the plaintiffs, said in court that the charter schools in public school buildings should have to pay for the per-pupil costs because it provided them with inequitably favorable resources at a time when district schools are forced to cut their budgets. "It gets at the heart of some of the disparities of the tales that we've heard in the schools," Schwartz told Feinman.
August 1, 2011
Matt Damon criticizes Eva Moskowitz's charters at D.C. rally
A contingent of New York teachers joined thousands of protesters from across the country in Washington, D.C. on Saturday to march against the Obama administration's education policies. Joining them was actor and budding philanthropist Matt Damon, who railed against "corporate reformers." In an interview with GothamSchools, Damon exhibited a familiarity with New York City education politics, criticizing co-locations of charter schools and district schools and calling out the Success Charter Network in particular. The march was the main draw of a four-day event called "Save Our Schools," which included a conference and a film festival. A coalition of more than 100 teachers came down from New York City, including groups from the United Federation of Teachers (this reporter embedded with a UFT-sponsored charter bus) and the Grassroots Education Movement. GEM also hosted a workshop at the conference and showed its documentary film The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting For Superman to an audience of about 250. More than a dozen speakers - including Diane Ravitch, Jonathan Kozol, Deborah Meier - spoke at a rally that directly preceded the march. The lineup featured songs, performances, poem readings, in addition to a pre-taped message from The Daily Show host Jon Stewart (here's an excerpt).
May 17, 2011
A Prospect Heights space fight will be on display tomorrow
The city is hoping that the second time is the charm for its plan to move a charter school into the P.S. 9 building in Brooklyn. A revised version of a plan outlining how the two schools would share space is one of the items expected to be passed at tomorrow night's Panel for Educational Policy meeting. (A majority of panel members are appointed by the mayor, and so city proposals always pass easily.) State education officials overturned a first draft of the plan last month. The state's move followed an appeal by parents at P.S. 9 parents who claimed that the city's proposal did not include required information. Parents at the school also challenge the city's plan because it conflicts with their own hopes for the school, which they would like to expand through the eighth grade. Parents have even nominated one of their own, a P.S. 9 parent who is currently a dean at a Manhattan middle school, to oversee the expansion, which would require P.S. 9 to take up more space inside the building. The Department of Education is standing by its plan. "We are pleased with P.S. 9’s progress and understand the desire of the school to expand, but in this case, the need of an entire school district strongly outweighs the need of one school," said Marc Sternberg, deputy chancellor for portfolio planning. Faye Rimalovski, a P.S. 9 parent, said parents are prepared to protest the plan at tomorrow's PEP meeting. "Armed and ready," she said.
RISE & SHINE
You are now subscribed!