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Alliance for Quality Education
March 29, 2018
Here’s the education lawsuit that helped motivate Cynthia Nixon’s run for governor
The following is a quick history of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity that Chalkbeat put together in 2016, along with some more recent information.
March 26, 2018
Nixon accuses Cuomo of underfunding schools, calling his rationale ‘just one big excuse’
In Cynthia Nixon's first press conference in Albany since she announced her bid for governor, she attacked Cuomo on school funding.
on the run
March 19, 2018
‘Sex and the City’ star and public schools advocate Cynthia Nixon launches bid for N.Y. governor
Actress and public schools advocate Cynthia Nixon announced Monday that she’s running for governor of New York, ending months of speculation and…
Updated October 11, 2017
The votes are in: Some New York charter schools can now certify their own teachers
In select charter schools overseen by SUNY, prospective teachers will soon only have to sit for the equivalent of a month of instruction before entering classrooms.
October 10, 2017
SUNY faces legal threat against proposal to let charter schools certify their teachers
Lawyers representing the Alliance for Quality Education said they will seek an injunction if officials proceed with their charter school teacher certification proposal.
critics of cuomo
April 18, 2017
CUNY students join chorus of protests against Cuomo’s ‘hypocritical’ college tuition plan
The protest by AQE, an organization that has long criticized the governor, is the latest in a round of backlash against Cuomo’s free college tuition plan.
April 10, 2017
After heated debate, New York charter schools receive boost; school aid increases by $1.1 billion
The funding tug-of-war between charters and traditional public schools boiled over into a contentious fight, which contributed to a delayed state budget.
March 16, 2017
New York education experts call Trump’s proposed budget cuts ‘irresponsible’ and ‘devastating’
President Donald Trump’s budget blueprint, unveiled Thursday, drew instant ire from education experts in New York state.
March 15, 2017
Senate releases budget plan, weighing in on school funding saga and rejecting Cuomo’s ‘Excelsior Scholarship’ proposal
The Senate passed a budget proposal that includes a new vision for college affordability, a different take on school funding, and more support for charter schools.
Show me the money
January 17, 2017
Governor Cuomo proposes $1 billion increase in state aid, kicking off school funding negotiations
The governor's proposal is less than the $2.1 billion suggested by the state's education policymaking body.
January 13, 2017
Four education storylines to watch as New York kicks off its 2017 legislative session
We'll be following the governor's efforts to provide free college tuition, an upcoming battle about school funding, and plans to boost after-school programs.
the trump effect
December 8, 2016
After Trump’s election, activists call on education officials to expand anti-bias training
“All city agencies must have a plan — that must include the Department of Education.”
November 23, 2016
Advocates protest outside Eva Moskowitz’s home, denounce Ivanka Trump’s visit to Success Academy school
Advocates said Eva Moskowitz's surprise appearance during their protest was further proof of her disconnect from immigrant and minority communities.
funding fight continues
October 3, 2016
Have supporters of a lawsuit demanding billions in school funds finally found their moment?
The fight continues to increase school funds under the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit.
Show me the money
September 6, 2016
Three low-performing New York City schools are owed millions in funding, lawsuit claims
"There is nothing to permit the Governor, through the Division of Budget, to withhold funds."
March 14, 2016
Senate proposes $1.6 billion increase in education funding
The Senate’s budget proposal calls for a $1.6 billion increase in education funding, including more than $27 million in additional aid to charter schools.
rally rinse repeat
March 3, 2016
At morning ‘walk-ins,’ advocates press Cuomo for more school funding
Advocates took to the streets Thursday to continue a years-long fight for what they say the state owes city schools: $2.9 billion.
February 19, 2015
New database estimates how much schools are missing from equity settlement
Advocates for school funding equity have launched a new website to show families and the public exactly how much money their school or district is due but not receiving each year under a years-old legal settlement whose terms have yet to be fulfilled.
November 14, 2014
Sidestepping cap issue, independent charters to push for facilities funding
Next Tuesday, charter-school advocates will call for the state to provide facilities funding for existing schools, setting the stage for one piece of the sector’s upcoming fight for more favorable legislation.
Where's the data?
September 29, 2014
City Council prods city to provide data on guidance counselors
When councilmembers asked how many high school students the city has -- so that they could calculate the ratio on their own -- the education officials, including Lois Herrera, head of the Office of Guidance and School Counseling, faltered. “It’s not something we’re calculating on a regular basis,” Herrera said.
August 7, 2014
Advocacy groups continue calling for billions from Fiscal Equity settlement
As a number of education lawsuits fight for headlines, a new report is trying to call attention back to one suit advocates already won.
March 12, 2014
Boisterous student crowd brings school funding petitions to Cuomo’s doorstep
ALBANY — Hundreds of students and advocates seeking more school funding in the state budget rallied outside Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, then demanded that he…
March 3, 2014
Advocates' "fact-finding" tour uncovers inequities as budget talks heat up
The Alliance for Quality Education's recent tour of 14 cash-strapped districts turned up spending choices that the group said supported its call for $1.9 billion in increased state school aid this year.
October 13, 2013
IBO report: Advanced course offerings are distributed unevenly
Poor students and students of color in New York City are able to take fewer advanced courses on average, according to a new report…
July 2, 2013
In report, AQE cites progress in Albany — and room for growth
Parents supporting the Alliance for Quality Education gathered in Manhattan to watch the livestream of the press conference in Albany discussing the group's report card. The state should be applauded for its recent investments in prekindergarten and community schools, according to an Alliance for Quality Education report released today. But the lobbying group said New York still has a lot of work to do when it comes to issues such as expanded learning time, reducing school suspensions, and offering high-quality training for teachers. In a "college and career readiness report card," AQE also dinged the state for not reducing the per-pupil funding gap between wealthy and poor school districts, a pet issue for the lobbying group, which frequently partners with the state teachers union. "Unless there is a substantial change in education policy, these negatives will keep being negatives," said AQE Executive Director Billy Easton.
April 17, 2012
In report, advocates paint grim picture of city school inequities
Critics of school closures were not the only ones taking aim at the Bloomberg administration's education policies today. A Massachusetts-based education foundation declared that the city's schools systematically shortchange poor students and students of color. Those students, who make up the vast majority of city enrollment, are less likely to attend top-performing schools as a result of educational "redlining," according to a report released today by the Schott Foundation. The foundation gives grants to education advocacy groups across the country, including New York's Alliance for Quality Education, a lobbying group formed to help win extra funds for city schools through the successful Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit. The term "redlining," coined in the 1960s, refers to the practice of discriminating against people in certain neighborhoods or of certain races when deciding who should receive loans or other services. Writes New York University professor Pedro Noguera in a foreword, While the term “redlining” might seem strong given that it implies a deliberate attempt to deny certain communities access to educational opportunities, this report will show that evidence of blatant disparities amount to Apartheid-like separations that have been accepted in New York for far too long. Rather than being angered by the language used, my hope is that readers of this report will be outraged by the fact that education in New York City is more likely to reproduce and reinforce existing patterns of inequality than to serve as a pathway to opportunity. Using a methodology it has applied to other cities and research questions, the foundation assigned each of the city's 32 school districts an "Opportunity to Learn Index" based on how likely it is that middle school students in the district attend schools in the top quarter citywide. It found that students in districts with many black and Hispanic students had a lower chance of attending top-performing schools.
March 7, 2012
Students bring anti-turnaround message to PEP members
Wassem Albakka, a sophomore from Grady High School, tapes a poster of PEP member Linda Bryant to a fence near her Upper East Side office building. When student protesters came knocking on the front door of Eduardo Martí's office building this afternoon, the mayoral appointee to the Panel for Education Policy wasn't there. The same was true when they tried the offices of fellow appointees Linda Bryant and Judy Bergtraum. But the band of eight students, all from high schools the city has put up for closure, still used chants, drumming, and "wanted" posters with the panelists faces on them to leave them a message: that they should not vote to close their schools. A City University of New York official blocked the students from entering Martí's office on East 80th Street shortly before 3 p.m. But a receptionist listened patiently by phone as Diana Rodriguez, a senior at Grover Cleveland High School, read off a list of "crimes he is wanted for": "One, violation of civil rights: He approved 23 school closing affecting 10,000 students. He approved countless policies that have resulted in only 13 percent of Black and Latino students graduating ready for college," she said. "Two, breach of the public trust: He rubber stamped all of Mayor Bloomberg's proposals, against the will of parents, students and communities. Three, conflict of interest: He received funds from the mayor's administration while holding public office."
February 28, 2012
For opponents of mayoral control, fight starts with co-locations
District 3 CEC member Noah Gotbaum and Sonya Hampton, a parent from P.S./M.S. 149 and vocal charter school critic, lead chants against co-locations at rally. When the Bloomberg Administration threatened to shut down a school in Assemblyman Keith Wright’s district this year, Wright vowed to create legislation to repeal mayoral control of the schools. The city didn't go through with the closure, but Wright is making good on his word — at least to a degree — by introducing a bill that would chip away at one of the mayor's most controversial powers: the ability to install schools inside other schools' buildings. The bill would require elected parent councils known as Community Education Councils to approve any co-location proposal before it may go into effect. Co-location proposals often generate heated debate within districts, particularly when the city is proposing to move a charter school into a district building. The CECs regularly play a vocal role in opposing charter school co-locations within their district schools, but they have no power to stop them or any other co-location. Instead, the Panel for Educational Policy, which has never rejected a city proposal, must approve co-locations. Parents, politicians, advocacy groups and representatives of at least three CECs rallied infront of Department of Education headquarters this morning to show their support for Wright's bill, saying they hope it will pass because the CECs already must vote on zone lines within their districts. Co-locations were the only subject of today's rally; but according to Noah Gotbaum, a member of CEC for District 3, the CECs are hoping the co-location bill will be the first step toward legislation restricting the city's ability to close schools, and eventually leading to the outright end of mayoral control.
January 3, 2012
Advocates try to preempt Cuomo with State of Schools address
Advocates are trying to preempt Gov. Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address with a seven-minute "State of the Schools" speech of their own. The Alliance for Quality Education, an advocacy group that Cuomo's office has disparaged in the past, released their address by YouTube video today.
December 6, 2011
Tax code changes could mitigate against school budget cuts
It's not the millionaire's tax that some parents have pushed for, but it's something. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that he would overhaul the state's tax code to reduce the tax rate on middle-income earners and increase taxes on the highest earners. Cuomo estimates that the changes will add $2 billion a year to the state's coffers — funds that can go to schools and other public services. UFT President Michael Mulgrew was among the chorus of people who quickly signaled their support for the proposal. He called the plan "a wide-ranging solution to the state's budget problems" and said it would "help ensure that children in our public schools will begin to see restorations from the devastating education cuts of recent years.” But a separate tax on high earners known as the millionaire's tax, which Cuomo has vowed not to renew when it expires at the end of the month, has generated significantly more, about $4 billion a year. That means the state is still facing a funding shortfall of as much as $1.5 billion, and schools are likely to feel continued budget pressure.
November 2, 2011
Protesting parent: Stark resource gap divides my kids' schools
For Natoshia Wheeler, the argument that schools do better when they have more resources is proven every night in her living room. Wheeler has three children in Brownsville schools. Her youngest and oldest attend two low-performing schools that share a building, the General D. Chappie James Elementary and Middle School of Science, where she is PTA president. Her middle daughter attends I.S. 392, a selective middle school located just six blocks away. Recently Wheeler's middle daughter brought home a new laptop that her school provided, equipped with a tools for free online tutoring. The tools allowed her to complete complicated projects, such as building a model island with different biomes on it, that enthralled her siblings. But at the Chappie schools, Wheeler said after-school programs have been cut, the art teacher was let go, and students can't always bring books home to use while completing homework. What's more, she said, the three-year-old schools are only just finding their feet after replacing P.S./I.S. 183, a perennially failing that closed in 2008. Last year, on their first progress reports, both schools got D's. So when the elementary school got an F and the middle school got a D on their most recent progress reports, Wheeler said she was not shocked — but she was surprised that the city said it was considering shuttering the school. The city has not yet announced any closures but has named 20 elementary and middle schools that are eligible according to the Department of Education's guidelines.
October 25, 2011
Advocates fuel school-by-school preemptive effort on closures
City Councilwoman Margaret Chin at a preemptive rally against the closure of P.S. 137. Education activists continued their preemptive assault against the city's school closure policy today. No closure announcements have been made yet this year, but the Department of Education has already alerted 20 elementary and middle schools that they could be closed due to low performance. And some of those schools have begun pushing back. The tour began last week in Bedford-Stuyvesant at P.S. 256 and resumed today on the Lower East Side at P.S. 137, a declining school that received an F on its most recent progress report. Just after dismissal this afternoon, about two dozen parents and their children sounded a familiar protest: Budget cuts and a history of neglect are failing P.S. 137 students, not their teachers or Principal Melissa Rodriguez. That argument matches what two advocacy groups that are behind the early organizing efforts, the Alliance for Quality for Education and Coalition of Educational Justice, have been saying for years. Arguing that struggling schools would be better served by additional resources, the groups oppose all school closures. This fall, they expect to stage more protests at other schools on the DOE's "early engagement" list, according to Julian Vinocur of AQE.
September 23, 2011
Event aims to teach city to help schools instead of closing them
The city official in charge of closing schools and the union chief who has sued to keep schools open are both set to speak at a conference tomorrow about what can be done to help schools without shuttering them. The conference, "Effective Alternatives to School Closings: Transforming Struggling Schools in NYC," was organized by the Coalition for Educational Justice, the Alliance for Quality Education, and the Urban Youth Collaborative, all advocacy organizations. The event is meant to send a message to city policymakers that there are ways to reform failing schools without shutting them down, according to Ronnette Summers, a parent and CEJ member who helped organize it. The city Department of Education has closed 117 schools since 2002 and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said this week that he plans to close additional schools, particularly middle schools, that do not meet the department's standards. “Every year there’s more and more schools on the closing list and that seems to be the only reform strategy that the Department of Education uses to improve schools,” Summers said. “People in places where they know [closure] is not working felt that it was important to bring it to New York City to let them see that there’s other ways to improve schools.”
July 22, 2010
De Blasio: City fails to engage parents on school siting issues
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, speaking today on the steps of the Department of Education When two courts halted the city's plans to close 19 public schools this year, judges ruled that the city didn't follow state law that requires it to engage parents and report the impact that the changes will have on students' educations. Now Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is arguing that the city is making the same mistakes when it decides to place multiple schools in the same buildings. In a report released today, de Blasio charges that the city did not give parents enough information about how changes to space usage would affect instructional programs or about public hearings on the changes. "They're just doing the minimum amount of parent outreach so they can say they did," de Blasio said today. De Blasio's office and the Alliance for Quality Education surveyed nearly 875 parents at 34 schools, about half of those that the city proposed moving into new, shared space last year. (Roughly half of public schools citywide currently share building space with other schools.)
October 13, 2009
DOE likely to increase class size targets, official says
The city's Department of Education will likely lift the ceiling on class sizes this year, a department official said today. DOE chief operating officer Photeine Anagnostopoulos told the City Council education committee this morning that it was realistic to expect the city to "adjust" its class size targets. How dramatic the increases will be is still unclear, she said. "We have to go back and do some more homework," Anagnostopoulos said. Anagnostopoulous' comments came during a hearing on the department's use of state Contracts for Excellence funding. The funds are given to school districts that prove they will spend the funds in six key areas, one of which is class size reduction.
March 31, 2009
A call for Washington to thwart New York budget over ed dollars
On the eve of what looks like an imminent vote by legislators to approve a state budget, two education advocates are asking Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to consider halting the process immediately. Their concern: That the current budget does not give enough of the stimulus dollars to needy districts like New York City. The budget erases two years of planned increases in funds to New York City and other needy school districts, postponing them to the future. In a letter sent to Duncan yesterday, the groups, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity and the Alliance for Quality Education, also criticize the way the budget spreads out the state's pot of federal education stimulus dollars, a $2.5 billion total, between the state's school districts. The call for Duncan's intervention hinges on language in the stimulus law passed by Congress, which urges states to prioritize "equity and adequacy adjustments" passed in state laws when doling out their stimulus dollars to schools. The groups argue that New York's budget "appears to be in violation" of that language.
October 10, 2008
Weingarten, civic leaders join fight for fairness in budget cuts
UFT President Randi Weingarten at today's rally “We must even in tough times invest in our city, invest in our most vulnerable,…
October 10, 2008
For every education dollar, a different "Sex and the City" star
Cynthia Nixon (left) and Sarah Jessica Parker in “Sex and the City” On “Sex and the City,” they were BFFs, but when it…
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