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families for excellent schools
End of the line
February 9, 2018
Before Families for Excellent Schools’ sudden implosion, waning influence and a series of stumbles
Families for Excellent Schools came crashing down in recent days. But the once-powerful group had already been losing influence.
February 6, 2018
Charter advocates descend on Albany but could see fewer battles in 2018
In some ways, charters are in a secure space because the sector isn’t fighting potentially harmful legislation.
February 5, 2018
Families for Excellent Schools says it will close, altering the education debate in New York City
The group's demise would leave New York City’s charter sector without its most aggressive advocates. Critics have already responded triumphantly — and with caution.
January 31, 2018
Families for Excellent Schools CEO ousted after investigation into ‘inappropriate behavior’
Families for Excellent Schools officials did not answer questions Wednesday about the nature of the inappropriate behavior.
August 7, 2017
Charter sector to de Blasio: If you want to play nice, prove it by giving us space
Members of the charter school sector say they are watching space requests to see if the mayor plans to ease tension between his administration and charter schools.
August 1, 2017
Mayor de Blasio just said New York City’s schools are safer than ever. Is he right?
One of his staunchest critics says just the opposite.
May 11, 2017
New York City set to expand ‘community schools’ program to include 215 schools
"This is a model that is a game-changer."
January 19, 2017
New York City’s latest pre-K quality data includes success stories — and room for improvement
A second round of pre-K data that shows there is room for improvement -- but also that some centers seem to have benefitted from an emphasis on building quality.
December 15, 2016
Chronic absenteeism is lower in New York City charter schools than in district schools, report finds
“I think attendance is a measure of school culture and school quality more than anything else."
October 20, 2016
From outrage to indifference, charter school educators respond to the NAACP’s call to limit their schools
Charter school leaders and teachers felt it important to facilitate either formal or informal conversations about the NAACP’s resolution to curb charter school growth.
rallying the troops
September 28, 2016
Charter school rally focuses on the sector’s growth, largely sidesteps recent dustup with the mayor
The pro-charter group Families for Excellent Schools said over 25,000 people attended.
August 19, 2016
As war over charter schools rages on, what power does the city actually have?
Mayor Bill de Blasio inflamed his relationship with charter schools last week, but some argue there is little he can practically do to hamper charter school growth.
July 12, 2016
Leading de Blasio critics find a new fault: how New York City rates schools for students with disabilities
The city's new school quality reports leave out important student achievement data, according to the pro-charter group Families for Excellent Schools.
June 21, 2016
Charter advocacy group pushes city for more school space
Based on a new analysis of 2014 building utilization data, Families for Excellent Schools finds that 67 school buildings have space for more than 500 students.
the safety dance
March 18, 2016
Spike in weapons seized in schools, pro-charter group reports
A pro-charter advocacy group is continuing to criticize de Blasio's school safety record by revealing data Friday that shows more weapons were confiscated in schools.
February 18, 2016
As de Blasio pushes fewer suspensions, advocacy group attacks school safety record
An advocacy group known for its opposition to de Blasio’s education policies says the mayor misled the public about a drop in violence in New York City schools.
January 21, 2016
New York’s latest charter-school funding debate, explained
The bulk of public funding for charter schools has been held nearly constant for five years. Advocates hope that will change this year.
October 21, 2015
This time, teachers take the political stand in charter school battle
Two weeks after a massive charter school rally attended by students and parents across the city, thousands of teachers took to Foley Square to send a similar message.
October 7, 2015
De Blasio takes heat from politicians, parents at charter school rally
On the steps of City Hall following Wednesday’s charter school rally, the Bronx borough president had strong words for Mayor Bill de Blasio.
September 29, 2015
After weather postpones education rally, debate on the ground likely to continue
The rally will now take place Oct. 7, a delay that could extend a recent spate of advocacy efforts from the city’s teachers union and other opponents.
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.
war of words
November 25, 2014
Charter school advocates ratchet up pressure on Fariña to address enrollment claims
Dozens of parents with Families for Excellent Schools gathered at City Hall on Tuesday, calling for an apology from Chancellor Carmen Fariña for her claim that charter schools violated admissions requirements by recruiting top-scoring students using “postcards.”
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.
September 29, 2014
De Blasio stays mum on plans for struggling schools
Mayor de Blasio said he'd have more specifics about how to deal with the city's worst-performing schools in "the next few weeks," echoing the timeline he offered a month earlier, when he promised a "coherent, energetic, purposeful effort to save schools."
The co-location situation
February 25, 2014
Moskowitz and charter allies prepare to take their public fight statewide
Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz expects the city to roll back some of the 10 approved schools that her network is planning to open next year. And now she's preparing for a fight.
October 31, 2013
Latest PEP vote leaves schools looking to next mayor for relief
Heather Fiorica, the president of Community Education Council 21, holds a sign opposing new co-locations at Wednesday's PEP meeting. Exiled arts programs. Cramped classrooms. Distressed students. Families and faculty predicted grim futures for the soon-to-be space-sharing schools during the Panel for Educational Policy meeting Wednesday evening, before the mainly mayor-appointed panel approved 20 new co-locations, just two weeks after it authorized 17 others. The PEP-backed proposals Wednesday included 11 new district schools and four new charter schools that will open next year, along with several other schools that will expand. While many at the meeting accused the Bloomberg administration of rushing to enact school changes that will preserve its policies after its tenure ends this year, others turned their attention to the next mayor – widely expected to be Bill de Blasio – imploring him to reverse course. “He’s got to overturn what’s happening here,” said Noah Gotbaum, vice president of Community Education Council 3 in Manhattan. “Otherwise, Bloomberg will be getting a fourth term.”
October 15, 2013
Dueling rallies set as charter schools emerge as campaign issue
Dueling rallies from rival advocacy groups and a new ad from Republican Joe Lhota are once again making charter schools a major issue in the city's mayoral race. Families for Excellent Schools, which organizes parents at charter schools, has called a press conference before tonight's mayoral debate between Lhota and Democrat Bill de Blasio. Organizers said their message will reiterate a call for the next mayor to open 100 new charter schools in his first four years in office. Around the same time in Brooklyn, New Yorkers for Great Public Schools, a coalition formed to oppose the Bloomberg administration's education policies during the campaign, will rally outside the Panel for Educational Policy meeting. The panel is expected to approve more than a dozen proposals to expand or open charter schools inside district buildings in 2014 and beyond, long after Mayor Bloomberg has exited office, and the group's press advisory says the protest will target "Bloomberg's 'lame-duck' proposals" and "Lhota’s charter-centric message of doubling down on failed and divisive Bloomberg policies." The two events come a day after Lhota released a new campaign ad highlighting the stark contrast between his charter school stances and Democrat Bill de Blasio's.
September 24, 2013
Achievement First parents are among network's new teachers
Louise Eason, who has a son at Achievement First Bushwick Middle School, was just hired as a teacher at Achievement First Apollo this year. Two new teachers at Achievement First's schools have a line on their resumes that makes them stand out from their colleagues: parent. Charter schools tend to have younger teachers who do not yet have families, and often their teachers come from outside the communities where the schools are located. Both features have fueled criticism of charter schools as parachuting do-gooders into needy neighborhoods until they move on to other, more prestigious positions. Achievement First's new hires — a classroom teacher at one Achievement First elementary school and a teacher-in-training at another one — represent a tiny counterweight to those trends. The network has had its own parents work in its Connecticut schools, but the new hires are a first for New York City. Having parents as teachers offers a unique referendum on school quality, according to Guerschmide Saint-Ange, who oversees parent engagement across the network.
June 12, 2013
Liu stands his ground, Weiner impresses in charter-led forum
Former congressman and mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner poses with a parent and student from Girls Prep Bronx at a forum led by charter school parents Tuesday night. Many parents gave Weiner a favorable review. Some mayoral candidates who have been critical of charter schools avoided uncomfortable questions by skipping a forum hosted by charter school advocates Tuesday night. But Comptroller John Liu not only showed up but said he would issue a potentially crippling blow to the charter sector if he becomes mayor. Liu said he would charge rent to charter schools that occupy space in city buildings, reversing a Bloomberg administration policy of awarding unused space in school buildings to charter schools that want to operate there. The policy has allowed the city's charter sector to flourish. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and former congressman Anthony Weiner — who emerged as the audience's clear favorites — both said they would not consider charging rent, something that some critics of charter schools want the next mayor to do. "The model of charter schools is in part based on not paying rent," Quinn said. "So if you say you're going to pay rent, then you're not going to have charters."
June 11, 2013
Thompson and de Blasio back out of FES forum at last minute
A revised advisory about the Families for Excellent Schools forum shows a blank where Bill Thompson's name used to be on the list of participating mayoral candidates. Bill de Blasio also backed out of attending. When parents from charter schools around the city grill mayoral candidates about their education views this evening, two expected candidates won't be there. The campaign of Bill Thompson, the former comptroller, told Families for Excellent Schools today that he would not be able to make the forum, which is one of the first times that charter school advocates will get a chance to ask questions of the candidates. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio also backed out of attending the forum at the last minute. FES, a group that is trying to mobilize the parents it works with to play a role in the mayoral election, had previously announced that Thompson and de Blasio had confirmed their attendance. The last-minute lineup changes come as candidates gear up for a conversation that could be uncomfortable for those who, like Thompson and de Blasio, have declared opposition new charter schools and to school co-locations, a controversial space-sharing arrangement that has allowed charter schools to flourish under the Bloomberg administration.
April 23, 2013
Parents with Families for Excellent Schools start to get political
Parents involved with Families for Excellent Schools sit in a small group discussion to talk about the answer to a question posed by the group facilitator: "What are the characteristics of a quality education?" Regina Dowdell stepped up to the microphone and made an honest admission to the room full of fellow parents. "I personally didn't know exactly what the mayor did," said Dowdell, whose daughter attends Girls Preparatory Bronx Charter School. "I think that's an important focus today."
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