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August 6, 2018
After sparing Harlem’s storied Wadleigh middle school from closure, Richard Carranza shakes up its leadership
“We didn’t think expectations were set high enough, and without expectations being set, it was mediocrity.”
July 25, 2018
After a battle to integrate middle schools, parents turn their attention to Harlem
Along a stretch of brick wall at P.S. 180 Hugo Newman, a massive mural proclaims “Young, gifted, and Harlem.” The sunny…
How I Lead
July 16, 2018
Meditation and mindfulness: How a Harlem principal solves conflict in her community
A Harlem principal describes the practices her community uses to improve self awareness and mindfulness.
September 15, 2017
In Harlem, these elders devote their golden years to improving local schools
The Council’s goal is nothing short of “confronting and overcoming racism and classism."
May 11, 2017
Mayor de Blasio: I can’t ‘wipe away 400 years of American history’ in diversifying schools
After promising a “bigger vision” for creating more diverse schools, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday seemed to temper expectations for the city’s soon-to-be-released plan…
April 6, 2017
‘Harlem diaspora’ sends local children to 176 different public schools, report finds
Harlem elementary schools are “hemorrhaging” students, according to a new report by the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School.
December 8, 2016
Harlem parents want more time to weigh in on school rezoning and merger
For parents, elected officials and advocates, the plan in Harlem has grown to symbolize larger issues: school segregation and the impact of charter schools.
October 19, 2016
Drowned out of Upper West Side rezoning battle, desegregation advocates fight for a broader plan
"We don’t want it to be taken off the table. We don’t want rezoning to be the end result.”
Building a platform
July 1, 2016
Espaillat is poised to take over Rangel’s House seat. Here’s what he’s promising on education
“Every parent who wants to send their child to a dual language program should have that option," Espaillat said.
April 22, 2014
Clinging to the idea of choice, some students leave their best option behind
A Harlem high school teacher argues that the city's policy of school choice creates the illusion that everything is temporary, encouraging some students to transfer when they would be better off staying put.
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."
February 20, 2013
Study: Students gain by attending city charter schools, usually
A chart from the latest CREDO study about city charter schools shows that students at many charter schools make outsized gains in math. But in reading, charter school students tend fall behind more often, researchers found. City students benefit from attending city charter schools, according to a new study — but the advantages are not universal. The study, by Stanford University's Center for Research on Education Outcomes, which analyzes charter school performance, concluded that city charter school students, on average, learn five more months of math each year than similar students in neighboring schools. In Harlem, where the charter school enrollment share is highest, the math gain was seven months, the researchers found. And in reading, charter school students averaged one month's additional learning each year, the researchers found. All of the gains were measured by students' state test scores. Yet within the sector, some schools did far better than the average — and others far worse. The study found that nearly two thirds of charter schools moved their students forward in math significantly farther than other schools in the area. But a full quarter of charter schools moved their students forward significantly less in reading.
September 21, 2012
Harlem leaders champion new school run by Teachers College
Principal Worrell-Breeden looked on as first graders from the Teachers College Community School sang "What a Wonderful World" and recited the song in sign language. West Harlem community leaders heralded the coming of the year-old Teachers College Community School yesterday as a new district school option for a neighborhood packed with charter schools. The elementary school, which opened in East Harlem last year and moved to Manhattanville this fall, is managed by Columbia University's school of education. In recent years, many new schools have come to West Harlem in the form of high-profile charter school networks that have brought both educational opportunities and controversy to the neighborhood. Like those schools, the fledgling elementary school admits students randomly through a lottery process, and it relies on a mix of public and private funding to operate. But it also has the widespread support of political leaders who have served as some of the most vocal critics of the city's charter school policies, among them State Assemblyman Keith Wright. Wright has proposed legislation to give parent councils veto power over city plans to require district and charter schools to share space. A range of Harlem community leaders, including City Councilman Robert Jackson and Donald Notice, president of the West Harlem Development Corporation, turned out to the school's opening ceremony yesterday to laud the effort Columbia has made to support the school and help renovate its new, permanent home on Manhattanville's Morningside Avenue.
June 22, 2012
Harlem impresario enters fraught charter school political scene
Lopez-Pierre, center, and his family, in a photo sent out in the new PAC's introductory emails. A Harlem realtor known for founding a controversial social club and playing a role in a high-profile loan dispute is now entering the world of charter school politics. Thomas Lopez-Pierre, a charter school parent, thinks Harlem's political leaders don't sufficiently support the charter schools that dot their districts. So he has formed a political action committee to help finance candidates who would. The committee, called the Harlem Charter School Parents PAC, made its debut this week in a letter to charter school advocates outlining its political goals: to raise $250,000 over the next year to support candidates in Harlem's three 2012 City Council races and local Democratic Party district leader races. The group also said it would find volunteers to help those candidates get out the vote. Lopez-Pierre, whose son is finishing first grade at Harlem's New York French American Charter School, said he and two other parents aim to create a new unified voice for parents in a community that has served as the front line of the political wars over charter school expansion. (Lopez-Pierre declined to name the other parents but said their children attend Harlem Children's Zone's Promise Academy and one of the Harlem Success Academy charter schools.) "Elected officials only respond to two things: votes and money. Our goal is to elect officials that support charter schools," he said. "My son is in first grade, and he's going to be in a charter school for at least 10 years. This is not about an election cycle. It's about transforming Harlem and expanding school choice."
March 7, 2012
Eight months in, Bloomberg calls charter takeover a success
Seth Andrew, Democracy Prep's founder and superintendent, speaks at a fundraiser for Harlem Prep, a new school run by his network. Who's more important to New York City than Jeremy Lin, the city's sudden basketball sensation? According to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one answer is charter school operator Seth Andrew, who runs the Democracy Prep network of schools. Bloomberg made the comparison at an Upper East Side fundraiser for Andrew's latest project: turning around one of the city's worst elementary schools, Harlem Day Charter School, which his network adopted last year in the state's first—and so far only—charter school takeover. In 2011, Harlem Day was arguably the worst elementary school in the city, Bloomberg and Andrew told their audience as servers floated around the darkened, East 60th Street restaurant offering dumplings and sushi rolls. Last spring, the State University of New York charter school authorizer granted Democracy Prep permission to take over Harlem Day, now called Harlem Prep. The Wall Street Journal reported last June that 40 percent of students were held back, including two-thirds of fifth-graders. Teachers at the benefit put that number even higher, with some saying they thought as many as 70 percent of students had repeated a grade after Democracy Prep took over.
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