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October 8, 2015
Success Academy chief Eva Moskowitz says she won’t run for mayor — this time
The much-anticipated announcement brings speculation about her role in the 2017 mayor’s race to an early end, but leaves the door open for a later run.
September 1, 2015
Nashville mayoral hopefuls offer their visions for the city’s schools
Facing a runoff election on Sept. 10, candidates Megan Barry and David Fox Runoff sound off on charters, school desegregation, state funding and more.
July 24, 2013
Bloomberg critics release education roadmap for next mayor
A coalition of education advocates who have opposed Mayor Bloomberg's education policies have released their suggestions for the next mayor. The report, from the A+NYC coalition, offers a preview of priorities that might reign should one of Bloomberg's education critics take his place at City Hall: more arts and physical education, investing in community schools, shifting discipline authority from the New York Police Department officers in schools to the principals, and an overhaul of the city's accountability system for schools to place less emphasis on test scores. But while leading Democratic mayoral candidates, including Christine Quinn, John Liu, Bill de Blasio and Bill Thompson, helped launch the week-long bus tour in March that led to the report, this morning, the recommendations received a more tepid response. When this post went to press, Quinn and de Blasio had yet to release statements. Even Thompson, the candidate who has received the endorsement of Bloomberg's largest education critic, the teachers union, didn't send a statement until this afternoon. (The statement did, however, vow to "implement these ideas.") The relatively slow responses might stem from the fact that, with the United Federation of Teachers' endorsement already made, to Thompson, the candidates are focusing less attention on education.
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."
May 29, 2013
Mayoral candidate Sal Albanese is his own education advisor
GothamSchools is profiling the education policy advisors to each mayoral candidate. When asked who advises Sal Albanese's mayoral campaign on education policy matters, communications director Todd Brogan pointed to the candidate himself. An Italian immigrant who moved to Brooklyn at the age of eight, Albanese has been a student, teacher, and policy maker in the city's schools, giving him a perspective that is unique among the crowded field of Democratic mayoral candidates.
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.
May 23, 2013
A top UFT endorsement criterion: Whether a candidate can win
After hearing candidates pitch ideas to teachers at union-run forums across the city over the past few weeks, members apparently heard enough. They voted to scratch plans to open up Wednesday's union-wide Delegate Assembly meeting to comments. The meeting instead adjourned after UFT political director Paul Egan explained what laid ahead in the final stretch as the union prepared to make an endorsement. The workload includes a lot more vetting, with viability as a crucial quality, Egan explained, according to several people who attended last night's meeting at 52 Broadway. Over the next four weeks, Egan said his team of political consultants, which includes the firm Red Horse Strategies, will analyze fundraising and expenditures, who's advising and consulting for the candidates, and lots of poll data. There's one more task, too. The union said it plans to meet with and interview Anthony Weiner, who formally announced his candidacy on Wednesday. As usual, the Delegate Assembly meeting was closed to the press. But afterward, many delegates were eager to talk about their opportunity to play a role in the outcome of a monumental election.
May 15, 2013
Promising "an education city," Thompson sets schools agenda
Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson presented his education policy platform in a speech Wednesday at NYU. When former comptroller Bill Thompson took the stage at the United Federation of Teachers conference on Saturday, he joined fellow mayoral candidates in criticizing Mayor Bloomberg's education record. But Thompson, the former president of the city's Board of Education who ran against Bloomberg is 2009, took a more measured approach when putting together his formal education platform. He outlined the platform today in a policy speech at New York University, becoming the first candidate to set out a complete education agenda. Thompson's platform — which skimmed over some important issues — reflects ample criticism of Bloomberg administration education policies. He reiterated a commitment to avoid school closures, promised to "lead with teachers" rather than threaten them, vowed to involve parents in policy making, and pledged to reduce schools' emphasis on testing. But it also signals that Thompson would expand, not end, many of Bloomberg's school policies.
May 2, 2013
Quinn, GOP skipping parent-focused Brooklyn education forum
It's been a while since City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the rest of the mayoral hopefuls have focused on education. In the two months since they last appeared at a schools forum, they've debated everything from public safety to technology to community gardens. So tonight's forum at P.S. 29 in Cobble Hill seemed to be an important chance for Quinn and her rivals to refresh the public's memory about their ideas on education, which parents say will be a crucial issue for them when they cast their ballots later this year. But of the four Democratic candidates who plans to attend, Quinn isn't one of them. The race's five non-Democratic candidates, including four Republicans, also declined invitations to attend. A spokesman said Quinn has a scheduling conflict, an inevitability at a time when the candidates are making public appearances and private glad-handing with breakneck speed.
April 25, 2013
Liu audit questions department's ability to tell networks' value
An audit by Comptroller John Liu into one of the Department of Education's school support networks found that it was doing its job — but concluded that the department can't know just how much networks help schools in them. Since 2007, the department has required principals to select support networks based on their philosophies and services, rather than grouping schools by geography. The shift means that support organizations, some run by the department and some by external nonprofits, essentially compete with each other for contracts to offer schools help with teacher training and administrative tasks, in a controversial arrangement that could potentially end when the Bloomberg administration does. Scrutinizing just one of the city's 55 networks, Children's First Network 406, Liu's office found that evidence that it was providing solid support for its schools. Principals in the network said they were satisfied with it, according to the report, released today. But Liu concluded that the department cannot show how much networks cause schools to thrive or struggle. The report recommends that the department solicit more feedback on network performance and also develop "quantifiable criteria and standards" to isolate the impact of the network on a school's performance.
April 22, 2013
De Blasio takes on city's treatment of Moskowitz charter schools
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio's campaign against charter school operator Eva Moskowitz continued today when the mayoral candidate called for an independent investigation into the way the city treats Moskowitz's Success Academy schools. Citing a column by Juan Gonzalez in Friday's New York Daily News, de Blasio said Cobble Hill Success Academy had toxin-ridden light fixtures removed before other schools in its Brooklyn public school building. (The city is in the midst of a lumbering process to rid hundreds of school buildings of lights that contain PCBs.) De Blasio brought students and parents to the steps of the Department of Education's headquarters on Chambers Street today to call for an investigation into what he said was preferential treatment by the department of the charter network. He got an assist from the United Federation of Teachers, who wrote to city schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott today to ask for the investigation.
March 13, 2013
Mayoral candidates help launch citywide school policy bus tour
Democratic mayoral candidates helped kick off a citywide bus tour to help shape a post-Bloomberg education agenda. A coalition hoping to rid the city of Mayor Bloomberg's favored education policies launched an ambitious voter registration drive today — with the help of the four Democrats vying to become the next mayor. The splashy tour — which will make more than two dozen stops across all five boroughs in a week's time — kicked off this morning near City Hall. Standing against the backdrop of a teal-painted school bus that has been retrofitted on the inside to display policy information, the candidates delivered short stump speeches that stuck closely to the positions they have set out before. The coalition, A+NYC, is made up of more than 45 community groups, many of which are also members of an anti-Bloomberg coalition, New Yorkers for Great Public Schools, that is funded by labor unions.
January 31, 2013
Fault lines emerge in mayoral hopefuls' consensus on schools
Mayoral candidates mingle after discussing education at an event Wednesday hosted by the principals union. If education policy discussions among mayoral candidates were a song, the second verse would be the same as the first. With two recent entrants to the Republican race absent, the lineup for Wednesday evening's discussion, hosted by the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, was identical to the first education debate held in November, and the conversation was similar, too. The four Democratic candidates — Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John Liu, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and former comptroller Bill Thompson — and the single Republican, Manhattan Media publisher Tom Allon, rehashed now-familiar positions on school closures (most want a moratorium), educator as chancellor (almost all are committed to that), and community schools (after a visit to Cincinnati, they are all on board with the model). But CSA President Ernest Logan told GothamSchools that he thought sharper distinctions would emerge in the coming months, particularly about which elements of the Bloomberg administration's school policies each candidate would maintain. "I think [the candidates] are trying to come into their own," he said. "If you dig down deep, I think you can find some disagreement."
January 7, 2013
As NRA analogy draws ire, teacher evaluations take backseat
Union officials, elected officials, and parent advocates gathered on the steps of City Hall to decry Mayor Bloomberg's comments comparing the union to the NRA. Elected officials, parent advocates, and three of the four Democratic candidates for mayor lined up today to call on Mayor Bloomberg to apologize for suggesting that the teachers union is like the National Rifle Association. On his radio show last Friday, Bloomberg characterized both the United Federation of Teachers and the NRA as groups "where the membership, if you do the polling, doesn’t agree with the leadership." Bloomberg had made the indirect comparison before. But coming weeks after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., and with tensions already running high with the UFT over teacher evaluations, the analogy has drawn a swift backlash from union supporters. At a press conference on the steps of City Hall this afternoon, several City Council members and other union supporters called on the mayor to "man up" and apologize. Among the speakers were Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John Liu, and former comptroller Bill Thompson — mayoral candidates who are courting the union's endorsement.
November 29, 2012
Mayoral hopefuls stump before anti-Bloomberg education group
Comptroller John Liu was one of four likely mayoral candidates to speak at an event in Harlem hosted by a group that opposes the Bloomberg administration's school policies. In a series of short stump speeches last night to a group fiercely opposed Mayor Bloomberg, four Democratic mayoral contenders delivered abbreviated versions of their visions for the future of education in New York City. Given just five minutes to speak, the candidates didn't have much time to get into specifics — something that, 10 months before the primary election, most are being careful about doing. If anything, the night was an opportunity to make a good first impression for New Yorkers for Great Public Schools, the group formed by union and progressive community leaders to oppose the Bloomberg administration's schools policies in the mayoral election. Interspersed among the candidates’ speeches, parents and religious leaders criticized the co-locations, budget cuts, and school closures that have taken place under Mayor Bloomberg. The appearance was also an important one to make for candidates who hope their path to victory includes a coveted endorsement from the teachers union.
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