Education news. In context.
Diversity & Equity
Politics & Policy
Teaching & Classroom
Student & School Performance
Leadership & Management
Charters & Choice
Find a Job
How to be a Chalkbeat source
Republish Our Stories
Code of Ethics
Our News Partners
Work with Us
January 21, 2015
Report: School support networks had little impact on student achievement
The city’s school-support networks have had little overall impact on student achievement, failing to overcome the powerful link between students’ backgrounds and their academic performance, according to a new report. The report comes as Chancellor Carmen Fariña is set to overhaul the school-support system.
January 16, 2015
Network staffers jumping ship ahead of Fariña’s system overhaul
The Bloomberg-era school-support networks are already shedding leaders and staffers ahead of an overhaul of the city’s school governance system.
March 14, 2013
UFT making governance a priority in Albany as new mayor nears
Members of the Campaign for Better Schools, a coalition of community groups, protested against mayoral control when it was up for renewal in 2009. With the city nine months from getting a new mayor, the United Federation of Teachers is gearing up to ask legislators to ensure that Mayor Bloomberg's brand of school governance cannot be repeated. The union wants legislation introduced that would significantly constrain the mayor's education authority. The proposal closely resembles the union's school governance platform from 2009, when the law giving control of the city's schools to the mayor was last revised. But it comes at a time when all of the leading mayoral candidates have pledged to move away from Bloomberg's imperious approach to school governance. Some pieces of the proposal, such as to give elected parent councils authority over decisions about where to locate schools, would be accomplished by legislation already pending in Albany. The rest — including stripping the majority vote on the Panel for Educational Policy from the mayor, would require a new bill. "Our lobbyists in Albany understand that this is now going to become a piece of legislation" in the current legislative session, UFT President Michael Mulgrew said in an interview.
September 15, 2009
The Panel for Educational Policy returns, its imprint the same
Members of the revived Panel for Educational Policy approved more than a dozen Department of Education contracts last night over the protests of colleagues who demanded that they be allowed to read the full documents. Reconvened for the first time since mayoral control's renewal, the panel now has the authority to approve contracts worth over one million dollars. It also reviews any contracts that were handed out without competitive bidding. But the biggest change on panel last night was not a result of those contracts, $250 million of which sailed to approval with a nearly unanimous vote, including contracts with Octagon and the Future Technology Associates, which have come under criticism. The main difference was that the person who has been the panel's single active dissident, Patrick Sullivan, the representative from Manhattan, yesterday was joined in his protests by Anna Santos of the Bronx. Both objected to voting on the contracts because, they said, none of the panel members had read them in full.
September 9, 2009
A new school year, but school control so far is largely unchanged
After all that hand-wringing about "checks and balances" and "mayoral accountability," the school year has arrived, and the way the system is run is completely unchanged. A revised law has been on the books for nearly a month, but the new system is still a mystery. Though the law calls for a new parent center, greater oversight of the Department of Education's contracts, and an independent auditor of the department's education data, all of these alterations are in their infancy, and none have been put in place. Won as part of a deal between a group of runaway senators and Mayor Bloomberg, the parent center is perhaps the most concrete change with the least clear future. It will be housed at CUNY and will cost the city and state $1.6 million, but education officials have yet to define its role or how it will differ from the DOE's current parent outreach, the Office for Family Engagement and Advocacy. Asked how far along the center's development is, a DOE spokesperson had no comment.
August 7, 2009
The fruitful alliance of Arne Duncan and Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch and Arne Duncan. (Images via Creative Commons) The New York Post patted its own back today, hard, for helping the state renew the mayor's control of the public schools. The surprising thing is that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joined in, thanking the newspaper, owned by the ambitious Rupert Murdoch, for its "leadership" and "thoughtfulness." New York City newspapers have a proud tradition of waging campaigns both on and off the editorial page, and then congratulating themselves when they hit their marks. But having a cabinet member for a sitting president join the cheering is more unusual. "I think that must be out of context, that Arne Duncan is giving the Post credit for mayoral control," the president of the principals' union, Ernest Logan, said when I called to ask his impression. The news series the Post ran extolling mayoral control Richard Colvin, who directs the Hechinger Institute for education journalism at Columbia University, said he found the whole news story baffling. "It reads like nothing I've ever seen. It reads like the worst kind of back-patting, self-congratulatory press release that has no perspective whatsoever," he said. Duncan's quote does illustrate a strange alliance that fought hard for mayoral control's renewal, Murdoch and the secretary of education among them.
July 17, 2009
Bloomberg fumes as mayoral control looks dead for summer
Listen to the segment in its entirety right here: 07-17-09-worrs Michael Barbaro reports on the choice words Mayor Bloomberg had for the state…
July 2, 2009
On hiring issues, DOE acts as if mayor's control never expired
It may be a new day and a new system, but at Tweed the plan for handling mayoral control's expiration is to act as though it never happened. When Department of Education officials began considering what the system would look like if mayoral control expired, they envisioned anarchy. (At least when talking to the press.) An internal memo released to reporters described a complete breakdown of the power structure, such that no one would have the legal authority to hire or fire teachers. That concern appears to have been cast aside. In the days following the law's expiration, the DOE has tried to make as few changes as possible to the school governance system. The issue at the heart of the confusion is the legal status of community superintendents.
July 1, 2009
Klein urges CECs to keep meeting, though they don't legally exist
A day after mayoral control's expiration, the Board of Education has been resurrected, but there are no signs of life for community school boards. Instead, the Department of Education is planning to continue the Community Education Councils — despite the fact that they no longer legally exist. These parent councils replaced school boards in 2003 and, with the law's expiration, have been legally stripped of their authority and responsibilities. Chancellor Joel Klein, who was voted back into office unanimously today by the new Board of Education, sent a memo to principals today outlining his plans for the CECs. He said he is urging the CECs to continue meeting "at least until September when we hope to have more clarity." "If the Councils decide not to continue their work, we've asked them to notify us immediately," Klein wrote. The decision to create of a Board of Education and vote in a chancellor while leaving the rest of the power structure as it was under mayoral control has divided the system into old and new. The school system's top half is in compliance with pre-2002 law, while its lower quarters legally don't exist.
everything old is new again
July 1, 2009
In 9-minute meeting, reborn Board of Ed endorses Klein and mayoral control, and is gone ’til September
This piece was reported by Philissa Cramer and Anna Phillips. The mayor’s top education aide is the new president of the Board of Education, Joel…
June 30, 2009
Your guide to the uncharted post-mayoral control landscape
It looks like Governor Paterson's 7 p.m. extraordinary session failed to renew mayoral control. Mayor Bloomberg has already put out a statement (read it in full below) condemning lawmakers for "being held hostage to partisan politics." We've published a guide to the uncharted territory of a post-mayoral control world. Here's a summary: 1. The borough presidents and the mayor convene a new city Board of Education. 2. The Board of Education members elect a president among themselves and begin receiving salaries. 3. The Board of Education selects a chancellor. 4. The Board figures out how to make money flow. 5. Community school boards form. 6. District superintendents are appointed. Please note this all ideally occurs before the start of summer school tomorrow morning. The mayor's full statement:
June 30, 2009
What happens when mayoral control expires: a step-by-step guide
Control of Tweed Courthouse, the Department of Education's headquarters, is in question as mayoral control expires. In the past week, we have interviewed dozens of…
June 30, 2009
Critics of 2002 law hopeful Senate will pass a compromise bill
As Governor Paterson and Mayor Bloomberg warn of "total chaos" and ominous "uncharted territory" if mayoral control expires tonight, another, less-frenzied possibility is emerging. The possibility hinges on the success of efforts underway right now to produce a compromise mayoral control bill in the Senate, according to a spokesman for the Campaign for Better Schools, which is pushing a compromise. A compromise would find a middle ground between the bill introduced by state Senator Frank Padavan, with the support of Mayor Bloomberg, and the one introduced by Senator John Sampson, the Democratic leader in the state Senate, who favors adding checks to the mayor's power. But it would still mean the June 30 deadline would pass without a new school governance law to replace it. That's because in order to become law, both houses of the legislature have to vote for the same bill. But a compromise bill would be different from the one the Assembly passed two weeks ago. "Our point is that schools will open up as usual tomorrow, even if mayoral control expires," said the spokesman, Shomwa Shamapande. "Let’s get the legislation right and make sure parents have a voice." Shamapande would not disclose details of the talks he said are underway, saying he does not want to jeopardize the effort. I asked him if he is confident the talks will produce a compromise. "We’re hopeful. I’m not going to go with confident," he said.
June 26, 2009
Critics say DOE is overselling chaos of mayoral control expiration
The Bloomberg administration is arguing that chaos and anarchy would result if state lawmakers let mayoral control expire on June 30. But the reality of the school system prior to 2002 pokes major holes in the officials' argument. Over the last several days, Mayor Bloomberg has likened the resurrection of the pre-2002 decentralized school system to the return of the Soviet Union and has forecast widespread chaos. In a memo released today, Department of Education officials outlined how the system will become gridlocked if the law expires and the current power structure breaks down. But the department's memo rests on assumptions that people familiar with the pre-2002 governance structure picked apart in interviews today. "I think a return to the Board of Education structure would be most unfortunate because of the tension, the politics, and the lack of coordination that the structure causes," said former chancellor Harold Levy. "But it's clear to me that the mechanics of having it function would be perfectly doable provided that the Board itself was reconstituted by the borough presidents." "They're crying wolf. They're catastrophizing," said former general counsel to the Board of Education, David Bloomfield.
June 23, 2009
Control No. 3 on today's "basically noncontroversial" agenda
This is the memo Governor Paterson sent out listing the order of business for today's special Senate session. He's called the items "basically non-controversial." Mayoral control is No. 3, and Paterson plans to introduce a copy of the bill the Assembly passed last week — the one that Mayor Bloomberg supports, without too many "tweaks." The session starts at 3 p.m., but of course, in order to vote, the senators have to know who's in charge. And they still don't. (Postscript: Here's why people don't like the Wicks Law.) The full agenda:
In your inbox.
Chalkbeat New York
How I Teach
Ready or Not
Rise & Shine Colorado
Rise & Shine Detroit
Rise & Shine Indiana
Rise & Shine Tennessee
The Starting Line