This morning at the New School, Council Speaker Christine Quinn gave a sweeping speech on reforming New York City’s education system, where she rolled out ideas like tablets replacing textbooks and online service programs for both students and parents. Creatively using the online shoe company Zappos.com as an example, Ms. Quinn also pressed the case for how more should be done within the city’s existing educational framework.
“Now, not everything we’re talking about here requires a new program, sometimes it’s just about recommitting to doing things better,” Ms. Quinn said, quickly pivoting to a her shoe-based explanation. “I don’t know … how many of you are familiar with the online shoe company Zappos? Now, for those of you know me, I know you’re shocked I figured out how to work shoes into the speech. But I will say, 50 percent off online and they’re good, okay?”
politics & policy
Yesterday evening, most of the candidates for next year’s mayoral election gathered for what may have been their first sit-down under the explicit assumption that each of them–including those who have yet to announce their campaigns–is actually running to replace Mayor Bloomberg in 2013. The discussion, hosted by GothamSchools.org and Manhattan Media, featured Republican Tom Allon, the C.E.O. of Manhattan Media, and four Democrats, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, 2009 nominee Bill Thompson, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Comptroller John Liu.
Though the bluster of the Chicago teacher strike calmed down last week, the tensions between teacher’s unions and prominent mayors have not ceased. For his part, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is siding with his Second City counterpart, Rahm Emanuel, who pushed for changes to Chicago’s public school system despite opposition from the local teacher’s unions. Mr. Bloomberg discussed the situation this morning at NBC’s third annual Education Nation Summit at the Bartos Forum of the New York Public Library.
“I think Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, was quite right to move towards a longer school day,” he said. “I also think Rahm was right in pushing towards evaluations as a reform that the Obama administration made as part of Race to the Top.”
Announcing that today is a day for all New Yorkers to smile, Mayor Michael Bloomberg held a press conference this afternoon highlighting significant improvements school test scores. The strongest gains came from chartered schools, and Mr. Bloomberg vowed to continue educational policies to expand their presence in the city.
“I’m happy to report that this year’s results are very positive, and they are not only a celebration for our students, but also the parents and educators that worked day in and day out to bring out the best in them,” he proclaimed.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gave a $100 million grant to the public school system in 2010. Now, according to CBS News, officials are considering using some of that cash on buyouts to get rid of poorly performing teachers.
It’s college graduation season, which means we get to enjoy the sight of politicians are donning robes to make speeches at commencement ceremonies across the country. In the past few days, President Barack Obama, his wife, Michelle, Mitt Romney and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have all suited up for commencement speeches. Read on to see our Read More
There’s a bona fide disagreement between Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg when it comes to teacher evaluations.
“He and I have had a discussion, and I think, basically, we sort of disagree,” Mr. Bloomberg said on John Gambling’s radio show this morning when asked about Mr. Cuomo’s indication that he only wants teacher evaluation data to be available to the parents, rather than the public at large.
The issue of co-locating charter and public schools in the same building is a contentious one, and at an education hearing discussing the topic yesterday afternoon, the first two Council Members to speak thoroughly attacked the proposals in their districts.
“Co-location has been nothing but chaos,” East New York Councilman Charles Barron declared while criticizing the poor graduation rate among black and Latino students. “If you go into some of the schools in our district, you will see that the battles around co-location are taking away from serious educational approaches to our children.”
Dial 'M' For Mayor
Howard Wolfson’s phone was ringing off the hook yesterday. As of this writing, the deputy mayor for government affairs has received at least 1,024 calls on his office line today from constituents asking him to preserve funding for child care and after-school in the Mayor’s Executive Budget. The telephone tempest was organized by Campaign for Children, a group dedicated to fighting proposed cuts to childcare and after-school programs run by the Administration for Children’s Services and the Department of Youth and Community Development that were included in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s preliminary budget plan.
Council Members Al Vann and Robert Jackson, who is chair of the Education Committee, introduced a resolution today asking the State Legislature to limit mayoral control of city schools. The resolution, which comes following growing controversy over recent school closings, calls on the legislature to give community councils approval over school closures and co-locations.
“The process for proposing and approving these significant changes to schools has disenfranchised communities and parents,” Mr. Vann said. “Providing a significant role for CECs in the co-location and school closure process will not only ensure that proposals are thoughtful and truly include input from communities and parents, but also will enhance community and parental involvement in our public schools.”