Mayor de Blasio’s Education Mandate

November 06

"My fellow New Yorkers, today you spoke loudly and clearly for a new direction for our city. The people of this city have chosen a progressive path, and tonight we set forth on it, together." - Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio at his victory party last night.

Mayor de Blasio’s Education Mandate:

A New Direction for Public Schools

Elected to End Bloomberg’s Failed Policies and Serve as Progressive Education Mayor!

A new day has come. 

Bill de Blasio’s victory is a huge win for public school parents, teachers, and students. All along, we knew this election would be an education election. Now, he has been given a clear mandate to end Bloomberg’s failed education policies, and pursue a new direction for our public schools.
De Blasio’s support grew as he turned the mayoral race into a referendum on Bloomberg’s failures, especially in education. Communities rallied around de Blasio as he championed major shifts in how our school system will be funded and operated.

He won the votes of countless families and households by standing up for a moratorium on school closings and co-locations, investing more resources into struggling schools, greater transparency and accountability for charter schools, and a tax hike on the wealthy to fund Pre-K and after-school programs.

Now, we must work with Mayor de Blasio to reduce the inequities in our school system that have grown under Bloomberg, and to ensure that the best quality education is available to all public school students in our city. 

The decisions that Mayor de Blasio makes on education will be watched all around the country. We look forward to helping Mayor de Blasio turn the public schools of New York City into a national model for what a successful public school system can be.

Zakiyah Ansari, spokesperson for New Yorkers for Great Public Schools



Top 16 Charter School Execs Salaries, Specialized HS Admissions, #GetUsToCollege and Obama Tours P-Tech

October 28

Quote of the Week: “Charter schools should be able to pay rent if they can pay outrageous, almost blasphemous, amounts of money,”
- Tesa Wilson, Community Education Council 14 Prez reacting to revelation that 16 top NYC charter school execs earn more than Chancellor Walcott

Top Charter School Execs Are Rent-Dodging Profiteers 
Outrageous! The Daily News reports that while charter schools enroll barely 1/20th of New York City students, theirexecutives make astronomically bigger salaries than Chancellor Walcott, who oversees a system of 1.1 million students. And still they refuse to pay fees for their use of public school space. De Blasio is right in calling for charters to be held to the same standards as traditional public schools and addressing the inequities between them. Starting with this list, many of these well-off charter schools should have to pay fees for their use of traditional public school facilities in a way that is fair and equitable. Our next mayor should require charter schools to report on finances, instruction, school policy and operations to increase their transparency and accountability within the overall school system.
REPORT: Overhaul Admissions to Specialized High Schools
Today, the Community Service Society and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund released a report, "The Meaning of Merit," that examines inequities in specialized high school admissions and proposes alternative measures that account for other factors such as grades, class rank, and performance on state standardized tests. In New York City, there are over 50,000 black and Latino 8th graders in public schools—yet just 9 black and 24 Latino students got into Stuyvesant last year, and Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech and the five newer specialized high schools have seen a sharp decrease in the enrollment of black and Latino students. Our next mayor must implement a fairer approach to specialized high school admissions and end disparities that have created a tale of two school systems.

Last week, the Urban Youth Collaborativewas joined by City Council's youngest new members to launch the 'Get Us to College' campaign. The goal is to get more high school students in college under the next mayoral administration and with a younger and more progressive City Council. After an abysmal 12% of Black & Latino students graduating college-ready under Bloomberg, UYC’s recommendations can help the next administration improve college readiness, especially among students in lower-income communities of color. Through early interventions, additional college counselors, summer bridge-to- college programs, student success centers and more time/training for teachers, UYC’s recommendations would ensure more high schools can reach the new DOE standards for college enrollment. >>Click to read UYC’s ‘Get Us to College’ white paper & recommendations

Obama Tours the #TaleOfTwoSchoolSystems    
Last Friday, President Obama toured and spoke at P-Tech, a Brooklyn public school operating in partnership with IBM that he touted during his 2013 State of the Union address. The tour came as an overwhelming number of New Yorkers are demanding a clean break from Bloomberg’s failed education agenda. P-Tech symbolizes the tale of two school systems under Bloomberg: a small group of new elite schools are able to succeed, while the vast majority of schools are resource-starved and neglected. We need an equitable and fair public education system where all students are prepared for college and careers like the students at P-Tech and have access to the best facilities, resources, and classes.


Statement on Obama's Visit to P-Tech & the #TaleOfTwoSchoolSystems

October 25

NYGPS Statement on P-Tech and the Tale of Two School Systems
NY, NY— In light of President Obama’s visit to P-Tech in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New Yorkers for Great Public Schools (NY-GPS) released the following statement:
“President Obama’s tour comes as New Yorkers are demanding a clean break from Bloomberg’s failed education agenda. P-Tech symbolizes the tale of two school systems under Bloomberg: a small group of new schools are able to succeed, while the vast majority of students attend schools that are resource-starved and neglected.
“New Yorkers who support Bill de Blasio want a new direction for education. It’s time to end the disparities in school resources and facilities that have grown under Bloomberg. We need an equitable and fair public education system where all students are prepared for college and careers like the students at P-Tech,” said Zakiyah Ansari, a public school parent leader and NYGPS spokeswoman.
# # #


NY-GPS to Protest Outside PEP

October 15

Media Contacts:
Julian Vinocur. 203.313.2479.

NY-GPS to Protest Outside PEP, Call on Mayoral Candidates to Reverse Bloomberg “Lame Duck” Co-locations/Closings, Blast Lhota’s Charter-centric Message


Hundreds of Outraged Parents, Students to March to Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) Meeting to Denounce Bloomberg’s “Lame-Duck” Co-locations

*4:45PM: Rally from PS 161, The Crown School (331 Crown St. BK, NY) to PEP, 5:30PM: Press Conference Outside PEP at (883 Classon Ave.BK, NY)*

WHO: New Yorkers for Great Public Schools (NY-GPS); Parents and students from affected schools, including: PS 161, Sojourner Truth and PSM811, South Shore Campus, Sound View Campus, University Neighborhood High School, IS 78,  IS 218, Seth Low Junior HS, PS 196, PS 171, PS 192.

WHAT: As the PEP holds the first of two meetings this month to push through 20+ controversial co-locations, parents and students of NY-GPS will rally against Bloomberg’s “lame-duck” proposals, calling on the mayoral candidates to reverse them, and criticizing Joe Lhota’s charter-centric message of doubling down on failed and divisive Bloomberg policies.
Participants will be tweeting during tonight's mayoral debate using #TaleOfTwoSchoolSystems and #ABC7Debate.

WHEN: Tuesday, October 15, 2013.

WHERE: 4:45PM: March From PS 161, The Crown School (331 Crown St. BK, NY) to PEP, 5:30PM: Press Conference Outside PEP at (883 Classon Ave. BK, NY)* 

# # #


March Fails to Change BdB's Position on Charters

October 08

NY-GPS Led the Movement for a Moratorium on Co-locations, Praises de Blasio for Reiterating Support for Moratorium and for Charging Charters Rent 

NYNY—The pro-charter march, organized with much fanfare and expense by charter lobbyists, failed to achieve its key goal of changing Bill de Blasio’s position on charter schools, New Yorkers for Great Public Schools (NY-GPS) said in statement today. 

“The failed march is a big victory for NYGPS and for all public schools, and a big defeat for the charter lobby and their #TaleofTwoSchoolSystemsOver the past year, NYGPS has led the movement for a moratorium on co-locations, and urged all mayoral candidates to join us. Bill de Blasio has been with us every step of the way, and today he reiterated his support for the moratorium on co-locations and for charging rent to well-off charter school operators operating in public school buildings,” said Zakiyah Ansari, a public school parent leader andNYGPS spokeswoman.

“Eva Moskowitz and Joe Lhota tried unsuccessfully to divide parents and students today, while Bill de Blasio continues to unite the city around the urgency of addressing long-ignored inequities in our public schools. We thank Bill de Blasio for remaining true to his progressive vision of a fair and equitable public school system that works for all students, and no longer gives special treatment and advantages to charter schools,” Ansari said.



A Memo on Eva Moskowitz's March and the #TaleofTwoSchoolSystems

October 08

A Memo on Eva Moskowitz's March and the #TaleofTwoSchoolSystems

To: Interested Parties

From: New Yorkers for Great Public Schools (NYGPS)

Re: Eva Moskowitz’s March for Separate and Unequal Education

Eva’s Stunt Would be a Fireable Offense for Anyone Else

Today’s march is a political maneuver by Success Charter Schools CEO Eva Moskowitz to perpetuate a dark tale of two school systems in which charter schools thrive and traditional public schools struggle to survive.

Her chosen candidate for mayor, Joe Lhota, has pledged to double the number of charter schools in the city. Moskowitz and Lhota are marching together in favor of separate and unequal education, while Bill de Blasio has said he would charge charter schools rent and support a moratorium on co-locations and closings to make the system fairer and more equitable.

Make no mistake: closing schools for half the day, as Moskowitz has done today, to “facilitate” the participation of parents, students, and staff in a political march would be a fireable offense for most public school principals.

But Moskowitz is not viewed by City Hall as an ordinary figure, so she’ll get away what would be a career-damaging stunt for anyone else. She’s been given special treatment by Mayor Bloomberg and the Department of Education, and she fears the favoritism and perks will end under de Blasio.

NYGPS and Bill de Blasio: Ending the Tale of Two School Systems

New Yorkers for Great Public Schools (NYGPS) is a coalition of thousands of parents, students, educators, and community organizations. We have called for a moratorium on divisive school closings and co-locations that have pit parent against parent, student against student and school against school.  A majority of City Council members and several mayoral candidates—including Bill de Blasio—have embraced our view.

We are committed to ending the tale of two school systems and giving all public schools a fair and equal chance to succeed. We are focused on strengthening all public schools and ensuring that charter schools don't receive special treatment or get away with neglecting the needs of the city's most vulnerable students. 

Charters must be held to the same standards as traditional public schools. Our next mayor should require charter schools to report on finances, instruction, school policy and operations to increase their transparency and accountability within the overall school system. Well-off charter schools should pay fees for their use of traditional public school facilities in a way that is fair and equitable.

Top 5 Reasons Why Eva’s #TaleofTwoSchoolSystems Must End:

1)   Charter Schools Serve Fewer than 5% of the City’s 1.1 Million Students

  • Charter schools enroll fewer than 5% of New York City's 1.1 million students and data shows high rates of attrition at some Success Academy schools for ELL students and students with disabilities.  Only 6% of students enrolled in charters are ELLs, compared with 14% citywide, and only 9% of charter students have IEPs compared to about 15% citywide. 
  • To continue to give charter schools special treatment would be to neglect the needs of 95% of the city’s 1.1 million students. It’s unfair and unacceptable.

2)   Charter Schools Often Receive More Funding Than Traditional Public Schools

3)     Eva Has Received Special Treatment from Bloomberg’s DOE

  • The relationship between Eva Moskowitz and the Dept. of Education has been extremely cozy with a level of access to resources and special favors unknown to most other administrators. The disturbing exchanges, made public by FOIL’ed email exchanges, show Eva’s special treatment. She told former Chancellor Joel Klein, "help on space much appreciated," referring to her divisive co-locations, and confided to him, “we will have market share and will have fundamentally changed the rules of the game."
  • Eva’s co-located charter schools create separate and unequal health standards in public school buildings, as many Success charter schools were bumped to the top of the line in the removal of toxic PCB’s while public school students were left exposed to hazardous chemicals. Many of the toxic treatment for her charter schools occurred without informing the Dept. of Education.

4)     Eva’s Multi-Dollar Network Refuses to Pay Rent for Public Space

  • Eva makes two times the salary as Chancellor Walcott and still refuses to pay rent in co-located schools. Most recent tax filings for Success Network show Eva earns at least $475,000, which is two times the salary of Chancellor Walcott.
  • While she refuses to pay rent for normal services and space costs, it was reported in 2012 her network received $28 million from foundations and corporations over the last 6 years, with a combined $23.5 million surplus, and two outside political consulting groups on the payroll.

5)   Eva Uses Zero Tolerance Discipline to Push Out High-Needs Students

  • Eva’s schools are notorious for excluding high needs students. The “charter school tapes,” unveiled by Daily News reporter Juan Gonzalez, highlight over a dozen cases where the charter school network has used “zero tolerance” discipline policies to suspend, push out, or demote high needs students who might lower scores on state exams.
  • Harlem Success 1, Eva’s oldest school, suspended 22% of its pupils at least once during the 2010-11 school year, while the average for regular elementary district schools was 3%.
  • Further, as reported by New York Magazine, her approach is militaristic: 

New students are initiated at “kindergarten boot camp,” where they get drilled for two weeks on how to behave in the “zero noise” corridors (straight lines, mouths shut, arms at one’s sides) and the art of active listening (legs crossed, hands folded, eyes tracking the speaker).



Eva Moskowitz and the ‘Tale of Two School Systems’

September 24

Media Contacts:
Julian Vinocur.
Dan Morris.
Stuart Marques.

NY-GPS Denounces Moskowitz's March for Separate and Unequal Education

NY, NY— Following the news that Eva Moskowitz, CEO of Success Charter Schools, will delay the opening of 22 of her schools on October 8th so that students, parents and staff can participate in a political march, New Yorkers for Great Public Schools (NY-GPS) released the following statement today:

“Eva has created a ‘Tale of Two School Systems’ under Mayor Bloomberg. Now she wants to march for the continuation of separate and unequal education. Eva is exploiting her privilege and preferential treatment to organize a march that no public school principal could ever get away with.

"Eva wants her charter schools to have the best resources and facilities, while the vast majority of public schools struggle and suffer. She has created unfair competition between charter schools and public schools, and enrolled only students she deems worthy, often casting aside those with high needs. Bill de Blasio will end this tale of two school systems, and ensure that all public schools have a fair and equal chance to the succeed,” said Zakiyah Ansari, a public school parent leader and and NYGPS spokeswoman.



Bill de Blasio Emerges as Democratic Pick for Mayor, Whole "Lhota" Failed Ed Policies, Diane Ravitch Calls for End to Bloomberg's "Reign of Error"

September 16

**Breaking: Bill Thompson Concedes to Bill de Blasio**

Quote of the week

“[Bill de Blasio] promised to yank support from charter schools, scale back high-stakes standardized testing and tax the wealthy to pay for universal preschool and more arts education. De Blasio’s education platform boiled down, in effect, to a pledge to dismantle the policies that Mayor Michael Bloomberg enacted over the past decade... exit polls showed that education was a key issue for voters, and de Blasio made it a central plank of his campaign.” POLITICO, "NYC Democrats Embrace Full Speed Reverse on Education Reforms" by Stephanie Simon

Bloomberg's Education Agenda = Rejected
Bill de Blasio's victory in the Democratic primary makes it clear: Bloomberg’s education policies were massively defeated. The top two finishers in the Democratic primary, de Blasio and Thompson, won 66% of the vote, signaling that the Bloomberg era is over. 
On the campaign trail, Bill de Blasio built support for his education vision by committing to several key progressive policy shifts, including: a moratorium on school closings and co-locations, investing more resources in struggling schools, fighting for more school funding in Albany, collaborating with parents, students, teachers and other education stakeholders, ending racial disparities in school suspensions and arrests, and holding charter schools accountable. We are ready for a new direction for public schools under a mayor who will unite the city to make sure every single child receives the best possible education.

Whole "Lhota" Failed Education Policies
The Democratic primary should serve as an indicator that there is no way Joe Lhota, the republican nominee, can run on a pro-Bloomberg education platform and win. As mayor, Lhota plans to expand Bloomberg's education reforms because apparently in the planet he lives on "the results were incredible." He has pledged to-- at minimum-- double the amount of charter schools, continue school closings and co-locations, greatly expand testing and institute teacher merit pay based on test scores. Lhota has no vision and no credibility when it comes to public education. What else could you expect from someone who embodies the Giuliani-Bloomberg educational failure of the last 20 years?  

Diane Ravitch Calls for End to Bloomberg's "Reign of Error" 
Diane Ravitch, renowned education historian, is set to widely release her new book, “Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools," on Sept. 17th.
 The book drops at a pivotal moment where Bloomberg's own 'Reign of Error,' which has lasted an entire generation of students and has resulted in only 12% of black and Latino students graduating ready for college-- is set to end. Ravitch said that the outcome of the Democratic primary suggests that the national reform movement, of which Bloomberg made New York City a poster-child, has "grown stale and unpopular." At a book release event hosted by New Yorkers for Great Public Schools, Ravitch said that Joe Lhota could never become mayor because "he represents the Bloomberg years and is supported by the Koch Bros." However, she said that the new mayor is "uniquely positioned to become the national spokesman for education."


The "Education Election"!

September 09

Ready for the "Education Election"?

It’s a pivotal time in New York City and the whole country is watching.
Today 1.1 million students head back to school and tomorrow hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers will head to the polls to choose a new mayor in the Democratic primary-- pulling the lever for a new direction for public education.
With two-thirds of New Yorkers believing schools are no better or worse under Mayor Bloomberg, this election will be a referendum on the failed policies of the last twelve years. 

It's time for sea change in our public schools... may the mayoral candidate best suited to make sure every student succeeds win!

Mayoral Race Focuses on Education
The Wall Street Journal says that ahead of Tuesday’s primary, the mayoral race is turning to education, with candidates continuing to stake out positions that break away from Bloomberg’s failed policies. In the Daily News, education historian Diane Ravitch lays out clear steps for the next mayor. Also, Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, says we have reached a “teachable moment” after a decade of Bloomberg’s test obsession and offers clear recommendations to de-emphasize testing, instead focusing on learning and improving accountability. 

Bloomberg Tries to Tie Hands of Next Mayor
More proposed co-locations of charter schools in public school buildings that would take effect next year under the next administration were met with animosity from both parents and mayoral candidates. Thompson and de Blasio both re-iterated their positions for a moratorium on school closings and co-locations. Thompson said “I’m not going to let him make those decisions today for me tomorrow-- I’m going to make my own decisions.” Bill de Blasio, also slammed Bloomberg, saying “Bloomberg’s proposals are a cynical effort to lock communities into permanent changes while ignoring community voices... I will rescind those proposals that have clear negative impacts on schools and communities, and retain those that are essential to the system as a whole.” Parents, students and teachers from across the city will be protesting these proposals at the Oct. 15 Panel for Educational Policy meeting... bidding good riddance to Mayor Bloomberg! Stay tuned.

Candidates Compete on Education, Call for Overhaul of School Discipline Policies, "Read-IN"

August 26

Quote of the Week: 
"There once was an emperor who never listened to his people. For 12 years he ruled with disregard, even though the people demanded over and over again, more funding, less testing, more arts, positive school discipline, smaller class sizes... and he would say, 'ignore them- I know better'" 
Watch video ---------> 
From Storytime with Natasha Capers: "The Evil Emperor!" 

Mayoral Candidates Compete on Education

In recent weeks, the candidates have been on the offensive. Thompson took aim at de Blasio’s proposal to provide full day Pre-K to every student by raising taxes on the wealthy, saying that its "a tax in search of an idea." De Blasio responded that Thompson "has not talked to public school parents in this city recently." ANew Yorker article argues the undeniable benefits of universal access to pre-K and says, “rather than dismissing the proposal as a gimmick, his opponents should explain how they plan to match it, or improve upon it.” Meanwhile, federal cuts will slash thousands of pre-K seats. The benefits of universal pre-K outweigh the thorny politics of paying for it—we call on all mayoral candidates to come up with a plan to make it happen.

Last week, Thompson rolled out an ad on education and has been playing up his track record as President of the Board of Education more than a decade ago. He cites the creation of a Chancellor’s district to improve struggling schools as a major success. We call on every mayoral candidate to have a plan for improving low-performing struggling schools!

Candidates Want Overhaul of Bloomberg-Era Discipline Policies
New Yorkers have become increasingly eager to close the dark chapter of Bloomberg's heavy-handed policies. Last week, Quinn announced a plan to overhaul student safety in schools
De Blasio had previously called out "excessive and discriminatory suspensions," proposing interventions and social/emotional supports before suspension, as well as calling for restorative justice practices. Thompson had already proposed giving authority to principals instead of the NYPD to make decisions on school discipline matters. Liu has called for similar changes, saying school discipline policies combined with stop & frisk have "disproportionately targeted students of color." Quinn said school discipline should be handled by educators and that safety agents need far more training to better understand students. Overall, the pendulum has swung away from Bloomberg's school discipline policies, that have led to huge racial disparities in suspensions and arrests, towards policies like restorative justice, that will keep our students safe in the streets and in their schools. 


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