Archive for the ‘Education Funding’ Category
A million dollar opportunity is a terrible thing to waste.
This year’s deadline, Jan. 31, is fast approaching for the UFT’s annual awarding of $1 million in total scholarships to academically excellent and financially eligible New York City public high school seniors through the Albert Shanker College Scholarship Fund.
To receive a $5,000 scholarship from the fund, those selected must be accepted in a full-time, matriculated, degree-granting program at an accredited college or university.
Visit the Scholarship Fund Web page for more information.
In the heat of the Albany battle over the extension of the cap on the number of charter schools in New York State, the core agenda of the New York Charter School Association [NYCSA] has been stripped of all pretense. Faced with a set of reform proposals put forward by the UFT and elected officials to fix the broken charter school funding formula, NYCSA did not join in calls for reducing the funding lag, for having funding follow high needs students living in poverty, English Language Learners and Special Education students and for moving the cost of TRS pensions off the books of charter schools. Fair funding for charter schools is simply not important to the right-wing ideologues at NYCSA.
No, rather than take on such vital issues for charter schools, NYCSA has been waging an all-out campaign on behalf of for profit charter management firms Victory Schools and National Heritage Academies and on behalf of NYC D0E Chancellor Joel Klein. Legislation proposed by State Senate leader John Sampson and State Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver would combine an increase on the cap with a prohibition of for profit involvement in charter schools and limits on the NYC DoE policy of capriciously siting charter schools in district buildings to the detriment of the public schools already using the space. NYCSA is so opposed to these measures that it has its publicists at the New York Post call for the defeat of a bill which would extend the charter cap to 400 schools.
Victory Schools is the outfit that is sucking up 25¢ of every public funding dollar that should go to the students of Merrick Academy. In an article published in this past Sunday’s Daily News, New Yorkers learned of the involvement of Victory in a scheme which had Victory owner Steven Klinsky sending thousands of campaign dollars to State Senator Malcolm Smith; in turn, Smith directed over $100,000 of public dollars to a Victory School which had paid over three-quarters of a million dollars in management fees to Victory. National Heritage Academies is the corporation which challenged the right of its New York employees to organize into a union and bargain collectively. These are the “good” corporate citizens for whom NYCSA is going to the wall.
Truth be told, the presence of for profit corporations and money from right-wing corporations such as Wal-Mart and hedge-fund operators such as Richard Gilder and Carl Icahn has had a corrupting influence on New York charter schools. Last Friday, the Albany Times-Union published an article on how the leading voice in the anti-union jeremiad on the editorial pages of the New York Post and New York Daily News, Thomas Carroll of Brighter Choice Charter Schools, had received tens of millions of dollars from these sources. With that sort of support, no wonder that he has made the promotion of their agenda into a full-time job.
It’s this simple. New York Charter School Association: for profit, not for schools.
A sharp reader points out that Jeff Clark, the President and CEO National Heritage Academies, is on NYCSA’s Board of Trustees, and that Bill Phillips, current NYCSA President, worked for two for-profits, Beacon Education Management and SABIS Educational Systems, prior to leading NYCSA.
With growing appeals for changes in New York’s charter school law, prominent elected officials joined the United Federation of Teachers today in a call for major reforms which would ensure that charter schools become public schools in the fullest meaning of the term — not private schools supported with public funds.
State Senator John Sampson, leader of the Senate’s majority Democratic Conference, and New York City Comptroller John Liu joined UFT President Michael Mulgrew in this call. State Senators Eric Schneiderman and Toby Stavisky and State Assembly members Michael Benedetto, Alan Maisel, Jose Peralta, Adam Clayton Powell, IV and Linda Rosenthal were present and participating in the call.
Among the proposed changes are: More »
“Show me the money!” “Knowledge is power!”
Both these expressions were worn-out by overuse or misapplication until a UFT arbitration victory last spring fused them with a revived and original relevance. That victory mandates that the UFT chapter committee, including, of course the chapter leader of every school, be provided a view of its Galaxy Table of Organization.
The Consent Award stipulates that this access to their schools’ budget shall be furnished them before the end of each school year and again prior to the re-opening of school in September. The award further directs that the chapter committee be provided with budget modifications that may arise and that there be facilitated discussion by each school’s principal and chapter committee of such modifications. More »
Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend is an odd time for the Dept. of Education to publish the new class size numbers.
But a quick look at them suggests why: class sizes rose virtually across the board, for the second year in a row. This occurred despite $150 million in targeted state funding to reduce class sizes in New York City in each of these two years.
DOE obviously knew since September that class sizes were up. They told the Daily News Sunday that the just couldn’t help it because of budget cuts. That may be true, but then why stay mum and then publish your report over a holiday?
A UFT survey in October found that 70 percent of high schools and 63 percent of elementary and middle schools had larger classes this year. It was no surprise. But DOE has sort of slinked around on this issue, saying principals are in charge of their individual school budgets so Central is not accountable for how this state class size funding is spent. This doesn’t sound like the kind of accountability Central imposes on everyone else. More »
Do you know a special high school senior in need of a scholarship?
Each year, the Albert Shanker College Scholarship Fund of the UFT proudly gives out nearly $1 million in undergraduate and graduate scholarships to academically excellent and financially eligible students from New York City public schools.
The deadline to apply for the 2010 scholarships is Jan. 31. Encourage students to apply today.
Visit the Scholarship Fund Web page for more information.
When Eva Moskowitz and the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal pile on in an attack on teacher unions, and Eduwonk’s Andy Rotherham, the National Association of Public Charter Schools and the Fordham Foundation’s Flypaper add their blogging imprimaturs, you know that this is not going to be a Mahatma Gandhi “speak truth to power” moment. What is remarkable is how much it has become a mirror image inverse, a “power attempts to silence truth” moment.
It hurts the interests of NYC school children, Moskowitz and the Wall Street Journal opine, when the UFT insists that those who do the work of classroom para-professionals in NYC public schools be paid the contractual salary and benefits of a para-professional and when the Baltimore Teachers’ Union insists that the teachers at a Baltimore KIPP school be paid their contractual salary. When teacher unions demand those contractual rates of pay and benefits, we are taking services away from students. Schools should be able to pay whatever the market will bear, the argument goes, and in tough economic times, the lower, the better. Make up for budget cuts in public schools by paying school employees less.
It’s time to say “enough is enough,” and tell the real story. More »
The UFT and New York City have reached a tentative agreement that will secure pension benefits and end the two days of work before Labor Day, while providing needed savings to the City. The actual agreement, which will be submitted to the Delegate Assembly for its approval, can be read here.
Under this agreement, the pension and health benefits of all UFT members — in service and retiree — remain completely intact. In particular, the agreement preserves the hard-won age 55 retirement pension. After completing ten years of service, future members will pay an additional contribution for these benefits. Effective September 2009, UFT members will no longer have to work the two days before the Labor Day weekend.
“This agreement is a win for everyone,” said UFT President Randi Weingarten. “We are all very concerned about the heavy losses our pension system has incurred during this economic crisis and the looming cuts for schools. No only does this deal help shore up the city budget with new savings, which will hopefully be used for schools, it also maintains the age 55 retirement benefit that we fought many years to achieve and returns us to the tradition of teachers and students starting school after Labor Day, something that our members, particularly those with families, very much wanted.” More »
Edwize readers will recall the recent controversy among conservative education bloggers over the relationship between teacher unionism and student achievement. [Our comments, with a link to the debate, can be found here.]
In a rhetorical crescendo that is all too characteristic of educational discourse on the right these days, the Fordham Foundation’s Mike Petrilli concluded the controversy with the summary judgment that teacher unions were the enemy of all that is educationally good and right: “they are tenacious and need to be defeated, over and over and over again.” The supposed basis for this conclusion? The claim that Massachusetts teacher unions fought tooth and nail the educational reforms which made its current high academic achievement possible.
So it is with some interest that we read the just published report of the independent and widely respected public policy foundation MassINC, Incomplete Grade: Massachusetts Education Reform at 15. More »
Three weeks ago NY State released the 2009 ELA scores, and I posted the results for New York’s Big Five city districts, noting how gains seem to have followed increases in funding under CFE for the second year in a row. I also pointed out that in NYC, students made greater gains in the two well-funded years than they had in the first four years of the Chancellor’s reforms.
Now we have the 2009 Math, and the pattern holds. First, here’s NYC:
One of the more negative qualities of contemporary debates over educational policy is the vulgar politicization of research. For some, it is sufficient that a study reaches the “right” conclusions about an issue to embrace it as scholarly, rigorous social science. Conversely, when a study reaches the “wrong” conclusions about an issue, it becomes suspect scholarship. Jay Greene’s response to a post of mine last week, in which I pointed that the weight of scholarly literature on the relationship between teacher unions and student achievement was quite the opposite of what he suggested with his citation of a single study by Caroline Hoxby, fits this pattern to a tee. Greene simply dismisses all of the studies which reach a conclusion other than the one he wants, using ad hominem argument and caricature which ventures into the absurd. Little surprise, then, that the only study left standing is the one that reaches the political conclusions Greene favors. More »
Last June, I wrote an item on Edwize about how scores had increased in New York State’s Big Five city districts during the first year of CFE funding. After CFE funds reached our schools, scores went up in New York City, Rochester, Buffalo, Yonkers, and Syracuse. In fact the growth in these cities generally outpaced the growth for the state, and did so after years of indifferent progress. I also pointed out that though the New York City’s Children First reforms had been in place for five years, passing rates in NYC didn’t move much over the first four of them. Then, in the first year of CFE, scores went up.
At the time, I emphasized that “one year of data is hardly conclusive,” and I would say the same is true about two years of data. Still, let’s look at year two of CFE. Scores are now available for ELA.
The pattern holds. First, like last year, students in CFE’s Big Five showed terrific progress, whether we look at passing rates or scale scores. And again, these cities outpaced the state as a whole.
What is more, in NYC the gains under this single year of CFE again outpaced the gains made during Joel Klein’s first four years, before we had the cash.
Here are the details: More »
Since last October, the UFT has been advocating for a hiring freeze in New York City public schools. With shortfalls in school budgets, it is important that every dollar be spent wisely and to best effect.
Today, the Department of Education has announced a hiring freeze. Principals have been directed to fill vacancies from current Department of Education staff, either via the open market or from the Absent Teacher Reserve [ATR] pool.
The UFT will be working cooperatively with the Department of Education on the implementation of this policy. We will pass on further details of this implementation as they become available.
From left, Innovation Fund Executive Director Adam Urbanski, AFT/UFT President Randi Weingarten and Advisory Board Chair Barbara Byrd-Bennett. Photo by Michael Campbell.
A May 5 webinar rolled out the welcome mat to AFT affiliates and urged them to put their biggest dreams into action by applying for grants under the union’s new Innovation Fund. This $2.8 million joint venture is designed to put the resources of some the nation’s largest foundations behind “bottom-up” approaches developed by teachers and the unions that support them-and, in doing so, to underscore how the best ideas in education begin with frontline buy-in.
AFT president Randi Weingarten led the webcast with Adam Urbanski, the Innovation Fund’s new executive director. AFT affiliates from California to Rhode Island logged into the session, where both Weingarten and Urbanski stressed that the fund deliberately combines a streamlined application process and ample technical assistance for one simple reason-to get the widest range of “outside the box” ideas on the table, making sure that no AFT affiliate misses out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“Apply, apply, apply,” Weingarten told the audience. “This is about you controlling your own destiny.” More »
My re-analysis of charter school funding in New York City prompted a number of comments and questions — the theme of which pertained less to the substance of the post and instead focused on the state legislature’s decision to maintain charter school per-capita funding for fiscal year 2010 at 2009 levels. Given what we know about the charter funding formula and the state’s fiscal condition, readers have asked (with varying degrees of urgency) “is the charter funding freeze fair?”
Fundamentally, any freeze is unfair to students, particularly when it translates into program cuts due to rising fixed costs. It’s unfair to students in charter schools and it’s unfair to students in district schools.
Similarly, the lack of facilities financing for charter schools exacerbates this problem for the 26 (or about one-third) of the City’s charters not located in a publicly-provided space (although a handful of these are in private space by choice).
Moreover, decisions that treat district schools differently from charter schools are also unfair. To judge if this occurred in this year’s state budget, some context is required. More »