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NYC Announces Universal Pre-Kindergarten for Three-Year-Olds Despite Lack of Space, Qualified Teachers, Or Results

On April 24, 2017, as East Side parents were planning a march to protest their children being sent to Universal pre-Kindergarten classrooms multiple blocks away, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio trumpeted the following: New York City is starting the path to 3-K for All for fall of 2017, aiming to serve over 11,000… Continue reading NYC Announces Universal Pre-Kindergarten for Three-Year-Olds Despite Lack of Space, Qualified Teachers, Or Results

New York City

A Different Kind of Integration: Bringing Students With Mental Health Challenges Into Our School and Watching Them Thrive

I have written about John W. Lavelle Prep Charter in Staten Island before. I helped start it as a middle school, built on the crazy idea that you must integrate students with mental health challenges with the general population for them to be successful. Mind you, these students tend to have the highest dropout rate of… Continue reading A Different Kind of Integration: Bringing Students With Mental Health Challenges Into Our School and Watching Them Thrive

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Grouping Kids By Ability – Not Age – Would Solve Two Major NYC School Problems

I have written before about two major problems NYC parents pinpoint regarding public schools: The majority of children who qualify for gifted programs don’t get a seat due to a lack of space NYC’s birthday cut-off, December 31, means a quarter of children are forced to start Kindergarten before they turn 5 These two problems… Continue reading Grouping Kids By Ability – Not Age – Would Solve Two Major NYC School Problems

Blog · New York City

Bill de Blasio’s Universal Pre-K Program: Neither Free, Nor Full-Day, Nor High-Quality

Applications for Round 1 of New York City’s Universal Pre-K (UPK) program are due on Friday, February 24, 2017. That’s President’s Day Week, by the way, which means that schools will be closed during the final five days parents are technically allowed to be touring and and making their ranking decisions. Colorful posters are hanging… Continue reading Bill de Blasio’s Universal Pre-K Program: Neither Free, Nor Full-Day, Nor High-Quality

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Retro is Chic in NYC: De Blasio’s School Budget Privileges Bureaucracy Over Kids

When Mayor Mike Bloomberg hired Joel Klein as his School Chancellor in 2002, one of their first initiatives, Klein recalls in Lessons of Hope: How to Fix Our Schools, was to dismantle the “sclerotic, politically-controlled bureaucracy” at the Department of Education’s central office, which Bloomberg labeled a “rinky-dink candy store” and a “disgrace.” Klein quickly… Continue reading Retro is Chic in NYC: De Blasio’s School Budget Privileges Bureaucracy Over Kids

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New York Schools and Prisons Are In Dire Need of Support Staff

In one of my recent blog posts from our “Letters from John” series, my husband, who is incarcerated, mentioned that he recognizes more and more that inmates have an increased need to be heard. It’s like they are fighting against the invisibility of self that is taking place between them and their community. Many require… Continue reading New York Schools and Prisons Are In Dire Need of Support Staff

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Is a Fair and Equitable Education Possible in New York City?

It is clear that students throughout the city are getting varying degrees of quality education, with children of color getting the shorter end of the stick. At times, students may even get varying degrees of quality education within the same building (i.e., tracking or school practices that put less experienced teachers with more difficult kids).… Continue reading Is a Fair and Equitable Education Possible in New York City?

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Three Pitfalls of Cuomo’s “Free” College Plan for New York State Students

With much fanfare and press releases, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his Free College plan for families earning less than $125,000 a year. There are many problems with his proposal, not the least of which is that “free” only covers tuition. As the mother of a New York City 17-year-old currently going through… Continue reading Three Pitfalls of Cuomo’s “Free” College Plan for New York State Students

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Bring Authenticity Back to Education

“I haven’t been on a field trip since fifth-grade!” I overheard a high school student make this statement and my heart sank. Could that really be true? My mind went back to my own childhood days. I vividly recalled school trips to planetariums, zoos, museums, wildlife reserves, plays, and sporting events.  More recently, I remember… Continue reading Bring Authenticity Back to Education

Blog · New York City · State Legislature

How Much Does the State Spend on Your Kid’s Education?

Quite a bit, according to a new report from the New York State Business Officials called “The Education Dollar.” We know this. New York State’s per pupil expenditure historically toggles between first, second, and third place nationally. This year we’re #2, or $19, 529 per pupil, second to the District of Columbia which wins the… Continue reading How Much Does the State Spend on Your Kid’s Education?