Monday, February 27, 2012

The Real Story Behind UFT Push for Legislation on Charter Co-locations

  • Limited proposal to have local CECs vote on Charter Co-locos while closing schools removed from agenda.
  • No role for District Leadership Teams (DLTs) or School Leadership Teams (SLTs). 
  • Now that the UFT's two co-located schools in District 19 in East NY Bklyn will be removed after the UFT gets its own building, it is safe for them to enter the water of challenging co-locos.
  • Does UFT move undercut alliance to kill mayoral control?

Ask people at the 33 threatened closing schools or the ones already closed and threatened to be closed if they want CECs to vote on this issue --- but won't happen in UFT proposed legislation.

Amidst charges by some parents of a betrayal and hijacking of their agenda, the UFT will be holding a joint press conference on Tuesday Feb. 28 at 10:30AM at Tweed to announce proposed legislation that would give Community Education Councils (CECs  - the Tweed version of local school bds) a vote on charter co-locations in public schools.

Various parent groups and individuals had been working on legislation in the fight towards ultimately ending mayoral control and wanted inclusion of both colocos and school closings in the legislation but feel their efforts have been hijacked by the UFT who rounded up their usual arm candy/paid off usual suspects to join with them.

While lots of Assembly members have been invited among the usual suspects are DFER Darling Brooklyn Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (who is running for Congress - see below if you think he is not a DFER darling) and Harlem Assemblyman Keith Wright who not long ago declared he would oppose renewing mayoral control, (if you're asking why the UFT would climb into bed with a DFER Darling you haven't been reading this blog). Wright will be pushing the bill with Jeffries joining in -- when he isn't spending his DFER money on his congressional campaign. [I must throw in that Martine Guerrier is going to run for Jeffries' seat with lots of DFER support. Martine's story deserves its own post].

Wright deal after Wadleigh turnaround on closing: Do you smell school closing politics?

The Wright story is a prime example of how closing down of schools is political and not educational. Not long after Wright threw his bomb about not supporting mayoral control (coming from a supporter in Harlem this is not good news for the charter lobby or Bloomberg) the school he was trying to keep open  -- Wadleigh -- where Cornel West visited --- the DOE pulled them off the list and Wright goes silent on mayoral control. Watch the UFT leaders brag how they worked behind the scenes to keep the school open -- while selling everyone else out.

CEC would get vote on co-locations but not on closing schools
While the bill would keep the DOE from force-feeding charters into public schools –  some parents think this would be a significant victory even if mayoral control continues – a sister provision put forth by some parents requiring a CEC vote on closing schools was not included despite a big push from many real reformers, leading to charges that the charge of UFT hijacking.

No little irony here considering we have been attacking the UFT leadership for many years for putting on a phony show about fighting closing schools (after almost a decade of supporting this policy). Ask people from the schools closed and about to be closed if they wanted the CECs to vote on closing schools.

More usual suspects:
*AQE, NYCC and CEJ, all in some way receiving funds from the UFT will be in attendance supporting the gradualist approach to corralling the mayoral control monster. At the rate they are moving, we might see some progress by the next century. I hope you're all still reading ed notes then when we can trumpet the victory. *[Alliance for Quality Education, NY Communities for Change - formerly ACORN and Coalition for Educational Justice --- one day I'll do a piece on all these orgs -- are they real or are they memorex?]

All I will say now is, this deal is the ultimate in dirty politics where everyone from DFER to UFT leadership to Bloomberg get a little bit of what they want and preserve some of their power while parents and kids and teachers lose. Another example of a big tent created to serve multiple motives, instead of supporting truly parent led legislation that would really help our kids and reign in mayoral control which is out of control.

Charter lobby begin campaign to take control of selected CECs in districts they want to occupy --- in a year the UFT bill will be an anachronism. Note these 2 Gotham Schools reports.

Charter lobby pushes for seats on the CECs 
Feb 7, 2012 ... The request was the centerpiece of this year's Charter Lobby Day, which drew more than 1200 charter parents to Albany today to push the CEC ... support/
Feb 8, 2012 ... On Tuesday, more than 1200 charter school parents traveled to Albany as part of Lobby Day. Their main ask was that legislators set aside seats ... inclusion/
There is even more irony in that the charter lobby's main legislative ask is for seats on the CEC, their way of using their muscle to control the CECs so these selected CECs will vote for the charter co-locos.

In fact charter parents who live in the district already have the right to be on CECs via Borough President appointees or if they are a parent of kids in a district school in the past 2 years. Thus, gaining a "victory" as is usual with the UFT, may very well prove Pyrrhic if a quid pro quo is reached where CEC's are allowed to vote on charter colocos but charters get to use their money to push themselves into control of CECs. Can you imagine the day when Eva tosses an enormous pot of money into pushing her candidates for CEC? What would it take? Just buy off selected public and charter school parents in targeted districts for charters. If a public school parent works for a charter org that still allows them to be on CEC.

Push for more parent and teacher voice scuttled
Some parents were pushing for a role for SLTs and DLTs as a counter to the "CEC only" option but are being ignored in the deal, not surprising given that including SLT's, though also severely flawed, might allow for a rank and file teacher voice in the process. (Does the UFT fear that the teachers in the two schools the union charters co-locate might vote them out?)

What is a CEC and how is it chosen?
The CECs are the Bloomberg created versions of local school boards from the old days, but eviscerated of any real power and chosen in a severely limited process that is far more undemocratic than even the old school board elections pre-mayoral control. I won't get into any more detail here other than to say that with each election cycle the DOE screws things up more and more. [Parents sue to stop Community Education Council ... - Ed Notes Online].

Summing up
A coalition of parents were pushing a comprehensive plan to at the very least limit the absolute power a mayor would have over the school system, with an ultimate goal of ending mayoral control and were working with some political forces to accomplish some of their program. The UFT moves in and coopts them while severely weakening the controls they were asking for. Standard op procedure for the UFT.

Now also notice how deeply entrenched up the ass of DFER the UFT's partner, Hakeem Jeffries, is:
Just in case you have not had enough, this was posted to a listserve by a parent activist and former charter school parent:

The charters ALREADY have their bill introduced for charter parents to be on the PEP and CEC. It's been introduced in the Senate and Assembly. They're lobbying hard for this in an election year with loads of campaign cash to give out. Legislators haven't heard from any public school parents who object to charter parents being on the PEP or CEC's.

This is why parents AND teachers at all schools must have a say in school closings and co-locations. We already have charter parents who are BP appointees to the CEC's, we have those whose child has been in a public school in the last two years who are eligible to serve and now we'll have it in the law any charter parent can serve.

Funny thing is they're still not complying with the 2010 law requiring them to serve a comparable amount of students with special needs and ELL's and every charter have a PA/PTA but they want charter parents on CEC's and the PEP.

I guess it's okay to violate charter parent rights under the law and use us as puppets to undermine public school parental involvement structures to create more charters where more parents' rights will be violated.

Please start calling your legislators and tell them NO to charter parents
on the PEP and CEC's and that they should enforce the 2010 charter


Read the bill below -- if you dare:





January 4, 2012

Introduced by Sen. GOLDEN -- read twice and ordered printed, and
when printed to be committed to the Committee on Education

AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to requiring parental
representation on the board of education of the city school district
of the city of New York and on certain other councils for such school district


1 Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 1 of section 2590-b ofthe
2 education law, as amended by chapter 345 of the laws of 2009, is amended
3 to read as follows:
4 (a) The board of education of the city school district of the city of
5 New York is hereby continued. Such board of education shall consist of
6 thirteen appointed members: one member to be appointed by each borough
7 president of the city of New York; and eight members to be appointed by
8 the mayor of the city of New York. The chancellor shall serve as an
9 ex-officio non-voting member of the city board. The city board shall
10 elect its own chairperson from among its voting members. All thirteen
11 appointed members shall serve at the pleasure of the appointing authori-
12 ty and shall not be employed in any capacity by the city of NewYork, or 13 a subdivision thereof, or the city board. No appointed member of the
14 city board shall also be a member, officer, or employee of anypublic
15 corporation, authority, or commission where the mayor of the city of New
16 York has a majority of the appointments. Each borough president's
17 appointee shall be a resident of the borough for which the borough pres-
18 ident appointing him or her was elected and shall be the parent of a
19 child attending a public school within the city school district of the 20 city of New York. Each mayoral appointee shall be a resident of the
21 city [and two] AT LEAST ONE OF WHICH shall be [parents] A PARENT of a
22 child attending a public school within the city district, AND AT LEAST
24 WITHIN THE CITY DISTRICT. All parent members shall be eligible to
25 continue to serve on the city board for two years following the conclu-

EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
[ ] is old law to be omitted.
S. 6100 2

1 sion of their child's attendance at a public school OR A CHARTER SCHOOL
2 within the city district. Any vacancy shall be filled by appointment by
3 the appropriate appointing authority within ninety days of such vacancy.
4 Notwithstanding any provision of local law, the members of the board
5 shall not have staff, offices, or vehicles assigned to them or receive
6 compensation for their services, but shall be reimbursed for the actual
7 and necessary expenses incurred by them in the performance of their
8 duties.
9 S 2. Subparagraph 1 of paragraph a of subdivision 4 of section 2590-b
10 of the education law, as amended by chapter 345 of the laws of 2009, is
11 amended to read as follows:
12 (1) nine voting members who shall be parents of students with individ-
13 ualized education programs, INCLUDING ONE FROM A CHARTER SCHOOL
14 THE CITY DISTRICT, to be selected by parents of students with individ-
15 ualized education programs pursuant to a representative process devel-
16 oped by the chancellor. Such members shall serve a two year term;
17 S 3. Subparagraph (i) of paragraph (a) of subdivision 5 of section
18 2590-b of the education law, as added by chapter 345 of the laws of
19 2009, is amended to read as follows:
20 (i) nine voting members who shall be parents of students who are in a
21 bilingual or English as a second language program conducted pursuant to
22 section thirty-two hundred four of this chapter, INCLUDING ONE FROM A
23 CHARTER SCHOOL WITHIN THE CITY DISTRICT, to be selected by parents of
24 students who receive such services pursuant to a representative process
25 developed by the chancellor. Such members shall serve a two year term;
26 S 4. Subparagraph (i) of paragraph (a) of subdivision 6 of section
27 2590-b of the education law, as added by chapter 345 of the laws of
28 2009, is amended to read as follows:
29 (i) [ten] NINE voting members who shall be parents of students attend-
32 members representing each borough shall be selected by presidents and
33 officers of the parents' associations or parent-teachers' associations
34 in the relevant borough, pursuant to a process established by the chan-
35 cellor. Such members shall serve a two year term;
36 S 5. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 1 of section 2590-c of the education
37 law, as amended by chapter 345 of the laws of 2009, is amended to read
38 as follows:
39 (a) Nine voting members shall be parents whose children are attending
40 a school under the jurisdiction of the community district, or have
41 attended a school under the jurisdiction of the community district with-
42 in the preceding two years[, and], PROVIDED, THAT, IN ANY COMMUNITY
45 THE COMMUNITY DISTRICT. SUCH MEMBERS shall be selected by the
46 and officers of the parents' association or parent-teachers'
47 ation. Such members shall serve for a term of two years.Presidents and
48 officers of parents' associations or parent-teachers' associations who
49 are candidates in the selection process pursuant to this section shall
50 not be eligible to cast votes in such selection process. The association
51 shall elect a member to vote in the place of each such president or
52 officer for the purposes of the selection process.
53 S 6. This act shall take effect on the first of July next succeeding
54 the date on which it shall have become a law; provided, that the amend-
55 ments to section 2590-b of the education law, made by sections one, two,
56 three and four of this act, shall not affect the expiration of such
S. 6100 3

1 section and shall expire therewith; provided, further, that the amend-
2 ments to section 2590-c of the education law, made by section five of
3 this act, shall not affect the expiration of such section and shall
4 expire therewith.


  1. FYI - the same day as the press conference for Wright's watered down co-location legislation, Bloomberg/DoE issue their plans to SHUT DOWN, CLOSE & RE-OPEN the 33 turnaround schools. At least 1700 teachers are losing their jobs, our kids are made to feel like failures and school legacies that have been part of the community are erased!

    Oh, and nobody's seen Wright's legislation because it hasn't been printed, introduced to committee or even given a bill number!

    Nobody, including reporters and elected officials at that press conference has seen his "proposed legislation".

    We could have done the same thing, had a press conference about our proposed legislation. At least people would have been able to review it!

    33 schools...

  2. Days from state deadline, city begins detailing turnaround plans
    Published on February 28th, 2012
    Written by: Philissa Cramer

    If there was any doubt that the city’s turnaround plans are really school closure plans, it can be laid to rest.

    The Department of Education has issued the first installment of its agenda for the Panel for Educational Policy’s April 26 meeting. On the list: Eight school closure proposals across four boroughs. The proposals are for eight of the 33 schools the city has said it would “turn around” in order to qualify for federal funding earmarked for overhauling low-performing schools.

    The eight schools do not represent all of the closure proposals the city will ultimately make. Other schools that are not yet on the agenda, including Brooklyn’s School for Global Studies, were told on Monday that the city had scheduled public hearings about their closure proposals for late March and early April. (The panel approved 18 non-turnaround closures earlier this month.)

    City officials have said that they would move forward with turnaround at all 33 schools, even after the city and union settled a key issue that had derailed previous overhaul processes at many of the schools and after it became clear that the schools’ performance varies widely. Turnaround would require the schools to close and reopen after getting new names and replacing half of their teachers.

    Thirty-page “Educational Impact Statements” for each of the closure proposals offer clues about what the replacement schools would look like. The statements indicate that the city would maintain the schools’ partnerships, extracurricular programs, and many curriculum offerings. The school that replaces Automotive High School, for example, would still offer vocational certification in car repair. Several of the schools would be broken into “small learning communities” that include ninth-grade academies, according to the city’s plans.

    In the statements, the department also explains the switch to a more aggressive overhaul strategy from the models that most of the schools had been undergoing until the end of last year, when their funding was frozen because the city and teachers union failed to agree on new teacher evaluations.

    Banana Kelly High School, for example, was assigned to “transformation” in 2011 and given extra funds to pay for teacher training and new technology. The city now says transformation was a mistake.

    “The data show that the school was struggling even more than the DOE had thought at the time it chose the Transformation model for the school,” reads the school’s impact statement.

    The statements come weeks after an internal deadline the city set and missed and just days before state law requires. Under the 2009 school governance law, the city must published detailed accounts of how schools would be affected by major changes by six months before the start of the school year in which the changes would take place. If school begins the Wednesday after Labor Day, as is usually the case, that deadline would be Sunday.

    The city’s public notices about the proposals suggest that it might move forward with the unusual closure plans even if State Education Commissioner John King does not approve the federal funding for the schools. The notices say only that closure would “maximize New School’s chance of receiving” federal School Improvement Grants ranging from $800,000 to about $2 million.

    King has said the city’s unorthodox turnaround plans are “approvable.”

  3. FYI - Schoolbook article on press conference. Wright AND Jeffries did not show up! So Wright and Jeffries did not attend their press conference to announce their proposed legislation that nobody has seen and has not been introduced. Wow.

    Upwards and onwards.

    "The legislation has not yet been introduced, but Assemblyman Keith Wright of Harlem has said he would sponsor a bill."

  4. This issue is a systemic disease that needs immediate cure We need to eliminate the proposed legislation to dilute the local school boards with charter seats that are mandated and this no show press conference, while it would never be adopted as written is strong indication of pressure being exerted to keep initial amendment active and alive and to pass. It's an election year and the mayor has shown his appreciation with fiscal bounties to individual legislatures that pass bills that he supports.

    We can only hope that the parents efforts that you previously shared can be treated with the respect that it deserves. Politicians fold, stakeholders press on for the cause.


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