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October 12, 2017
New York unions sue, accusing charter schools of lowering standards for teachers
The lawsuit comes a day after SUNY voted to relax teacher certification requirements.
October 11, 2017
The votes are in: Some New York charter schools can now certify their own teachers
In select charter schools overseen by SUNY, prospective teachers will soon only have to sit for the equivalent of a month of instruction before entering classrooms.
October 8, 2017
SUNY revises controversial proposal to let some New York charter schools certify their own teachers
Prospective teachers will be required to sit for significantly more hours of instruction before they enter classrooms than in the original proposal.
October 2, 2017
22,000 New Yorkers will get new college scholarship from the state after 94,000 applied
Nearly 22,000 New York state students qualified for the first round of the state’s new “Excelsior Scholarship,” which provides free tuition at CUNY and SUNY schools.
August 10, 2017
Amid concerns about plan to let charter schools certify their own teachers, changes could be on the way
Changes may be on the way to SUNY's controversial proposal that would allow charter schools to certify their own teachers.
July 17, 2017
State education officials question another batch of Success Academy charter renewals
Reigniting a debate that flared in April, the state is poised to send a set of Success Academy charter school renewals back to SUNY instead of approving them.
March 1, 2016
Why New York’s charter movement has stalled — and what it needs to grow
Dirk Tillotson: New York's charter authorizers have new standards. They aren't necessarily higher, but they are designed to reject more schools — which has costs.
November 16, 2015
As charter approvals dwindle, state ed officials begin to ask why
Two city charter schools got preliminary approval from the Board of Regents — but the overall number of new charter schools might reach its lowest number in years.
November 11, 2015
Why calls for Success Academy sanctions aren’t likely to succeed
Experts say SUNY’s intervention specifically is unlikely. Here’s why.
By the numbers
September 28, 2015
For charter schools serving overage or homeless students, typical metrics don’t add up
What happens when serving an important group of students makes it nearly impossible to meet normal benchmarks — and what does that mean for Broome Street Academy?
June 29, 2015
SUNY charter chair: We won’t authorize more schools without more funding
The SUNY Charter School Institute is facing a choice between maintaining strict standards and stretching its staff thin, according to the chair of its charter committee.
March 3, 2015
SUNY offers new details of UFT Charter’s troubles; recommends denying New Hope’s appeal
The UFT Charter School met just one of 38 academic goals last year, even as it struggled to serve sufficient numbers of high-needs students.
February 27, 2015
Ending an awkward chapter, UFT says it will close part of its struggling charter school
The UFT announced Friday that the UFT Charter School will close its elementary and middle schools because of their low performance.
February 4, 2015
SUNY makes rare move to close a Brooklyn charter school
A Brooklyn charter school started by an ally of Mayor Bill de Blasio could become the first city charter school to be shut down for poor performance in several years.
July 23, 2014
11 city charter hopefuls move to next round of application process
An all-boys school, a school that offers the International Baccalaureate diploma, and a Staten Island high school for students at risk of dropping out are among 11 prospective New York City charter schools that the State Education Department invited this month to submit full applications to open in 2015.
May 6, 2014
State launches STEM scholarship for SUNY, CUNY-bound grads
The state is ready to pay some students’ tuition to CUNY or SUNY, if they commit to studying science, technology, engineering, or math, Gov.
January 5, 2012
Nonprofit takes aim at college readiness gap in city schools
Jerome Barrett, 17, a senior at the High School for Youth and Community Development at the Erasmus campus in Brooklyn, hangs a star on the wall marking colleges where Bottom Line, New York City students have applied. This fall, Orlando Geigel used his hour-long D train commute from the South Bronx to Brooklyn to practice math problems from a review sheet to prepare for his first set of college finals. The answers were written on the back, but he waited until the end of each ride to check his work. Geigel, a 2011 graduate of the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice, rarely studied in high school, and he didn’t think much about it in college, either — until he failed his first midterm in October. That’s when Geigel turned to Bottom Line, New York City, a branch of a 14-year-old counseling program in Boston that aims to address the challenges that lead many low-income, first-generation college students to drop out. Nationally, 89 percent of those students who enter college leave without a degree within six years. The City University of New York reports that just 24 percent of its full-time students — mostly graduates of city high schools — receive degrees within six years of entering college for the first time. The striking statistics have prompted city and state officials to argue for the first time that schools should be judged by their students’ ability to succeed in college. They have also prompted a constellation of nonprofit groups to try to ease the transition from high school to higher education. Some of those groups place privately funded counselors inside schools. Others outsource counseling entirely — in Bottom Line’s case, to an office in Downtown Brooklyn where high school and college students come for individual guidance about applying to college and adjusting to its demands. This year, Bottom Line is working with 125 high school seniors and 20 college freshmen. Those numbers are set to rise to 800 high school students and 850 college students in 2016.
September 15, 2011
State charter authorizers turning attention to neediest students
Amid mounting criticisms that charter schools do not serve the neediest students, the state's charter school authorizers are making a push to approve more charter schools that make those children a priority. This week, the Board of Regents gave its stamp of approval to several schools that describe their mission as serving high-needs students, such as children with special needs, who are homeless, or who are over-age for their grade. The schools include a school run by the Children's Aid Society, which plans to serve students in the high-poverty South Bronx neighborhood of Morrisania. That school was authorized by the State University of New York earlier this year, along with several other schools that will target their recruitment and services to high-needs students. SUNY also approved two ROADS charter schools, which say they will enroll students who are over-aged but lack the credits needed to graduate. Those join several other recently approved or opened schools that SUNY selected for their commitments to underserved children. Cynthia Proctor, a SUNY spokeswoman, said the new schools would still be held accountable for their academic performance, even though high-needs students tend to fall short more frequently on test scores and some other measures of success. "It is important to understand that the two goals are not mutually exclusive," she said.
September 13, 2011
Venerable social services group wades into school management
As a Bronx elementary school principal, Drema Brown routinely encountered students who were struggling to complete schoolwork without adequate health care, a stable address, or even electricity. Challenges like those held Brown back from boosting academic achievement. Even worse, she said, she couldn't solve the problems wrought by poverty, either. “I might take it for granted that I can just take my daughter to an eye doctor’s appointment and I have insurance that is going to get her that $300, $400 pair of glasses. But sometimes in a school something as simple as that could languish for an entire school year,” said Brown, who headed P.S. 230 in the South Bronx's District 9 from 2003 to 2007. Now a top official at the Children's Aid Society, the 158-year-old social services provider, Brown is leading an experiment in integrating health and social services into a school setting. Children's Aid is set to open its charter school in the Morrisania section of the Bronx next fall. The Board of Regents formally approved the school's charter earlier today. Plans for the school have been in the works since 2009, when Richard Buery became Children's Aid's president and CEO. Buery, who has a background in law and education non-profit management, asked CAS staff who worked with community schools to think about how a community school operated by CAS could have a longer-term impact than the agency’s usual school partnerships. The group already works with city schools to deliver social services and connect after-school programs. And since 2000 the group has run a full clinic in Morrisania, offering preventive services and a meeting place for families whose children are in foster care. But the new project marks Children's Aid's first venture into school management. The clinic “is a visible presence in the community with lots of welcoming faces," Brown said. "Our mission now is to a establish a school that feels the same way for kids and their families so that education becomes more attractive and a welcoming experience." That's a sentiment that hasn't always been present in the South Bronx, which has a longstanding reputation for poverty, crime and lackluster public schools.
June 7, 2010
How scared should SUNY's Charter School Institute really be?
Was the State University of New York's ability to approve and oversee charter schools truly at risk during last month's charter school cap debate? The lead vignette of today's Times profile of city lobbyist Micah Lasher suggests that it was: Just when Micah C. Lasher thought it was safe to finally sleep one recent morning, three words appeared in his in-box: "It's a sham." Mr. Lasher had stayed up all night helping write a bill to increase the number of charter schools in New York, a cornerstone of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's education agenda. But amid the frenzy, a highly contentious provision had slipped by him: the State University of New York would lose its power to approve charter schools. If SUNY's Charter School Institute really was only saved during a middle-of-the-night wrangling, that could be a bad sign for the organization's future: the Institute is currently facing budget cuts that might gut its operations. But all of our information suggests that lawmakers supported keeping SUNY's ability to oversee charters. The provision that could have revoked SUNY's chartering authority was the result of a manic bill drafting process and late-night fatigue, not an attack on the widely-praised charter school overseers.
April 8, 2010
Proposed budget would slash funds to SUNY charter authorizer
The state organization commonly cited as a national model for approving and overseeing charter schools is facing quietly proposed cuts that would slash its budget by nearly 70 percent. The State University of New York's Charter School Institute (CSI), which oversees charter schools from the union-run UFT School to the popular KIPP schools, is slated to lose $1.7 million of its $2.4 million budget under budgets proposed by both the Assembly and the Senate. CSI is one of the groups that are the prime oversight bodies for the state's charter schools. Known as "authorizers," the groups are responsible for reviewing proposals for new charter schools, monitoring the schools they approve, and closing charters they deem under-performing. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has praised CSI for its rigor and willingness to shutter schools that don't live up to high expectations. "All of that takes real human resources," said Jonas Chartock, the agency's executive director. The cuts are a serious threat but far from a done deal. The institute has historically been a target of political efforts, often supported by the teachers union, to weaken its authority to open charter schools. But the union is not supporting these cuts. Rather, the proposals appear to be more prompted by the state's financial duress.
January 29, 2010
To read NY's Race to the Top bid, wear rose colored glasses
New York State's Race to the Top application is nearly a printer-jamming 1,000 pages, but a quick skim of the documents offers some insight into how the state is presenting itself and its proposals to judges in Washington. Charter cap: Throughout the fight over whether and how to lift the state's charter cap, state education officials and the Board of Regents advocated for more than doubling the number of charters allowed in New York. Lifting the cap would not only improve the state's chances at winning federal money, they said, it had become necessary as New York was closing in on its 200 school limit. In December, Chancellor of the Board of Regents Merryl Tisch told GothamSchools: "My opinion is that the charter cap is now at a place where it will prevent us from opening great charter schools." Yet the state's application paints a distinctly different picture of the charter cap's effect:
May 12, 2009
Board of Regents could grab more charter control from SUNY
A bill introduced in Albany last week could limit The State University of New York’s (SUNY) power to certify charter schools, empowering the Board of Regents to veto the university’s recommendations for which schools should be allowed to open. New Board of Regents head Merryl Tisch is leading the charge for the change, and United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten told GothamSchools today she supports the bill. "SUNY as an entity is not sensitive to issues in the communities here," Tisch told the Daily News. (A call to Tisch's office has not yet been returned). Currently, the state's Board of Regents, which is one of three boards that can authorize city charter schools, reviews SUNY’s authorizations but cannot prevent the SUNY-approved schools from opening. The Board has disagreed with SUNY's charters two thirds of the time since 2007. While the Regents can't block those schools from opening, they do have the power to revoke the charters of SUNY schools that drop below their standards. The bill was introduced by Assembly Education Chair Catherine Nolan last week and is described as a way to standardize and streamline the chartering process. Critics of the bill argue that SUNY's charter schools outperform other charters and that consolidating the power to authorize charters would mean fewer charter schools in the city. It's unclear how much of a chance the bill has to pass, though charter advocates say they plan to work vigilantly to prevent it from becoming law. United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten defended Nolan's and the Regents' stance, even though SUNY is the UFT's charter authorizer. "If you really want to have top to bottom and bottom to top accountability you should have one statewide entity authorizing charters, not two," she said. "We are always looking for ways to save money and be more efficient and having one statewide authorizer is probably best."
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