At the same time as our CEC meeting of June 21, at which the Superintendent attributed the delays in committing to Pre-K to “complexities” (presented by private Community Based Organization Pre-K programs (despite them not being part of the Grant’s scope and our never receiving an answer to our January requests to the Office of Student Enrollment to detail these claimed issues)), the Mayor conducted a Town Hall in Chinatown. After the Mayor departed his Townhall to take phone calls relating to the possible expiration of Mayoral Control (which would be good),
Naomi Pena had the opportunity to question Dorita Gibson, the Senior Deputy Chancellor and the Chancellor’s second in command. Senior Deputy Chancellor Gibson was previously the Deputy Chancellor for Equity and Access.
Naomi asked the Senior Deputy Chancellor (twice) if they (DOE) were committed to Controlled Choice in D1. The Senior Deputy Chancellor said she was. Here is the video link. We will update this post with a transcript when available.
Senior Deputy Chancellor Gibson: “We want you at the table to make this work for us.”
Does the commitment by this second-most-senior DOE official include Pre-K? Our highly segregated Pre-Kindergarten programs have always been part of the SIPP grant’s agreed upon scope, born out of a community vision for equity. As a reminder, here is the community vision of controlled choice and a family resource center:
But the “tier proposal” specifics from April have still not been shared publicly. Is this, “at the table“? And if that proposal doesn’t reflect the community’s prior work, what does “at the table” actually mean?
We were advised last week that implementation funds (after over a year of delay) are now expected to be released from the State. But what and how are we “implementing”? What is the plan?
The DOE still has not shared any internal timeline to implement enrollment changes next fall (last promised in April, and previously promised in January after another admission cycle had been missed and we were asked to “reset”).
We want to be at the table. Necessary next steps and a timeline below:
At our meeting of June 7th, we hoped to see the Chancellor to provide answers to our ongoing questions regarding the inaction with regard to the segregated state of our D1 and city schools. Instead, we were sent a representative from the Division of Family and Community Engagement: FACE, which has never had a role in SIPP (Socioeconomic Integration Pilot Program) grant conversations. Members of the public and CEC again asked unanswered questions about when the DOE will commit to a plan to integrate D1’s Pre-K and K classes. Do we now have the beginnings of an answer?
Last week, the Mayor and the Chancellor released their “Diversity in NYC Public Schools” plan, promised since August of 2016. The Mayor’s “Diversity Plan” was met with, unfortunately and deservedly, a mostly negative response. We look forward to providing a complete analysis in the days ahead. In the Press Release accompanying the plan though, the DOE finally committed to making district-wide “fair and feasible” changes to the inequitable Kindergarten admission process and outcomes in District 1 in time for the 2018-2019 school year. These changes would take place in next year’s admission cycle.
- But no commitment to district-wide Pre-Kindergarten changes?
- No indication of the specifics, if not “controlled choice,” for delivering equity to D1?
- No commitment to a Family Resource Center to support an equitable process?
- No commitment to community outreach, support, and transparency?
- No indication of how the aims and goals of the Socioeconomic Integration Pilot Program (SIPP) proposal would be addressed?
These are not small details. And, as to the proposal furnished by the Office of Student Enrollment back in April (at a closed-door SIPP grant working group meeting):
- That DOE alternative is unlike “Controlled Choice” as demonstrated by expert planner Michael Alves;
- That DOE alternative did not include Pre-K; and
- That DOE alternative failed to deliver on the essential ask of the community: schools that serve fair and proportionate numbers of students, both the at-risk and the not at-risk.
Our Next Meeting – Thank You!
Press Calls for Controlled Choice:
Reactions and More:
- Yasmeen Khan, WNYC.org,, City to Release Long-Awaited Plan Addressing School Segregation (“And in cases where communities on the ground pushed for changes, such as a controlled choice plan on the Lower East Side created with the help of a state grant, advocates have said they would like the city to get out of their way and let them move forward”)
- Nikole Hannah-Jones of the New York Times, Road to City Hall 6/6/17: (“this is basically a non-plan”)
- Kate Taylor, New York Times, Long-Awaited Plan for Integrating Schools Proves Mostly Small-Bore
- Kelly Macias, DailyKos.com, School segregation rises as black and Latino kids attend intensely segregated, high-poverty schools [looking at UCLA’s report: “Southern Schools More Than a Half-Century after the Civil Rights Revolution”, which documents “the tragic reversals in the region as integrated schools, flourishing for decades under a court order, now turn back, watching their desegregation efforts dissolved”].
- Kate Taylor, NY Times: A Manhattan District Where School Choice Amounts to Segregation (which, though it names the problem in D1, mostly omits the central question of inequity and the community struggle to right the inequity in the face of DoE obstruction, and lets the policymakers off the hook for their inaction and ineffectiveness)
- Philip Rojc, Inside Philanthropy: “What does Segregation Cost? And How Can Funders Counter It?“
Thank you parents and teachers for taking our survey! And thank you parent coordinators for emailing and handing it out, parent leaders for helping distribute, and school leaders. The (anonymous) survey results will help to inform our year-end report. If you haven’t taken it, please complete it online or drop a hard copy off at your school’s main office before Friday June 16th! We will keep the online version open until Sunday June 18th.
We are Hiring – CEC Administrative Assistant
- Please apply and forward widely! If you know of someone who has strong administrative skills, comes from an organizing background, and as a passion for education issues, please let them know about this opportunity.
- The open listing will close at 3:00 p.m. on June 27th.
- Here is the position description on Idealist and the link to the DoE’s application website (application materials must be submitted through the DoE’s Career Opportunities website). Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
- The position will support the work of the CEC with meetings and parent outreach; share information with parents, schools, and community members about CEC1 events and education policy issues; assist with CEC1 communication and reports, and more.
At our May calendar meeting, we passed a resolution
on Mayoral Control of Schools. In District One, we have seen the negative effects that centralization has on local communities Since the inception of mayoral control and the removal of authority from local decision makers like the superintendents and elected bodies, many of our shared values have gone ignored to a common detriment, with the negative effects experienced most by the most at-risk. And shifts in administrative governance under Chancellor Fariña have not done enough to empower parents, strengthen school communities, and improve schools. CEC 1 believes that Mayoral Control should not be renewed and at the very least the following improvements are essential:
- The Community School Districts should be restored to their lawful place in the governance structure, and district superintendents should have real power returned to them as intended by law.
- The District Leadership Team should hold final authorization on policy proposals handed down by DoE central. It is expected that Superintendents, through their collaboration with the District Leadership Team, shall be able to negotiate on behalf of the district community to derive policy solutions that fit our needs.
- The powers of District CECs should be expanded to allow for a meaningful vote regarding any significant changes in school utilization, including phase-outs, grade reconfigurations, re-sitings, closings/openings, and charter/public school co-locations. The PEP must provide an explanation as to why they are not following a decision by the CEC regarding any significant school changes.
- The Panel for Education Policy should be reformed so that the borough presidents each appoint one member (and they must have a child in a New York City Public School) and so that the Mayor not be allowed to appoint the majority of members to the PEP. A reformed PEP would be comprised of Five Borough President Appointees, Four Mayoral Appointees, 1 Selection by the Citywide and Community District Education Councils (Citywide/CECs), 1 Public Advocate Appointee, and 1 Comptroller Appointee.
- CEC Calendar Meeting, 6/21/17, 6:00pm, PS 20 (166 Essex St.)
The District 1 community has long advocated for a plan to address our segregated schools. We want to see a plan that:
*Assigns incoming Pre-K and K students at every district school and program so as to ensure they serve a fair number of at-risk students from the following groups:
* Low Socio-Economic Status; English Language Learners; Students in Temporary Housing; Students with Disabilities;
* Accommodates parent preference and sibling priority;
* Measures socio-economic status by household income, the educational attainment of a parent, and number of adults and minors in the household; and
* Takes into account transfers & over-the-counter students and Dual Language and G&T programs.
Just such a plan (“Controlled Choice”) has the support of many of our schools as made clear via the numerous resolutions by SLTs, PTAs, Presidents’ Council, the local community board, and CEC1, and by numerous elected and other allies across the city.
* Controlled Choice is equitable.
* Controlled Choice is effective at both reducing segregation and improving student performance.
* Controlled Choice is achievable in Community School District 1.
Short of Controlled Choice, any alternative would have to meet these same requirements to receive community support.
In April, the DOE’s Office of Student Enrollment presented an alternative proposal (to a very, very small subsection of community representatives (a single parent and a handful of principals from the Socio-economic Integration Pilot Program (SIPP) Grant Working Group)). It does not resemble the plan created by community members over more than a year.
Can this proposal be made to look like an equitable, effective, and achievable plan? We don’t know yet. However:
* The DOE alternative is not like “Controlled Choice” as demonstrated by expert planner Michael Alves;
* The DOE alternative does not include Pre-K;
* The DOE alternative offers no timeline or commitment for implementation; and
* The DOE alternative fails to deliver on the essential ask of the community: schools that serve fair and proportionate numbers of students, both the at-risk and the not at-risk.
Above all, to regain the trust of this community, the Mayor, the Chancellor, and the Office of Student Enrollment need to stop the spin and the stonewalling, the obstruction and the delays, the general lack of transparency and communication, and:
* Share the latest analysis/model with the D1 community for feedback and show how at-risk students would be served across district schools and programs as a result of the proposal;
* Share the results of the 2 year single school set-aside pilot (at The Earth School and The Neighborhood School) with the community;
*Extend the latest analysis/model to include all schools and programs and to Pre-K, where it is a school entry grade (but not the Early Childhood Centers);
* Explain any discrepancies (such as in unassigned students) across various plans;
* Demonstrate how their analysis/model delivers on the community mandate;
* Bring on a planner (such as Michael Alves) to implement the promised pilot of a diversity-conscious choice-based student assignment plan in D1 schools;
* Give the planner any data necessary for modeling;
* Return the workgroups to their previous state of robust community participation and honor the community-centered vision originally conceived by the SIPP Grant;
* Be transparent about grant-related communications with the State; and
* Commit to a timeline for implementation in the 2017-2018 enrollment cycle for the 2018-2019 school year (which would require the D1 community and the DOE to work together to construct a timeline that allows for community support, internal DOE support, and comprehensive outreach to others in CSD1).
A big thanks to the community members who joined our meeting last week, and to:
* Maria Bautista, Alliance for Quality Education (School funding & the Campaign for Fiscal Equity)
* Joe Rogers, Jr., Campaign for Educational Equity (Students’ educational rights)
* Jia Li and Kemala Karmen (Parents’ testing rights)
School Funding & Charter School Updates
* Governor Cuomo’s and the state senate’s budget proposals would strip funding from city schools, change poverty formulas…Negotiations in Albany are ongoing (New York City Schools Continue to See Shortfall in Foundation Aid, IBO, 3/17)
* Join a rally at Cuomo’s office today at 4:30pm to demand full Foundation Aid funding, maintain the charter cap, and limit charter aid. 4/5/17, 633 3rd Ave. b/w 40th & 41st.
* The 2014 act changing the charter school funding formula expires this year (With State Formula for Charter School Funding Likely to Change, City Costs to Grow More Than Budgeted* (from $159 million to $220 million), IBO, 3/17). *Encouragingly, the latest reports from Albany indicate this change may not happen, and that the charter cap may remain in place.
* Board of Regents members discussed how charter schools under-enroll high-needs students and contribute to segregation (Chalkbeat, 4/3/17)
“It seems to me that there is something out of sync,” said Regent Lester Young. “How do you have a framework that allows this to happen?”
Regent Judith Johnson made a similar point. “I’m concerned that what we are doing here is continuing to support the segregation of schools,” she said. “I sometimes get emotional about this because I don’t understand why we continue to support programs like this that violate the principles that we stand for in public education.”
* The DOE says the 2018 budget would raise the Fair Student Funding floor from 87% to 90% for all schools. FSF is supposed to provide equity in school-based funding allocations. But the formula weights are inadequate to provide necessary services to the highest needs categories of students. Categories such as Students in Temporary Housing are excluded from the formula; all of our schools should be funded at the 100% FSF level; the formula makes veteran teachers’ salaries prohibitive for many schools; schools often over-enroll students to maximize funding rather than capping class sizes.
* To share feedback on the FSF formula with the DOE, send comments by April 18, 2017 to BudgetPublicComments@schools.nyc.gov, 212-374-6754, or Karma Wilson, Office of Finance, 52 Chambers Street, Room 319, NY, NY 10007. The Panel for Educational Policy will vote on the FSF formula at its meeting on April 19th (6:00pm at Long Island City High School 14-30 Broadway, Queens, NY 11106).
* sufficient numbers of qualified teachers, principals, and other personnel
* suitable and up-to-date curricula, including an expanded platform of programs to help students who are at risk of academic failure
* adequate resources for students with disabilities and English-language learners
* appropriate class sizes
* sufficient and up-to-date books, supplies, libraries, educational technology, and laboratories
* a safe and orderly environment
* adequate and accessible school buildings.
The resolution calls for New York City and State’s elected and education officials to publish thorough, user-friendly information about students’ educational rights and provide all New York City public school families with a copy of the publication by September 2017.
Change the Stakes, NYC Opt Out and NYS Allies for Public Education
See NYSAPE’s “Response to Commissioner Elia’s Toolkit“, “How NYSED Should Count Opt-Outs…”, and additional resources to help parents exercise their rights in relation to standardized testing.
* CEC1 Budget Committee, 4/3/17, 8:30am, PS 20 (166 Essex St.), Rm. 126.
* Citywide Council on High Schools Meeting, 4/6/17, 6:00pm-8:45pm, 52 Chambers St., NY, NY 10007
* CEC Calendar & Business Meeting, 4/26/17, 6:00pm, PS 20 (166 Essex St.)
Join us Wednesday, March 29, 2017 from 6:00-8:30pm at PS 20 (166 Essex St.) for:
* Fair Student Funding
* Funding Owed to Schools and Resources Students Are Entitled To (Campaign for Educational Equity & Alliance for Quality Education)
* Parents’ Testing Rights
Prospective 2017-2019 Community and Citywide Education Council Candidates will also be invited to the meeting to provide a supplemental opportunity (in advance of a 9 a.m., April 21st Candidate Forum) for candidates and community members to meet.
RSVP to email@example.com for childcare. Refreshments provided.