NYC Mayoral Election and Education

Men holding the word vote. Concept 3D illustration.After serving three consecutive terms in office (12 years), New York's Mayor, Michael Bloomberg's time in office will come to an end this year.  That means that New Yorkers will be going to the polls this year to elect a new Mayor.  WNYC has published an interactive map showing how people voted in the 2009 municipal elections by neighborhood.

In New York, the Mayor controls the schools.  The upcoming mayoral elections are crucial in determining education policy for the next 4 years and beyond.  Do you know the candidates and their position?  More importantly, will you vote?

Update 9.11.2013 -- Yesterday's primary elections had us holding our breath to see if Bill de Blasio would pull off a decisive win with 40% or more of the total vote, avoiding a runoff with William (Bill) Thompson Jr or if we will go through another few weeks of these two candidates trying to best one another before an October 1 runoff election is held.  There are still over 19,000 absentee ballots that need to be counted so we may not know the winner for another week.  Stay tuned!

NYC Students Must Attend Kindergarten The Year They Turn Five

The NYC DOE has a new regulation that states students must attend kindergarten in the year they turn five by December 31st, according to NY1.  This seems to contradict a new law enacted in 2012 that set the cut-off date for kindergarten in New York City at December 1st.  According to this law it would seem that kids who are five years old by December 1st attend kindergarten in the year they turn five.  Others would wait until the following year.  But a key word in the law is "authorize".  The law states:

The board of education of the Syracuse city school district AND THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK [is] ARE hereby authorized to require minors who are five years of age on or before December first to attend kindergarten instruction.

Authorizing the DOE to make a change to a rule is not the same as requiring it to do so and it seems that the DOE has chosen not to change the cut off date from December 31st to December 1st.

What this means is, of course, that there will be some kids who start kindergarten in September who are just 4 years old but will turn 5 by the end of the year as is currently the case.  Currently, parents could opt to not send their children to school that early and have them start kindergarten the following year when they were 5 in September.  It's not easy to find a public school in New York City that does this, but they do exist.  Starting this year that will no longer be an option.  If parents want their child to attend Kindergarten they must do so in the year they turn 5.  No exceptions.  If they opt not to send them to kindergarten then then must start in 1st grade the following year.

Starting school at such an early age is not appropriate for every child, especially those that have not yet developed the impulse control to be a part of academic learning environment.

What are your thoughts?  Do you agree with the DOE?  Should kids start kindergarten at age 5?


	

Recap of 2011 Education Events

Happy New Year!  We are looking forward to a year full of growth and lots of relevant educations information for our fellow parents in 2012.  We've been busy working on updating the site with new features to help you with your school search that will be rolled out soon.  In the meantime, we'll continue to update our calendar events and education news.

Here is great recap of the best and worst education events of 2011 from Leonie Haimson at NYC Public School Parent.

Anything to add?  Let us know in comments below.

 

New York City Schools institute sensible bed bug policy

Bed bug infestations are a huge problem in New York City. Major hotels, retail shops and corporations have been affected in the past few years.   I think it's only a matter of when, and not if, your individual school will be infested.  That's why the city's previous bed bug policy didn't go very far in resolving instances of bed bugs in schools.  In fact, the city says that bed bugs are not a major problem for schools, but many parents and teachers say otherwise.

Prior policy was that a school official had to collect physical evidence of bed bugs and mail them to an office in Queens, in order to initiate a treatment in their affected school.  With the new procedure, The Department of Education has set up a new email address, bedbugconcersn@schools.nyc.gov, for complaints about bed bugs in NYC schools.  School officials now have the option of emailing photographic evidence of bedbugs to the DOE for a much quicker response, instead of mailing them and waiting days for an answer.

Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer, pushed for these changes and hails the win as, "An important victory in the fight to rid NYC schools of bed bugs."

Have you had instances of bed bugs in your school?  Let us know how it was handled.

Education News For Week Ending July 31, 2010

Education news this week has been breaking at a dizzying pace.  This interview with on Democracy Now with Diane Ravitch, a professor of education at NYU, New York University, and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Leonie Haimson, a public school parent and executive director of Class Size Matters, is well worth a read.  Here are some highlights: Continue reading "Education News For Week Ending July 31, 2010"

“Framework for Providing All Students an Opportunity to Learn”

At long last, a document on education that makes sense!

On Monday, a coalition of civil rights groups realeased a 17 page framework for education reform that excoriates, in a nice way, President Obama's education policies and offers direction for how to make things right. Continue reading "“Framework for Providing All Students an Opportunity to Learn”"

Charter school fight for space in New York City

In my school district, the choice of public schools leave something to be desired.  That's why I was very excited to learn of plans for the first public French-American charter school in New York City to open here in September 2010.  My enthusiasm has dampened a bit since I've started researching and reading about charter schools and the recent charter school movement in New York.

Charter schools are a key part of President Barack Obama's plan for the reform of our education system.   NYC's Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, also thinks that charter schools play a vital role in improving the city's public education system, and has made increasing the number of the city's charter schools a key initiative of his third term.

An article in today's New York Times discusses the city's strategy, thus far, of awarding space to new charter schools.

It's a debate that will only get more and more contentious as more public schools are closed down to reopen as charter schools, themselves public schools but supported with private money.  Personally, I disagree with this tactic and feel that this is a way of privatizing our public schools, which I ABSOLUTELY disagree with.  Why can't we invest in improving the schools we currently have?!

Should we continue to open new charter schools or should we work on improving our current schools?  Please leave a comment and tell us your thoughts.