June 1st, 2010

City Council Endorses School Transformation Zone

by Helen Zelon, City Limits Magazine

The New York City Council passed a resolution this week unanimously endorsing the proposed School Turnaround Zone (STZ), a strategy designed to help struggling schools improve their performance and avoid closure.

Developed by the parent-led Coalition for Educational Justice, the STZ would integrate school-improvement strategies with strong leadership, giving schools three years ‘in the zone’ to demonstrate progress.

The STZ also has the support of Council speaker Christine Quinn and Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio. But the decision whether to adopt it ultimately rests with the Department of Education (DOE), which is independent of the City Council.

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June 1st, 2010

City Council: Fix, Don’t Close Schools

by Lisa Fogarty, Queens Chronicle

The City Council took a stand against school closings Tuesday by unanimously passing a resolution that calls upon the Department of Education to fix, and not give up, on low-performing schools.

The School Transformation Zone, proposed by the advocacy group NYC Coalition for Educational Justice, calls for the use of federal School Improvement Grants and other funds to implement reform plans in the city’s lowest-performing schools.

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May 4th, 2010

Bill Offers Transformation Zone to Save Schools

by Lina Berezovska, Epoch Times Staff

NEW ZONING NEEDED: Parents and advocates rally for the creation of a School Transformation Zone on Wednesday at City Hall. (Aloysio Santos/The Epoch Times)

NEW YORK—Over 50 parents and advocates assembled in front of City Hall on Wednesday to voice their support for the creation of a bill that would save schools on the verge of closure. The bill would establish a School Transformation Zone for low performance schools where parents and teachers will work together to increase the quality of education.

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April 14th, 2010

Lower East Side parents in charter school battle

by Meredith Kolodner, Daily News

The Education Department is facing yet another roadblock in its plans to place and expand charter schools in existing public school buildings.

Parents filed a formal complaint with the state accusing the city of failing to disclose the negative impact that the expansion of the Girls Preparatory Charter School will have on students at Public Schools 188 and 94 on the lower East Side.

“There’s just no space,” said Yvonne Walker, co-president of the PS 188 parents association. “We already have [special education] therapists forced to share rooms.”

The complaint uses a similar argument as the lawsuit filed by the teachers union and the NAACP – which successfully blocked the closing of 19 failing schools.

The parents’ complaint says the Education Department did not give proper notice or accurate information when it announced its intention to add an extra 300 students to the PS 188 building.

Parents say they were not told that the special education school PS 94 would be cut in half or how the school – which has a safety plan for 920 students – would accommodate 1,200 students.

“We fully disclosed the impact on the schools,” countered Education Department spokesman Danny Kanner.

“We intend to aggressively contest these claims.”

Parents at four other schools – PS 30 and PS 138 in Harlem and PS 256 and Intermediate School 302 in Brooklyn – say they’re planning to file similar complaints.

“Why is it always that we have to file lawsuits and formal complaints?” Zakiyah Ansari of the Coalition for Educational Justice said. “Because that’s the only way we get heard.”

February 25th, 2010

Parents Will No Longer Be Divided! No more pitting of school against school and parents against parents! CEJ calls for a moratorium on co-locations until an independent analysis can be made.

ABC News

Gotham Gazette

Gotham Schools