Tag New York

Poverty Rate Soars to Highest Level Since 1993

As poverty in the United States climbed to 46.2 million people last year – the highest number since the Census Bureau began publishing figures on it 52 years ago – “[m]inorities were hardest hit. Blacks experienced the highest poverty rate, at 27 percent, up from 25 percent in 2009, and Hispanics rose to 26 percent from 25 percent. For whites, 9.9 percent lived in poverty, up from 9.4 percent in 2009.” Sabrina Tavernise, Poverty Rate Soars to Highest Level Since 1993, N.Y. Times, Sept. 14, 2011, at A1. The increases were even greater in New York City. Sam Roberts, As Effects of Recession Linger, Growth in City’s Poverty Rate Outpaces the Nation’s, N.Y. Times, Sept. 22, 2011, at A23.

As was also recently pointed out, the Occupy Wall Street “protesters picked the right city in which to start their campaign. Among the 1 percent of American households with the highest income, a significant portion, 13 percent, live in the New York metropolitan area, with 4.4 percent living in Manhattan, according to an analysis by Andrew A. Beveridge, a sociologist at Queens College.” Sam Roberts, As the Data Show, There’s a Reason the Protesters Chose New York, N.Y. Times, Oct. 26, 2011, at A23.

NYT: Last Days, Perhaps, for Group That Sued for Poor School Districts

Missed this article a couple months ago from the NYT City Room blog (6/8/2011):

After a series of setbacks, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, the advocacy organization whose victory in a historic lawsuit brought billions of additional dollars to poor school districts in New York State, has run out of money to sustain itself, the organization said.

The organization’s last remaining employee, Helaine K. Doran, will leave the group’s Lower Manhattan office this month and, essentially, lock the door behind her.

While its future is not yet certain, the president of its board of directors, Luis Miranda, said on Tuesday that the group was in talks to merge with the New Jersey-based Education Law Center, which two weeks ago won a $500 million judgment in its own long-standing school-financing litigation, known as the Abbott case.

Since the Supreme Court’s decision in San Antonio Indep. School Dist. v. Rodriguez,1 advocates in 45 states have brought actions challenging school finance systems under their state constitutions with challengers prevailing in 26 of the 45 cases that resulted in a judicial decision.2 Overall though, “progress has been fitful, and the victories often short-lived and generally incomplete, and even after all these years of litigation unacceptable inequities remain the norm in the majority of states.”3 Even in New York, where the Court of Appeals affirmed that the state’s constitution requires that every public school child in the State of New York has a right to a “sound basic education” defined as “a meaningful high school education,”4 Michael Rebell, executive director of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity which brought the litigation in 1996, lamented: “We really came to the decision that if we could get a functioning lab in every school, decent class sizes, gym facilities, an adequate education in every school – to get there is such a huge battle. . . Maybe in 20 years, if we ever get that, somebody else can say that they want to go for equity. But that’s not our battle.”5

Success Charter Network has been just that for Eva Moskowitz but not for public schools

Juan Gonzalez, Success for Eva, but not PS, N.Y. Daily News, July 27, 2011, at 17:

The Success Charter Network, a chain of charter schools headed by former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz, spent an astonishing $1.6million in the 2009-2010 school year just for publicity and recruitment of new students, the group’s most recent financial reports show.

The network spent more on publicity and recruitment that year than it did in the previous two years.

In 2009-2010, the seven schools operated by the Success network admitted 1,200 new students. That means Moskowitz spent about $1,300 on marketing for every new enrollee.

The money went to everything you can imagine – bus stop ads, multiple mass mailings of glossy color brochures to tens of the thousands of homes, a small army of part-time workers going door-to-door to sign up applicants, high profile “school choice” fairs.

Community leaders and educators in Harlem and the South Bronx – where those first seven schools were located – say they have never encountered such a relentless and well-financed campaign aimed at convincing parents to desert the public schools.

Many are stunned that the nonprofit Success network is able to spend so lavishly while regular city schools are being forced to cut their budgets….

NY Daily News: Schools chancellor says at times restraints are needed, will look into handcuffing of special ed boy

Joseph, 7, a special education student at a Manhattan School, was handcuffed.

Meredith Kolodner, Schools chancellor says at times restraints are needed, will look into handcuffing of special ed boy, N.Y. Daily News, Apr. 21, 2011, at 5.

Joseph, 7, a special education student at a Manhattan School, was handcuffed and taken away from school in an ambulance.

Promising to look into last week’s handcuffing of a 7-year-old special education student, schools chancellor Dennis Walcott said that sometimes restraining young children that way is necessary.

The Daily News reported Thursday that first grader Joseph Anderson was removed from Public School 153 in Maspeth, Queens, in handcuffs and taken in an ambulance to Elmhurst Hospital after he became upset while painting an Easter egg.

Plans to Boost Two-Year CUNY Colleges Fall Victim to Budget Cuts

During his bid for a third term, Mayor Michael Bloomberg promised to make community colleges a top priority if he were re-elected. That campaign promise to help the City University of New York, which runs the two-year public schools, has now been abandoned in the face of proposed cuts of over $50 million in city funding for the next fiscal year.

This change has sparked criticism from many advocates who have protested Bloomberg’s cuts in funding to CUNY during a time of high enrollment and tough economic times — especially after the state already cut $95 million, according to CUNY officials.

“With the increasing need of services for students at both community colleges and senior colleges in the CUNY system it is unacceptable to continue to cut CUNY’s budget the way the administration has done the past few years,” said Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, who chairs the higher education committee. “These drastic cuts come on top of a quarter of a billion dollars worth of cuts that have been handed down to CUNY over the past three years.”

… [C]ommunity colleges around the city find themselves in a precarious position, with record admissions and decreasing funds. Many blame CUNY’s financial woes on the lack of commitment from the state. According to State Sen. Toby Stavisky of Queens, the state’s share of CUNY funding fell sharply in the past 20 years from 65 percent in 1991 to 40 percent this year.

“That’s not the fault of CUNY; it’s the fault of the state — because we had budget crises and higher education has not been a priority,” she said.

(via Gotham Gazette)

Mr. Speaker, tear down this pizza wall

New York has a new state budget. The $132.5 billion budget contains a 2 percent spending cut and eliminates $10 billion, with historic cuts to schools, public colleges, social service programs and health care.

The spending plan passed on time in the early hours of Thursday morning, but the news was overshadowed by noisy day-long protests at the Capitol.

… As dinnertime approached, tensions came to a head when state officials tried to deny the demonstrators the delivery of pizzas.

The protesters, who intended to stay overnight at the Capitol, were counting on 70 pizzas to sustain them through the night. But state troopers, who allowed legislative staff to have food delivered, at first denied the pizza delivery, leading to chants of “no pizza, no peace.”

Finally two Democratic Senators from the New York City, Kevin Parker and Bill Perkins, intervened.

(via WNYC, State Legislature Passes On-Time Budget Amid Protests)

NY Post: The Chancellor earns a dunce cap

The Chancellor earns a dunce cap, N.Y. Post, Feb. 19, 2011, at 22.

Schools Chancellor Cathie Black hung a kick-me sign on herself yesterday, foolishly refusing to inject a little common sense into the Department of Education’s ridiculously inflexible “zero-tolerance” bullying policy and doing the right thing by a nine-year-old Upper East Side boy.

The lawyers win another one.

The youngster had written “kick me” on a Post-it note, stuck it on the back of a 4th-grade classmate — and promptly was suspended.

Clear English being something of a novelty among educators these days, PS 158 Principal Darryl Alhadeff said the youngter’s prank was “in violation of the Discipline Code and is classified as ‘infraction A37′ — engaging in bullying behavior — and will result in a Principal’s Suspension for a period of two days.”

NYCLU: City schools are suspending more students, and for longer

New York City’s public schools are suspending more students than they did a decade ago, and for longer periods of time, according to a report released today.

Data on student suspensions obtained by the Student Safety Coalition through Freedom of Information requests and analyzed by the New York Civil Liberties Union shows that the city’s public schools have doled out increasingly large numbers of suspensions each year since 2002. Black students are being suspended in disproportionate numbers, and a third of the suspensions have taken place during months when students spend weeks sitting for state exams.

The NYCLU’s report concludes that the spike in suspension rates over the years is connected to changes in the city’s discipline code, which now categorizes more infractions as being suspension-worthy than it did a decade ago. It also notes that the police presence in schools has increased since 2002, when former Chancellor Joel Klein started Operations Safe Schools.

NYT: Williamsburg, Toddlertown

Important news: Jim Rendon, Williamsburg, Toddlertown, N.Y. Times, Jan. 21, 2011, at RE1.

Families are discovering that Williamsburg is much more than a playground for the postcollege, skinny-jeans set.

“You can go out in the neighborhood on a Friday night and feel sexy and single-ish,” Ms. Liebman says with a laugh. “And then wake up next morning with the kid and take him to the farmers’ market and the play center.”

City Will Require Police to Report on School Arrests

Noah Rosenberg, City Will Require Police to Report on School Arrests, N.Y. Times, Dec. 21, 2010, at A30.

The New York City Council voted on Monday to require the Police and Education Departments to produce regular reports on arrests, summonses and suspensions of public school students, a victory for civil liberties advocates who say that the school police have sometimes been too aggressive in trying to keep order.

The measure, which was introduced in August 2008, was approved unanimously after compromises were made to satisfy the police and education officials….