Tag Archives: NYC public schools

Charter Schools: The Power of Marketing

Wednesday’s New York Times ran a front-page story on some Harlem public schools that are responding to pressure from charters by aggressively marketing themselves. Such marketing typically includes school tours for prospective parents, augmented by postcards and brochures, with most campaigns [amounting] “to less than $500, raised by parents and teachers….”

The Times story tells how prospective parents touring P.S. 125 with its principal, Rafaela Espinal, showed appreciation for the low number of students they saw in each classroom and the school’s impressive physical amenities, which include a rare swimming pool. But some parents, according to the Times, still weighed sending their child elsewhere. Continue reading

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Why Charter Revision Matters: Our Core Principles

Some of our readers may wonder why we repeatedly worry about giving the mayor any additional powers. It’s because we believe that our current system of government tends to select city-wide leaders who support the interests of Manhattan’s finance and real estate industries — to the detriment of other boroughs and other industries. As important as finance and real estate are for the city’s financial solvency (right now, they’re still crucial), they don’t tend to create middle-income jobs, which can leave us in a vulnerable place in an economic downturn, as in 2008-2009. Simply put, we’ve placed too many of our eggs in one or two baskets. Continue reading

Charter Schools Chief Tells It (sort of) Like It Is

Michael Duffy photo: the Lo-Down

In a revealing interview with NYC Department of Education charter schools head Michael Duffy, Ed Litvak of the Lower East Side news blog The Lo-Down questions Duffy about how the NYCDOE used a recent public hearing on the proposed expansion of a Lower East Side charter school. Duffy’s response won’t surprise anyone who has sat through a charter school hearing:

“It definitely provides a forum for people to speak out, and I think that’s a good thing. It helps to get good information out there… I think, for my part, in a couple of hours of comments, I didn’t hear anything new from the public that wasn’t already known prior to the start of the hearing. I know it’s important that people have a chance to speak their mind, but I don’t think there’s anything that wasn’t known to the Department prior to the proposal…” Continue reading

What’s Happening to NYC’s Middle Class?

A 2008 Brookings Institution analysis of America’s shrinking middle class showed that between 1970 and 2005, New York lost its middle income group 44% faster than the rest of the nation. Probing this, the NYC-based Center for an Urban Future published a study in February, 2009, which implicated New York’s “sky-high cost of living,” a job mix that had “shifted away from positions that provide middle-income wages and benefits,” the “inferior quality” of the city’s public schools, “long commuting times on public transportation,” and residential development that “seems disturbingly out of scale with existing neighborhoods.”

Do you know a middle class family that has left New York? Was it for any of the reasons CUF mentioned? Do those reasons fully explain why New York’s middle class is vanishing, or are other things driving the middle class out? Write us a comment and share your opinion with our readers.