Archives for category: New York City

Arthur Goldstein teaches English language learners in a high school in Queens. He is active in his union and more often than not, a thorn in its side. He writes a blog where he speaks his mind, protected by tenure.

He addresses the question that most educators will have to face in the days ahead. What do you tell the students? What do you say to Hispanic students? to Black students? to gay students? Do you still teach an anti-bias curriculum? an anti-bullying program? If you do, are you criticizing the President-elect?

Goldstein writes:

In this post, he calls on the Chancellor of the New York City public schools to put a letter in his file. He also offers a graphic/meme that he hopes will appear in every classroom in the city (or state or nation).

Chancellor Fariña declared there would be no overt political talk in class. To a degree, I understand that. It’s not my place to tell kids who I voted for. It’s not my place to tell them who to vote for either. I would never do such a thing. But I knew they would ask me anyway.

Nonetheless, on Monday, I wore a tie a little bit like the one on the right. You wouldn’t notice what was on it unless you looked closely. When the kids asked me who I was voting for, I showed them the tie. I told them that a donkey represented Democrats, and an elephant represented Republicans. They didn’t know that. They looked at my tie and said, “Oh, you’re voting for Hillary.” I was glad they asked, because I needed them to know I would not vote for someone who hated them and everything they stood for, to wit, the American dream.

I also needed them to know that I stood against all the bigoted and xenophobic statements our President-elect made. I’m sorry, Chancellor Fariña, but I’m a teacher, and unlike Donald Trump, I stand for basic decency. My classroom rule, really my only one, is, “We will treat one another with respect.”

Donald Trump failed to treat a wide swath of people with respect. He’s a hateful, vicious bully. There are all sorts of anti-bullying campaigns that go in in city schools, and I fail to see why Donald Trump should get a pass simply for having lied his way to the Presidency. So I specifically repudiated a whole group of his insidious statements. I also added LGBT to my group, and told my kids that we would not tolerate slurs to gay people in my classroom. Even my kids seem to expect a pass on that. They won’t get one.

Jelani Cobb graduated from Jamaica High School, as did many other distinguished Americans. In a powerful story that appeared in The New Yorker, Cobb tells the history of Jamaica High School as a paradigm for the clash between race and reform. Jamaica High School was long considered one of the best high schools in New York City in the 1980s. As the city adopted reform after reform, the school went from an integrated model to a highly segregated school; it enrolled growing numbers of students who were learning English or had disabilities. Other schools lured away top-achieving students. When the Bloomberg-Klein regime took over, Jamaica’s days were numbered. The staff and the local community fought for the survival of the school, but Bloomberg-Klein gloried in closing large high schools and stuffing them with multiple small schools with multiple principals. The school that once enrolled over 3,000 students held its last graduation ceremony in 2014, with a graduating class of only 24 students. This is a very sad story about the abandonment of schools that suffered from the reformer conceit that low scores=bad schools. Jamaica in its final years was serving the neediest of the city’s students; it was put to death by the authorities.

Cobb writes:

Underscoring the indignities that attended the school’s last days was a difficult irony: for much of its time, Jamaica was a gemstone of the city’s public-education system. In 1981, the schools chancellor, Frank Macchiarola, decided to take on the additional role of an interim high-school principal, in order to better appreciate the daily demands of school administration. He chose Jamaica, and was roundly criticized for picking such an easy school to lead. Four years later, the U.S. Department of Education named it one of the most outstanding public secondary schools in the nation. Alumni include Stephen Jay Gould, Attorney General John Mitchell, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, Walter O’Malley, Paul Bowles, and three winners of the Pulitzer Prize: Gunther Schuller, Art Buchwald, and Alan Dugan. Bob Beamon, who set a world record for the long jump in the 1968 Olympics, graduated with the class of ’65. The school’s closure felt less like the shuttering of a perennial emblem of stagnation than like the erasure of a once great institution that had somehow ceased to be so.

Jamaica had become an institution of the type that has vexed city policymakers and educators: one charged with serving a majority-minority student body, most of whose members qualified as poor, and whose record was defined by chronic underachievement and academic failure. Even so, word of the school’s closure angered students and their families, the community, and alumni. I was among them—I graduated with the class of ’87—and for me, as for many former students, the school was a figment of recollection, frozen in its academic glory. George Vecsey, the former Times sports columnist and a member of the class of ’56, accused Joel Klein, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s schools chancellor, of “cooking the books,” to make schools slated for closure appear worse than they were, and compared the Department of Education’s closure policies to the nihilism of Pol Pot. Vecsey later apologized for having slighted the suffering of Cambodia, but he held to his contention that Klein ruled by dictatorial fiat. He wrote, in a blog, “The city destroyed a piece of history because of its own failure.”

Julian Vasquez Heilig combed through the Podesta emails released by WikiLeaks in search of education-related comments. He found quite a few.

Reach your own conclusions.

I don’t think he included this one, where the Clinton campaign reacts to a question from the AFT about whether Joel Klein is involved in the campaign.

Education Week reported the story here.

Klein’s company Amplify lost about $500 million, when it was owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Murdoch dumped it, and Laurene Powell Jobs picked it up for the Emerson Collective, probably for a song.

But Klein is still in the money. Despite the epic failure of Amplify, Rupert Murdoch is paying him $4.6M per year to sit on the News Corp board. (And don’t forget that he filed for a pension from New York City for the eight years he spent as Chancellor, closing schools and opening charter schools.)

Klein is now working as “chief strategy” officer for the failing Oscar health insurance company, which is also losing millions fast. Klein has not had much luck in the business world. This company was co-founded by Josh Kushner, the brother of Trump’s son in law, Jared Kushner.

Arthur Goldstein has taught ESL students in New York City for decades, and he has one of the best blogs in the city, state, and nation, written from the view of a teacher.

In this post, he lacerates the administration of the New York City Department of Education for a grading policy that further diminishes the discretion of teachers to make judgments about what their students need and how they are progressing. I can’t help but think about the paradigm of all national systems, where teachers are carefully selected, well prepared, treated as masters of their profession, and trusted to do what’s best for their students.

The new NYC rule, Arthur says, is “you will differentiate instruction the same way for everyone.”

He writes:

“That seems to be the main thrust of the new grading policy. A big thing, for me at least, is the policy on what is and is not acceptable for participation. I had been doing precisely the thing that the DOE seems to loath—granting a participation grade at the end of each marking period. I essentially gave a positive grade for students who raised their hands and were active all the time, a negative grade for those who spent most of the time sleeping, and various degrees in between for others.

“Now here’s the thing—DOE gives an example that you give credit each day when a student brings a pencil and notebook. That is, of course, measurable. It’s also idiotic, as it’s a preposterously low standard. I think the reason they gave that example was because it was very easy for them to think of. And thus, we part ways. I actually think about grades a lot. To me, bringing a pencil is only a marginal step above breathing.

“But they don’t need to think about it. They just need to sit in air-conditioned offices and tell us what to do. Why bother considering the real lives of lowly teachers, let alone the students they ostensibly serve? Treat everyone the same.

“So if someone places a student in my class, tells me she has a 70 IQ, and the girl looks appears so fragile that if you touched her she would break, well, rules are rules. If she doesn’t participate each and every day, screw her, she gets zero. If one of my students is from a country where they have classes of 50, if she’s been taught all her life to sit down and shut up, if she’s so painfully shy that she actually trembles when you ask her a question, give her a zero. Everything is black and white in the ivory towers of the DOE.

“Your opinion cannot be quantified. Let’s say you teach strings. Let’s say one of your students comes in and plays a beautiful piece, with perfect vibrato. She makes you feel as though you have reached nirvana. I come in and scratch out something that sounds like I’m strangling a cat.

“But we’ve both brought in our violins and cases, and how the hell are you gonna prove she plays better than me? Is it on the rubric? And who’s to say I didn’t find my own piece to be breathtakingly beautiful? Who the hell are you to judge me without a rubric? And if you do have one, and you tell me how badly I played, maybe I’ll just report your ass under Chancellor’s Regulation A-421, verbal abuse. You made me feel bad. So screw you too.

“After all, the supervisors are using rubrics. They come in with that Danielson thing and check boxes. These boxes contain the evidence. Plus they have notes. So who cares if the notes came from the voices in their heads and nothing they say actually happened? I’ve seen supervisors outright make stuff up.”

Dana Goldstein writes here about New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign to establish a universal program of free, public pre-kindergarten, equally available to the poor, the middle-class, and the rich.

In Dana’s cover note, she wrote:

“The story is also about something much bigger—the nature of government in America. Should public services be universal, meaning even affluent people can access them, regardless of whether they could procure pre-K, college, or health care on the private market? Or should we give “free stuff” only to the poor and working class?

“This was pretty much the exact debate Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton had during the Democratic primary. De Blasio, despite being a Clinton supporter, is firmly on the side of universality. Pre-K For All subsidizes the children of bankers and the children of parents living in homeless shelters. Does its play-based pedagogy work to remedy what the mayor famously decried as “the tale of two cities”—one rich and one poor? And can debates over early childhood education ever break out of gendered thinking, in which we believe only mothers can effectively care for their own children?”

In the article, she writes:

“In 2016 there is one central debate, between the left and center-left, about the role of government in America. Can the widening gap in opportunity and life outcomes between the rich and the poor be closed using the dominant policy tools of the last 30 years: tax credits that are supposed to encourage minimum-wage work, and stigmatized, underfunded social programs that serve only the poorest of the poor, like Medicaid, food stamps, and Head Start, the federal preschool program? Or, does the country need to return to an older, and until very recently, largely unpopular idea: taxing the rich to create big, new government entitlements, like pre-k, free college, or single-payer health care—entitlements available to everyone, including the affluent who currently have little trouble procuring such services on the private market?

“This was the crux of the debate between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. The signature Sanders policy proposal was a plan to make public college free for all. Even for the children of Donald Trump, as Clinton pointed out in one primary debate. Clinton became the Democratic Party standard-bearer, and after negotiations with Sanders, announced her own plan to make in-state public college free, but only for families earning under $125,000 per year.

“De Blasio’s Pre-K For All program is, notably, in the Sanders style: unabashedly free-for-all.
There are few places in the United States to look for big, new experiments in universal government entitlements. One of them is New York City under de Blasio. The mayor issued a late-in-the-game primary endorsement of Clinton—he was the manager of her 2000 Senate campaign—but his Pre-K For All program is, notably, in the Sanders style: unabashedly free-for-all. Some American social programs, like Medicare and Social Security, serve everyone, and have proven to be relatively popular and politically sacrosanct. Others, like Medicaid, Head Start, food stamps, and cash welfare, are available only to the destitute, and are under constant threat of budget cuts. Pre-K For All is for the poor, the rich, and everyone in between. The mayor would rather speak about the program’s educational quality than its political strategy, but if prodded, will concede, “anything that has a broad constituency will also have more sustainability.” Simply put, it is difficult for politicians to retract a benefit that the politically powerful upper-middle class enjoys.

De Blasio’s first elected office was as a school-board member in District 15, the swath of brownstone Brooklyn that includes Park Slope, where he and his wife, Chirlane McCray, lived. They sent their daughter and son to public school. His focus on pre-k reflects a longtime skepticism of some of the other education-reform enthusiasms of the last two decades, like standardized testing and charter schools. When the state of New York granted de Blasio’s predecessor as mayor, Michael Bloomberg, control of the city’s schools, Bloomberg abolished neighborhood school boards like the one on which de Blasio served. Bloomberg’s education agenda was based around the concepts of choice and competition. He opened new charter schools and gave all schools letter grades based largely on their students’ test scores. Bloomberg also created 4,000 new pre-k seats, but they were open only to the poorest children. That strategy has been the norm. In recent years, cities like Denver and San Antonio reserved new public pre-k seats for the neediest kids. Even Boston’s public pre-k program, considered a national model, does not guarantee every 4-year-old a seat.

“De Blasio wants all children, even the children of the financially secure, to benefit from public services. He speaks often about how difficult it is to afford rent, child care, and other basic necessities of life in New York City, not just for the impoverished, but also for the middle and upper-middle class. “A hedge-fund manager, maybe they’re not struggling, but the vast majority of people [are],” de Blasio told me. “The cost of living in this town has continued to go up and up, so I can’t tell you how many middle-class parents have told me what it meant to save $10,000 or $15,000” on pre-K, “how fundamental that was for their ability to live in the city.”

“In 2012, when de Blasio was serving as New York City’s public advocate, a sort of city ombudsman, his office produced a report showing a huge unmet demand for free pre-k. Only half of New York City 3- and 4-year-olds were enrolled in pre-k, either public or private. Every neighborhood had more young children than public-school pre-k spots, but in areas such as affluent brownstone Brooklyn, middle-class Bay Ridge, and immigrant-heavy Central Queens, there were as many as eight applicants per seat. The problem was a national one: Only 41 percent of American 4-year-olds, and 16 percent of 3-year-olds, are being served by publicly funded pre-k, according to the latest data.

“To expand access, de Blasio proposed a tax increase of less than 1 percent on income over $500,000. That idea became the centerpiece of his 2013 mayoral bid, a key to remedying what he decried as “the tale of two cities”: huge opportunity gaps between the super rich and everybody else. A New Yorker earning $600,000 annually would have paid an additional $530 in taxes to fund universal pre-k. This provoked outrage from the Partnership for New York City, a network of CEOs. The group’s president said the tax proposal showed a “lack of sensitivity to the city’s biggest revenue providers and job creators.”

“Many of de Blasio’s fellow progressives were skeptical such a big idea could ever become reality. Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, called de Blasio’s universal pre-k plan “non-serious,” and New York City’s teachers’ union endorsed another mayoral candidate in the Democratic primary. But regular New Yorkers liked de Blasio’s ambition. Private pre-k costs, on average, over $12,000 per year in New York City, and up to $40,000 for an elite program. (The city’s median household income is about $51,000.) Polls suggested that, along with his promise to end stop-and-frisk and his artful, optimistic embrace of his family’s biracial identity, the promise of free pre-k was why voters preferred de Blasio to his rivals. He won the election and immediately began lobbying Albany to make the idea a reality; the mayor would need the support of the state legislature to enact his pre-k funding scheme. Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democratic tax-cutter, did not want de Blasio’s tax proposal to come to a vote. Still, the mayor’s boldness had changed the terms of the debate. Cuomo, somewhat mysteriously, reached into the state budget and found $340 million per year to fund the program for five years.

“From there, the de Blasio administration managed to launch Pre-K For All in less than six months. By the program’s second school year, 2015-16, it had reached its original enrollment target. Pre-K For All serves 68 percent of the city’s 4-year-olds, and 85 percent of those who are likely to enroll in public-school kindergarten. In the city of Washington, D.C., 86 percent of all 4-year-olds and 64 percent of all 3-year-olds, are enrolled in public pre-k, outpacing New York onpercentage of children served. But D.C. first launched its universal pre-k program in 2008 and allowed six years for full implementation. In comparison, New York City has moved at remarkable speed, while serving more than five times as many students.”

Open the article to read it all and to see the links to sources.

Robert Jackson is a great champion for public schools. He is running for State Senate in District 13 in New York City. In this post, parent activist Tory Frye explains why you should help him, work for him, and vote for him. Tory Frye is long-time public school parent activist in Upper Manhattan who served as an elected parent member of Community Education Council in District 6 and two School Leadership Teams. Robert Jackson is running for the Democratic nomination this tomorrow, September 13, in NY Senate District 31, which includes parts of the Upper West Side, Harlem, Inwood and Washington Heights. The New York Daily News reported just today that one of his opponents in the Democratic primary has received more than $100,000 from hedge fund managers who are Republicans and who support more charters. Isn’t it amazing that som many wealthy people, who don’t send their children to public schools, are so deeply committed to privatizing the public schools?

Tory Frye writes:

For weeks I have been getting glossy brochures from Micah Lasher who us running for NY State Senate. These tout his devotion to public education, in particular his aversion to high stakes standardized testing and his desire to direct money owed by New York State to NYC public school students.

Here’s the thing; actually it’s two things.

First, the whole reason the state owes NYC public school students money is because his opponent in this senate race, ROBERT JACKSON, led the lawsuit in the 1990s (!!!) that established that the state was denying our kids the money they needed to get a decent public education. The settlement of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity established that the state owed our children billions; in fact, New York state STILL owes city students 2.2 (maybe 3) BILLION dollars! And it is all because Robert Jackson sued the State back then.

Second, Micah Lasher built his career promoting policies that totally UNDERMINE public education in NYC! He was the chief lobbyist for Joel Klein at the NYC Department of Education and then for Mayor Bloomberg when their approach to improving education included: 1) closing schools (labeling them and their students “failures”); 2) using standardized tests to hold children back and evaluate/fire teachers (despite ZERO evidence of efficacy); 3) cutting school budgets and threatening teacher lay-offs; 4) co-locating charter schools with public schools (using a flawed formula for space allocation that had students getting services in closets and hallways) and 5) pushing for a version of mayoral control over our schools that vested all power in one man, Mayor Bloomberg, and none for parents or community members

Lasher then went on to lead StudentsFirstNY, the state affiliate of a national organization (started by none other than Michelle Rhee) that sought to increase the numbers of charter schools, demand space in already crowded public schools, evaluate teachers, students and schools primarily by means of standardized test scores and all sort of corporate education “reforms” that act only to undermine actual public schools and open the “industry” to privatization.

And Lasher has left ALL of this off his campaign literature. Indeed, he has scrubbed any mention of his year running StudentsFirstNY as its first executive director from his biography in LinkedIn.

And what was Robert Jackson doing during these five years? What was he speaking out for ALL that time? Well, I went through my District 6 public school records and my Facebook feed and can attest to the fact that Robert Jackson stood by and actively advocated on behalf of Washington Heights and Inwood public schools – but more importantly for all NYC public school students and families; for example:

• June 2011: fighting against Mayor Bloomberg’s threatened school-based budget cuts and teacher lay-offs.

• June 2012: addressing and trying to limit the damage done by high-stakes standardized testing

• October 2012: fighting Bloomberg’s plan to close PS 132, the Juan Pablo Duarte school in District 6.

• May 2013: advocating for protections of student data, including private health and disability information, that would have been sold and monetized via inBloom.

• June 2013: questioning why the Bloomberg administration was pushing to remove school attendance zones in District 6, a nearly 100 block district, making it likely that many parents would no longer have a neighborhood public school within walking distance that their children had a right to attend;

• May 2014: demanding that the Mother Cabrini Educational Complex be rented to house Mott Hall, the ONLY middle school for gifted students in District 6 currently occupying a dilapidated and antiquated building.

• June 2014: demanding that the DOE remove trailers from PS 48 in District 6.

• October 2014: educating parents about their children’s constitutional rights to a sound, basic education including equitable funding and smaller classes.

In short, Robert Jackson has been a strong and consistent advocate for fighting with parents so that our public schools will be preserved and strengthened, while Lasher has advocated for closing them and turning them into corporate-led charters.

There is another candidate in the race, Marisol Alcantara, who also supports the expansion of charter schools and whose campaign has been funded almost exclusively from the IDC, the renegade breakaway group of Democratic Senators who consistently vote with the Republicans, allowing them to keep control of the State Senate. The Republicans running the State Senate (whose campaigns are ironically now being funded by the hedge-fund billionaires behind StudentsFirstNY) have consistently voted against fairly funding NYC public schools and voted for encouraging unlimited charter school expansion, which are already draining more than a billion dollars from the DOE budget and taking previous space from our overcrowded public schools.

The choice is clear: if you care about our public schools and our children’s right to a quality education, you must support Robert Jackson in Tuesday’s primaries.

–Tory Frye is long-time public school parent activist in in Upper Manhattan who served as an elected parent member of Community Education Council Six and two School Leadership Teams in District Six. Robert Jackson is running for the Democratic nomination this Tuesday, September 13 in NY Senate District 31, which includes parts of the Upper West Side, Harlem, Inwood and Washington Heights.

If you recall, Eva Moskowitz was locked in a fierce battle with Mayor de Blasio and the City of New York over a pre-kindergarten program. The city said that the Success Academy charter chain could not have $700,000 in funding unless it signed the city contract, giving the city the right to oversee the program. Eva refused to sign the contract. She said that the city had no power over her charter schools, and that she should get the money without signing the contract. She sued the city, and the city won in court. Thirteen other charter schools signed the city’s contract without complaint.

But all was not lost. Eva still had a powerful friend in Albany: Governor Cuomo. It turns out that in the closing moments of the legislative session, Eva got what she wanted.

The New York Times reported today:

What the Success Academy charter school network could not get through the courts or from the New York State Education Department, it may get from the governor: the ability to run prekindergarten programs without oversight from New York City.

In the final hours of the legislative session this summer, as Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Assembly were pushing to get mayoral control of the city’s schools extended, the Republican-controlled Senate demanded some concessions for charter schools. It introduced a vague provision that appeared to grant the charter schools committee of the State University of New York’s board of trustees new powers to regulate the charter schools it oversees. Charter school supporters claimed that the provision would allow SUNY to waive requirements that limit the number of uncertified teachers that charter schools can employ.

But it turns out that the Senate Republicans, who have received substantial support from wealthy charter school supporters, had other goals in mind, as well.

In a letter to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo dated June 20, and not previously reported, the Senate majority leader, John J. Flanagan, wrote that the intent of the provision “was to provide SUNY with statutory authority to exempt charter schools from rules and regulations that were hampering innovative teaching and learning.”

He urged Mr. Cuomo to direct the SUNY Charter Schools Institute — the administrative entity that supports the work of the charter schools committee — to act quickly to take advantage of the provision. (Mr. Cuomo effectively controls the institute and the committee because he appoints a majority of the SUNY trustees.) Specifically, Mr. Flanagan said that SUNY should give teachers at its charter schools some time to get certified. He also asked that SUNY do something to help charter schools get space in public school buildings.

And Mr. Flanagan said that SUNY should do something about the problem of New York City’s universal prekindergarten program. “There are high-performing charters that have opted out of this program, because the regulatory burden imposed by the N.Y.C.D.O.E. was too high,” Mr. Flanagan wrote, referring to the city’s Education Department.

In fact, there is only one charter school leader who has opted out of the program after a major battle with the de Blasio administration: Success Academy’s founder, Eva S. Moskowitz.

Lesson: Whatever Eva wants, Eva gets.

This is a letter that I received:

I have been following you for the last 10 years and am in awe of your continued efforts to turn public education in the right direction.

I read your article this morning about a teacher who had had enough.

It could have been my story.

I am a retired NYC Department of Education pre-k teacher in an under represented community. I taught pre-k for 16 consecutive years in the same school. I was fortunate that I was able to introduce many innovative programs to support my students not just in academics but the more important social/emotional piece that schools often neglect.

I brought to my classroom American Sign Language, Yoga, Mindfulness, Cooking and Baking, Caterpillars into Butterflies and as much art and music as I could fit in a day.

My students thrived. Sadly, each year it became more and more difficult to protect my students from the “rigor” and academic push for 3 and 4 year olds.

This past year, I was evaluated by not just my supervisors but from NYC Instructional Coordinators, a Social Worker who came once a month and no longer worked with students and their families, but was there to teach me classroom management, and an Educational Coach who came to help me learn how to better assess my students.

In addition, NYC has contracted ECERS:

Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale.

The Instructional Coordinators returned to review the ECERS report on the premise of helping me attain a better rating the next year. They removed my television which I used to play videos for yoga and ASL for my students so they could see children their own age doing yoga and ASL.

They said ECERS did not allow more than 20 minutes a week for technology.

I tried to explain that the television was not technology but the television was removed.

They removed my oven because they believed it to be dangerous.

They removed my students yoga cushions because they said they were not sanitary despite the fact that they had washable covers.

The final blow came when in the ECERS report it stated that I had an inappropriate book; The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle.

The ECERS evaluator said it promoted violence and bullying because the grouchy ladybug wanted to fight.

Either she had never read the book or had read it and did not understand its value.

I no longer had any autonomy in my classroom and I could not in good conscience do what the IC’s and other outside people wanted me to do with my children.

It was a very difficult decision.

I had legacy families where I had taught 7 or 8 members of extended families.

Many families started teaching their children how to pronounce my name as soon as they were able to sit up.

My story is just one small grain of sand but I am confident that it is being replicated all over the country.

I left not because I was in an under represented community and not because many children had challenging issues but rather because the lack of support and understanding about what it means to be a teacher was draining the life out of me.

I am hopeful to continue to have a voice for children, particularly the ones that few want to teach.

If you post my story, please do not use my name.

Kate Taylor in the New York Times describes education legislation that was rushed through in the closing days of the legislative session in Albany. Quietly slipped in was a provision allowing charter schools to switch to a different authorizer that would be enable them to evade state regulations about certified teachers. The primary beneficiary is Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy charter chain, which is expanding rapidly and can’t find enough certified teachers, in part because of the expansion but also because of high teacher turnover in the chain.

In the fraught final hours of the legislative session on Friday, the Republicans in the State Senate agreed to give Mayor Bill de Blasio control of the New York City schools for one more year, but in return they demanded two provisions related to charter schools.

One made it easier for the schools to switch between charter-granting organizations. The second gave the charter schools committee of the State University of New York’s board of trustees — one of the two entities that can currently grant charters — the power “to promulgate regulations with respect to governance, structure and operations” of the schools it oversees.

The broadness of the language at first left something of a mystery as to what the provision was intended to accomplish and who might have wanted it.

A few days later, the mystery cleared up a bit.

Families for Excellent Schools, a charter school advocacy group that is closely tied to Eva S. Moskowitz, the founder of the Success Academy charter school network, sent an email to the leaders of several charter networks on Tuesday calling the provisions “a massive victory.” In particular, it said in the email, the SUNY-related bit of legislation meant that SUNY would be able to waive current requirements that limit the number of uncertified teachers that charter schools can employ.

In fact, the Senate had pushed for a provision that would have done that directly, by giving teachers at charter schools three years to become certified, but the Assembly, which is controlled by the Democrats, rejected it. After that explicit provision on teacher certification was taken out, the broader language appeared.

The three-year allowance had been a top priority for Ms. Moskowitz, who faces difficulty hiring enough teachers as she rapidly expands the number of Success Academy schools. Currently, under the state’s charter school law, a charter school cannot have more than 15 uncertified teachers. Success hires mostly young teachers. Many of them are uncertified when they begin and attend a master’s program managed by Success while they are teaching.

Apparently SA likes to take uncertified teachers and mold them, rather than certified teachers who may have their own ideas.

Stefan Friedman, a spokesman for Success Academy, expressed support for the idea of giving charters flexibility on the certification rules. “To continue to deliver the strongest academic results for children, as well as exceptional chess, debate and art programs, schools must hire the most highly qualified teachers available and give them extensive training and support,” he said in a statement.

Success Academy claims it is creating a national model for inner-city education. No excuses and uncertified teachers.

In late night negotiations, rushing to finish the legislative session, the New York Legislature reached a package deal to extend mayoral control by only one year. Part of the package creates a parallel system for charter schools, which can switch authorizers and choose one (either the State University of New York or the Board of Regents) that will give them freedom from any regulations and standards that apply to public schools. In other words, there will be one set of rules for public schools, and no rules for charter schools. This will be the first time in New York state’s history that the Legislature has officially established a publicly-funded dual school system: One sector is subject to democratic control, the other is not. One must accept (or take responsibility for) all students, the other is free to accept and reject whichever students it wants.

A one-year extension, with few or no caveats, had seemed all but cemented when lawmakers went to bed on Thursday evening. But the morning found Mr. Flanagan pushing for the funding transparency requirement, followed by the charter-school provision in the afternoon. It would effectively create a parallel system of charter schools within the city, allowing “high-performing charter schools in good standing” to switch to join the State University of New York umbrella or the Board of Regents of the State Educational Department.

Not since the era preceding the Brown decision of 1954 has a state legislature so brazenly established a two-tier system of K-12 schools.

The leader of the State Senate, John Flanagan, has made no secret of his contempt for Mayor Bill de Blasio. De Blasio helped to raise money for Democrats running for the State Senate; had they won, the State Senate would be controlled by Democrats, not Republicans. Governor Cuomo has stabbed the mayor in the back repeatedly, because he doesn’t like to share the stage with any other prominent Democrat in the state. So, the mayor had a losing hand when he asked for a three-year extension of mayoral control.

When Mike Bloomberg asked for a six-year extension in 2009, the Legislature granted it. The State Senate loved Mayor Bloomberg, because he often contributed to individual Republicans running for re-election (three years later, in 2012, the Mayor gave $1 million to the Republican campaign fund for the state senate). When Mayor Bloomberg asked for a renewal of his unlimited power over the schools in 2009, he boasted of the dramatic increase in test scores that were a direct result of his control. However, a year later, the New York Board of Regents commissioned an independent study, which concluded that the New York State Education Department had lowered the passing mark every year and test scores across the state were inflated. When they were adjusted after this revelation, the dramatic gains disappeared. NAEP scores never confirmed the boasts by Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein about “historic gains.”

If anyone remembers what all these political maneuvers over control have to do with educating one million children, please remind me.