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Pro-Charter Group Gets New Chief

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  • Leonie Haimson
    NYC pro-privatization astroturf plays musical chairs. In Ms. Sedlis, the group has someone who comes alive when talking about the specifics of education
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 28, 2013
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      NYC pro-privatization astroturf plays musical chairs.

      In Ms. Sedlis, the group has someone who comes alive when talking about the specifics of education policies, and someone who isn't just a fighter, but also one who has spent years building schools…

      Building schools?  Not exactly.  How about stealing space from public school kids?

      June 27, 2013, 9:05 p.m. ET

      Pro-Charter Group Gets New Chief

      Eva Moskowitz's Right-Hand Woman to Lead StudentsFirstNY

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323419604578572050938520148.html

      StudentsFirstNY, a pro-charter school organization that launched with a bang a year ago and then stalled, has signaled it is ready to jump back into New York City politics, hiring the top lieutenant of a polarizing charter chain.

      Jenny Sedlis, who helped former City Council Member Eva Moskowitz build Success Academy Charter Schools, will start in September as the new executive director, the group plans to announce Friday. Officials said this would show they weren't going to sit out the mayor's race.

      Enlarge Image

       

      image

      David Kasnic for The Wall Street Journal

      Jenny Sedlis, the new director for StudentsFirstNY

      "This is a launching of a pretty important new beginning, especially with the mayor's race in full swing," said Ms. Moskowitz, a StudentsFirstNY board member.

      The group had said it could raise about $10 million and would put its stamp on the mayoral contest, but it has yet to take action. Ms. Sedlis said it is still unclear whether the group will make an endorsement in the mayoral primary or the general election, though she said there would be roughly the same amount of money on the table.

      Until now, the 30-year-old Ms. Sedlis has been Ms. Moskowitz's right-hand woman, running ground battles for the Success Academy chain, which consistently posts high test scores but draws a backlash when it opens a new school. "I'm pretty battle-tested," Ms. Sedlis said. "I'm not going to shy away from a fight that's going to take place."

      StudentsFirstNY turned heads a year ago when it launched as the New York partner of the national advocacy group founded by former Washington, D.C., schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, a pioneer in the movement known as education reform.

      At the helm was Micah Lasher, a former lobbyist for Mayor Michael Bloomberg who promised to put pressure on elected officials and provide an alternative source of cash and support for politicians afraid of breaking with the United Federation of Teachers. Another board member is former city schools chancellor Joel Klein, who now works for News Corp., which owns The Wall Street Journal.

      In the fall, StudentsFirstNY made enacting tougher teacher evaluations its top priority, running advertisements urging the city and the teachers union to negotiate a resolution. It hosted parent meetings explaining the importance of new evaluations and ran social-media campaigns to draw attention to the issue. And in January, it released a report about the proliferation of poorly rated teachers in the city's lowest-income schools.

      Pro-union groups fought back, recruiting elected officials to pledge to reject money from the organization. Many said they wouldn't take money—regardless of whether it was offered to begin with. For instance, mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, the city's public advocate, has said he wouldn't take money from the group. (StudentsFirstNY has said it wouldn't offer him any.)

      UFT President Michael Mulgrew said StudentsFirstNY's was already having an effect on the mayoral race: Candidates think "what they need to do is stay away from them."

      Mr. Lasher left in March to work for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, leaving the group leaderless just when the mayoral race started to pick up steam. Mr. Lasher declined to comment.

      "It was disappointing, just because the thing was getting under way, but such is life," Ms. Moskowitz said.

      In Ms. Sedlis, the group has someone who comes alive when talking about the specifics of education policies, and someone who isn't just a fighter, but also one who has spent years building schools and walking in and out of classrooms.

      Though she said the organization's priorities weren't set, she personally is in favor of changing teacher certification to make sure educators are better prepared to step foot in the classroom, and she supports something known as "parent trigger," a concept that allows parents to take over a public school. Perhaps most importantly, she said she cared about a new teachers contract, which the next mayor will negotiate.

      "There are so many provisions of the contract people don't talk about," she said. "So much of why [Success Academy] is successful is because we have the flexibility to orient the school around the needs of children."

       

       

    • Norm Scott
      Can Jenny survive without being within 10 ft of Eva? Clearly Eva in total control of studentsfirstny. Cheers, Norm Scott Twitter: normscott1 Education Notes
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 28, 2013
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        Can Jenny survive without being within 10 ft of Eva? Clearly Eva in total control of studentsfirstny.
        Cheers,
        Norm Scott

        Twitter: normscott1

        Education Notes
        ednotesonline.blogspot.com

        Grassroots Education Movement
        gemnyc.org

        Education columnist, The Wave
        www.rockawave.com

        nycfirst robotics
        normsrobotics.blogspot.com

        Sent from my BlackBerry

        From: "Leonie Haimson" <leonie@...>
        Sender: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2013 15:18:04 -0400
        To: <nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com>
        ReplyTo: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [nyceducationnews] Pro-Charter Group Gets New Chief

         

        NYC pro-privatization astroturf plays musical chairs.

        In Ms. Sedlis, the group has someone who comes alive when talking about the specifics of education policies, and someone who isn't just a fighter, but also one who has spent years building schools…

        Building schools?  Not exactly.  How about stealing space from public school kids?

        June 27, 2013, 9:05 p.m. ET

        Pro-Charter Group Gets New Chief

        Eva Moskowitz's Right-Hand Woman to Lead StudentsFirstNY

        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323419604578572050938520148.html

        StudentsFirstNY, a pro-charter school organization that launched with a bang a year ago and then stalled, has signaled it is ready to jump back into New York City politics, hiring the top lieutenant of a polarizing charter chain.

        Jenny Sedlis, who helped former City Council Member Eva Moskowitz build Success Academy Charter Schools, will start in September as the new executive director, the group plans to announce Friday. Officials said this would show they weren't going to sit out the mayor's race.

        Enlarge Image

         

        image

        David Kasnic for The Wall Street Journal

        Jenny Sedlis, the new director for StudentsFirstNY

        "This is a launching of a pretty important new beginning, especially with the mayor's race in full swing," said Ms. Moskowitz, a StudentsFirstNY board member.

        The group had said it could raise about $10 million and would put its stamp on the mayoral contest, but it has yet to take action. Ms. Sedlis said it is still unclear whether the group will make an endorsement in the mayoral primary or the general election, though she said there would be roughly the same amount of money on the table.

        Until now, the 30-year-old Ms. Sedlis has been Ms. Moskowitz's right-hand woman, running ground battles for the Success Academy chain, which consistently posts high test scores but draws a backlash when it opens a new school. "I'm pretty battle-tested," Ms. Sedlis said. "I'm not going to shy away from a fight that's going to take place."

        StudentsFirstNY turned heads a year ago when it launched as the New York partner of the national advocacy group founded by former Washington, D.C., schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, a pioneer in the movement known as education reform.

        At the helm was Micah Lasher, a former lobbyist for Mayor Michael Bloomberg who promised to put pressure on elected officials and provide an alternative source of cash and support for politicians afraid of breaking with the United Federation of Teachers. Another board member is former city schools chancellor Joel Klein, who now works for News Corp., which owns The Wall Street Journal.

        In the fall, StudentsFirstNY made enacting tougher teacher evaluations its top priority, running advertisements urging the city and the teachers union to negotiate a resolution. It hosted parent meetings explaining the importance of new evaluations and ran social-media campaigns to draw attention to the issue. And in January, it released a report about the proliferation of poorly rated teachers in the city's lowest-income schools.

        Pro-union groups fought back, recruiting elected officials to pledge to reject money from the organization. Many said they wouldn't take money—regardless of whether it was offered to begin with. For instance, mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, the city's public advocate, has said he wouldn't take money from the group. (StudentsFirstNY has said it wouldn't offer him any.)

        UFT President Michael Mulgrew said StudentsFirstNY's was already having an effect on the mayoral race: Candidates think "what they need to do is stay away from them."

        Mr. Lasher left in March to work for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, leaving the group leaderless just when the mayoral race started to pick up steam. Mr. Lasher declined to comment.

        "It was disappointing, just because the thing was getting under way, but such is life," Ms. Moskowitz said.

        In Ms. Sedlis, the group has someone who comes alive when talking about the specifics of education policies, and someone who isn't just a fighter, but also one who has spent years building schools and walking in and out of classrooms.

        Though she said the organization's priorities weren't set, she personally is in favor of changing teacher certification to make sure educators are better prepared to step foot in the classroom, and she supports something known as "parent trigger," a concept that allows parents to take over a public school. Perhaps most importantly, she said she cared about a new teachers contract, which the next mayor will negotiate.

        "There are so many provisions of the contract people don't talk about," she said. "So much of why [Success Academy] is successful is because we have the flexibility to orient the school around the needs of children."

         

         

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