POLITICO New York Education: Mayoral control debate begins — SUNY’s private funding

By Eliza Shapiro, Keshia Clukey and Conor Skelding | 05/19/2017 09:52 AM EDT

MAYORAL CONTROL JOCKEYING BEGINS DOWNSTATE: Mayor Bill de Blasio's annual ritual of garnering support for a mayoral control extension from influential pockets of New York City began on Thursday, with a letter from 50 of the city's clergymembers urging Albany's leaders to grant the mayor a multi-year extension. "We place our faith in Mayor de Blasio to continue the course of improving our schools and making a real difference in the lives of our precious children and their families," the letter reads. "Therefore, we urge the State of New York to approve a multi-year extension of mayoral control of New York City's school system." De Blasio typically drums up support from the city's business leaders and other elected officials. He has been granted brief one-year extension for the last two years in a row. His current mayoral control extension is set to expire at the end of June. POLITICO New York's Eliza Shapiro

— Here's the latest on the mayoral control debate, and how a (still hypothetical) link between a mayoral control extension and a charter school cap extension could complicate matters. Read more here.

— The Partnership for New York City is also pushing a multi-year extension, and rejected the idea of an extension-cap linkage. Read more here.

— And here's how de Blasio's effort to get a multi-year extension went last year. Read more here.

HAPPY FRIDAY! MaryEllen Elia and Regent Nan Eileen Mead will host a public hearing at Borough of Manhattan Community College on Saturday on the state's draft Every Student Succeeds Act plan. Carmen Fariña and Betty Rosa did not release public schedules.

This newsletter is for you, so tell us how we can make it better. Send feedback, tips and education-related events to eshapiro@politico.com, kclukey@politico.com and cskelding@politico.com. Follow us on Twitter: @elizashapiro, @keshiaclukey, and @conorskelding.

GET YOUR TICKETS! The annual Legislative Correspondents Association show (featuring all your favorite Albany POLITICO reporters) is on Tuesday, May 23 at the Egg in Albany. Order tickets online here or call Teresa at (518) 455-2388.

SUNY KICKS OFF PRIVATE-SECTOR FUNDING EFFORTS — POLITICO New York's Keshia Clukey: The State University System is kicking off an effort to seek private-sector funds to increase opportunities for low-income students. An event in New York City on Wednesday raised more than $1 million, according to an initial tally, marking the first dollars flowing to the SUNY Impact Foundation. The funds will go towards the Educational Opportunity Program, which provides increased academic support and financial aid for low-income students of color. "We hope that through the SUNY Impact Fund we'll be able to feed that program, and others like it, through the gifts of philanthropists," SUNY chancellor Nancy Zimpher told POLITICO New York. The foundation, which Zimpher in January announced during her State of the University address, deals with private-sector investments as the system looks to increase public-private partnerships. ...

While the 50-year-old program has legislative support, and a champion in Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, more funding is needed to expand opportunities to all eligible students. "This governor, this Legislature, and governors and legislatures past ... have seen educational opportunity programs as a priority for SUNY and CUNY, and each year we get a little bit more investment, the best that can be done at the time, but we need more," Zimpher said. Currently 10,000 students are benefiting from the program, which has helped at-risk students complete college at rates higher than their peers across the nation, Zimpher said in her address Each year SUNY has more than 15,000 qualified applicants for 2,900 available seats in the program. Read more here.

EDUCATION MOVES: "Emily Kim, Success Academy's vice president of policy and legal affairs, will leave at the end of June to launch her own charter school network, Chalkbeat has learned... She told Chalkbeat she has not yet settled on a model for her schools but plans to 'consider several different approaches' and could borrow from her current employer..." — Chalkbeat's Cassi Feldman. Read more here.

What this means for Success: Kim has been a bulwark between all of Success's many legal issues — negative press stories, local and federal investigations — and Moskowitz. Her exit is a big loss for a company that often finds itself in need of legal assistance.

United University Professions spokesman Don Feldstein is retiring after 12 years with the organization.

— SUNY Empire State College named Joseph L. Garcia, a retired lieutenant colonel and 28-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, as its executive vice president for administration. Garcia will begin in mid-July.

PIC OF THE DAY: What happens when when you try to log onto an educational website from a Department of Education school, via @ATErickson. See it here.

LEAD LATEST: New York City's congressional delegation is "disturbed" by high levels of lead in some city schools, according to a letter sent by the 12 elected officials to city schools chancellor Carmen Fariña. "While we commend the city for retesting all schools without flushing pipes, as had been the city's previous practice, we are deeply concerned about these results," the letter reads. The representatives are referring to recent testing results showing that about 8 percent of fixtures in city schools tested positive for elevated lead levels in their drinking water, and 83 percent of schools had at least one fixture with high lead levels. Read the full letter here.

AROUND NEW YORK:

— "Members of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's staff have fanned out through New York to deliver the news of the Excelsior Scholarship, which will cover tuition costs for qualifying undergraduate public university students. The officials who answered dozens of questions at a Syracuse forum at Onondaga Community College on Wednesday also promised to bring a message back to the governor after hearing from a disappointed student and professor. The message? For many returning students, the scholarship isn't much help." — Syracuse.com's Patrick Lohmann. Read more here.

— "City Education Department officials say they are making progress on a controversial investigation into state-mandated secular studies at Jewish religious schools that receive public funding. Critics say Mayor de Blasio has been stalling the investigation, which is now nearly two years old, due to his close ties to the Hassidic community. But city Education Department officials said Thursday they will submit an interim report on the issue to the State Education Department sometime this summer." — Daily News' Ben Chapman. Read more here.

— Who's donating to Syracuse University? Here's a list. — Post Standard's Julie McMahon. Read more here.

— Congrats: "Manlius Pebble Hill School senior Nicholas Jerge, of Manlius, has been selected as a winner of a National Merit Scholarship. Winners for the prestigious award are named in every state, based on each state's percentage of graduating high school seniors." — Post Standard's Brenda Duncan. Read more here.

AROUND THE NATION:

— "A Yale University dean has been placed on leave over offensive reviews she made on Yelp, including one in which she refers to customers of a local restaurant as 'white trash.'" — AP's Pat Eaton-Robb. Read more here.

STUDY UP: "English and math teachers underestimate the academic abilities of students of color, which in turn has an impact on students' grades and academic expectations, finds a new study by NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. The study, published online in the journal Social Science Research, builds on existing evidence of how teacher biases in the classroom affect students and adds a new layer of information about students of different ethnic and racial backgrounds." — NYU Steinhardt

BONUS: First graders from PS15 visit NY1, via @LindseyChrist. See more here.

To view online:
http://www.politico.com/states/new-york/tipsheets/politico-new-york-education/2017/05/19/mayoral-control-debate-begins-007501

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