Prominent Regent Judith Johnson dies

Politico Politics 3 weeks ago

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Quick Fix

— Judith Johnson, a member of the Board of Regents — and the first African American to win New York’s superintendent of the year award — died.

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— New York is seeking to recruit Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green but she wants to stay in her current position.

— Orange County Republican Mike Martucci, a former school bus company owner, is weighing a bid against freshman Sen. Jen Metzger.

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Around New York

PROMINENT REGENT JUDITH JOHNSON DIES — POLITICO’s Nick Niedzwiadek: Judith Johnson, a member of the Board of Regents and an award-winning educator, has died. “Together with our colleagues on the Board of Regents, we mourn the passing of Judith Johnson — a visionary, pioneer and true educational leader,” interim State Education Commissioner Beth Berlin, Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa and Vice Chancellor T. Andrew Brown said in a joint statement Tuesday morning. “In a career that spanned decades, above all else, Judith was dedicated to the pursuit of educational equity and excellence for all children.” Johnson was a longtime educator who served for a decade as Peekskill schools superintendent as well as interim head of the Mount Vernon City School district prior to her appointment. In 2008 she became the first African American to win the state’s superintendent of the year award.

NEW YORK WANTS RHODE ISLAND EDUCATION COMMISSIONER — Boston Globe’s Dan McGowan: “New York officials are aggressively recruiting Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green to oversee public schools in her home state, but she intends to remain in the job that she’s held for less than six months. Infante-Green grew up in New York City and previously served as a deputy commissioner for the New York State Education Department, ‘so they expressed an interest in having her return to New York,’ said Meg Geoghegan, a spokesperson for the Rhode Island Department of Education.”

EX-BUS COMPANY OWNER RUNNING FOR OFFICE — POLITICO’s Bill Mahoney: Orange County Republican Mike Martucci is considering a 2020 run against freshman Sen. Jen Metzger (D-Ulster County), he told POLITICO. He’s the first Republican to publicly express interest in running for one of the eight seats flipped by Democrats as they won the majority last year. Martucci founded a school bus company, called Quality Bus Service, after graduating from Marist College in 2007.

YANG BLASTS ELITE SCHOOL TEST — New York Post’s Marisa Schultz: “Presidential hopeful Andrew Yang said the high-stakes tests required for entry into New York City’s elite public high schools should not be the only requirement for admission. ‘I think we should de-emphasize them. If they are going to be used and they should be used in conjunction with more holistic practices,’ Yang told The Post.”

BRONX CHARTER DEAN CHARGED WITH RAPE — Daily News’ Michael Elsen-Rooney and Thomas Tracy: “A dean at a Bronx charter school responsible for student discipline was charged with rape Tuesday over accusations she had sex with a 15-year-old student, officials said. Grace Trinidad, 34, a dean of discipline at New Visions Advanced Math & Science High School, befriended the teen and repeatedly invited him to her home in the South Bronx, according to cops.”

SURVEY TO ASSESS NEEDS OF AFRICAN PARENTS — Community Education Council 10 in the Bronx passed a motion Tuesday night to approve a survey to assess the involvement of African parents in the district. Survey questions included “How many African parents attend your PA/PTA meetings?” and “What languages and dialects do they speak at home?” and sought to gauge the extent of involvement of African parents in the PTA. “They assume that — when you are coming from Mali or Ivory Coast, you speak French — they assume that everyone coming from that particular country speaks French,” Bourema Niambele, a CEC member appointed by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., who introduced the proposal, said. But two members expressed opposition on the grounds that it would further division and wanted to come up with a proposal that is inclusive of all parents. “It’s not fair that we’re singling out one particular [group],” Isha Taylor, CEC10 member and community outreach chairwoman, said. Niambele said the goal was to encourage inclusivity of African parents who have been excluded. — Madina

— At a forum hosted by #DegreesNYC in Lower Manhattan Tuesday afternoon, New York State Regent Lester W. Young; state Sen. Robert Jackson; Cass Conrad, CUNY university dean of K-16 initiatives; Sugeni Pérez-Sadler, senior director of college and career planning for the city’s Department of Education; and Hispanic Federation President José Calderón weighed in on the state of higher education:

Young called for the formation of a student political action committee, arguing that the state funding structure does not consider evolving needs of students. He also said the state spends $67,000 per young person who is incarcerated, saying it has “prioritized the wrong thing.”

Conrad says CUNY needs more funding, noting that its base funding does not increase when it negotiates contracts with the Professional Staff Congress, CUNY’s faculty union. She also said TAP does not cover full tuition for students at senior colleges.

Sugeni Pérez-Sadler, senior director of college and career planning for the city’s Department of Education, says the city has made progress but racial disparities persist, also referring to challenges multilingual learners and students with disabilities face.

Across the River

CAN’T MAKE THIS UP — Ashbury Park Press’ Dan Radel: “Joseph M. Ferraina, the longtime former school chief who retired amid a lurid sex-scandal that cost the school district a $600,000 settlement, is running for the school board. … The 69-year-old Ferraina retired just weeks before a sexual harassment lawsuit was dropped on the district by former school administrative assistant Adele Russo, who accused Ferraina of keeping her as a 'sex slave' during business hours.”

CHARTER GROUP TAKES ON SEGREGATION — POLITICO’s Carly Sitrin: The New Jersey Charter Schools Association has been granted permission to intervene in the state's ongoing lawsuit to desegregate schools. A judge in state Superior Court in Mercer County ruled the NJCSA's coalition, which includes a group of parents and one school, will be allowed to join the lawsuit brought by the New Jersey Coalition for Diverse and Inclusive Schools.

Around the Nation

WARREN JOINS STRIKING CHICAGO TEACHERS — New York Times’ Mitch Smith: “Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, one of the leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, joined picketing teachers in Chicago on Tuesday, as classes in the city school system, the country’s third-largest, were canceled for a fourth day.”

RESEGREGATING OF LITTLE ROCK — The Atlantic’s Adam Harris: “[The] state board came up with a plan that would return limited local control to Little Rock School District. The community would hold elections for a local school board, but the newly elected board would only be responsible for the schools that had not received an ‘F’ grade. The ‘failing’ schools, which all have high minority populations, would still be under state control. The board’s plan would effectively divide the district by race.”

TECH COMPANIES SURVEIL STUDENT EMAILS — The Guardian’s Lois Beckett: “Bark and similar tech companies are now monitoring the emails and documents of millions of American students, across thousands of school districts, looking for signs of suicidal thoughts, bullying or plans for a school shooting. The new school surveillance technology doesn’t turn off when the school day is over: anything students type in official school email accounts, chats or documents is monitored 24 hours a day, whether students are in their classrooms or their bedrooms.”


DEVOS’ LEGACY IN MICHIGAN — New Republic’s Jennifer Berkshire: “...In the three years since Trump turned Michigan red, education has emerged as a potent political issue in the state, thanks to a steady stream of grim studies and embarrassing news stories. Between 2003 and 2015, the state ranked last out of all 50 for improvement in math and reading. According to a recent study, Michigan now spends less on its schools than it did in 1994. Republicans have slashed funding to give tax cuts to big businesses.”

Around the World

UGANDAN STUDENTS PROTEST TUITION HIKE — OkayAfrica’s Nereya Otieno: “Students from Makerere University in Uganda stormed a police station in Kampala to demand the release of fellow students who were detained yesterday. The 15 female students in holding were arrested for protesting a raise in tuition fees. According to The BBC, the female students were in the midst of a protest march to office of President Yoweri Museveni hoping to ask he step in and reverse the tuition decision.”

NAME CHANGE FOR SCHOOL TIED TO RACIAL SEGREGATION — CBC News: “The Greater Victoria School District has launched an online survey to gather input on whether or not to change the name of an elementary school named after a former school board chair who championed segregation in the early 1900s. École George Jay Elementary School, in Victoria, B.C., is named after George Jay, who sat as board chair from 1907 to 1934.”

Extra Credit

Brooklyn NAACP’s Education Committee met with New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza in Brownsville.

Power 105.1’s Charlamagne Tha God contributed $250,000 to South Carolina State University, a historically black university.

LIU Post received approval to open a veterinary school, and will begin accepting applicants for next fall.

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