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While Adults Play Politics, Kids Continue to Lose
August 15, 2014

By Nicole Brisbane, DFER-NY State Director

I’m not sure I understand Assemblywoman Deborah Glick’s rationale to deprive certain kids of getting a good education. In an op-ed by the New York Post Editorial Board on August 8, they noted that she wrote a letter to the chairman of the State University of New York Board of Trustees demanding they ban new public charter schools in District 2, which she partially represents. Her reasoning for the ban is because District 2 has some of the highest-performing traditional district schools.

District 2 covers some of the wealthiest communities in Manhattan, on the Upper East Side and Midtown West and below. Once you dig deeper into the facts you realize the high-performing schools she references are serving over 80% white students. In the same district, schools that serve a majority African-American and Latino students aren’t making the grade, with dismal performance on state tests.

Parents looking for better alternatives seek out coveted spots in public charters that have to turn kids away in droves because of space. Instead of supporting this opportunity for African-American and Latino students, Assemblywoman Glick seeks to limit it. I guess being an elected official in Manhattan means only representing the interests of white kids who go to good schools.

To read the full op-ed, click here.

Nicole Brisbane is originally from Miami, FL, born to immigrant parents. After graduating from Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Florida State University, she taught middle school intensive reading and language arts to students who were 4 or more years behind their peers. Read more about Nicole here.

Democrats for Education Reform Names Nicole Brisbane as New York State Director
August 12, 2014

Devin Boyle | 202.445.0416 | Devin@dfer.org


Democrats for Education Reform Names Nicole Brisbane as New York State Director

New York - August 12, 2014 - Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) announced today that it has hired Nicole Brisbane to serve as New York State Director. Brisbane comes to DFER from Teach for America, where she led new site development efforts as part of the national team.

“Nicole is someone who has fought for underserved youth for her entire career, whether in the classroom, the courtroom, or in policy advocacy, so we’re excited to have someone of her dedication as our new state director in New York,” said Joe Williams, DFER’s executive director. “With her diverse experience, Nicole will be a valuable champion for ensuring New York’s public school students have access to a high quality education.”

Raised in Miami, Florida, Brisbane graduated from Florida State University and began her career in education as a middle school reading teacher. Later, she attended Emory Law School where she spent time as an Education Pioneer Fellow with D.C. Public Schools and a juvenile public defender and law clerk at a civil rights firm. After law school, Brisbane joined Teach for America as the Director of District and Community Partnerships in Miami, moving into a national TFA role in 2012.

“As DFER’s New York State Director, I will continue to work to build an education system that provides opportunities for all children,” said Brisbane. “There are so many great coalition partners and leaders in the Democratic Party that are working on behalf of New York’s public school children and I look forward to working alongside all of them.”


About Democrats for Education Reform
Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) is a political reform organization with 13 state affiliates that cultivates and supports leaders in the Democratic Party who champion America's public schoolchildren.

Oh No He Didn't!
June 16, 2014

By Joe Williams

Poor Rubain Dorancy had no idea what he was walking into. Dorancy, a candidate for the New York State Senate, joined tens of thousands of Americans last week in noting the importance of the Vergara v. California lawsuit. Now he’s got Mike Mulgrew in his grill.

To bring you up to speed on all of the fake-drama that has ensued in the last few days so you can appreciate Dorancy’s plight:

  • Education Secretary Arne Duncan issues a pro-public education reaction to the judge’s ruling. (Joining other pro-public education figures like Rep. George Miller in highlighting the need to do better by kids.) 
  • AFT President rips Duncan to shreds on Twitter and in the press for siding with the young victims in the case and not standing with the rank-and-file in her union. While EdWeek notes that Duncan’s comments were actually “pretty anemic as these things go, and took a typically middle-of-the-road approach. It called on districts and unions to collaborate to write laws that better balance student and adult needs.” 
  • Press reports in New York suggest that Dorancy may now lose the backing of the once-powerful United Federation of Teachers because he dared to re-tweet Secretary Duncan’s original tweet after the Vergara verdict was announced. “With a tweet, Dorancy shot himself in the foot as far as teachers are concerned,” one ball-busting union boss told City and State newspaper. 

If it is any consolation, Mr. Dorancy, look no further than Mayor Bill de Blasio, who probably wouldn’t be mayor right now if the UFT had decided to endorse him in the Democratic Primary. This too shall pass. Keep fighting for the little guys.

UPDATE: Yesterday, Secretary Duncan doubled-down on his comments, offering even more details on what he sees as the lessons learned coming out of Vergara. Important read.


DFER-NY Releases Statement on AQE March
March 12, 2014

DFER-NY Releases Statement on AQE March

Craig Johnson, Democrats for Education Reform NY Board Chair, issued the following statement on the Alliance for Quality Education's march today in Albany:

"Contrary to what you may hear from certain special interest groups, the best way to fix our schools is not just to pour more money into the education bureaucracy. New York already spends $75 billion in education annually—from public schools to state funded universities—more than the total annual budget of 47 other states. What we need is smarter investments that actually deliver results, like statewide universal full-day pre-k, scholarships for students in critically-needed STEM courses and funding to reward our hardest working teachers. Governor Cuomo is taking a stand for our students by pushing for these programs, and we should all join him in putting our students first."

Read more about the AQE's march from the Albany Times Union's Rick Karlin.

DFER-NY's Craig Johnson Comments on Common Core Recommendations by State Panel
March 11, 2014

Source: New York Daily News

Craig Johnson, Democrats for Education Reform NY Board Chair, issued the following statement today on the recommendations released during Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Common Core Implementation Panel:

"The Common Core is essential to preparing our students for success in the high-skill economy, but it must be implemented correctly. The Common Core Implementation Panel convened by Governor Cuomo has put forward a set of recommendations that will improve implementation, protect students and parents from unfair high-stakes testing, and provide teachers with the tools they need to succeed. While some see the Common Core's challenges as an opportunity to derail critical reforms like New York's landmark teacher and principal evaluation system, we know that moving forward with improved implementation of the Common Core and maintaining our commitment to strong and fair educator accountability must go hand in hand."

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