A new, well-funded, education "reform" group has opened up shop in New York, thanks to more than $1.2 million in backing from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.
The New York Campaign for Achievement Now, or NYCAN, is based on an existing model in Connecticut, Minnesota and Rhode Island, where the group took credit for a 20 percent increase in state funding for charter schools, winning two new alternate certification routes for teachers and principals, and overhauls of teacher evaluation systems.
Here in New York, NYCAN Executive Director Christina Grant is pushing "parent trigger" legislation that would allow a majority of parents at chronically underperforming schools to choose from several reform options, including converting the school into a charter school, firing the school administration or closing the school outright.
Grant, who grew up in Hempstead, Long Island, worked as a New York City Teach For America corps member in Harlem, then taught at a KIPP school in the Bronx. She also was deputy director for the Office of Charter Schools at the New York City Department of Education and associate director of recruitment for Uncommon Schools.