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Liza Featherstone

LIZA FEATHERSTONE is a journalist and public school parent who lives in Clinton Hill.

REPORT CARD: Dubious Standards for Charter Schools

The city’s Office of Charter Schools knows what good education looks like, but just doesn’t think poor, black kids need to have it.

REPORT CARD: Reform via Gentrification

"Stay in your own neighborhood,” the parent coordinator at a sought-after school on the southern side of Park Slope recently admonished a group of prospective parents who had come from all over Brooklyn.

REPORT CARD: Drama of the “Gifted” Program

Parents all over Brooklyn are now learning how their preschoolers performed on entrance tests for the city’s Gifted & Talented program. (Yes, we do test children who are too young to tie their own shoes.) The children’s scores will determine whether they are eligible to apply for a range of advanced tracks and special schools throughout the city.

REPORT CARD: The Great Technology Scam

Describing her tour of the Community Partnership Charter School (CPCS) in Clinton Hill, one Brooklyn mom was amped. She didn’t have much to say about the curriculum or the school culture: the school’s primary appeal was the stuff.


There’s no money, city officials keep condescendingly insisting, as battles over Bloomberg’s austerity budget continue to raise tempers this muggy New York summer.

Our Fake School Board

The meetings of the Panel for Educational Policy may look like democracy in action, but nothing the public says can influence how the mayor’s appointees vote.

On Stealing from Kids

Providence Hogan, a P.S. 29 mom, may go to jail for embezzling more than $80,000 from the Cobble Hill elementary school PTA.

Education for the 99 Percent

For more than a month, hundreds of people have been sleeping outdoors on the cement in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, decrying the fact that our country is run for the benefit of the richest 1 percent, at the expense of the other 99 percent.

The Privatized Mind

Throughout this fall I was constantly texting. Anytime I had a free moment, I’d whip out my cellphone, never satisfied until I’d made contact.

On Hakeem Jeffries

The shops, restaurants, and dry cleaners in Clinton Hill are festooned with signs hailing a rising political star. The neighborhood is economically diverse—there are large housing projects, and Susan Sarandon just bought a place here—but politically, liberalism is a cheerful consensus

A Philadelphia Story

Mayoral control has its critics, and “Report Card” is among them, believing that the public deserves much more control over education policy. But there’s a chilling possibility that for the elites and the profiteers, the present-day structures are too democratic.

The Dumbass Factor

This spring, a group of eighth graders exposed the leaders of a multinational corporation as a drove of braying dopes. It started, of course, on Facebook where the kids tweaked Pearson, a profitable testing company to whom New York State pays millions, by exposing one of its “reading comprehension” exercises as nonsense.

REPORT CARD: “Who Wants to be a Teacher Now?”

It was exhilarating to see so many people in Madison defending teachers, instead of blaming them for failing schools and ailing budgets, as we tend to do here in New York—and just about everywhere else in this country.

Beware the Return of For-Profit Schools

Republicans in the New York State Senate have included, in their version of the budget, a provision allowing for-profit companies to establish charter schools.

“Education for Sale”

Republicans in the New York State Senate have included, in their proposed version of the budget, a provision allowing for-profit companies to establish charter schools. Most likely, this effort at wholesale privatization will fail, but it shows that the for-profit forces are gearing up for a renewed assault on our fragile public system.

Here Comes Success

An escalating charter school battle serves as a jarring reminder that even District 15 parents are still only the 99%—and that it’s the 1% that runs the show.

Ending Mayoral Control

The sober sixth grader was small for his age and wore a handsome pinstriped suit, just the kind of suit a mother wants her son to wear.


The anti-consumerist left’s tactic of non-buying emerges from a broader ascetic anti-consumerism. The most egregious example of this unfortunate tendency is “Buy Nothing Day,” the demand that people refrain from spending money on the day after Thanksgiving, the second-biggest day on the retail calendar.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2023

All Issues