GothamSchools In brief

From the notebooks of the journalists who bring you GothamSchools, the independent news organization covering the New York City schools

Here’s the first ad produced by the new group formed by Campbell Brown, the CNN anchor who has waged a personal battle against “inappropriate sexual behavior in the classroom” since last year.

According to a press release we just received, board members of the Parents’ Transparency Project include Democrats for Education Reform Executive Director Joe Williams and a member of the group for survivors of sexual abuse at the city’s private Horace Mann School. So far, the board has written to mayoral candidates asking them to address the issue of on the campaign trail and to state legislators asking them to make it easier for the city to fire teachers — something that Chancellor Dennis Walcott himself asked for last year, after a spate of high-profile sex abuse cases.

According to the group, even as the city has tried to fire 128 school workers for sexual misconduct, many remain on the Department of Education’s payroll because arbitrators set a lower penalty. The group says the UFT, which opposed the city’s effort to win more flexibility in teaching firing, is to blame.

Brown surprised Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s education reform task force with testimony on the issue last year, then got into a Twitter spat with AFT President Randi Weingarten after charging that the union protects educators who misbehave.

In response, Weingarten suggested that Brown had gone on the attack because Brown’s husband, Dan Senor, is a board member of StudentsFirstNY. The group, which formed to oppose the influence of the teachers union, quickly jumped into the fight to defend Brown on Twitter.