Check out this post to see the kind of world Citizens of the World is creating.
By Zachary D. Roberts
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell and Laura Shunk
By Albert Samaha
By Amanda Dingyuan
By Anna Merlan
By Anna Merlan
By Albert Samaha
Former City Councilmember Eva Moskowitz, with Bloomberg's union-busting blessing, is pushing her Success Academy edu-franchise into Brooklyn. The natives aren't buying.
When the hipsters of Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick are ready to add a little hipster to the family, we inevitably join the Brooklyn Baby Hui. The hui (it's a Maori term for "community," natch) has all the information anxious new parents need on making their own organic beet purees, which Mayan-style woven baby carrier and wool diaper covers to pick out at Caribou Baby boutique, and how to co-sleep on your vacation to Istanbul. I've lost a big chunk of my life to the hui since I had my baby in the winter of 2011.
But starting that spring, the list exploded into flame wars, deleted posts, trigger warnings, and bans on longtime members. The source of the friction was the entry of two charter elementary schools into the local District 14. First came Success Academy, a controversial and aggressively expanding chain founded and run by former City Councilmember Eva Moskowitz. Then, in April, Moskowitz's husband, Eric Grannis, an attorney who runs a separate charter-promoting organization called the Tapestry Project, e-mailed the hui to gin up support for Citizens of the World, the first planned East Coast outpost of a Los Angeles–based chain that arrives trailing its own cloud of protest and scandal.
Success Academy Williamsburg opened this past fall. Citizens of the World was approved in December to open in the fall of 2013—unless a lawsuit by local parents, who have taken their campaign from the hui to City Hall, manages to stop it. In other words, a full-on cage match is brewing near the shops and bars of Bedford Avenue. But it's more than just #firstworldproblems—it's a struggle over the urban soul and a microcosm of the national education debate. Each side claims to be concerned only with what's best for all children, implying that others are acting out of spite, greed, or bad faith. But the basic principle in play here is simple: Who should decide the educational needs of a neighborhood?
"Choice is not a problem. Quality is not a problem. Parents in this district don't have complaints about our teachers. City planning says these new charters are a bad idea."
Brooke Parker answers the door of her rented Greenpoint townhouse in her sweatpants, two days after Christmas. Her kindergartner is racing around with a playdate. Parker has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years and has two daughters and a stepdaughter. She used to work in film; her husband, Erik Parker, is a well-regarded contemporary artist. She is funny, profane, intimidatingly well informed, and talks almost nonstop for more than an hour. The co-founder and representative of Williamsburg and Greenpoint Parents: Our Public Schools (WAGPOPS), the parent group spearheading the opposition to Success Academy and Citizens of the World in District 14, she has a bracing message for outsiders like Grannis and Moskowitz coming into the neighborhood: "What the fuck? Who the hell are you? How do you get to decide we need a new school?"
This isn't some Waiting for "Superman" scenario wherein charters swoop in to save a broken, overcrowded public school system. Quite the opposite. As a rule, Williamsburg's schools are neither overcrowded nor broken. With Hispanic and Italian families priced out and white families moving in, the number of children in District 14 is actually dropping (when you don't count the Satmar Hasidim living south of Broadway, who propagate enthusiastically but tend to shun the public schools). So there is plenty of room in the local schools, and parents aren't obliged to send their kids to the one they're zoned for—they essentially have their pick of the neighborhood. And plenty of the existing choices are quite good. "Several district schools in the neighborhood received an 'A' or a 'B' on the 2012 Progress Report," notes Devon Puglia, a Department of Education spokesperson.
The flip side of under-enrollment, however, is that it opens up a vacuum in the district school buildings. Charter elementary schools like those in Moskowitz's chain, Success, save money by "co-locating" in existing school buildings; they see the depopulated hallways in a place like Williamsburg as an empty niche waiting to be exploited. Already, the 28 elementary schools in the neighborhood include five charters. If Citizens of the World goes forward with the sixth, Williamsburg will rival only Harlem in its charter school concentration. There are 136 charter schools in the city today, enrolling 5.4 percent of the city's schoolchildren—more than twice the percentage nationwide. Fifteen more charters were authorized to open this fall across the city. The wave seems to be building.
The New York State Charter Schools Act of 1998 authorized the establishment of charter schools in New York State in an effort to promote choice and innovation: "Charter Schools offer an important opportunity to promote educational innovation and excellence," as schools.nyc.gov insists. "Charter schools bring new leaders, resources, and ideas into public education." Here, as elsewhere, charters have been seen either as a life rope from the skies or a Trojan horse designed to turn public education into a voucher-based commercial enterprise.
Charters operate independently and autonomously, free from union work rules that prescribe everything from the length of the school day and school year to pension packages. Teachers' unions have seen them as a threat from the jump and have been tirelessly opposed: Not only are these non-union shops a threat to teachers' collective bargaining power, but charters also compete with district schools for tax money and other resources.
Check out this post to see the kind of world Citizens of the World is creating.
Why is this even a "debate"??? If you don't like the idea of YOUR child going to a charter school then don't apply! How dare you think it okay to attempt limit the options of any other parent or child because of your views! How hypocritical can one be? You say how dare a SA try to tell you what "your community needs or wants" but you do the same?!?! The applications will tell the truth about what "your" community wants. This is America choice/diversity should be respected not prevented.
@melendezjenna This is a debate because TAX dollars are being used. The community that Success Academy moved into and Citizens of the World is trying to move into already has excellent elementary schools with room for kids. This is wasteful city planning with a profoundly negative impacting on existing schools.
I am a passionate public school supporter. We live in Los Angeles and tried to stick it out, but I really feel like the APPROACH that is used in public schools is not the best option for children's varied learning styles. My daughter was dreading school and it became apparent that her love of learning was dwindling. One day we got a call from Citizens of the World Charter School in Hollywood that her name had been selected off the waiting list. We figured we'd give it a try and have been AMAZED at the difference. The approach to teaching math, reading, critical thinking, conflict resolution is so different. She is enthusiastic to go to school each day and energetic when she describes the projects she's doing. I also like the diversity and socio-economic mix they make a great effort to achieve. I'm not saying all public schools are horrible. I just think that the teachers in public schools don't have as much freedom to implement a curriculum that best serves their students, the way a Charter school can. I hope that public schooling will get better, but I've jumped ship as far as my child is concerned. I think the students of the Brooklyn CWC will be very lucky to be a part of that school and I believe that it will strengthen the community as a whole. (btw: I still donate and support the local public school because I genuinely care about the greater good that it serves)
@lifeisrosey If you don't live in Brooklyn, specifically the areas of Brooklyn where Citizens of the World is intending to be housed, how can you possibly speak about the schools in the area or the impact of creating new elementary schools? The parents in Williamsburg are NOT complaining about teachers. And, you're misinformed about the curriculum flexibility of charters vs. publics in the era of common core and standardized tests.
@publicschooler It's true I don't live in Brooklyn (although I'm am bi-coastal NYC-LA) but I felt that it was relevant to share my CWC Hollywood experience. And even in the era of common core and standardized tests, the difference in the high achieving public school we previously attended and CWC Hollywood is startling. They both are listed as 10 out of 10 in the Great Schools ratings but at CWC Hollywood, the approach, the methods of teaching, the way that the arts and critical thinking are integrated into every area of the curriculum is very different. My daughter is noticeably more enthusiastic to go to school each day, and it's clear that CWC has ignited her love of learning. I'm not saying your child should go to a CWC but I wanted to give my experience and the tremendous difference it has made for my child. At the end of the day, no one is forcing this upon you. If the community doesn't embrace these charter school options then they won't succeed. I just wanted to share my experience that Charter schools are not always the Big Bad Wolf, and sometimes they can be a wonderful asset to the community.
@lifeisrosey @lifeisrosey On top of that, this CWC "option," another K-5 school that this neighborhood simply doesn't need at all is being co-located in the only middle school in our neighborhood, one with a brand new principal, a Magnet grant, and a SIG grant. And remember, within walking distance of JHS126/CWC are 6 elementary schools with space for kids - Blue Ribbon schools, progressive (as much as you can be under the NYC DOE and that includes charters), engaged parents, diversity, project based learning, constructivist curriculum, trained excellent teachers, etc.,
Now that JHS126 will be co-located with an unnecessary K-5 (that will likely be pulling kids from other neighborhoods who could otherwise attend our neighborhood schools too), we can look forward to larger class sizes in that middle school, loss of mixed use space, loss of art rooms, music rooms, science labs, etc.,
But CWC keeps insisting that we should be grateful for them offering a school that the community doesn't want or need. Thanks for nothing, CWC.
@lifeisrosey That is a "rosey" way to look at it. It's also inaccurate. Last year, for example, PS110 - an excellent neighborhood school, had to come up with 8 children or lose $50K. This is what under-enrollment looks like. The need and desire isn't coming from our community at all. It's manufactured by a small group from outside our community. The community has come forward in record numbers to Hearings opposing the school. We have written letters, signed petitions and signed on to a lawsuit. Our tax dollars are going to $150K in Marketing this unwanted, unneeded school. This is real waste in the service of whom? CWC is actually an inferior model to our neighborhood public schools. We want our tax dollars used to support small class sizes, the after school programs we've lost, and wraparound services for our at-risk families - NOT a "new educational option."
@publicschooler @lifeisrosey I am a "shop local" kinda gal too so I get that. I am also a long time public school supporter. If that's the case that you have renowned schools with plenty of room then I don't think you have anything to worry about. If the current local public schools are so desirable to everyone then CWC won't have any interested parents. If there is a need and desire for an alternative option, I think CWC is an excellent choice. I get the frustration with using public funds for a new educational option, but that's all it is, another option. If the option is not needed then it will not be taken advantage of.
@lifeisrosey But you see parents in the neighborhood public schools say the say thing about our schools, particularly in the area around where CWC intends to co-locate in Williamsburg -parents at PS84,PS110, PS34 etc.,
We're talking about public funds which should take into account sound city planning. If we have excellent neighborhood schools with project based and hands-on learning, a constructivist curriculum, arts, etc., and there is room in these schools for more students, why should we divert public funds to YOUR school? Especially when YOUR school has an interest in syphoning raised funds and per pupil spending into a national organization hell bent on further expansion at any cost. We shop local and school local and we want our kids in class together.
@dsar9012 I live in Florida and my gay azz has no intention of making babies, but I wouldn't send my dogs to any of the fly-by-night charter schools here! If you want to see what a bunch of charter schools can produce, just come on down and observe the drooling, incomprehensible youth our"education system" produced. Oh, and don't believe that BS about diversity. I went to public schools with middle class farm kids, and turned out just fine!
America better wake up to the likes of Gates (who wants charter schools) and the surrogate of the Koch Brothers, Scott Walker (a college failure, like Gates) who rose through guile rather than academic integrity and greatness. These people have one-track minds: Power and profit at any cost.
It didn't matter to Gates to steal, err... borrow heavily from... the Quick and Dirty Operating System (QDOS). Even Steve Jobs who loved to attack public education failed to see the fact that the public schools educate EVERYONE, there is no throwing out of underperforming students or substandard test-takers; The public schools do not fire children like these heads of industry do or, for that matter, the Charter Schools who can and do remove undesirables.
In Newsday recently someone was attacking a local superintendent claiming she made a half-million a year. A simple google search revealed the supe was making $200K even, and this at one of the highest performing (top 75 ranked by Newsweek) districts in the country. Yet Eva pulls in $336K or more. That's not bad for a "not-for-profit" institution. Still, keep in mind, the name of the game, like Gates or Jobs or Eva is total domination of the chess board.... for profit. I can at least applaud Eva for sticking her children in these schools but that sort of discipline sounds sadistic. Discipline, good, but demeaning approach is bad.
What makes a school great is the parents getting involved and setting high goals for their children.
Schools are one of the last great untapped resources of wealth in the eyes of rich folks like the Kochs, Robert Murray, George Soros, the Rockefellers. New York Schools are the crown jewel. Gotta keep busting the unions and steal the nest egg since all the low-hanging fruit (pensions invested in Wall Street, the third world., housing) has already been picked.
Disarm the public a step at a time with FF Manchurian Candidate events from SSRI-laden youths with subsequent attacks on the 2nd amendment, the 1st (OWS), the 4th and 5th (NDAA, Gitmo) and now the 10th (State rights trampled from M-Jane to Education [RTTT and NCLB]) and you can have a compliant nation of sheep.
Kudos to the folks of this community for standing up for their children in the face of shameless economic imperialism. BRAVO!
Some other useful links.
On the public/private nature of charters. Kiss your and your children's rights good bye.
@CitizensArrest Wow, all good articles to read. But just to reiterate the last one, since charter schools have no oversight and they are autonomous, so are their student disciplinary practices. If a parent has a complaint that their child is being cruelly and unusually punished in some way, there is no recourse. I have heard some crazy discipline stories from ex-charter parents and now I understand their terror.
@BKBabyMama @CitizensArrest would you please write to Governor Cuomo and ... Cathy Nolan who chairs the NYS Legislature Education Committee and tell her we need an Education Ombudsman for K-12 as they already exist at the CUNY's, SUNY Binghampton, Buffalo and Stony Brook need to know more about public school ombudsman? see http://www.nps.k12.nj.us/22861071592419730/site/default.asp and the State of Washington ASK WHY DON'T WE HAVE AN OMBUDSMAN?
@BKBabyMama@CitizensArrestAll to true. And to think that charters once promoted themselves as THE schools that could deal with kids afflicted by the effects of poverty. Once the reality of that misconception came home to roost, they decided to dump those kids back into the public schools while declaring victory.
Not to freak you out beyond what you may already be going through, but check out the story below and thank whatever deity you may believe in that you don't live in Louisiana. http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/07/photos-evangelical-curricula-louisiana-tax-dollars
Sadly for those folks, this is just the tip of the iceberg of lunacy down there.
- On top of the public money (about 2/3 of public school funds) that charter schools receive per student, charter schools receive $2700 EXTRA from NYC DOE for use of public space (info from the Independent Budget Office). This means that charter schools generally receive $700 more per student than public schools. This, of course, does not even include the substantial money they receive from investors.
- Success Academy had a $23 million dollar surplus before Eva Moskowitz even asked to receive her %50 increase in management fees.
- Success Academy pays $1300 in marketing for each seat in her school.
- Citizens of the World Charter School has set their financing their schools with a Ponzi scheme. They are opening up a school in New York to get start up funds to pay back the $250,000 loan that they took out in California. Citizens of the World Charter School also asks each parent to give $1800 to their school.
There's a lot more facts that back up the reasons why parents and community members across the city, state, and nation are fighting privatization.
@WAGPOPSwould you please write to Governor Cuomo and ... Cathy Nolan who chairs the NYS Legislature Education Committee and tell her we need an Education Ombudsman for K-12 as they already exist at the CUNY's, SUNY Binghampton, Buffalo and Stony Brook need to know more about public school ombudsman? see http://www.nps.k12.nj.us/22861071592419730/site/default.asp and the State of Washington ASK WHY DON'T WE HAVE AN OMBUDSMAN?
Now colocation has become the preferred battlefield for opponents. NYC has been colocating schools for more than 100-years, and charter schools are only a small part of this practice. Perhaps the process of assessing space usage by schools is flawed, but I doubt it is on the scale implied by opponents. It strikes me as very analytical, and prone to not factoring in some of the dynamics mentioned in this article. It makes sense for the city to try to make the most of their space...it keeps costs down for all of us. If Success Academy needs to supplement the money from the state (which it gets a fraction of compared to other schools), how is the way it makes up the difference worse than the rampant fundraising other schools depend on? (There's a story I'd like to see). So a large organization spends money on marketing and PR as it goes through a growth stage, but how much money has been spent litigating and defending itself from all the suits opponents file?http://theglobaltransition.com/
BREAKING UPDATE for parents who were told that Citizens of the World Charter Schools would be a progressive choice for D14 families who don't think that their neighborhood public schools are progressive enough. The new Chief of Schools, Jana Reed, is the co-founder of Ascend Learning, a chain of charters in Brooklyn (with a new one opening in D14 for 2013-14). Jana is credited with "launching the organization and guiding its growth to its current revenue of $23.6 million." We strongly encourage you to read up on the "progressive" practices of Ascend: www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=2387
There is so much noise in the charter school debate. While not perfect, this article and some of the comments, surfaces some of the issues well. It also gives a glimpse into the messy way we approach complex issues. Each side trots out emotional points attempting to win their argument while substantive points slip by. Along the way, like this article, they veer into personal attacks and less substantive arguments.
Now colocation has become the preferred battlefield for opponents. NYC has been colocating schools for more than 100-years, and charter schools are only a small part of this practice. Perhaps the process of assessing space usage by schools is flawed, but I doubt it is on the scale implied by opponents. It strikes me as very analytical, and prone to not factoring in some of the dynamics mentioned in this article. It makes sense for the city to try to make the most of their space...it keeps costs down for all of us. If Success Academy needs to supplement the money from the state (which it gets a fraction of compared to other schools), how is the way it makes up the difference worse than the rampant fundraising other schools depend on? (There's a story I'd like to see). So a large organization spends money on marketing and PR as it goes through a growth stage, but how much money has been spent litigating and defending itself from all the suits opponents file?
With so much focus on adding more seats for elementary schools I hope the DOE is keeping an eye on the need for middle school seats in the future. Anticipating the future isn't perfect, but if they aren't trying then bigger problems than charter schools are coming in a few years.
Attending hearings this year about the allocation of space in school buildings has been an adventure. Opponents of charter schools gin up opposition to protect the status quo, telling students and staff that this is an indictment of their hard work, that money will be kept from them, and that charters are evil organizations attended by misguided elitist families. There are many ways conventional schools and the variety of expensive private options are off-putting to families entering this process for the first time. Perhaps this relates to how long a family has been here, but it is a big reason charters are appealing. The lottery to get into public Pre-K is not successful for lots of families either which sets the stage for parents to want choices. Paying tuition for another year isn't much fun either. Established schools would do well to present themselves better and not just as the default choice for families. The vitriol at meetings around the school our son attends makes you wonder if you want to go to school with the families in opposition.
We elected to have our son attend a charter school even though our zoned school is well regarded. It wasn't a simple choice. So far it has been a good choice. We passed on joining an established community with limited opportunity for input and a high cost to play the fundraising game played by the PTA machine. We opted for a school with an appealingly coordinated approach to education and the opportunity to contribute to growing something new and valuable for the community. Effectively we are attending a magnet school, with families from a wider area than a zoned school. It is a diverse population navigating the bewildering process of raising kids in the city.
This article is one small installment in a much bigger tale. Ideally the Voice will be writing more and finding a way to tell this very complex story from multiple points of view.
@nycparent You blow a lot of wind for not saying much and you are totally misinformed about the ways that schools operate.
You gave a vague fluffy description of a school with"coordinated approach to education and the opportunity to contribute to growing something new and valuable for the community." What does that even mean? What school are you referring to? How is it different from the excellent schools in D14 or the "well regarded" school you are leaving?
Nope, attending a charter school is not like attending a neighborhood public school that has "federal magnet funds" designed to de-segregate the school. A charter school gets public money but IS NOT ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PUBLIC. Plus there are well documented studies that charter schools segregate through "choice."
Colocation between public schools is one thing - they are on even footing generally and both schools are accountable to the public. Colocating with a charter school doesn't operate the same way. Check out the co-location blog at insidecolocation.tumblr.com for a peek at how it works.
The lawsuit seeking rent from charter schools points out how unfairly charter schools have been preferenced and how much MORE money they receive than the neighborhood schools that take all kids:
The article tells the complex story about how neighborhoods and the democratic process involved in city planning is being steamrolled by people outside of the neighborhood. It's a simple tale and very sad.
@publicschooler Agreed. A lot of wind and no substance. Borders on shill.
@publicschoolerwould you please write to Governor Cuomo and ... Cathy Nolan who chairs the NYS Legislature Education Committee and tell her we need an Education Ombudsman for K-12 as they already exist at the CUNY's, SUNY Binghampton, Buffalo and Stony Brook need to know more about public school ombudsman? see http://www.nps.k12.nj.us/22861071592419730/site/default.asp and the State of Washington ASK WHY DON'T WE HAVE AN OMBUDSMAN?
@publicschooler funny that you think that accountability to the public somehow that makes schools excellent. And unbelievable that you are trotting out that segregation claim about charter schools. These charter schools in the article are actively trying to create integrated schools by moving to neighborhoods with very diverse populations, and they are getting attacked. but when they stay in neighborhoods that are not diverse, they are attacked for being segregated.
@sachparent @publicschoolerwould you please write to Governor Cuomo and ... Cathy Nolan who chairs the NYS Legislature Education Committee and tell her we need an Education Ombudsman for K-12 as they already exist at the CUNY's, SUNY Binghampton, Buffalo and Stony Brook need to know more about public school ombudsman? see http://www.nps.k12.nj.us/22861071592419730/site/default.asp and the State of Washington ASK WHY DON'T WE HAVE AN OMBUDSMAN in NY?
@publicschooler@sachparent There are many places in the country where charters are resurrecting Jim Crow. http://dianeravitch.net/2013/02/03/why-does-minneapolis-have-so-many-segregated-charter-schools/
@sachparent It is not accountability that makes schools excellent, it is what makes their use of tax payer dollars PUBLIC.
Charter schools trying to integrate (get more white kids) is done at the expense of integrating public schools. The numbers and studies on this speak for themselves.
@publicschooler I can't speak to the situation in D14, or with great authority that the education our son is getting is better or worse than he might have somewhere else. The teachers are competent and the resources available for teaching are ample. I can't speak for all charters either, but our son is doing well and the schools around us are not suffering.
I meant it is like a magnet school in that the families are not concentrated in an area like a zoned school would be, but I can assure you that it is a very diverse student population. In some cases a spot in the charter has meant one less person lost to private schools, or a family that left for the suburbs.
If you think rent should be paid then the subsidy for each student would go up, and it would hurt the smaller charter organizations more than the big ones.
The blog on colocation does provide a glimpse into one person's perspective, but without the balance of a well reported story. Frankly I don't get the whole micro-high school thing, but I attended a high school that was colocated with other schools and it wasn't a big deal. Opponents here suggest that high school students can't be near little people, but the presence of the charter is nothing compared to the security checks and need for a police presence that rivals a small town's force. If the charter limits places for the older kids to skip classes or hide from surveillance cameras then I have little sympathy for them.
Politics and business make for a toxic mix, but clearly this is an issue in public schools and charters alike. I'm looking forward to good reporting on the financial issues involved. Good as in not leading with a comment suggesting the audience is delusional and misguided.
@nycparent The process to co-locate the school was not done well or democratically. Why do you think hundreds of parents and elected representatives are fighting in D14? That is precisely the story. Do you know what is considered underutilized space in public school buildings? Art rooms, science rooms, music rooms, special ed rooms, libraries, and anything that is not a traditional classrooms.
@publicschooler @nycparent No need to shout, I never said the premise that D14 might not be the best place for a school, only that the they are being offered available space and the parents in the area a choice. If their is underutilized space in the building I'd rather see it used than be heated and maintained and unused. A process was used to determine there was space in the building and determined it won't adversely impact the school. Was it not done well? I haven't seen anything to suggest that in the school we are colocated with. I haven't researched the bigger picture of middle school and high school capacity, and there very well may be a story there.
@nycparent So you're not a D14 parent. And you don't know the particulars of our district or why we are against charter expansion in D14. That matters, and that's really what the article is about, isn't it? The district did a comprehensive study and proved that there will be a negative impact of adding new elementary schools when there aren't enough students to fill the schools as it is. For years, D14 has said they want more middle schools and high schools.
The larger co-location argument against the Citizens of the world charter school coming to D14 is that they are moving into the ONLY MIDDLE SCHOOL IN GREENPOINT! That is totally unacceptable and against the needs of the community. They WILL be taking space from the middle school and will inhibit JHS126s' ability to serve the neighborhood.
Zoned schools that have no waiting lists are unzoned. You have to understand this issue through the lens of THIS PARTICULAR DISTRICT.
ANYA KAMENETZ statement that Italians are not White is interesting. At the turn of the last century people with her last name and Italians were considered unworthy of being Americans by people with her bourgeois attitude. I take offense and I'm not even Italian.
@1sensei Thank you, Sensei, I am glad that I wasn't the only one to notice that outrageous and offensive comment. Sad that in 2013 that breed of racism exists, the very same when my grandfather walked off the boat as a teenager with nothing but the clothes on his back in 1918 to help build this country.
this article is outrageous in it's vacuous claims about how great the local schools are. Note the main activist has her child in a dual enrollment program - which are ALWAYS populated by a self-selected group of more educated and motivated parents. What about the parents who don't get into that program!? I too have a child in a zoned and a success school and am thrilled I have that choice. I don't understand who these people are fighting for? Many underserved families are dying to send their child to a charter school - more well-to-do parents can figure it out and if the local schools are so great (which I very very highly doubt as very few DoE schools are) then these charter schools will be a non issue.
Then why are they putting new charters in "well-to-do" neighborhoods and not the under-served neighborhoods? Because they no longer want to serve the underserved population. It's not a sustainable model for them to keep up high-test scores in an at-risk population so they are dumping them to move to white neighborhoods. That's why Success put their expensive ad campaign in the Bedford Ave. train station and not further down the line. And at the Success meet the principal session, all the white and middle-class families were already accepted to the school while several African-American families reported being mysteriously waitiisted, but told they were required to come. You "highly doubt" there are any good public school options in Cobble Hill, the Upper West Side, Williamsburg where all these new charters are being placed? Come on, do even the most basic research and you will find that you are completely mistaken. And the dual language programs are equally populated by primary speakers of each language. The purpose of them is to integrate and EVERYONE who wants to can get into them, not like the fake "lottery" system of these charters (which, by the way offer NO foreign language despite their pretend progressiveness).
@sachparent I agree with the person who talked about latinos not being represented in this article. I'm puerto rican and I have my daughters in a spanish dual language program. It's great because my kids can speak spanish and english too. Spanish dual language in an area that's still latino isn't elitist its common sense. Dual language means that friends of mine who dont speak english can have their kids in the same class as kids learning spanish. You can too because theres room for more kids. You live in cobble hill, so what do you know about the southside or my neighborhood? Everything you wrote shows me that you don't live here and dont know anything about Williamsburg.
@MariaRomeroSanz @sachparentwould you please write to Governor Cuomo and ... Cathy Nolan who chairs the NYS Legislature Education Committee and tell her we need an Education Ombudsman for K-12 as they already exist at the CUNY's, SUNY Binghampton, Buffalo and Stony Brook need to know more about public school ombudsman? see http://www.nps.k12.nj.us/22861071592419730/site/default.asp and the State of Washington ASK WHY DON'T WE HAVE AN OMBUDSMAN?
The author doesn't understand that parents making choices for themselves is the ultimate form of local control. It is Parker and Wilson who are trying to control where kids go to school.
I guess for them local control is below the federal level, below the state level, below the city level, and stops and is perfectly applied at the CEC level, but doesn't go one level down to the parent level. Why should Parker and Wilson be able to stop parents who want to send their kids to a Success Academy from doing so?
You would have to believe that this supposedly "creamed" population of anxious young educated parents with kids not yet in school are duped by Success Academy's marketing program that was on the one hand incredibly extensive, and on the other hand didn't reach the most activist, informed, engaged local parents who read every blog posting on schools in the tri-state area.
@ConcernedFather You misunderstood the article. There were TWO different charter school chains pursuing co-location in D14 neighborhood public schools. The first, Success Academy, was approved to open for this year, but the community didn't know about it until well after co-location was already decided and Success Academy plastered the affluent Northside with advertisements and mailers.
"Citizens of the World" is a separate charter school chain that tried to slip in without anyone noticing - their meetings were held in affluent condos and their public outreach was extraordinarily sneaky. The article didn't mention that Tara Philips, the paid outreach coordinator for Citizens of the World Charter Schools in New York, didn't come into the job until after SUNY accepted the proposal, so she's not particularly well versed on either the neighborhood or her own organization's entry to our neighborhood.
Deciding which *existing* school to attend is one thing, and as the article made clear, D14 has fantastic schools to choose from with no waiting lists. But when we talk about opening *new* schools, that's an issue that should managed by responsible and democratic city planning - not individuals.
Those parents they talked to are college grads. Their kids are going to grow up around books and NPR and all that. It doesn't matter much whether their kids' school is a good one. So they can wax glowingly about the diversity at the Diego Rivera school. It's a little bit phony.
I have a child in a zoned school and a child in a Success Academy. I think that the Success Academy is the right fit for my older child and I am absolutely certain that I, rather than Brooke Parker, know what is best for my child.
When charter opponents whine about charters taking away tax dollars and space from DOE schools, remember that CHARTER PARENTS PAY TAXES TOO! The district schools and UFT should not have a monopoly on tax payer dollars.
@SAUWmomThey had me sold too so I understand and don't blame you for drinking the KoolAid. I went through it last year at Success Academy Bed Stuy. If your 5 year old kids a good tester and sits in their seats quietly you won't feel it. But if your kid is antsy or maybe not academic yet, then right after November 1 when Success Academy gets all the money POOF! They tell you that maybe the schools not right for your family. My boy is happy at a public school now. Theres something wrong with these schools.You know how much $$$$$ Eva Moskowitz makes off this scheme?
I commend you for pulling your child out of Success. You know what is right for your child, and clearly it was not the right fit. Just as you know what is best for your child, I know what is best for mine. Success Academy is the best fit for her. She is in her second year and has embraced the challenging culture and academics. No Kool-Aid needed to LOVE this school, it comes naturally with no added sugar!
This is not a fight about one school being better than another, rather one school being a better fit for an individual child than another. Quality school choice will make us all stronger.
@SAUWmom @WAGPOPS @UWSdad @latinomama Nonsense. UFT agreed to APPR, flaws and all. Even more ironic, they've worked with Cuomo, the career politician who has done more to harm Main St. than any other politician alive today.
As soon as the politicians show some accountability then we can go after the teachers.
@SAUWmom @aNYParent @latinomama G&T are programs in PUBLIC schools. Personally, I think that they segregate within schools and that every measure of "gifted" seems to exclude non-white children and the "talented" part isn't really dealt with either, but that's just me. Mayoral control has completely demolished local decision making with that.
@SAUWmom @WAGPOPS @UWSdad @latinomama 1. Sex offenders? Charter schools have them too. Accountability doesn't mean that there aren't corruptible people, but that systems are OPEN, transparent, and accountable to the public. Success Academy is NOT open and transparent or accountable to the public in their use of tax dollars. One example, Success Academy claims that it purchases backpacks and uniforms for it's students on their tax forms, but we KNOW that parents pay $400 for them. You can't get rid of corruption 100%, but the systems in place to prevent corruption must be democratic, transparent and accountable to the public.
2. Rubber rooms? Blame the NYC DOE and their abysmally slow process for arbitration. It doesn't have to be this way, but it suits the mayor's interest in pretending that schools can't remove teachers. In my own school I have seen the principal remove teachers.
3.. Graduation rates? Democracy Prep has high graduation rates AFTER they lost 1/3 of their students. That's not really high graduation rate if you get rid of students. It's a lie. On the other hand, if local districts had some say, they'd open more vocational schools - a PROVEN method of increasing graduation.
4.You should read about WHY parents (not just the union, but PARENTS) disagree with the mayor on his plan for teacher evaluations.Those of us who read the papers (besides the NYPost) recognize that the tests they want to use to evaluate teachers are HORRIBLE measures for assessment of teaching. They're not designed for that purpose and their measurements are random and incorrect. I like the MORE caucus of the UFT and am hoping that this election, Mulgrew will be voted out and Cavanaugh (of The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman fame) will be the next UFT President.
5. You are totally wrong about charter schools closing after 5 years, especially in NYC. They DON'T close after 5 years and when they DO close, it's for financial mismanagement not poor academics.
Do you think the public schools are accountable? In the past five years there have been almost 100 teachers caught in sexual relationships with students and over 90 are still collecting full paychecks, funded by us taxpayers. Does that demonstrate accountability?
Graduation rates are 61%; of those that graduate 20% are "college ready". Does that demonstrate accountability?
The UFT consistently fights any teacher evaluation process -- something that may actually increase the graduation rate. Does that demonstrate accountability?
Charter schools that do not meet Board of Regents requirements are closed at the end of the school year. The stakes for performance are high - can't say the same for DOE schools.
How do you define accountability? And do you truly believe DOE schools are truly accountable to the public??
@UWSdad @latinomama Maybe you weren't aware that Success Academy Williamsburg was actively recruiting students from four Blue Ribbon Schools in D14 - PS34, PS31, PS132, and PS380. These are strong neighborhood schools that accept every student - no lottery necessary - and they all have seats for more students.
Strong neighborhood schools make neighborhoods stronger. There's abundant research that supports this.
At the end of the day, UWSdad, this really isn't about the quality of Success Academy (which is no better and in many ways less desirable than our neighborhood schools), this is about how schools get created. We don't believe that schools should be imposed upon districts without regard for the educational landscape, but that responsible and democratic city planning should be used with public funds.
Finally, simply because Success Academy is free (through using public funds) doesn't make it public. Public would mean that the school was accountable to the public. Success Academy represents the privatization of public funds.
@latinomama @SAUWmom How can you make a blanket statement "that strong public schools for everyone make us stronger"? What do you think a charter school is? Private? No, its public, too. Lottery based but nevertheless public. Your statement makes no sense whatsover. What if your version of a strong public school is an overcrowded one in which I can't get in even if I'm zoned for it? Or what if its lottery-based? And btw, its not a "scheme", its called providing children with an excellent education. I guess you didn't notice that Harlem Success #1 had just won the Blue Ribbon Award. So the school didn't work out for your child, it doesn't mean you have to bash it.
@SAUWmom You are wrong. School choices like Success Academy don't make us all stronger. Strong public schools for everyone make us all stronger. My boys school takes all the kids.