Invasion Of The Charter Schools

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.

Invasion Of The Charter Schools

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?

P.S. 84 Jose de Diego in Williamsburg. After years of work by local parents, the school is
“balanced,” but on a knife’s edge.
Photograph by Kelly Schott
P.S. 84 Jose de Diego in Williamsburg. After years of work by local parents, the school is “balanced,” but on a knife’s edge.
Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz pulls down more than $300K per year.
edworkforce.house.gov
Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz pulls down more than $300K per year.
Eva Moskowitz's husband, Eric Grannis, also pushes the charter school concept.
grannislaw.com
Eva Moskowitz's husband, Eric Grannis, also pushes the charter school concept.
Stephanie Anderson, whose daughter attends P.S. 84, says the influx of charters “defies logic.”
C.S. Muncy
Stephanie Anderson, whose daughter attends P.S. 84, says the influx of charters “defies logic.”
Abby Johnson, 30, is principal of Success Academy Williamsburg, which focuses relentlessly on college graduation. “What’s wrong with offering more choice to kids?” she asks.
C.S. Muncy
Abby Johnson, 30, is principal of Success Academy Williamsburg, which focuses relentlessly on college graduation. “What’s wrong with offering more choice to kids?” she asks.

"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.

What about "innovation and excellence"? Well, your mileage may vary. According to a 2009 study published by Stanford, only 17 percent of charter schools nationally outperformed nearby public schools, and 46 percent did about the same. In New York State, charters tend to do much better, with more than half beating their district equivalents in math.

But the issue at stake in Williamsburg is not the virtues or the evils of charter schools. This is about the basic American democratic principle of local control, the notion that families should have meaningful input in determining their own educational needs and that a few entrepreneurial carpetbaggers pulling down six-figure salaries—with the backing of an unabashedly free-marketeering, union-hating mayor—shouldn't be allowed to trample parents' rights in order to advance their own philosophies and agendas.

Whether they are not-for-profit or for-profit, and they can be either, charter chains are businesslike—and they compete aggressively for students. Success Academy spent a reported $900,000 on marketing last year, including $250,000 to the lobbying, PR, and crisis-management firm SKD Knickerbocker. The chain also bought space for a set of large ads in the Bedford Avenue L subway stop.

Both Success and Citizens of the World are zeroing in on Baby Hui habitués like Miwako Dai, a lawyer who has lived in Williamsburg since 2006. "After our first child was born, I started worrying that there were no good public school options in this neighborhood," she says. "We looked at schools and properties in Williamsburg and other parts of Brooklyn with the hope of relocating to a good public school zone but didn't find anything that was convincing enough to make us move." She says she was "skeptical" of Success at first, but "my son is challenged at Success and comes home with a curious mind every day."

According to Parker, the charters are picking off newer residents in the neighborhood who also happen to be new parents. "This all started on the Brooklyn Baby Hui, which, as my stepdaughter calls it, is 'white people's problems,'" says Parker. "What stroller [to buy], blah, blah, blah. Very few people on the hui have kids who are already in school. And that's how the charter schools do their marketing. They go right to people who don't have kids in schools, and they feed directly into any fears you may have about urban education, and then say they have the solution for them."

Many parents have the same shimmering vision of the perfect public school: one that's progressive, with art and gardens and recess, but also with strong academics and good test scores without getting too obsessive over test prep. It's cozy and friendly with a strong community but not too many fundraisers or committee meetings. It's not crazy competitive to get into; it's integrated and diverse, but not depressing or scary or over-strict.

In short, it sounds a lot like P.S. 84 Jose de Diego, on Grand Street and Berry.

P.S. 84's success is the product of years of hard work. In the mid 2000s, police officers were regularly attending PTA meetings there to try to keep peace between the Hispanic parents in the upper grades and white parents putting their kids into the kindergarten. The school went through several principals before finding peace in 2009 with the hiring of Sereida Rodriguez-Guerra, who grew up in the neighborhood and has two children at the school. P.S. 84 hosts fundraisers by the likes of TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe and bake sales to benefit Occupy Sandy. In the past two years, a giant, colorful mural has appeared on the building with the help of local community organization El Puente.

"P.S. 84 is a progressive, balanced-literacy, project-based school," says Stephanie Anderson, whose daughter is in the dual-language second grade. "We're building a 1,500-square-foot rooftop greenhouse; we've got a working hydroponic classroom, relationships with local community organizations, performance arts, dance, music." Anderson got involved in WAGPOPS, she says, because she loves her school so much. Parker and Anderson and their fellow parents argue that P.S. 84 and similar neighborhood public schools are achieving a delicate balance on the knife's edge of gentrification—a balance that is threatened by the entry of outside charters.

"Nothing that they offer is unique or needed," says Anderson. "Our neighborhood schools are being overrun in a way that defies any logic."

For Mayor Bloomberg, as well as his former schools chancellor, Joel Klein (now an executive at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., where he oversees Amplify, the company's "education unit"), and his current one, Dennis Walcott, the logic is business logic. The three men are some of the most prominent boosters of charter schools nationwide, and when they talk about education, they speak the language of choice, investment, and free markets. "We're committed to developing a portfolio of schools for families to choose from," says Puglia, the Department of Education spokesperson. "While there are excess seats available [in District 14], communities have asked for more parent choice and additional high-quality options."

Who exactly the "community" is and what they've asked for is just the question at stake in District 14. "There are schools in the area with real needs," says Tesa Wilson, a mother and longtime neighborhood resident who has served eight years on the local parents' school advisory board, known as the Community Education Council, or CEC. When charter schools co-locate, they compete with the "host" school, which may well have lost resources as it lost head count. The CEC in District 14, for example, has asked for the past seven years to have enrichment programs reinstated, libraries reopened, and new high-quality middle and high schools established to relieve the pressure on the district magnet schools, says Wilson. Instead, they got new kindergarten classes run, outfitted, and freshly equipped by Success Academy.

It is the commercialism, expansionism, and self-interest that gets Moskowitz's opponents riled. In 2010, Moskowitz's private not-for-profit took in $12 million in funding, $3 million of it from the state and the rest from private donations. It paid Moskowitz, the CEO, $336,402 in salary that year, according to Success's tax returns. Moskowitz has said that she wants eventually to open 40 schools across New York City; six more Success Academies are already planned for the fall of 2013, three in Manhattan and three in Brooklyn.

"We've had a good relationship with long-established charter schools like Children's Charter 1 and 2," says Wilson. "Our first real fight was with Success." Wilson says the CEC tried for months to get someone from Success to come to one of its meetings; they finally sent a communications director, which "left a bad taste in our mouth." This year, District 14 lost an A-rated high school, so they asked the city to replace it. Instead, "we were told we'd get Citizens of the World. We were like, you've got to be kidding me."

So the neighborhood groups got organized and lawyered up. Advocates for Justice, a local public-interest law firm, filed petitions last year to stop the opening of Success Academies both in Williamsburg and Cobble Hill, but they were dismissed due to statutes of limitations. The parents' groups argue that they didn't hear about the schools in time to register objections, due to the same meager public outreach they were complaining about in the first place.

"I don't think people are against charter schools in general—our office has actually fought to keep some open," says Advocates for Justice attorney Arthur Schwartz. "It's that they should not be developed by people who don't care about the communities. In Williamsburg in particular, parents have worked really hard to have these integrated, well-balanced schools that a lot of people really want to go to, both yuppie parents and Hispanic parents. And plopped in the middle are these schools that change the balance. The concern is that they start pulling children out of schools that are actually functioning really well."

In January 2013, Advocates for Justice filed a new suit against SUNY's board of trustees, the organization that authorizes new charter schools in New York City, to stop Citizens of the World's entry into District 14. A long list of local officials—including Borough President Marty Markowitz; councilmembers Stephen Levin, Lisa Bloodgood, and Diana Reyna; State Senator Martin Dilan; Assemblyman Joe Lentol; and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez—has spoken out in favor of both suits, each of which argues that the charter organizations failed to comply with state regulations requiring broad community outreach to secure feedback and support for the proposed schools. For example, Citizens of the World claimed in their applications that they held information sessions at mixed- and low-income housing units. As their sign-in sheets showed, however, the sessions were actually held in Schaefer Landing and Northside Piers, high-end glass towers on the waterfront whose city-mandated affordable units are located elsewhere. (Citizens of the World says it also did outreach at six local Head Starts.)

Whatever outreach they did do doesn't seem to be working: At the public hearing for Success Academy Williamsburg on January 17, 2012, there was one couple in favor of Success and approximately 400 parents against. At a second hearing, in February, there were three local parents in favor, plus dozens of Harlem supporters bused in for the occasion.

The irony of all this skirmishing is that both sides claim to have the same goal: a high-quality school with a balance of kids of different colors, incomes, and abilities, something rare in a country where schools are more segregated than they have been since 1968.

"My parents grew up in Jim Crow in the South before the civil rights movement," says Tesa Wilson. "They were sent to a school that was subpar in every way. I have a real problem when children in this day and age don't get equality of treatment."

The fear underlying the hot rhetoric from opponents of chains like Success and Citizens is that for these charter schools, "diversity" really means picking off white and high-income families, the organized and affluent ones with the social capital and the time to agitate to make public schools better—the ones who would otherwise stay in and strengthen local public schools.

Currently, New York City charter school applicants are far more likely to be African-American than the average public school student, a pattern that's true nationwide. According to a study, "Choice Without Equity," by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, 70 percent of black charter school students nationally attend highly racially isolated schools that are 90–100 percent black.

Moskowitz, who attended the prestigious (and public) Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan before moving on to the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins, says she's trying to reverse that trend. Hence Success Academy's expansion into neighborhoods like the Upper West Side and Cobble Hill, where the chances of attracting diversity—i.e., white children—are better than in Harlem or the South Bronx. "It's Martin Luther King–ish and old-fashioned, I know," says Moskowitz, in a rather unlikely comparison. "But people going to school with people that are different than themselves is a very positive, healthy experience."

That seems like both a truly laudable goal and, given the unfortunate brand message the above race statistics transmit, a smart business decision as well.

Citizens of the World shares Success Academy's target demographic. Citizens' initial proposal to SUNY set a goal of 55 percent white enrollment in Williamsburg—a far higher percentage than you'd find at any local public school there. In a tour de force of PR spin, Citizens' community engagement director, Tara Phillips, says, "We wanted to create a school much more reflective of the diversity of the community relative to other public schools." In English, that means recruiting more white, affluent families to the school.

But diversity is a multi-dimensional metric. So while New York City charters have more minorities, they also have far fewer English-language learners than local schools (6 percent versus 14 percent) and fewer high-need special education students (2.1 percent versus 7.7 percent). The Success Academy I visited in Williamsburg had almost no special-ed kids. Critics like education historian and analyst Diane Ravitch say this is the result of charters' creaming off the students who don't need as many resources. The phenomenon of charters starting to pursue more white kids could add a whole other meaning to the term "creaming."

The mission statement of Citizens of the World focuses on community, peacemaking, and global citizenship. Phillips mentions "diversity" and "community" five times each in a 25-minute interview. Yet their community-relations problems didn't start in Brooklyn. Citizens' founder, Kristean Dragon, faced allegations of financial and ethical mismanagement and cronyism in relation to her previous organization, Wonder of Reading, which got millions of dollars to renovate Los Angeles school libraries before it folded. And Dragon met stiff opposition when opening in Silver Lake, a Los Angeles neighborhood that is a gentrified blend similar to Williamsburg. Stephanie Anderson, the WAGPOPS mom, connected with Silver Lake parents on Facebook and actually flew out to meet with them. "They did a lot of race-baiting in those neighborhoods," she recalls. "Saying, 'you don't want your kids to go to school with low-income Hispanics, do you?' It was the same playbook they're trying in Brooklyn."

Despite these long-standing issues, "the opposition has taken us by surprise," says Phillips, who can't keep a petulant note out of her voice when she talks about WAGPOPS. "The false accusation that we were targeting only white families just wasn't true. . . . It's been a very frustrating process to have the opposition throw lies at us to defeat our cause when there's so much work to be done."

"What's wrong with offering more choice to kids?" asks Abby Johnson, the principal of Success Academy Williamsburg. The upstairs hallway of classrooms within a middle school on South 3rd and Roebling is cheerful and orderly on a sunny Tuesday morning in January. In one room, kindergartners are playing with blocks; in the science lab, they are conducting experiments in growing bread mold; and in art class, they are painting pictures of cake à la Wayne Thiebaud.

The school appeared both progressive and regimented. I saw students, clad in uniforms, being repeatedly reminded to sit up straight and make eye contact with the teacher. Class sizes are at the high end (to make room in the budget for specialized teachers and a school psychologist), and the extended school day goes from 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Starting in kindergarten, there is a relentless focus on college graduation, with each classroom named and decorated after the teacher's alma mater.

"That military, rigid discipline, that 'look me in the eye,' 'no excuses' stuff—I get that Eva Moskowitz is sociopathic enough to put her own kids in this school to prove a point," says Parker. (Two of Moskowitz's three children attend Success Academy Harlem.) "But the president wouldn't put his kids in a school like this. No person of means would. They think somehow this is OK for poor kids, but you don't see the suburban schools operating that way."

"Our pedagogy is incredibly progressive," counters Moskowitz. "Discovery-oriented science, constructivist math, THINK literacy. Our commitment to recess and blocks is deep and wide. We have yoga!" (She clearly sees yoga, offered only at the Williamsburg branch of Success, as some kind of dog whistle to parents of my breed.) "I think you'd be hard-pressed to come to the conclusion that it is 'no excuses,' " she continues, referring to a tagline associated with the more militaristic KIPP charter chain.

She might consider herself progressive, but Moskowitz's communication style hasn't made her hearts-and-minds campaign any easier. "Eva Moskowitz has quite a reputation," says Wilson, laughing. A 2009 post on gothamschools.org asked, "What is it about Eva Moskowitz that attracts so many enemies?" (Conclusion: It's mostly a matter of personality, combined with that salary.) Neither she nor her husband will speak on the record about their separate-but-equal working relationship or about the somehow unseemly fact that they are pushing dueling charter chains on the same neighborhood.

Grannis says the help he offered Citizens of the World was limited to a single e-mail sent to the hui to arrange a meeting for local parents interested in charters: "My role has been greatly exaggerated by people who find my connection to Eva useful in pitching the vast-right-wing-conspiracy angle." Moskowitz prefers to believe in a vast left-wing conspiracy, writing off most of her opposition—including the multiple lawsuits and public hearings with hundreds of parents turning out against her schools—as the product of the unions and their "surrogates." "Randi [Weingarten, head of the United Federation of Teachers] made it very clear that it was part of her mission to stop Success Academy," she says.

WAGPOPS and the CEC, for their part, say their opposition has nothing to do with the unions. It's "pure grassroots," says Parker, adding that her group hasn't shared resources with, or even consulted with, union leaders. "The UFT does not employ me, nor do they give me a check," agrees Tesa Wilson. "What we do is volunteer work. We don't even get a plastic chicken dinner or a certificate from the DOE or the teachers' union, either."

Citizens of the World is likely to go forward as planned, but Schwartz, Wilson, and the WAGPOPS crew hope that their protests and suits will move the city to amend the planning process for new charter schools to include more meaningful community input. They'd also like to see it conduct a review of the effect on communities when charters target the exact same families as existing high-quality public schools.

The moment is right for that conversation: As Mayor Bloomberg ticks down the last months of his term, the public has lost its enthusiasm for mayoral control of schools, which he acquired in 2002, and for the businesslike agenda of charter schools, high-stakes testing, and all that goes with it. A January 2013 poll from Quinnipiac found that 63 percent of city voters want shared control of the schools, a steep drop from 2009, when a majority favored mayoral control. And by a 53 percent to 35 percent margin, we now trust the teachers' unions more than the mayor to protect the interests of schoolchildren. Maybe it's time for the grownups to be grownups here, and make the children the one priority we can agree on.

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94 comments
melendezjenna
melendezjenna

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.

publicschooler
publicschooler

@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.

lifeisrosey
lifeisrosey

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)

publicschooler
publicschooler

@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. 

lifeisrosey
lifeisrosey

@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.

publicschooler
publicschooler

@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.

publicschooler
publicschooler

@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."

lifeisrosey
lifeisrosey

 @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. 

publicschooler
publicschooler

@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
dsar9012

What do you gays care abut schools anyway.you can't have children

TheBigGuy
TheBigGuy

@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!

G1911
G1911

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!

BKBabyMama
BKBabyMama like.author.displayName 1 Like

@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.

aNYParent
aNYParent

@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?

CitizensArrest
CitizensArrest like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@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.

CitizensArrest
CitizensArrest

@BKBabyMamaI guess my brain has shut down since I'm going to leave one more of the numerous stories of the implosion of education in Louisiana. Sorry if this seems abusive of me, but if "they" could, it would be happening everywhere. %s

WAGPOPS
WAGPOPS like.author.displayName 1 Like

Some facts:

- 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.

aNYParent
aNYParent

@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?

TonyViet
TonyViet like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

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/

WAGPOPS
WAGPOPS like.author.displayName 1 Like

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

nycparent
nycparent like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

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. 


publicschooler
publicschooler like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

@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: 

nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2013/01/update-on-our-charter-co-location.html

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.


aNYParent
aNYParent

@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?

sachparent
sachparent

@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. 


aNYParent
aNYParent

@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
publicschooler like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 5 Like

@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.

nycparent
nycparent like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@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. 

publicschooler
publicschooler like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

@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. 

nycparent
nycparent

@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. 

publicschooler
publicschooler like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @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.

1sensei
1sensei like.author.displayName 1 Like

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.

G1911
G1911 like.author.displayName 1 Like

@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.

1sensei
1sensei

@G1911 @1sensei Yes it is racist and a form of class warfare. I think she meant to say that working class whites and minorities have been driven out of the district.

Im a retired teacher and served 10 summers in various schools in district 14. I watched the area transform  into Brooklyn Heights East.


sachparent
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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. 

BKBabyMama
BKBabyMama like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@sachparent 

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).  

CitizensArrest
CitizensArrest like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@BKBabyMama @sachparent The deeper reason charters are now targeting upper economic groups is that they have successfully made sustainable inroads into poor communities. They have established the beachhead there. Think M. Neimoller. The target is now on your kids. You are next in line.

MariaRomeroSanz
MariaRomeroSanz like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

@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. 

ConcernedFather
ConcernedFather like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

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.

WAGPOPS
WAGPOPS like.author.displayName 1 Like

@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. 

gunlockeb
gunlockeb like.author.displayName 1 Like

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.

SAUWmom
SAUWmom like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 5 Like

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. 

latinomama
latinomama like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

@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?

G1911
G1911

@latinomama @SAUWmom $300K/year.

And you are accurate to point out the fraud: Underperforming students that threaten statistics are promptly given the boot.  

SAUWmom
SAUWmom like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@latinomama @SAUWmom 

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. 

publicschooler
publicschooler

@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.

publicschooler
publicschooler

 @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.

SAUWmom
SAUWmom like.author.displayName 1 Like

@WAGPOPS @UWSdad @latinomama 

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??


SAUWmom
SAUWmom

@aNYParent @latinomama @SAUWmom 

What about the G&T programs?  Those are selected admissions and publicly funded.  Do you have the same objection to those programs?  

aNYParent
aNYParent

@latinomama @SAUWmom the reason why we need to look for options in education:  charter school student - My boy's school takes all the children vs. public school student - My boys school takes all the kids.   I am not trying to be mean.

WAGPOPS
WAGPOPS like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@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. 

UWSdad
UWSdad like.author.displayName 1 Like

@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.

latinomama
latinomama like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@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.  

 
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