I attended the hearing on Monday night and taped it. I know something about the school. My wife graduated from there in 19$% and her dad had a grocery store on Rogers Ave a block away and they lived over the store. But no matter how hard I tried to pursuade her to join me, she wouldn't go. After I retired, I mentored six teaching fellows at the school and so knew the lay of the land. Also, Vera Pavone, an ICE founder, was the school secretary there for three years.
The mostly white charter school crew claimed to be home grown, talked about options and choice, praised PS 92 as being a great school (but they wouldn't send their kids there) – you know, if you've been to these things before, they all use the same arguments - they are well coached. And of course, it is all temporary since one day they will have a building of their own. Duck, that flying pig is coming straight at you. But then again, why shouldn't Tweed hand over millions of dollars for them to build their own school - as long as they know someone with influence and money like the Robertson clan and Malcolm Smith.
Parent activist Carla Phillip, a PS 92 grad, spoke at the meeting and sent this report to the NYCEducation listserve (Leonie's List- who as I write this is about to appear on Fox after Joel Klein to discuss the charter school invasions- oops, just saw it and it was only sound bite).
Here is Carla's report:
The public hearing at PS 92 was well attended. There were a good amount of parents from PS 92 and Lefferts Gardens. This was the first hearing that I have been to where it was racially divided (blacks and whites). The Charter school tried to convince the public on the benefits of their school. To which I had to correct them on, in the sense of being a modern day form of segregation, where you have the haves and the haves not.
At one point in the hearing, you could literally cut the tension with a knife. I bought to the panel's and community's attention the Chancellor's letter on DOE's website stating the placement of Lefferts Gardens in PS 92 in September of 2010; and asked why are we having this hearing, when the decision was already made on January 8th? Yes, I had to go there. To which they said that the decision would be made on Wednesday at the PEP meeting. Now, we all know its going to be rubber stamped. That's what Bloomberg's appointees do - rubber stamp everything.
All in all, the parents and alumnis of PS 92 kept saying:
- Where were you (Lefferts Gardens), when we were bringing the school up to par?
- Charter schools need their own buildings
- Why your kids cannot attend the school now and help further improve it?
Meanwhile, Lefferts Gardens was stressing the fact that the school is an option and helping the children of the community. If this is a new option, why are they not pushing for their own space, but rather co-location?
And yes, there was a public official in the audience, Mr. Mel Faulkner from Assemblywoman Barron's office came to support. Thank you, Mr. Faulkner for taking the time out to come and its not his district. He understands that it is about the children and empowering the parents.
Finally, thank you Senator Adams for sending out the initial email and informing the community of the hearing.
And the struggle continues.
Carla M. Phillip