Friday, October 25, 2013

Obama, in P-Tech Visit, Walks on Bones of Dead School And Pushed Out Students in P-Tech Visit

Robeson, which had a capacity of 1,000 students, Siegel said, found itself with 1,500 in 2005. "That's when we started having a lot of incidents, gang issues, things that didn't come into the building before that," Siegel said. "This is the story of all the schools that got closed down. We had the lowest dropout rates in the city, kids didn't leave, but it wasn't balanced. what it became was over 30 percent high-needs students, and no institution can survive that sudden change."... When P-Tech moved into the building, the two schools shared a cafeteria. Robeson students found themselves eating lunch at 2 p.m. The students lost access to parts of the building. The remaining Robeson students, Siegel said, are mostly "overage, unaccredited kids.".... Huffington Post
What better vision of neo-liberal Obama than his visit to a school loaded with resources co-located into the building of a school starved of resources to the point of being closed? Sometimes it is all about real estate.

One Sure Thing: Most Robeson Kids Not Wanted in P-Tech. Our film opens with Robeson kids protesting at the PEP with the cry: DOE Doesn't Care About Us. Amen.
Huffington Post (excerpts): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/25/obama-p-tech_n_4160548.html

Bloomberg's time as mayor have been defined by school turnover. While charter schools have received the most attention, Bloomberg created 654 new schools -- of which only 173 were charters -- and shuttered 164 schools for low academic performance. Many of them are small schools. (A recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology study of 101 such small schools found their students 7 percent more likely to attend college than peers in big public schools.) Many of the new schools have moved into buildings being vacated by doomed schools as they're phased out, a process city school officials call "co-location."

Bloomberg's drive to shut down big campuses generated raucous public hearings and school walkouts. De Blasio, who will likely succeed Bloomberg, called for a moratorium on closures and co-locations.
 
The school closings also are unpopular with some school communities. "The whole closing of schools is musical chairs," said Stefanie Siegel, who left Robeson in 2012 after teaching there for almost a quarter-century. "It does a lot of damage to community."

Robeson opened in the 1980s in partnership with Salomon Brothers, the Wall Street firm where Bloomberg started his career. As Siegel described it, the firm's promises were similar to IBM's for P-Tech.

But in 2002, Bloomberg and his schools chancellor Joel Klein started the small schools movement. Many big high schools were disbanded, and students who didn't attend the new schools shifted to the remaining big schools.

Robeson, which had a capacity of 1,000 students, Siegel said, found itself with 1,500 in 2005. "That's when we started having a lot of incidents, gang issues, things that didn't come into the building before that," Siegel said. "This is the story of all the schools that got closed down. We had the lowest dropout rates in the city, kids didn't leave, but it wasn't balanced. what it became was over 30 percent high-needs students, and no institution can survive that sudden change." A longtime basketball coach faced allegations of a long-term affair with a former student, and killed himself. A few abrupt changes of principals followed.

Scores dropped, and the city school governance panel -- whose members are mostly appointed by Bloomberg -- decided the school should be closed. A lawsuit filed by the United Federation of Teachers union stalled the closure for a year, allowing teachers and students fighting to save Robeson time to improve graduation rates.
But again in 2011, Robeson wound up on the city's closure list. “Roughly half of the kids who come to this school will graduate,” Deputy Chancellor John White -- who now oversees education in Louisiana -- said at a hearing, as reported by the GothamSchools blog. “Our goal is to change the outcome for kids.”
Lizabeth Cooper, a 2012 Robeson alumna who advocated for the school and now studies at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, said her school was full of energy until it was slated for closure.
"Everything that was, wasn't anymore," Cooper said. "If you yell at someone, the prettiest person in the world, 'You're ugly, you're ugly, you're ugly,' at some point they're going to think they're ugly. That's what the media did to my school -- they drained it, and they turned it into crap, and that's what my school became."
When P-Tech moved into the building, the two schools shared a cafeteria. Robeson students found themselves eating lunch at 2 p.m. The students lost access to parts of the building. The remaining Robeson students, Siegel said, are mostly "overage, unaccredited kids."
The Robeson students are "second-class citizens," said Justin Wedes, an Occupy Wall Street activist who worked with Robeson. "They're stuck on a sinking ship." From 5 to 15 students regularly attend, he said.
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Co-Loco Stories

A proposed South Bronx co-location was also criticized at a hearing for being divisive. (DNAInfo)

Students say they don't want a co-location at embattled Long Island City High School. (DNAInfo)


LONG ISLAND CITY — Critics came out in full force Wednesday night to a public hearing on the city's plan to co-locate a new school at Long Island City High School — which they say will threaten the progress the struggling school has made recently.
Students rallied before the hearing, holding signs that read "Don't Slice or Dice LIC," and a bevy of students and elected officials testified in opposition to the plan, which the Department of Education's Panel for Educational Policy is set to vote on next Wednesday.
Opponents say the plan would threaten the progress the school has made recently, saying LIC has a new effective principal and is back on track after several years of struggling — and a co-location would only set them back.
"It's clear that the students don't want this change, the parents don't want this change, the teachers don't want this change, the elected officials don’t want this change," Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas said at Wednesday's hearing.
The DOE has proposed co-locating a new Career and Technical Education high school in the building at 14-30 Broadway, which would open in September of 2014.
The new school would share the space with LIC's students as well as with one site of P.S. 993 Queens, a District 75 special needs school that is also in the building.
The proposal would mean reducing enrollment at LIC High School over the course of four years beginning next September in order to make room for the new school, which would be phased in with a new grade each year.
LIC would lose 420-460 students by the 2017-2018 school year, according to the DOE, bringing its enrollment that year to just under 2,000 kids.
The DOE says the enrollment reduction would allow for the new school option in the building as well as to "provide an opportunity for LIC to concentrate on a smaller cohort of students," according to the Environmental Impact Statement for the proposal.
The city points to the struggling school's performance over the years, including overall "C" grades on its last three progress reports and decreasing enrollment numbers.
But critics of the plan say LIC drew fewer students in recent years in part because of a tumultuous period caused by the city's attempt to close the school in 2012. 
"The city wants to take apart Long Island City High School," Rachel Paster, head of the Community Education Council for District 30, said in her testimony Wednesday night.
"They’ve tried it before and it didn’t work. it kind of seems like payback," she said.
Paster said LIC offers a number of important opportunities to the diverse Queens neighborhood it serves, including 26 Advanced Placement classes, advanced Regents courses, plus special programs and extracurricular activities.
"To try and co-locate a school that would reduce those offerings is absurd," Paster said.

2 comments:

  1. I teach at Martin Van Buren HS. We had a hearing at the school on Wednesday to discuss the co-location of a P Tech school in our building. The meeting was a typical DOE joke. No presentation and no decision makers present. Most of the members of the local education council were against the new school as well as all the MVB teachers and administrators. A few local people of the community were for the school as at least something to improve the school population. Nobody was there from the DOE to answer questions. Nothing was ever mentioned as to how this would improve MVB for current students.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Not supposed to improve MVB or students. Idea is to draw away your best students then close you down.

    ReplyDelete

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