Wednesday, May 28, 2014

NYC Teacher David Garcia-Rosen Battles DOE for More Small Schools Sports Teams

The leadership of the DOE continues to believe offering me a job at the PSAL is the solution. They continue to defend the PSAL which is one of the most “separate and unequal” high school sports systems in the country. I can’t go work for the PSAL, when they continue to defend their current funding model at the very few meetings they grant me... David Garcia-Rosen, NYC teacher and founder of Small Schools Athletic League.
.....the city is spending more of its $23 million athletics budget on large, wealthy schools over smaller high schools in the city’s poorest neighborhoods. “The Department of Education can’t continue to fund world-class athletic programs at schools with white students, leaving the most segregated schools begging for teams year after year,” [Garcia-Rosen] said. The city added 84 new teams to 50 high schools with the lowest percentages of black and Latino students last year — and the 50 high schools with the largest amount of those students got 22 new teams, an SSAL analysis found.... NY Post

About 20 years ago, New York began dismantling many of the megafactory high schools with 4,000 or more students, which were not able to prepare their students for the world. The large schools that survived were doing well, and had larger populations of white students. The traditional way of providing sports programs — the P.S.A.L. system — did not keep up with the expanding number of small schools... NY Times
I ran into David Garcia-Rosen, who I met years ago at Teachers Unite meetings, at a UFT event at the Hilton recently where he was promoting the Small Schools Athletic League, which he founded at his school in 2011. We didn't have time to chat much so I emailed Teachers Unite director Sally Lee to tell her I met David - and she filled me in on the story. That David, a remarkable teacher who often raised issues around testing, had taken his brainchild to offer sports programs to the small schools being denied them to his principal who agreed to let him spearhead the program.

David's story is an indictment of the ed deform mantra of closing large schools and replacing them with small, under-financed small schools. Guess where the large high schools remain open? Where there are a higher percentage of white kids.
....principals at the small schools began to use their own in-house budgets to pay for the teams — hiring referees, getting equipment and so forth. Last year, the league got a one-time city grant of $250,000, which its members say is about one-fifth of what it needs.
 We have always maintained that while not opposing the idea of small schools, the way the DOE implemented the policy often cheated students of the benefits that large schools offer. Athletics is a key issue.

Kudos to David for trying to find a solution and for a while it looked like his concept would be a GO.
Garcia-Rosen acknowledged that the city had offered to incorporate the small-schools league as a division of the Public Schools Athletic League next year, and had offered him a job in the PSAL. (The small-schools league has been funded by principals in the past, though the department provided a $250,000 grant this January.) But he said the city offered few details about how the small-schools division would be supported or how he would fit into the hierarchy of the department.... Chalkbeat
Was the job offer a bribe and a way to bury him inside the bureacracy and hold him and his program hostage? It seems only the UFT/Unity leadership has any faith in the honesty of the DOE.

Currently, David is the dean at his school.So David, being a 16-year vet of the dysfunctionality at the DOE, has decided to pull the plug on the program and file a federal civil rights lawsuit (see below for his letter.)

Is there a better story exposing the bullshit still goes on at the DOE? Look at their response and to NY Times reporter Jim Dwyer for being the only member of the press to expose their hypocrisy.
Was the new league not filling a need? The Education Department replied that 90 percent of New York City students attend a school with access to P.S.A.L. programs. That is, if a school fields a team in a single sport, every student in the school is counted as having “access” to the official public school sports league. So the number is a statistical delusion.
Dwyer reports Farina's response at a City Council hearing about the small schools league. 
For many, she said, sports was “what brought them to school. We are committed to expanding this and making it work. It makes a difference in kids’ lives.”
 Except when it doesn't.

Here are links to the articles.


His full letter is below (from Chalkbeat).
Good Morning Student-Athletes, Coaches, Administrators, and Allies,
 It is with great sadness that I report we have not been able to come to an agreement with the Department of Education to continue the Small Schools Athletic League next year.
Tomorrow morning, I will file a complaint with the United States Department of Education’s Office of  Civil Rights stating that the New York City Department of Education is in direct violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the way they fund high school sports.
The Department of Education can’t continue to fund world class athletic programs at schools with white students, leaving the most segregated schools begging for teams year after year. On the 60th anniversary of “Brown vs The Board of Education”, it is unbelievable that New York City continues to support one of the most “separate and unequal” high school sports systems in the country.
I built this league in September of 2011, because the Public School Athletic League said there was no way for them to bring interscholastic sports to small high schools. They told me to prove it could be done. We have done that with a league that currently has over 90 teams from 42 high schools with 1700 student-athletes.
I have been in the DOE for 16 years and it has never been about simply creating and running a league.
It is about every student in New York City having the right to play high school sports.
The leadership of the DOE continues to believe offering me a job at the PSAL is the solution. They continue to defend the PSAL which is one of the most “separate and unequal” high school sports systems in the country. I can’t go work for the PSAL, when they continue to defend their current funding model at the very few meetings they grant me.
Even after receiving my research in May of 2013, they went on to make the situation worse in 2014.
In Fiscal Year 2014, the 50 high schools with the least students of color got 84 new PSAL teams, even though they already had the most. The 277 high schools with the most students of color got the same amount. Not one team was granted to the high schools that are 100% students of color.
I will continue to fight not only for the student-athletes of the SSAL, but for all the student-athletes in New York City whose lives can be changed through the power of sports. I can assure you I will not stop fighting until every student in New York City has equal access to high school sports.
I hope to see many of you at the DOE Budget hearing tomorrow morning at City Hall, 9:45 AM. I will be there with SSAL student-athletes to deliver the thousands of signatures and letters we have collected over the past year.
Sincerely,
David Garcia-Rosen
Founder/Director Small Schools Athletic League

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