Thursday, April 14, 2016

Parents at Central Park East 1 Issue Press Release Calling for Removal of Principal Monika Garg

....the petition has been signed by more than 58% of current families. More than 1,700 supporters have also signed, including educational experts, NY Senator Bill Perkins, former New York City Councilman and Education Committee Chair Robert Jackson, former NYC Councilman and Education Committee Chair Robert Jackson, education professor and activist Dr. William Ayers, and large numbers of former teachers, family members and students.... Parents of CPE1.
I am at a Comfort Inn in Rocky Mount NC, an hour out of Raleigh. I didn't think I could do all the driving in one day so I cancelled my reservation at the Marriott for tonight but in actuality found the drive pretty easy - just me alone blasting the music and singing along - if my wife were with me we would have seen road rage.
But I wanted to get readers caught up on the fast moving CPE 1 story which I posted this morning: 
#savecpe1 - Support Legendary Debbie Meier Founded Central Park East 1 in Battle to Remove Monika Garg, Abusive Principal
Things are heating up as the story is getting out. I have a lot more to write about this especially on how Garg pulled the race card as a way to divide parents, which unfortunately a few parents fell for. Attacking the school's diversity and claiming progressive education is not beneficial to children of color is just part of the attack - she should be fired for that alone as it is racist to say children of color are somehow not able to deal with a progressive education that the rich kids in private schools get.


For Immediate Release

For more information contact:
Kenya Dilday: kdilday@gmail.com
Kaliris Salas Ramirez: ksalasramirez@gmail.com

More information at www.savecpe1.org

Parents at Central Park East 1 Launch a Website and Petition Drive to Defend Their School’s Progressive Practices and Remove Principal

The website and information about the petition can be found at www.savecpe1.org

East Harlem, NY. April 13, 2016---On April 8, a group of parents at Central Park East 1, a 41-year old elementary school that is the oldest progressive school in Harlem and the first formed by legendary educator, Deborah Meier, launched a website: SaveCPE1.org. The website — savecpe1.org — which has received nearly 8,800 page views since launch-- is part of an effort to defend the school’s core progressive practices and asks parents and supporters to sign a petition calling for the removal of the current principal, Monika Garg. Within four days, the petition has been signed by more than 58% of current families. More than 1,700 supporters have also signed, including educational experts, NY Senator Bill Perkins, former New York City Councilman and Education Committee Chair Robert Jackson, former NYC Councilman and Education Committee Chair Robert Jackson, education professor and activist Dr. William Ayers, and large numbers of former teachers, family members and students.

Parents cite several reasons that they believe Principal Garg is not a suitable leader at Central Park East 1:
  • In March, Monika Garg, principal for nine months, interviewed several very young children as part of investigations of veteran teachers and staff. The parents of these children were not notified before or after these interviews. One parent discovered interviews had taken place when her child was found crying at night without explanation and subsequently revealed it. It is only through parents coming forward that other parents were able to know to ask and appropriately support their children. The school counselor was unaware of the interviews and thus unable to provide support. Principal Garg has failed to respond to several parents who have asked who was present during the interviews or for transcripts. Some of these investigations are based on charges that are two years old and involved interviewing 7-year old children about events that took place two years earlier. While parents understand that investigations are an unfortunate part of school life on occasion, they believe that the way these interviews were conducted and the subsequent lack of respect for parent concerns showed extremely poor judgment.
  • Principal Garg has no experience in progressive education, no experience in early childhood education and minimal experience in elementary education. Central Park East 1 has a rich and well-documented history of progressive education and an approach based on individualized instruction and assessment. Principal Garg has consistently implied that the schools style of education is not suitable for “black children and poor children” as it is practiced at CPE1. This is contradicted by several quantitative and qualitative measures that have been well-documented and highlights of which are available on the website.
  • Veteran teachers have described their working conditions as intolerable. Several have considered leaving. Since many members of the staff issued an open letter to the community detailing their concerns with the principal’s leadership, multiple investigations have been initiated against veteran teachers and several have had other disciplinary measures taken against them.
These are just some of the reasons that a majority of parents feel that the current principal must be removed in order for the school to move forward. This decision was not taken lightly and follows months of attempts to get answers from the Principal and District Superintendent Alexandra Estrella. Their has been a consistent pattern of lack of communication and disrespect for both parents and staff. Parents do not feel that the district has been responsive to their concerns and that is why their petition is addressed to the mayor and school chancellor.

The website, savecpe1.org, offers an extensive timeline detailing the pattern of administrative mistreatment over time. It also provides just a few samples of more than 20 testimonials from families about what a Central Park East 1 education has meant for them and their children. It explains Central Park East 1’s unique curriculum and pedagogy as well as its success - as measured by the Department of Education’s own metrics.

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