Saturday, August 4, 2007

Tweed's Trojan Horse

Bloomberg/Klein Intentions Revealed

The Department of Education is pledging to help solve a charter school space crunch, pointing to an aggressive campaign to close a slew of city-run sch
ools in the next two years.

A new accountability plan slated to begin in September will place about 70 schools under consideration for closure in 2008,
creating potentially dozens of abandoned school buildings for charter schools to take over. Chancellor Joel Klein's Office of New Schools is touting the possibility to charter operators desperate to find new facilities as their schools grow."

Thus begins "School Closures May Open Way For New Charters," an article by Elizabeth Green in the NY Sun that exposes in one of the clearest ways we've read the true intentions of BloomKlein: To turn over as much of the school system to private operators as possible and to facilitate this by manipulating school closings so they can turn over entire school buildings where there will be no public oversight and little or no union presence. (Oh, sorry! That's already the situation in most schools.)

Phew! For a while we thought they were going to sell off all schools in hot neighborhoods to condos developers and adopt our idea to build stadiums where 50,000 kids at a time can be taught. Shhhhh!

Actually, when you tie all the building of housing without asking developers to account for where kids will be going to schools, it all begins to make sense. Drive people with children who can not afford to live in NYC out by turning over local schools to charters which will never be able to handle the large numbers of students. What will be left are overcrowded schools with high class sizes (note how the Ross Charter based at Tweed just had their class size capped at 20) loaded with the most at-risk students who will be doomed to fail.

The insertion of charters into school buildings targeted for failure could be compared to Trojan Horses. Well, at least Troy didn't abandon their experienced warriors. The invading forces of BloomKlein will ultimately find their Achilles heel as in the post BloomKlein tight lips will become unsealed.

And by the way, where it the UFT on this? Jumping right in and trying to get a piece of the gravy by setting up its own charter schools in public space.

Green's full article is posted on Norm's Notes.

Lisa Donlan from the District 1 (lower east side) Parent's Council, who blogs here, commented on the NYC Education News Listserve:

In a mailer from Saint Ann's School I found an article by the founder of the charter school Girls Prep, class of '84, who writes:

" To introduce choice and accountability into the system, Bloomberg and Klein encouraged the creation of 45 charter schools with in the city... Intrigued by this I met in the fall of 2002 with Chancellor Klein to ask whether he was serious about letting private citizens run public schools. "Serious?" he asked at our first meeting. "We need public charter schools to show the other public schools how accountability works. Would it be easier for you to start if I gave you free space in a public school building?"

Of course the article fails to describe the PS where the charter has been "incubating," other than pointing to its location in a "tough neighborhood, right next to the housing projects that line the East River." No mention of the 250 kids who are 98% minority, 89% of whom are eligible for free or reduced lunch that attend this NYSED designated School In Need of Improvement. Rather than support the high needs children served by this community pre-K - 5th grade school, the charter school set prefers to use " free space," pushing out a District 75 school in the process, to serve another set of almost just as poor and nearly as highly concentrated group of minority children, half of whom commute an hour to attend the school.

Why? According to the author, it is because " our lack of overhead means that we can pay our teachers more. In exchange, our teachers work longer hours and a longer school year, and can be fired if their students do not show progress. We find that this deal- better pay for better performance- attracts talented teachers." As a result, there are 200 applicants for 4 new teaching positions next year, he boasts.

If the PS gets an F next year, Girls Prep can start rolling out their plans for expansion, maybe even a Boys Prep to boot, with all that "free space" up for grabs.


  1. I forwarded this to a staff member of the school that Lisa Donlan hints at.
    A response:
    The person that made the reference, is probably stating the truth. Some of us always thought, that the Girls would take over the building. The rest of the teachers had to move down to a new floor. The special ed school on my floor moved out to a new building, but a new special ed school is going to take over 1-3 rooms on the floor. The rest of the floor is the Girl's Prep and the whole 5th floor is the Girl's school, except for the rooftop room. We share that space with them.
    We probably will have an F on our report. Our Quality Review Report was awful. Although, the person that did it had many nice things to say to us at the end of the review. She thought we were on target and doing well. However, I heard that a few days after we were reviewed/visited.................Klein called in all the reviewers and told them they need to start lowering the marks, since the reviews were coming back too high. Our review was done a retired principal. I heard from a reliable source, that many of the retired LIS and other administrators from the regions without jobs, will be going into the schools to do the Quality Review. I guess between the Quality Review and test scores, the school will get an F. However, we had very few level 1's this past year. Our scores went up, but they are still not great. We had very few kids that needed to go to summer school, since most kids passed the tests. I still remember sitting at a meeting 3 years ago, where DR and company promised that the Girl's Prep would never push us out of the building. Of course I didn't believe it, nor did the principal (who was later removed) or anybody else sitting around the table at the time. Many feel that the new principal was brought in by a rabbi so to speak. Some think it was PH and that the principal was told to just to sit tight at the building and when it closes, he will be given a new position. With all the crazy things he has done since he took over, and he never gets in trouble, he must really have a rabbi watching over him.

  2. Seriously, does ICE even serve a real purpose other than to drive a wedge within our union? Has ICE ever accomplished anything worthy of mention? And no, a sham presidential candidate in the last election, shoddy quality YouTube films, and heckling during the Delegate Assembly doesn't count.

    -Son Of Unity, the next generation
    I'll be back!


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