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 schools 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,
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.