Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wild Night at CEC1 Meeting on Girls Prep Charter: Updated

Last night saw an outpouring of public school parents from many schools on the Lower East Side (district 1) opposing the DoE/Girls Prep charter to expand to include a middle school. But that is what charters do. They keep expanding until there is little remnant of the public school they occupy. If you want to compare it to a cancer, feel free to do so.

The Gotham School report on the meeting captures little of what really went on. I left this comment:

Were we at the same meeting? I think this report doesn't represent what really went on last night. It was one of the few times where a massive opposition to the way charters are placed has occurred, akin to the Marine Park protest against the Hebrew Charter last May and the PS 15 protest in Red Hook against the PAVE expansion in Sept. But that meeting was somewhat balanced between the groups. The CEC 1 meeting was overwhelmingly opposed by an extremely large number of people, while Girls Prep had little comparative representation. (They probably don't have the same resources Eva Moskowitz has to hire buses.)

The fervor of the crowd reached epic proportions of anger and condemnation of the DEO and its policies toward shared space. There were few attacks on Girls Prep reps though they were outnumbered at least 10 to 1. Almost every public school in the area was represented, with a few principals getting up and making a statement. Many teachers and parents spoke about the DEO methods of judging whether a school has space. A method that doesn't account for the realities of how schools really function. The theme of the evening was the divisive tactics used by the DOE to pit schools against each other. But that is the mantra of the ed deformers. Throw them all into the pit and see who emerges, but all along the way make sure to tip in favor of the charters. Strong statements were made by local politicians too.

Is there any question that Girls Prep, which as was pointed out yesterday moved out of PS 15 claiming they only would go to 5th grade, but is now reversing and asking to go to 8th grade. And one day will ask for more space to go to 12th grade I would bet.

The only question is which school gets caught with the hot potato. Bet on the one that had the least presence yesterday. PS 20 and PS 184 may have won a reprieve with their massive presences yesterday.

Note: I find it interesting that there is one quote from each side with the Girls Prep founder disparaging quote equating an art room with a civil rights issue being given such prominence when there were a hundred things said by opponents of all the plans that were more relevant.

Fair and balanced?



Shuang Wen Parent Leader-James Lee



Isabel Reyna-Torres


Note: Moaning Mona Davids, self appointed head of the charter school parents, came down from her perch in the Bronx to leaver her droppings. She told me she put on makeup for me for her video appearance. She has toned down her act. Video later.

Added 3pm:
I'm adding Lisa Donlan's comments at Gotham which demonstrate that half the girls at Girl's Prep are not from district 1.

The “demand” for Girls Prep has very little to do with the D One community.
In fact of the 263 girls enrolled at GPC on the LES only 43% are from D One.
Even in their K class, the first to actually follow the law that imposes giving absolute preference to District One residents is only 53% District One. Inother words, fewer than 27 Kindergarten students from District One chose Girls prep out of an incoming class of 698 Kindergarteners in the district.

Girls Prep, then has captured less than 4% of the current district K students, which can hardly be classified as overwhelming demand, especially given the glossy post cards mailed to every student in ATS by the Charter last spring.

The two local peer horizon schools that the DoE progress report compares GPC to had equally impressive demand and “waiting lists” in the last K admissions cycle:

Earth School had 294 applications for 60 K seats. 5:1 ratio, wait list of 234 for K alone;

Children’s Workshop School saw 212 applications for 45 seats. Nearly a 5:1 ratio and wait list of 167 in K.

if If currently enrolled students in Girls Prep are made up of only 43% in-district students, who will the expansion to middle school grades benefit?

And as the D One community made clear last night- no functioning community school should have to give up needed resources to accommodate this “request ” to grow!
Plenty of schools in our district want to grow- but we do NOT rob Peter to make a bigger school for Paul!

Yeah Norm- I was at the meeting you attended last night.

It sure seems the GS bias is showing in this report.

I hope more of the 500 or more parents, teachers, administrators and community folks in attendance last night write in to say what they saw and said, to help create a fuller, more balanced picture of the event.

Lisa Donlan


Anonymous said...

Thanks Norm.  As I listened to the DOE rep at last nights meeting outline the department's plans to shift entire school populations to new locations in order to make room for a charter the community clearly doesn't want, I couldn't help but think about the history of Native Americans and their story of displacement, disrespect and criminal abuse at the hands of government officials. It is Communities who aren't as well organized that will suffer serious damage.  Harlem and the South Bronx  have repeatedly suffered from charter school land grabs at the expense of Good public schools.   Congratulations to the District One Community for your well organized, passionate and appropriate tonge lashing of the Department of Education and for effectively exposing them as PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE!  

Anonymous said...

Someone should check out where girls prep pulls its parents. I see New Jersey license plates as the morning drop off takes place in the morning. Isn't that illegal. and speaking of illegal...Have you seen the dangerous double parking that goes on in the morning.

Truth Hurts said...

I'am a parent of Girls Prep and even though maybe the stats are right about how many people from District One are actually enrolled. It is parents that choose not to sacrifice their time in walking or having to take transportation to the school because the subways or buses don't bring them closer to the school. Charter schools are the way to go because of the benefits our children receive at these school. Our teachers are truly dedicated to providing our children exceptional experiences while learning, while those of public school don't push our children to exceed in what is expected of them and go beyond. Girls Prep students are luckier than public school because our teachers really do push our girls to achieve the maximum from their learning experience.

ed notes online said...

It's all about luck I guess. And screw everyone else.

Anonymous said...

I am a parent who lives in district 1. I don’t agree with the statement made that charter schools are the way to go it just another way of privatizing education. Public schools have a history teachers are invested in our children that is one of the misconception. I have meet and interacted with some great teachers in last 18 years working with public school. With out these fabulous teachers my child would be stats today he is a graduated. Because it takes a team of people I've had great experience with teachers in PUBLIC SCHOOLS. My children teachers and our family see public school as a team of people who are invested in the whole child, NOT just one gender, class or certain groups. Public school teachers do push their students to aspire to become President of the United State America or even VICE President they do not excluded student with IEP or English as a second language. Public School has had great teachers who have encrouge and challenge my child learning. She is now in second grade reads above her reading level and is always challenge to do well. Our children are not drill like in charter school. In the world of education reform their is no silver bullet but I must add that every child learn differently and respond in an opposite ways so charter works for you but buy and find your own buildings and STOP ATTCKING PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Learning should become both a habit and a passion.

Anonymous said...

The "anonymous" who posted a comment on December 14....maybe you should of had your "supposedly" well educated child edit your comment, but I guess it is hard to teach a dog "new tricks".....Charter schools do not drill kids they just genuinely care and actually teach the kids and are held accountable for their performance unlike some - not all - traditional public school teachers and especially the administrators and principals who are all counting down the days when they can collect their pensions. It is the choice of D1 parents that CHOOSE not to enroll their daughters at GP therefore you have a low D1 students - but for those that CHOOSE to travel from as far as Staten Island to get their daughters the education that will make a difference in their future then that is what I call dedication. The notion that GP parents are better is mistaken for a family setting and dedication. I feel sorry for the kids who have parents that in this day in age teach them to be bias against other kids - shame on all of you!

To respond to the writer of this did you like the MASSIVE turn out yesterday February 24, not to mention the approval of the expansion? Yes there was a decision to expand because the parents were asking for it after 4 years of seeing the enriched education these girls receive not to mention the moral values that are instilled in these young ladies. You better believe that if this could grow into High School I would be the first on line and who knows - thanks for the idea - I promise that if it gets to that I will stand up and thank you for the idea.... It is a shame that someone like you tries to make this a one sided article, but then again all of you have been one sided starting with your "political" figure who ran away/avoided any form of communication from D1 GP parents.

The fervor of the crowd reached epic proportions of pride within the parents who choose to give their child the education they deserve.

Fair and blanced? I will have to say YES because all the charter parents have proven to be classy and respectful while it is sad to say the traditional public school parents lash out, disrespect and it is a reflection of the misleading information they are fed from those who are only thinking about their PENSION....

Why are so many people pleading poverty in D1? I see kids of all ages with designer sneakers, uggs, north face jackets, smartphones, ipods and any other expensive gadgets - shall I say kinda like keeping up with the Joneses?

What the traditional public school parents don't seem to understand is that they should be upset with the UFT that has so much of their money tied up in the "RUBBER ROOMS". Money that could be used to hire teachers to alleviate the overcrowded classrooms, but since they cannot hire these teachers then the empty classrooms are available and as a taxpayer I demand that they be used to educate kids whether they are public charter schools or traditional public schools and unfortunately traditional public schools cannot afford to utilize them.....

Guess what's my name? Anonymous