Monday, December 7, 2009

Girls Prep Charter, Hedge Funds, and Space Wars in District One

Sunday's NY Times had an article called "Scholarly Investments" which talked about Hedge Fund millionaires and billionaires and the push for charter schools, mentioning some of the charter invaders we have been covering: Harlem Success, PAVE and Girls Prep.


The Tiger Foundation, started by the hedge fund billionaire Julian Robertson, provides a large chunk of financing for several dozen charters across the city. Mr. Robertson’s son, Spencer, founded his own school last year, PAVE Academy in the Brooklyn, while his daughter-in-law, Sarah Robertson, is chairwoman of the Girls Preparatory Charter School on the Lower East Side.


Ahhh, synergy. And good cash flow.


Still, Mr. Curry has been “knee deep in educational issues” since his 20s, he said. He co-founded two Girls Prep schools and is head of the board of the newer one, in the Bronx. The schools are “exactly the kind of investment people in our industry spend our days trying to stumble on,” Mr. Curry said, “with incredible cash flow, even if in this case we don’t ourselves get any of it.” The reference is to the fact that New York State contributes 75 to 90 percent of the amount per student that public schools receive.


Of course hedge fund characters love charters. We're paying for most of them and they get to raise private funding so they can pay Eva Moskowitz $370,000 a year. "These guys get it," said Moskowitz. They sure do get it. And Moskowitz makes sure to get her share. Why doesn't the reporter question the logic of us paying up to 90% of the costs and charters using the extra money coming in to pay such high salaries and who knows what other perks? These sharks aren't only in this for the kids. Edu-business, indeed.


The reporter, as we usually find, mentioned the tainted Caroline Hoxby (see Ed Notes' Nov. 13 Hoxby Hocked) study on charters in NYC outperforming public schools:


A study released in September by researchers headed by Caroline M. Hoxby, an economist at Stanford who is a fellow at the Hoover Institution, concluded that on average New York City charters outperform local schools. But another study by a different group of Stanford researchers last summer suggested that nationally the numbers are muddier.


What's muddy is the press' insistence on harping on Hoxby despite the flaws and questioning why the data munchers in hedge funds would be so enamored of faulty data.


Make a wish, Mike

And then there's this weak-kneed comment from our fearless UFT leader Mike Mulgrew:


“I think it’s all good and well that these people are finally stepping up to support education,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, referring to wealthy hedge funders. “But I would wish they would do it in a more foundational way, a way that would help all the children instead of just a small group.”


Mike has got to be kidding. Stepping up to the plate? Sure, to kill any remnant of teacher unionism.


Below find reports from parent activists Lisa Donlan and Leonie Haimson regarding Girls Prep charter school and the impact of its attempt to grab more space on the schools and students in District 1 on the lower east side. Sorry but the chart of D. 1 demographics did not come out and trying to fix it did not work. Email me if you want a copy.


From Lisa:


The hedge fund-spawned Girls Prep Charter in District One recently mentioned in a number of news stories wants to add on Middle School grades, by pushing 300 additional seats into one of the local "underutilized" ( offers small class size and more than 3 cluster rooms for enrichment for several hundreds of students) school buildings.

if we compare the demographics of GPC and the schools being targeted for space, it seems that the GCP is not equitably serving students in the local community despite the legal mandate to do so.

GPC serves NO ELL students, offers no CTT or self contained classes and serves no BOYS in a district whose students arew 12% ELL on average and 23% special education ( CTT/SC) and 8% SETTS ( push in pull out)

District One is an all choice district that allows any family to apply to any school in the district.

There are currently a dozen middle school options available to all District students, including the GPC students who are largely from out of district.



see below portions of the DoE's memo:

To: District 1 CEC

Fr: Community Superintendent and the Office of Portfolio Planning

Re: District 1 – Scenarios around Space Needs

Date: November 15, 2009

The following memo outlines the needs as identified by the Department of Education (DOE) in District 1 and the process by which the DOE has engaged with all schools to understand more information about school needs as well as the available space. The memo also outlines potential scenarios to meet these needs. This is a follow-up to the September CEC meeting which underutilized space was discussed.

District Needs:

1. Girls Preparatory Charter School of New York (“Girls Prep”), a charter school currently serving grades K-5 with two sections per grade, is in need of space for their middle school. The Girls Prep middle school will serve grades 5-8 with three sections per grade. Girls Prep is currently housed in M188. There is sufficient space for the K-4 elementary school in M188, but the current configuration of the building does not have enough space for Girls Prep to serve its middle school grades long-term. At scale, Girls Prep requires 10 sections for its K-4 elementary school and 12 sections for its 5-8 middle school (22 total sections).

Available Space

The original list of buildings discussed at the September CEC meeting was as follows:

· M015 (houses P.S. 15 and D75 program; hereinafter referred to by building code “M015”)

· M020 (houses P.S. 20; hereinafter referred to by building code “M020”)

· M056 (houses Henry Street School for International Studies, University Neighborhood Middle School, and Collaborative Academy of Science, Technology & Language Arts Education; hereinafter referred to by building code “M056”)

· M137 (houses P.S. 184; hereinafter referred to by building code “M137”)

· M188 (houses P.S. 188, Girls Prep, and D75 program; hereinafter referred to by building code “M188”)

Since September discussions were held with all principals, Network Leaders, SLTs, and building surveys were conducted of M020 and M137 to understand the space and the current situation in each of the building. Based on those conversations and surveys the following buildings were removed from consideration for having space:

· M015- Given the standard instructional footprint that allocates cluster space there is not additional space in the building for a new program or school

· M056- Due to the high need Special Education population located in the building and the existing programmatic needs in the building it did not make sense to add another organization into the building

Furthermore the following building was added to the list as potentially having space:

  • M025 (houses School for Global Leaders, Marta Valle Secondary School, and Lower East Side Preparatory High School; hereinafter referred to by building code “M025”)

GIRLS PREP CHARTER

On its website, the school makes extraordinary claims regarding its success and rights to public school space:

http://www.girlsprep.org/

Girls Prep Closes the Achievement Gap for Latina and African-American Students! Number 1 school in District 1! The results are in! Girls Prep students excelled on this year's English Language Arts exams. 98% of our third graders and 92% of our fourth graders met or exceeded standards. These scores place Girls Prep as the second highest scoring charter school in New York City! We are thrilled that our girls scored so well on the assessment! These results are just one amazing outcome of years of collaboration, hard work and thoughtful planning. Parents, students and teachers, please take a moment to congratulate yourself, each other, and the third and fourth grade students. Save Girls Prep are parents and supporters of Girls Prep Charter School who believe every child must have equal access to a quality education. Girls Prep's ranks among the top 1% of NYC public schools, traditional or charter, in terms of the achievement of its students.
Save Girls Prep believe all children in District 1 should have access to a high performing school such as Girls Prep. Charter Schools are Public Schools and have every right under NYS Law to share space in a public school building.

On the website GPC also offers transportation to parents to the December PEP meeting to make a show of strength for their cause.



Let's repeat Lisa's statement we extracted earlier in this post:

Yet, if we compare the demographics of GPC and the schools being targeted for space, it seems that the GCP is not equitably serving students in the local communityt despite the legal mandate to do so.

GPC serves NO ELL students, offers no CTT or self contained classes and serves no BOYS in a district whose students arew 12% ELL on average and 23% special education ( CTT/SC) and 8% SETTS ( push in pull out)

District One is an all choice district that allows any family to apply to any school in the district.

There are currently a dozen middle school options available to all District students, including the GPC students who are largely from out of district.

DISTRICT 1 SELECT DEMOGRAPHICS 2009


District One

P.S. 184

Girls Prep

P.S. 188

P.S. 15

UNMS

CASTLE

HSISS

P.S. 20

Total enrollment

11,653

640

263

400

235

180

292

525

590

% Charter

Students

11%









SC Classes


0

0

1

3

2

2

3

3

CTT Classes


1

0

6

1

2

3

1

5

IEPS

23%(ES)

/29%(MS)

2%

= 11

stds

8%

21%


36%

27%

30%

16

SC/CTT

15%(ES)

/21%(MS)

.7%=

5 stdts

0

15%

18%

20%

21%

22%

10%

% ELL

12

5%

0

16

21

15

7

15

18%

% Title One

80.1

77.8

68.0

92.6

96.5

89.6

80.8

69.9

97.1

#/ %STH

4%


4=2%

51stdts =13%

24stdts =11%

6=3%

3=1%

9=2%

3=.5%

% in district



43







% out of district



57







% Hispanic

48

5%


64

58

65

62.3

58

60%

% Black

19

6%


33

30

26

18.5

28

10%

%Asian

19

80%


3

8

2

15.1

10

26%

%White

13

7%


1

3

6

3.4

3

2%

%Am Indian

1

.9%


0.3

0.5

0.4

0.7

0.4

.7%

Sources and References:

- DCEP 2009-10, p.5, author Sarah Kleinhandler, school district improvement liaison

- ‘Girls Prep at a glance’, author Miriam Raccah, executive director Public Prep

- 8/10/2009 ATS snapshot K students D1

- DOE D1 K-8 Special Ed Percentages base on 2009 projections (08/04/09)

- D1 poverty percentage, author Jean Mingot, budget officer Manhattan integrated Service Center 10/26/09

- School portals DOE website Aug. - Nov 2009

- ATS website 10/23/09

- STH report from ATS 09/22/09, author Cecilio Diaz, Office of Youth Development Manhattan ISC


Lisa Donlan

CEC One

Leonie follows up with: more reasons to reject expansion of Girls Prep: lack of space

More on District 1:

  1. The total student population is growing faster in D1 Elementary school buildings between 2007 and 2008 than any other district in the city, according to DOE’s blue book data (which include charter schools already housed in their buildings).

Total student population in elementary school buildings is up 4.1% -- by far the fastest growth anywhere.

(Second fastest growth is D25 at 3.9%; D 20 at 3.2%; D 24 at 3%, D26 at 2.9% and D28 at 2.5%, all in Queens, then D31 Staten Island at 2.4% and finally D2 at 2.3%.)

2- Gened/CTT/G&T Kindergarten enrollment increased in D1 by 10.9% between 2008 and 2009 (not even including charter schools), according to the DOE class size reports. (They are tied with D5 as second fastest Kindergarten growth in Manhattan).

3- Kindergarten class sizes are up 22% since 2007 – probably the sharpest increases in the entire city. Now, more than 51% of Kindergarten students in D1 schools are in classes of 21 or more.

Their schools simply don’t have the space for this expansion, unless in the future they want class sizes to continue to increase even more sharply and/or kick out their preKs.

Meanwhile, the small classes and the access to preK were probably the main reasons that achievement in District 1 schools improved more than any other district in the state between 2001 and 2008, according to the DOE’s own calculations.

For the DOE power point showing this, check out http://www.scribd.com/doc/20954070/New-York-City-School-Performance-October-2009

Rather than further damage the opportunities of students in D1, the lesson should be that whatever D1 is doing, the rest of the city desperately needs: more space, so that schools can provide smaller classes and more preK, not less.


Leonie Haimson


1 comment:

  1. Wall St. Venture-Vultures described by the NY Times yesterday
    as altruistic philantropic missionaries.

    these hedge fund traders are nothing more than sophisticated bookmakers. shorting securities should be made illegal. this guy made his money on the backs of people

    who lost their jobs and houses

    Julian H. Robertson Jr. (born 1932) is a American former hedge fund manager. Now retired, Robertson invests directly in other hedge funds, most run by former employees of Robertson's defunct hedge fund company.

    He was born in Salisbury, North Carolina in the United States. Robertson founded the investment firm Tiger Management Corp., one of the earliest hedge funds. Robertson is credited with turning $8 million in start-up capital in 1980 into over $22 billion in the late 1990s, though that was followed by a fast downward spiral of investor withdrawals that ended with the fund closing in 2000.

    In 1993, his compensation and share of Tiger's gain exceeded $300 million. His 2003 estimated net worth was over $400 million, and in September 2009 it was estimated by Forbes at $2.2 billion, a substantial increase from the $1.3 billion estimated the previous year.[1][2] Robertson said in 2008 that he shorted subprime securities and made money through credit default swaps. [3] The following year, according to Forbes, Robertson's return on his $200-million personal trading account was 150 percent.[4

    ReplyDelete

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