Friday, February 12, 2010


From Angel Gonzalez (Please forward)

GEM fights against school closings period and opposes the privatization of our public schools via charters.

It is the responsibility of the DOE to fix, improve all schools to the highest caliber possible.

We want equal quality democratic public schooling and not private corporate run private charters that will be selective and exclusive

  • of the poorest,
  • the English language learners,
  • special education needs,
  • and those unfortunately subjected to other higher social needs (e.g. homelessness, disease).

To convert all public schools and all the charters is the ultimate goal of the corporate profiteers behind Bloomberg and our city government. They are

Wall St. Hedge Funds who seek to turn our students into profitable commodities.

These corporates (such as Waltons, Gates, Broad) will ensure profits in the long term

  • by skimming over time on all educational services to our children (just as they have done with private prisons)
  • by expelling those students not conforming to their arbitrary school criteria,
  • & by downsizing the social wages (e.g. pensions, medical, salaries) & labor rights (e.g. grievance, seniority, organizing) of all their school employees.

School closings & the privatization with charters ARE setting the stage for these aggressive and unscrupulous charter venture capitalists.

We've got to fight citywide against this racist drive to privatize which primarily right now target our communities of color. The ultimate corporate DOE goal is to shut down all public schools and to charterize them all. This semester it's your neighboring school; then next year it WILL BE yours!

Many school workers will be displaced and will lose their union rights & privileges. The majority of charters exclude union and fight viciously to keep them non-union.

Many educators will be displaced into the ATR pool where they will not be guaranteed a permanent job placement. Bloomberg's goal is to ultimately displace this ATR pool to the unemployment lines. AND ....Unfortunately, our UFT is a compliant partner to this charter privatization Bush/Obama agenda!!

Thus, the UFT thus can not and will not put up an effective fight back strategy which requires militant bottom-up organizing at each school and citywide.

Sounds like a conspiracy??? Our research and the actions of the Education Departments of NYC, Chicago, Los Angeles, and other US major cities attest to these corporate privatization schemes. Check our sources. Check our websites. Post your experiences and opinions at our websites. Don't wait for the Klein hatchet to be swung down on your school.

Organize aggressively at your schools NOW and join GEM's citywide fight back. Push the UFT but expect only feeble support and ineffective strategies.



Angel Gonzalez, GEM

Sent: Sunday, February 07, 2010 10:33 AM
Subject: Update_Alfred E. Smith Career & Technical Education (CTE) High School

On January 26th the NYC Department of Education voted to phase out 19 public city schools. Alfred E. Smith Career & Technical HS was one of the original 20 schools to be voted on. As you may know, we were taking off the list (temporarily) in part due to "feedback from the community and the demand for an automotive program to continue to exist in the Bronx." Despite this, we're still in a troubled situation where the DoE plans to phase out our Building Trades program and "move two existing schools into the building and co-locate with Alfred E. Smith" (Bronx Haven High School and the New York City Charter High School for Architecture, Engineering and Construction Industries)

We welcome change, however, phasing-out our Building Trades Program in one of the poorest congressional districts in the United States and replacing it with a for-profit, fragmented charter school (see attached letter or this link) that doesn't offer endorsed diplomas or hands on training is unambiguously a mistake. Not having a plan that involves educating the economically disadvantaged South Bronx students in plumbing, carpentry, electrical, HVAC, and architecture is an educational injustice.

To learn more about our school and this situation, see these links:
Jan 21st New York Times article, click here
AES Shop Classes, Music Video, click here
AES Student Voices, click here
Important websites and dates, click here

We need your support. If interested and available, please consider attending our public hearing, PEP vote and/or simply submit a public comment (instructions below) in support of keeping our Building Trades Program open. Your support is much appreciated!

Nathaniel Thayer Wight
Alfred E. Smith Career & Technical Education High School

I. Please attend the Public Hearing and Panel for Educational Policy Vote
Public Hearing:
February 12th, 2010, Friday, 5:30pm
Alfred E. Smith CTE High School
333 East 151st Street, Bronx, NY, 10451

Those who wish to speak will be given 2 minutes to provide their input regarding why Building Trades shouldn't be shut down. Our ability to show how important the school is to the students, parents and community will be considered by the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) when they vote on February 24th. Your attendance would be very appreciated and invaluable.

The PEP Vote on phasing out of AES Building Trades:
February 24, 2010, Wednesday, 6:00pm
The High School of Fashion Industries
225 West 24 Street, Manhattan

II. Submit a public comment to Samuel Sloves (, 718-935-4414). TYPE Alfred E. Smith CTE High School Building Trade in the subject line. Public comments will be accepted through Feb 22 (and through March 21 for 08X381, 84X395). Feel free to use any of the below reasons (also attached in letter format with links to sources, and available at this link):

1. Alfred E. Smith CTE High School offers endorsed diplomas that enable graduates to obtain Master Licenses from the NYC Department of Buildings. Once licensed, graduates can open their own contracting firms. New York City Charter High School for Architecture, Engineering and Construction Industries (AECI) does not offer endorsed diplomas and resulting employment opportunities.

2. Alfred E. Smith CTE High School accepts all students who apply; AECI only takes students via lottery selection.

3. At Alfred E. Smith 71% of the students come from such low-income families that qualify for the federal free lunch program; compared with 47% for AECI.

4. Alfred E. Smith CTE High School provides CTE opportunities for special needs students. Specifically, 20 percent of the AES’ student body has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).3 Smith is one of the last standing schools in this city that provides self-contained classes and integrated CTE shop classes for a large IEP population. Many of these IEP students have excelled in their respective trades and have gone on to secure employment, something they would not be able to achieve in a non-CTE school. At AECI only 9 percent of the student body has special needs.

5. Alfred E. Smith CTE HS partners with Edward J. Molloy for Initiative for Construction Skills that provides students the unique opportunity to enter NYC Unions upon graduation. Since 2001 Alfred E. Smith CTE HS has repeatedly helped place over 20 percent of each graduating class5 in high-level union jobs, including MTA, Metro North, Long Island Railroad, Smalls Electrical Construction Inc., and New York City School Construction Authority to name a few. Many others find professional jobs in Plumbing, Electrical, Carpentry, Auto Mechanics, HVAC as well as Pre Engineering.

6. Alfred E. Smith CTE HS is associated with the following professional organizations: New York Electrical Contracting Association, New York Building Congress, New York Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, Building Trades Employers Association, Architectural Construction and Engineering (ACE) Mentoring program

7. The DOE has justified phasing out AES is due to poor graduation rates, however, Alfred E. Smith CTE High School's 4-year graduation rate increased from 37.4 percent in 20086 to 45.7 percent in 20097, representing a 22.2% increase.

8. The DOE claims the Alfred E. Smith CTE HS is not making progress, however, our overall Progress Score has increased from 37.3 percent in 2006-20078 to 52.4 percent in 2008-20099, representing a 40.5 percent overall increase.

9. Since the 2006-2007 school year, Alfred E. Smith CTE HS has shown a 93.1 percent increase in the area of School Environment, 60 percent increase in Student Performance, and 18 percent increase in Student Progress as per NYC Department of Education’s Statistic page online.

10. Only 44 percent of Black and Latino students in NYC public schools graduate within six years12. Student population at Alfred E. Smith CTE HS is over 95% African-American and Hispanic13, yet Alfred E. Smith CTE HS had a much higher graduation rate in 200814 for this same subgroup, even though AES students are required to take 55 credits (minimum) to graduate, 11 more than what NYC public high schools require. Many AES students take as many as 14 more credits, which represents more than one additional year of classes. AES students have to squeeze five years of classes into four years of work!

11. Alfred E. Smith CTE HS is situated in The South Bronx, one of the poorest congressional districts in the United States. AES's certified Career and Technical Educational (CTE) programs allows economically disadvantaged students to get unparalleled hand-on instruction in the trades, thereby provide a way out of the poverty cycle. A majority of AES graduates find jobs upon graduation. Phasing out AES would be an act of giving up on the economically disadvantaged.

12. Alfred E. Smith CTE School’s 2009 Progress Score / Progress Grade (29.6) is only slightly below that of it's peer group average, suggesting that AES's students are progressing in a somewhat similar fashion as the average for the peer group.

13. Alfred E. Smith CTE HS provides free adult classes at night for the community; Smith is not only an educational facility for adolescents, but also for the community.

14. Alfred E. Smith CTE HS offers the training to put technical education to the test in regional and National competitions. Year after year Smith students practice what they've learned, compete, and consistently take home trophies from Skills USA and the National Automotive Technology Competition.

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