Thursday, April 22, 2010

Perkins Hearing and CAPE on PEP

Lots of people are heading over to 250 Broadway for NY State Senator Bill Perkins' hearings on charter schools. The UFT has called out retirees to be there at 8. Charter school operators are using their hedge funds to bring out their troops and community activists are breaking open their penny jars to get people out too. We will be there for part of the day with video camera.

I have 45 minutes of great footage of charter school parents speaking out against charter school lack of transparencies, abuse of children through excessive discipline and other transgressions that are getting swept under the rug. They spoke out at Leonie Haimson's Class Size Matters parent outreach session on April 10. I will put up short segments on you tube. Here is the first one:

Maura Walz at Gotham has a good report on the way the DOE distorts school space issues so they can shoehorn in charters. This was a topic of conversation at the PEP meeting Tuesday night. She opens with:

The head of a national advocacy group for improving school facilities is warning that a Brooklyn school building cannot support a charter school expansion plan that the citywide school board approved last night.

Mary Filardo, executive director of the 21st Century Schools Fund, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that helps both district and charter schools plan their building space, composed a report on how space is used at Brooklyn’s P.S. 15. The elementary school shares space with PAVE Academy Charter School, which will expand in the building while it awaits construction of its own private building. Filardo’s report, prepared at the request of New York’s Campaign for Fiscal Equity, was submitted as testimony against the city’s plan at last night’s Panel for Educational Policy meeting.

Here is the latest report from CAPE on the PEP meeting.

PEP Meeting: Repeat Performance

With less fanfare than previous meetings, but all of the pointless nonsense, another PEP meeting ends predictably. The police cars outnumbered the fancy buses that brought supporters of the charter school Harlem Success Academy (in their matching orange shirts) which causes one to wonder what the DOE is so afraid of. If you need that much security at a meeting about schools something is NOT RIGHT! And it wasn’t right. It was not right to watch the mayor’s appointees mindlessly vote in favor of every co-location on the agenda. It was NOT RIGHT to watch a DOE representative whisper in the ear of a certain panel member when she did NOT agree with facts shared by P.S. 15 teachers and parents. It was not right when Kathleen Grimm defended the statements of the P.S. 15 EIS by simply parroting the very statement in the EIS. Read more about this and other nonsensical happenings here. Charter school supporters are all about school choice. One audience member compared it to selecting Pepsi or Coke. What no one seems to mention is the fact that the man who insisted on controlling our public schools for the last eight years had a CHOICE to improve all existing community schools and did no such thing. School choice is ultimately the mayor’s choice. He chose to outsource our city’s education reform to any random person/corporation who decides to open a charter school. He allows the chancellor to choose which schools to close and which schools to cram together in buildings not designed to support multiple schools, compromising the learning environment and school climate for all who attend or work in the schools. Coke or Pepsi, really? What about the notion that all parents and students deserve high quality community public schools!?!

Thank you to the PEP members who questioned the faulty Educational Impact Statement and who voted against the co-location of PAVE Academy within P.S. 15K! I wonder how much longer we must wait until this “process” in fully exposed for the sham it is.

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