Thursday, May 27, 2010

UPDATED: Recruitment Poster for Charter School: Hey Kid, Wanna Make a Hundred Bucks?


Jenny Medina picked up this story after I sent her the photo after I read her very good piece on charter school scams and the need for more scrutiny that appeared Wednesday. She published an excellent piece on the Wanted Poster at the NY Times City Room blog, also yesterday. See below for her story (and she gave Ed Notes a good pop).

For background, I have lots of contacts who sent me the picture and story as I worked my whole career in District 14 and spent my last years in the system doing tech support work at a number of schools, IS 126 included. That is the school where you may recall the same charter invaded the school library and the teacher made a you tube about it that got some notoriety. See Dismantling the IS 126 Library. Rumors are that the teacher was put in the rubber room as punishment.

Sources are saying that as a result of our exposure and the Medina story (followed up by the Post and News) the DOE may be looking to punish the people (grilling the gang at 126?) who revealed the story while ignoring the school's attempt to bribe the kids. Also see Caroline Granan comment about similar stuff at KIPP in San Francisco.

When I visited KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy, there were posters plastered all over the school offering prizes (Gap and Old Navy gift cards) to get new families to apply. I think someone is being naive to think that’s novel. And that’s at KIPP, where (all chorus together) “all KIPP schools have long waiting lists,” according to Paul Tough in your very own newspaper.

Ahhh. Those waiting lists. I hear that just about anyone who wants into a charter who meets the smell test (no ELL, Special ed, parent signs pledge to give pint of blood every day, etc) can get in.

And some charter school teaching buddies are telling me that getting and keeping good teachers is getting tougher and tougher and they're even trying to lure teachers away from each other. Wait 'till the cap is lifted. It will be the wild west. But demand even in a down economic market may drive some salaries higher. However, I get loads of teachers looking for jobs contacting me and all of them are desperate to get into a public school and look at charters as a last resort. Yes, the young do think of pensions and health care and the stability of seniority protections that a public school teaching career can bring- at least until the UFT sells that out too.

By the way, over the past few months I and Susan Ohanian have received some "lovely" notes from this particular charter school operator (and buddies), some of which I will share with you real soon.

Click on the pic to read

This photo of a poster on a 3rd floor wall at a charter based at IS 126 in Williamsburg/Greenpoint was being passed around by parents and community groups as outrage grows.

Can you BELIEVE this? They make the poor kid who recruits some sucker wait an entire semester before collecting his 100 bucks. They must have electronic force fields keeping them in. (I know more than a few parents who have been there, done that and left.)

What happened to all those waiting lists to get into charters that they are so desperate they have to bribe kids with a hundred bucks to get recruits?

For a hundred bucks I'll enroll there myself.

Students at $100 a Head?

Jennifer Medina

A sign in a charter high school offers one way to build up enrollment.
We know about schemes to pay students for high marks. And we’ve written about some of the marketing tactics schools are using to attract families. But one charter high school in Williamsburg is taking a step further – offering a $100 reward to any student who recruits another teenager to attend the school.
Last night we were sent a photo purporting to show a sign posted on the third floor of Public School 126 at 424 Leonard Street, which houses the Williamsburg Charter High School as well as its two spinoffs, Believe Northside Charter High School and Believe Southside Charter High School.
Evoking the old “Wanted” posters of the Wild West, the flyer asks for help to “recruit students who you feel would benefit from the exceptional opportunity to attend Believe Schools in all grades.” It promises $100 for each student recruited, provided they enroll and “remain for at least one term with us!” (The same picture also turned up Tuesday night on Education Notes Online.)
Jacqui Lipson, a spokeswoman for the schools, declined to comment but did not deny that the sign was up.
Charter school advocates typically boast about how far demand outpaces supply for seats in charter schools. Just last month, the New York City Charter School Center announced that more than 55,000 students had applied for 11,000 seats in charter schools.
Ms. Lipson also declined to say how many students applied to each of the three schools this year, directing the question to the city’s Education Department. We’ve asked and will post the answer as soon as we receive it.


  1. This Charter School BUSSINESS is worst than the MOB when recruting.

  2. Something just occurred to me... why would charter schools complain about public schools losing great young energetic teachers(LIFO)when it gives the charter schools an opportunity to hire them?

  3. It is the charter schools that are losing these teachers that they are complaining about. Not exactly losing but they are expanding so fast that they can't find people. Remember - they add a grade a year and new ones are opening all the time. When the cap is lifted - they will absorb all the people not getting jobs - but since there are no checks on these people watch some of the nutty stories they will try to cover up.

  4. This school is a disaster zone. Great teachers do miraculous things to keep students learning despite the constant bumbling of the administration, especially the “network.” Professionalism is a four letter word over there. It would be a bit funny if it wasn’t hurting students lives…

  5. Jacqui Lipson was the right hand of none other than Chief Mom of the DoE, Martine Guerrier.
    At least she knew enough to RUN from that job (what a set up) as soon as she could (after about a year?)
    But it looks like it was from the fire and into the frying pan for Jacqui ...

    Come to think about it- this is a fun gane:
    Folks who used to head up the parent function ( aka how do we neutralize and block the parents voice/input) and what are they up to now??

    Let's see:
    First there was Karen Fuerer, of D 2 CSB, and very pro mayoral control.
    Now a D One principal, KF is about to allow DoE to force mwell over 30 kids into her K classes.
    W/ a TA, so that is reduced class size, right?
    Or that is what they have to do on the UES, so it must be good for kids.

    Next came Jemina Bernard.
    Now the head of TFA.
    Say no more.

    A guy who got recycled in Tweed, sort of a Brian Ellner type deal,

    And then Martine/Jacqui...

    keep your eyes on this prize!

  6. @FormerTeacher

    It's one thing to vent anonymously on the comment section of a blog. It's another to take action.

    Call the UFT. They have a charter hotline (212-510-6464, Tell them about the school's problems and let them work with you to fix them.

    Do it for the kids, do it for your former colleagues.

  7. You tell them to call the UFT? You have to be kidding. All the UFT cares for is organizing them so they can collect dues. Why isn't the UFT charter organizers out there every single day trying to talk to people? You want people to do your dirty work for you. These people running the place are thugs. Can you protect the whistle blowers?

  8. I'm currently a teacher under the Believe network and would love to whistle blow... once I am no longer employed by the network. In fact, Melendez received public criticism a few years ago for firing a teacher without due process who circulated the DOE pay scale among her WCHS colleagues and mentioned the dirty u-word.

    No one at the school who hopes to continue to work there for more than 48 hours would dare approach the UFT or even think about doing so, since firings come fast and furious. Right now our best hope is that someone who made it out can fight the good fight (from a safe distance)!


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