Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Walkout at Harlem Success/Mosaic Prep Hearing

UPDATED, June 22, 2010, 12pm
There was a mini explosion at the Harlem Success attempt to expand for more space at Mosaic Prep hearing last night as people walked out over the procedures, which they claimed were illegal. Some parents from Mosaic were supportive of the walkout, but they also wanted to say their piece, so some didn't walk out and others came back. The people who walked out said there was no point in going through this sham since the DOE wasn't going to listen to any of the comments. Bill Hargraves pointed out that the meeting wasn't being taped and no notes were being taken so how could their comments be heard? There was no table up front so people has a sense of where their comments were being directed. The DOE people went scrambling, as the DOE rep sat in front with a notebook and pretended to take notes. The looks on their faces were priceless.

I was ambivalent about the walkout because I could see the Mosaic people were confused as the walkout was not part of a plan. I stayed to continue taping.

A section of HSA parents at times looked stunned over the vehemence and passions unleashed.

One of the Harlem Success Charter (Eva Moskowitz) parent activists who is passionate about charters has become sort of a buddy at these meetings - always comes up and wants to chat. We ere on the same panel at the Pekins hearing. He often brings a stack of books to show how well his daughter is reading at Harlem Success. He is a very nice guy - a NYC policeman. Last night the rubber met the road in a sense when he said he understood the attacks on the teachers was based on anti-union and he was disturbed by it. We will continue the dialogue.

On the train going home I thought about this guy. In our conversation we touched on many issues, including history and politics (a lot to cover in 5 minutes) and he is clearly a well educated guy, though he told me he was a knucklehead in high school. I thought - here is a guy who is a wonderful parent. His children's success is due to his efforts yet he goes all over giving Eva Moskowitz the credit for why his child reads so well. I asked him if he taught her to read before she ever set foot in HSA. "Of course," he said. He added - and I'm paraphrasing - "No one should expect the schools to do the main teaching" - I can't remember exactly what he said schools should be doing. HSA requires parent participation, while public schools can't. He blamed the parents who don't do what he does.

And therein lies the genius of the HSA propaganda machine. His children will do well in any school because of HIM and his passion. But he is convinced that HSA deserves the credit.

The public schools are losing these parents to charters.

I have some good tape from this meeting, including the mass walkout.

I had to leave before Jim Devor, the lawyer who also heads CEC 15 in Brooklyn, spoke but maybe the 2 man film crew HIRED by Harlem Success Academy will loan us the clips.

Boy, the charter money flows at a higher rate than the BP spill.

Some Facts: HSA vs. PS/MS375 Mosaic

----------------------HSA Mosaic

Number of students 186 305
Special Ed (Ungraded) 0 54(17%)
Free lunch ------------53% 94%
Reduced lunch -------13% 2%
Limited Eng Proficient 2% 16%
Hispanic/Latino/a ---- 27% 65%

(excuse the rough formatting)

Look at the last numbers: the area is 65% Hispanic yet they are only 27% of the kids in HSA.

From Parent Leader Annette Jiminez

Thank you everyone for your support today at the hearing in our school mosaic prep academy which we all know was a total fraud and it was finished off by the presentation of our lawyer who let them know that everything was illegal and they would be held accountable. Please stay encouraged we will win the fight against this charter epidemic. I love you all for what you are, stand and fight for,

Your sister in the struggle
Rose Annette Jimenez

Important background info at Norms Notes: Mosaic Prep/HSA Charter Invasion Follow-up

Annette Jiminez writes a letter to Jonas Chartock who heads the SUNY charter authorizing center - and yes he is biased, Patrick Sullivan gets involved and points out a few things to Ralph Rossi if SUNY about how state law is being violated:

Ms. Jimenez refers to the schools governance law passed by the State Legislature in August. As the Manhattan member of the city school board ("Panel for Educational Policy") I can assure you that none of the legally mandated process for such a significant change in utilization of a public school building was followed in this case. There has been no Educational Impact Statement, no joint hearing of the Mosaic SLT with the Community Educational Council of District 4 and no vote of the Panel for Educational Policy.

The SUNY trustees have a legal obligation to ensure all legally mandated procedures are followed prior to allowing the expansion of a SUNY chartered school. Expansion of HSA 3 in the Mosaic building without adherence to the above process constitutes a violation of law for which SUNY trustees must be held accountable.

Frankly, given that SUNY recently came very close to losing its chartering authority, I am extremely disappointed that its first instinct is to deny any responsibility for compliance with the very clear guidelines under state education law. This law was implemented to protect public school students from the very type of encroachment now being attempted by HSA. Instead of washing their hands of the very real issues facing Manhattan public schools in co-location
situations, I suggest the trustees begin to more seriously consider their moral and legal obligations to help all our students.

Patrick J. Sullivan
Manhattan Member
Panel for Educational Policy
NYC Board of Education


  1. Have you ever visited a Harlem Success school to see them in action? I love how you give them no credit at all - real nice coming from a teacher like yourself.

    Your facts are wrong in so many ways, even with the # of students at HSA3. They had 186 in 08-09 and had nearly 250 this year. They are anticipating many more because more than 7,000 (YES, 7,000!) parents like myself have put applications in for our children. I have visited several schools in Harlem trying to find the right place for my baby and NONE come close to HSA. Please stop "advocating" on my behalf, go visit an HSA, get your fact straight (0 special ed? Ridiculous -- they have SETSS and CTT) and rewrite this jiberish so it comes closer to resembling the truth.

    Finally, a walkout at a hearing...that makes no sense.

  2. Seeing Harlem Success in action would not be very convincing. It's not necessary to appreciate the appeal of a vat of Kool-Aid in order to assess its effects.

    I can't defend getting facts wrong, but I'm going to reprint my reaction to a post and comments about KIPP. We should really keep our attention focused on the right places here.

    " . . . These reports and articles have to get beyond the constant emphasis on beating the TPS’s academically while there are minor discrepancies here and there regarding enrollment, retention, etc. That’s NOT the larger story!

    I’m sure many of these schools do well and serve many disadvantaged students, but at what cost to the TPS’s, the teaching profession and public education? The whole point was to help the system and the professions involved, provide relief and solutions, NOT play into this game of “reform”: become this, become like this, or die out, with no truly workable, decent, educationally substantive solutions in sight.

    Are those who write these articles and those who read them really so stupid as to miss the big picture? Is it a mixture of collusion and stupidity? Do people just sort of go with gut reactions and intuitive leaps of faith in certain personalities and news agencies? Does a large portion of the public pretend to have a fundamental thinking disorder? And is it related to tax brackets? Do the wealthy feel the need to appear to give the disadvantaged shortcuts, while taking shortcuts around the borders of their better sense and integrity?"

  3. Facts were compiled by people at Mosaic and handed out at the hearing. I have no tape of HSA people getting up and saying they were wrong. They could be for the 2008/9 year.

    "They are anticipating many more because more than 7,000 (YES, 7,000!) parents like myself have put applications in for our children."

    Really? Then why does HSA have to send out glossy brochures to so many homes to recruit? Their recruiting costs are outrageous. Why not just take people off the 7000 waiting list? Economists call this game "creating artificial demand" to give the appearance of demand.

    We're not advocating on "your" behalf but on the 95% of the kids left behind and treated unequally.

  4. Thank you for posting this, Norm.

    The contempt these "reformers" have for the community is appalling.

    We need to see more of protests like these to make the public at large know what is happening to our schools.


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