Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Regulation of the Chancellor/ We Told You So!

We are cross posting this piece from our pals at CAPE (Concerned Advocates for Public Education) who have been fighting the brave battle of Red Hook in Brooklyn at PS 15 over the invasion of PAVE charter school. They have fought, and continue to fight, valiantly. They have gone out to other schools facing charter school invasions and have helped them in any way they can, including putting together a 50 page toolkit on how to fight back (email me for a copy). Is/Was it worth the struggle? See their latest below. If the UFT had the fightback qualities of these teachers and parents....
Also posted on the GEM blog.

Regulation of the Chancellor/ We Told You So!

No really, we told them so!

Over the last year parents and teachers have detailed the numerous and egregious errors with the Department of Education’s so-called policy and procedures in regards to co-locations. We carefully outlined the flaws as we advocated for our schools in two appeals filed by P.S. 15 parents with Advocates for Children to the State Education Commissioner. We revealed how the New York City Department of Education violates their own policies and bylaws as they champion free space for charter schools at the expense of public schools throughout the city. Some examples include:

1. Educational Impact Statements that declare “no impact” The DOE has been publishing practically identical and weakly written Educational Impact Statements for every school affected by co-location that declares, in every case, the there is enough room for both schools in the building.

2. Mathematically Challenged Instructional Footprints that disregard special education services and ESL services. The information in the EIS is, of course, is based on an also flawed “Instructional Footprint” that declares the amount of space schools and their services deserve.

3. Not properly notifying the public of the changes to their school. The date/time and place for public hearings about co-locations is buried on the DOE’s website, further isolating affected families who are unable to regularly access a computer (as if checking the DOE website is first on anyone’s list.)


And guess what changes are being proposed? Yes…

The quotes below come directly from the proposed changes to the regulation. These proposed changes are strikingly similar to every phone call, email, letter, and statement we shared at public hearings.

When parents, teachers, advocates, and local policy makers outlined these flaws we were ignored, denied, and in many cases insulted by Department of Education staff. Students at P.S. 15 and schools all over the city suffered from the way co-locations have been occurring throughout this city and we continue to suffer. Many public school communities watched as the charter school in their building was completely renovated, while their school did not even get its yearly coat of paint. Each year, teachers packed their entire classrooms up to move, to make room for the charter school as the “Footprint” allocated more space. It was the parents and community members who helped publicize the public hearings, using their own money for fliers and copies. To top it all off, our appeal was overturned, we were told we are wrong!

Meanwhile, it is clear that the work we have done has indeed brought about changes, well “proposed” changes to the way the DOE does its business. However, we must keep an eye out for shenanigans, as we know how keen this department is at finding loopholes, exceptions, and new ways to exploit laws, policies and procedures, even ones they themselves write!

Here are some of the proposed changes. Does anything look familiar to you?

#1: Changes to the Educational Impact Statements:
“guides for use in creating Educational Impact Statements (EIS) are added; EIS filing requirements are clarified and provide that the EIS must be posted online and filed in hard copy with the PEP, affected CECs, community boards, superintendents, SLTs, and certain other bodies, as applicable, with hard copies available at affected schools.

#2 Changes to the Instructional Footprint:

“It should be noted that the Citywide Instructional Footprint (the “Footprint”) is in the process of being revised. Such revisions include modifications to the definition of a full size classroom to align the Footprint with the Enrollment Capacity Utilization Report (the “Blue Book”). Certain upward adjustments to room allocations will also be made. The revised Footprint will be made publicly available shortly.”

#3 Changes to the way the public school buildings have been treated:

“…any capital improvements or facilities upgrades made to accommodate charter schools in DOE buildings in excess of $5,000 must be matched by improvements or upgrades of an equal amount for all DOE schools in the same building; a process by which charter schools must apply for Chancellor’s permission to perform capital improvements or facilities upgrades to charter school space in DOE buildings is established; and the statutory right to appeal charter school co-locations and Building Usage Plans to the Commissioner of Education is added.”

The full text is here:

click here to read the entire document.

Address all questions and/or comments to:

Name: Gentian Falstrom
Office: Division of Portfolio Planning
Address: 52 Chambers Street
Phone: (212) 374-2471

Date, time and place of the PEP meeting at which the Board will vote on the proposed item under consideration:

October 7, 2010
6:00 p.m.
New World High School
921 E. 228th Street
Bronx, NY

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Without doubt, there's a feeling of vindication with the proposed changes in the EIS. In fact I'm rather surprised any of the DOE representatives were actually listening at the public hearings or PEP meetings! Guess they're good at multitasking as they fiddled away on their blackberries. But as with all of you I'm sure, I'm very skeptical. Doesn't it now sound as though these changes, probably meant to steer proposed co-locations away from pesky and time comsuming law suits and appeals,will further dig co-locations in the preverbal ground? Particularly now that New York "won" that Race to theTop" money, (thanks to linking teacher evaluations to test scores - did I miss the vote?). I'm afraid DOE, which I'm sure knew about the $, is laying down the foundation (every pun intended!) to further expand co-location nightmares throughout the city. By the way, $113.6M of the $700M is allocated towards "Turning aroung falling schools" - is that code for justifing co-locations?