Monday, April 25, 2011

Harlem/Brooklyn Success Academy Video Week

April 25, 2011
HSA ad from Williamsburg subway stop, slightly altered

I will be sharing a batch of videos this week that I extracted from the District 14 Community Education Council meeting with Harlem Success Academy reps on April 14. It really was a remarkable meeting as HSA faced a unified pushback from all parts of the district. Their tactic of divide and conquer did not work - they didn't bring busloads of parents from Harlem as they are able to do at PEP meetings.

This may be the first time HSA is facing organized resistance as District 13 and 14 passed joint resolutions opposing more HSA charters. Of course with sugar daddy WalBloom on their side it may not make a difference, but they will not find the process very comfortable - as you can see in this video.

They brag about the 1400 people on the waiting list - all that after months of advertizing all over a wide area of Brooklyn. Now they are using these signatures to justify adding two more schools. Once they get capacity, they then use these parents as political shock troops to steam roller local public schools.

I will be putting up an individual segment every day. You will find this 18 minute video worth watching as I culled and edited various interactions between audience members and HSA reps. I repeated a few segments to make a point. Princpal Brian DeVale tells the HSA parents he is happy they love their school in Harlem, but he doesn't go up to Harlem to tell people where to send their children. And lots more. At times the normally cool and collected HSA spokesperson Jenny Sedlis seemed a bit shaken as she was forced to leave her seat to defend HSA.

Here is the blurb from Vimeo I put up:
Harlem Success Academy's attempt to push into District 14 in Brooklyn meets with fierce resistance at the Community Education Council (CEC) meeting held on April 14. Principals, parents, and teachers raise fundamental questions about HSA's tactics in inundating wide areas of Brooklyn with slick literature in an attempt to create "demand" they then use to justify pushing their schools into public school spaces. "You may have 1400 signatures but none of them are from District 14," says one speaker. Another challenges HSA to produce their lists. A teacher talks about how HSA paid someone $10 an hour to hand out lit to parents on open school night. CSA leaders say they were lied too. And an educator from Harlem shares the negative experience in his school with HSA as his kids are forced into the basement.
Gotham's Anna Philips was present for most of the meeting but for some reason chose not to write about it.

Excuse the bad and uneven sound as the amplified echo was heavy duty.



Pat said...

Magnificent! This says it..Harlem-Brooklyn Success is NOT wanted in Williamsburg. We are saturated with charter schools stealing the best of our public school students. This must be made loud and clear AGAIN on April 28th as Brooklyn Success AND Beginning With Children come knocking at the door for more schools, space and students!

Anonymous said...

The HSA Promotional Video is all not that great either, just a bunch of jargon that sounds all great, but I am sure is pushing the students too much.
Here are some relevant points from the promo video:
1. Success is because children read 2 hours a day, 26 books a month, and their program is 'rigorous'.
2. HSA are also deeply involved in the arts.
3. Every 7 students apply for 1 seat at HSA. The goal is eventually making it to 40.

Anonymous said...

The Walmartization of education.

Anonymous said...

@Sweet Girl Tracie
Where did you find the HSA promo video? As a former arts educator at HSA I can tell you that most of their arts teachers leave quickly. When offered "rigorous" arts curriculums based on the NY Blueprint, we were not even given a meeting with school leadership. There is a one word focus at any HSA school: testing.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter what the cec from district 14 says or the pricipal from the school wear hsa will be put in. The way the DOE works is that if your school is under ultilized and there's room for another school to be put in it, that school will be placed there. The DOE charges charter schools only a $1 to rent the space. Every Five years each charter school is revieved.

You also got to look at the traditional public schools that has teahers who don't care about the students education; all they care about is money and HSA cares about the education they teach to it's students. Thier students pull 3 and 4 on thier state exams. That's why alot of the traditional public school are being closed because they're F and D rated schools.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous: I have my ways.

The wells said...

I really do not understand much about all this arguments. However, as a parent seeking for a good school for my children, I did apply for HSA and many other charter schools. I also visited public schools and even dared to look at the high prices of private schools. I did my part, adding some informal interviews with parents of children who were already attending some of the schools mentioned. Based on the result of the research i performed, HSA is a great schools A++. All parents of children attending the school expressed so much happiness and gratitude for having the chance to have their children enroll in HSA. Comments from other parents at other school were very poor. Unfortunately, if only public school were as good as now these people attempt to make us believe, we would not have any charter school around. However, families with low income do have limited options and it is very unfortunate that that topic of this discussion is about space and money, when we should be worrying about the areas where schools are lacking and seeking for ways to fix the issues and help their students to strive at their best.

Anonymous said...

here here. Why is there so much talk about the poor beleaguered schools when they are failing SO MANY students? Even the so called very good public schools are not as good as they could/should be. I don't think it's the fault of the teachers - the problem really stems back to the education schools which teach crack pot educational theories and often, principals who don't have a rigorous and coherent vision of what a good education means. But why are we pretending that public schools in NYC are so great? Charters are not the solution to the problem - but when you have kids of your own, you don't have time for the system to change. You need a good education for your kids immediately.