Thursday, June 30, 2011

Co-Locos Exposed

In Patrick Sullivan’s opinion, the only real hope for PS 9 is if the chancellor has a change of heart, and grants them the right to expand into a K-8 school. “Rather than help successful public schools,” Sullivan said, “the DOE is more focused on giving preference to charter schools…and certainly the fact that the money behind the schools is from a lot a people the mayor knows helps the charter school agenda.”

Julie Cavanagh also believes cronyism is at play, and points out that the founder of PAVE, Spencer Robertson, received $26 million to build his charter school after his father, hedge funder Juilan Roberson donated $6.75 million to Bloomberg’s New York City Center for Charter School Excellence, and various other pet projects of Bloomberg’s. (There are other claims of the Robertson Foundation and Bloomberg’s funny business here.)

Good article on co-locations from popular Brooklyn Based blog

Comments on the NYCEDNews Listserve:

This article has some serious factual errors.  Though clearly there are far more co-locations now, and many more highly damaging ones b/c of increased overcrowding and an administration out of control, there were far more than 12 co-locations when Bloomberg came into office in 2002.  

The article completely ignores the fact that the  small schools reform movement, which resulted in many co-locations, was founded by Debbie Meier and Ted Sizer about 25 years ago.

Leonie Haimson

I never said the therapists do not see kids if they can't find a space. I said they find a substandard space such as staying in the classroom, or spend their time looking for space. I did mention programs being canceled due to space, but not mandated programs. I cited my boys group, a partnership with the Red Hook Justice Center, which I had to cancel on a few occasions because we didn't have a space to meet. No less egregious, but want to be clear that we make every effort for our kids to get their mandated services despite the cancer that has consumed our school building.

Next year we will have two rooms that seven related service providers will have to share. One of those rooms is not a room "assigned" to ps 15, but a room our community partner will share with us. I have no clue how we will meet our kids needs after next year and the last several years have been insufficient in terms of space.   I will continue to repeat myself on this issue ad nausium until it is fixed: the DOE MUST account for services for children with special needs in the instructional footprint. Any less is discrimination.

Thanks to Nicole for this article- it is impossible to navigate this issue and get it all right, but this was a fair piece and does a good job of highlighting the inequities of co-location. It is a very complicated problem; I understand space is an issue across the city-- but we shouldn't deny space to some for the benefit of others. You can't rob occupational therapy from Paul to give Peter's charter school office space.

Julie Cavanagh
While I feel like an old timer  pointing to  a more accurate vision of "history' ,  there are some slight nuances to the points made  in this article that deserve mention. As the article makes clear, "Bloomberg and then-Schools Chancellor Joel Klein resurrected NYC’s small school movement."  Indeed, the small schools movement that predates these gates funded "reforms"  differes greatly from the 'close 'em and start over w/ new kids' model BloomKlien set up after taking control of the governance of our schools in 2003.A number of East Village school were spawned  a result of that earlier movement;  new, alternative-visioned schools, sharing space in the traditional district schools that had emptied out during the city's fiscal crisis. When DoE employee, MAK Mitchel, the Executive Director of School Governance for the Department of Education,  states that:  "Few schools were co-located back then", which she estimates  as " less than 12",  she negates the trans-formative nature of  these new schools and the all-choice equity and diversity based  admissions plan the elected school board introduced in District One.  By 2005 when BloomKlien began parachuting charters and other new schools into communities, more than 80% of District One  community schools were sharing space. The prior methodology, based on 5 years MOU's  that took into account growth and changes in programs; building councils consisting of all the stakeholders;  and a common supervisor, the community superintendent, to set the vision and work through conflicts, worked to actually reform the community district schools.The history of schools within schools goes back well before it was captured by this administration's attempt to reform schools by offering a portfolio  of choices , privatization of public education , and accountability by high stakes standardized tests.Those attempts have failed miserably- maybe it is time we go back to our roots- our grass roots, and let communities make decisions about our kids and schools again. 
Lisa Donlan

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