Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Walcott/Bloomberg Move December PEP Meeting to Antarctica

At Ed Notes:
They might as well meet in Antarctica instead of difficult to get to Newtown HS in Queens, where an increasingly panicy Tweed has moved the Dec 14 PEP meeting, which will decide on 2 Success charter Brooklyn invasions, from Fashion Industries HS in midtown Manhattan. They claim this is for Queens parents when as of this time no issues related to Queens schools are on the agenda (though they did dig something up to try to cover their asses).

WalBloom are making a clear attempt to shut out the voices of Brooklyn parents whose choice (the buzz word of ed deformers) is to NOT have an Eva Moskowitz school in their neighborhood.

Last night's protests over another Success Academy invasion, this time in gentrified Cobble Hill in Brooklyn, is a wake-up call. Tweed is counting on them to show up sparingly at Newtown HS while Eva sends in rented buses full of food and other goodies to get her people there.

There will be growing demands to move the meeting back to a more accessible location. The key will be whether the press picks up on the obvious intent of this move.

But with growing awareness of the outrageous machinations going on at Tweed and with communities in Dist 15 (western bklyn) and Dist 14 (northern) joining forces and organizing, along with outreach to Occupy Wall St educators, this may not turn out to be a cakewalk for Eva and Tweed. She has stepped on communities that just may have the resources and leadership, along with the diversity to engage in an effective long-term battle even after she gets her school, which is a given. Some forms of civil disobedience are not out of the question as anger grows. This is one PR war that Eva and Tweed will have to work very hard to win even with a press biased in favor of Tweed. But then again do they really have to worry about this issue?

Eva will try to paint the opposition as a Uft op but the uft fingerprints are light even if they have a rooting interest. But with the move to Newtown we just may see the uft jump in with their own buses, though the press will paint this Eva's way as uft vs her. The UFT has jumped into the battle in Harlem at PS 241.

Here is some press coverage of last night's meeting. Look for my follow-up post of comments from parents Karen Sprowal and Noah Gotbaum on the press coverage where he points out that 90 percent against and a few lone voices for are presented as a "divided" community.
Leonie Haimson:
Good video of Brian Jones at (NY1)  also some video at GothamSchools; both stories below.

Protesters Disrupt DOE Hearing On Proposed Brooklyn Charter School

By: Zack Fink, NY1

The Department of Education held a meeting Tuesday at K293 in Cobble Hill to discuss a proposed 190-seat charter school that would be housed in the building, and opponents butted heads with supporters as dozens signed up to speak. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

The K293 building in Cobble Hill is already home to two secondary schools and one special education program, but Department of Education officials say there's still space for 700 students.

Success Academy Charter Schools wants to use up 190 of those spots for a charter that would serve kindergarten through fourth grade.

Some parents say they're behind that idea.

"2007 was a boom for Brooklyn. Lots and lots of babies. And we all need to go to elementary school. Some of us have great options in this neighborhood, others have less than stellar options, and it's my ethical responsibility to find a good school for my son. So I'm supporting the charter school," said parent Liz Williams.

But there were some fierce opponents at a public hearing Tuesday night.

About 70 people signed up to speak, some of whom claimed to be part of the Occupy Wall Street movement. One person was ejected.

For other opponents, the issue is about how public resources are allocated.

"Unfortunately, the DOE doesn't seem to put the same priority, love and interest in building up the public schools that they do with charters, and it just raises a lot of questions," said teacher Brian Jones. "Why do they have to come into public school buildings, why do we have to have a competitive system of education?"

A competing plan is also on the table for the space. Elected officials and others want to use it for an early childhood education program.

"There is an enormous need in this district for pre-K and K classes. They are all oversubscribed. You even have to pay a lot of money to go to private pre-K and K, and they are oversubscribed, too," saod Assemblywoman Joan Millman.

The panel for educational policy has scheduled a vote on the co-location for December 14. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has been supportive, controls a majority of votes on the panel, and the co-location is expected to be approved.



Showdown set for year's first charter school co-location hearing

by Rachel Cromidas, at 4:48 pm

Many of the attendees who lined up outside Brooklyn Tech for last February's Panel for Educational Policy meeting came to protest the creation of a Success Academy Charter School on the Upper West Side.

Back-to-back rallies set for this afternoon augur a contentious co-location hearing for the newest outpost in the Success Charter Network.

The creation of Cobble Hill Success Academy, which won approval earlier this year to open next fall in Brooklyn's District 13, has sparked conflict in District 15, the location of the school's proposed site. Advocates and critics of the city's plan to co-locate the charter school with two secondary schools and a special education program will lay out their cases during tonight's public hearing — and beforehand, in rallies set for outside the Baltic Street building.

The public hearing is the first of the year and ushers in a season of rancorous co-location hearings.

Some families have lamented crowding in high-performing local elementary schools and said they would appreciate new options. But others say they are worried that the new school would strain resources at the proposed site without effectively serving the high-needs populations it was originally intended to serve.

Cobble Hill Success's promise to serve low-income, immigrant families in District 13 was a boon to its application, according to Pedro Noguera, an education professor who green-lighted the school's original application as a member of the State University of New York's Charter Schools Institute.

"We have tried to take the position recently that we can put charter schools where there is clearly a need for better schools for kids, so targeting the more disadvantaged communities. We have also seen the areas that are a saturation of charter schools, so we want to encourage them to open in areas that have a high need and aren't being served," said Noguera, who will be participating in an education debate this evening in the West Village. "A school in Cobble Hill clearly does not meet that criteria." 

At 5 p.m. parents from District 15 will hold a press conference outside of the Cobble Hill school, "to demand the City's Department of Education award public space to Success Academy Cobble Hill," according to a press release sent out by a communications firm that works with the Success Academy Charter Network.

The network's CEO, Eva Moskowitz, has seemed to court controversy when seeking spacefor her schools. Co-location battles have followed her forays into schools in Brooklyn, Harlem, and the Upper West Side, and the network has in the past bused groups of parents from its schools, often wearing signature orange T-shirts, to co-location hearings.

At 5:30 p.m., opponents of the co-location are planning to rally in front of the school to renew calls for an alternative proposal: to open an early childhood center in the building instead of a charter school. Yesterday a vocal group of parents, state and union officials rallied at the building's Baltic Street entrance in support of that proposal, arguing that the local elementary schools are turning away families who apply for preschool.

Organizers of the protest say they will argue that the charter school would not address crowding issues in Brownstone Brooklyn's elementary schools because its tlottery admissions would allow students from other parts of the city to apply, and it also would not address the demand for more preschool programs.

Community members and educators from the two secondary schools that currently share space in the four-story building, along with a District 75 special education program, have also said that an additional charter school could overcrowd the high schools' shared facilities.


Norm Scott

Twitter: normscott1

Education Notes

Grassroots Education Movement

Education columnist, The Wave

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