Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WAGPOPS Supports SCSC and Public Schools

Come see WAGPOPS and SCSC in action together at MS 50 (South 3rd between Roebling and Diggs) hearing for Eva's Success Academy, Thursday, Feb. 16, starting with a march at 4PM.

We sent this to the NYPost today and asked that they print it is an OpEd piece.  We highly doubt that it will get published.

In response to:

Op Ed:  Response to Jane Rentas', "A Good School for All"

Janet Rentas' dilemma that she spells out in her OpEd column, "A Good School for All," is a common one.  Her son is a high-achiever and she doesn't believe that her zoned school will be able to challenge him.  Many parents of early readers feel that way across New York City.   Rentas, however, is mistaken in her belief that the only option available in her district is Success Academy Williamsburg, whose co-location is being vociferously protested by the prominent Latino leadership in the area where the charter school intends to co-locate.

Success Academy Williamsburg is far from Rentas' only choice as a parent of a high-achieving child. Rentas could enroll her son in the OTHER Success Academy that will open this fall in her district, or for that matter, any of the other district charter schools, including Beginning with Children Charter School, The Ethical Community Charter School, and Brooklyn Charter School.   Rentas can have her son tested into the local gifted and talented program which is housed at PS132, or either of the two citywide programs: NEST +M and the Brooklyn School of Inquiry.  Rentas' district also offers the unzoned option of PS31, a Blue Ribbon school.  There is room in these schools for Rentas' son and other parents of high achieving children in our district who are seeking alternatives to their zoned schools.

Success Academy Williamsburg's opposition is more diverse than Rentas' OpEd belies and extends far beyond the voices of the latino community.  Our group, Williamsburg and Greenpoint Parents for Our Public Schools (WAGPOPS), consists of district-wide parents who are protesting Success Academy Williamsburg in solidarity with the Southside Community Schools Coalition.  WAGPOPS are middle class parents (often described as "newcomers," although some of us have spent decades in the district)  who send our children to PS110, PS84, PS31, PS17, PS132, and PS34, among others.  Our district schools are good enough for our high-achieving children.

WAGPOPS recognizes that a school's test scores all too frequently misrepresent the learning that takes place inside the classroom.    After many years of middle class families fleeing the public schools in our district, our schools now represent the diversity of the neighborhoods that house them.  We believe that our schools have finally achieved that winning combination of strong leadership, diversity in the classrooms, meaningful curriculum, parent engagement, and committed teachers that creates the best possible learning environment for all of our children.  We don't need charter schools.

What comes across most clearly in Rentas' OpEd is her absolute disconnect from the educational communities of Williamsburg.  Rentas' high achieving son might enjoy either the Spanish dual language program at PS84 or the new ASD Nest program beginning in the fall which boasts a 6-1 student/teacher ratio.  Is Rentas' son interest in French?  He could enter the dual language French program at PS110 while simultaneously studying with the resident artists from Mark Morris Dance Group.  Rentas' son could benefit from working at PS31's student-run bookstore or join it's winning chess team. Rentas' son might enjoy any one of PS132's community service projects and be a part of the next group that receives honors at the White House.  Parents from all over Williamsburg and Greenpoint are bringing their entrepeneurial spirit into the schools and starting music programs, developing green roofs, and building robotic teams.

Rentas says that protesting Success Academy is a sign that the Latino leadership is not embracing the diversity of a changing community.  She is wrong.  Our neighborhood schools are the realization of our community in all it's diversity, and we embrace them.

Williamsburg and Greenpoint Parents for Our Public Schools

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