Sunday, March 25, 2012

Eva in desperate scramble to meet enrollment targets is assisted by the DOE

UPDATED Sunday, March 25, 11 PM---
I have long heard that schools suspect that the NYC DoE's Enrollment Office is under-enrolling schools for several years and then using the declining enrollment trend, that they create and control, as justification for colocation or closure. ---
Lisa Donlan
Where is the press on issues such as this?
 
For those fighting introduction of charters or raising the caps on the number of charters, here is some powerful ammunition: http://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/snapshots-of-connecticut-charter-school-data/
Snapshots of Connecticut Charter School Data
schoolfinance101.wordpress.com

In several previous posts I have addressed the common argument among charter advocacy organizations ...

I keep adding info to the bottom of this post as it comes in. Really worth checking out.

Originally posted Sat., Mar. 24, 11PM

The latest headlines are that Bloomberg will meet his goal of starting 50 more charters before he leaves office. But what if he gives a charter party and no one comes? Well it's very simple, see. Just have Tweed send out kindergarten rejection letters to parents applying to local public schools in areas with a new charter coming in that people don't seem to want to send their kids too, thus putting them in a position of being forced to choose the charter.

This came in from a parent in Williamsburg:
Considering Success Academy's massive ramp-up of direct mail and advertising in just the past week here in Williamsburg, it seems obvious that, despite her claims of receiving 700 applications for her new Success Academy Williamsburg, Eva's in a desperate scramble to meet her enrollment targets.

Now we hear of a new tactic from the DOE: An SLT parent at a local public school informed us that the DOE is suddenly FORCING all non-magnet schools to issue rejection letters to all non-zoned students applying for K -- even though most local schools have plenty of kindergarten seats! The letter reads that the child has not been given a seat but has been placed on a wait-list.

So while magnet and district-wide (CHARTER) schools are able to offer acceptance letters, and have done so this week, parents may get rejections from great local schools that HAVE SEATS!

I have never heard of this, but it feels like it has the Success Academy stink all over it. Anyone have any insights?

Complaints can be directed to es_enrollment@schools.nyc.gov.

 The other day Leonie nailed them in this blog post:


Aggressive marketing by charter schools, soliciting applicants

The Bloomberg administration and the charter school operators always claim that in the rapid proliferation of charter schools across the city, they are merely responding to parent “demand” but this ignores the aggressive recruiting methods they use to build up their “waiting lists.”  Eva Moskowitz has hired paid recruiters to “poach” students for her Success Academy charters, as in the video below, outside PS 261 in Brooklyn.  Not to mention her extensive and expensive advertising campaigns, in which she spent $1.6 million dollars on marketing efforts alone in 2009-2010, amounting to $1,300 per incoming student.

This year, there is evidence that Harlem in particular has become so oversaturated with charters, that they have been forced to go far afield to solicit applications.  Parents as far away as lower Manhattan have receiving mailings from Democracy Prep and Harlem Link.     

 Jassica Bouvier of GEM put this summary together:
Last week, NYC parent Lucinda Rosenfeld wrote an op-ed regarding the effect of Success Academy Charter Schools’ marketing strategy and its detrimental impact on already struggling public schools. Yesterday, the organization issued this letter written by a Success Academy parent on the Upper West Side defending the high “demand” for Success Academy and “debunking” the claims made in the op-ed regarding the central role that charter schools play in school segregation.
We wanted to sum up some of the parent and teacher responses to the organization’s letter fresh off the presses this morning (Thank you Lisa Donlan for summing up the criticisms so coherently!):
The letter’s author claims that there is high parent demand for Success Academy in Cobble Hill. It would do us good to remember that the charter process centers on one question: can the school meet its target enrollment?

In fact, the whole support/demand piece of the charter application is all about reaching larger enrollment numbers.  The charter must do aggressive outreach to ensure that the school can meet its enrollment targets. If there is community opposition the charter must address it, changing its proposal if necessary to encompass or address any objections. This means the school risks missing its targets. There simply is not enough demand for these “choices,” which is why some charters are scaling up to capture market share dominance and break into new market segments.
And here is Lisa Donlan's comment in full:
So then why did UWS not meet its enrollment goals this year?
Has the charter authorizer SUNY CSI monitored this?
Because that is what the charter process is all about- can the school meet its target enrollment?
In fact, the whole support/demand piece of the charter application is all about reaching that goal- the charter must do outreach to ensure that the school can meet its enrollment targets.
If there is community opposition the charter must address it, changing its proposal if necessary to encompass or address any objections THAT MEAN THE SCHOOL RISKS MISSING THE TARGET ENROLLMENT.
That is the measure of success for a charter, initially.
After that it has to be financially sound (or cook the books enough that the fraud is not caught by the auditors/authorizers), and meet its performance goals ( self defined in the charter).
We all hear the HSA spin that it is the "assault" ( I suppose driven by the UFT, according to the false spin) that caused parents to flee, that it was the law suit that put getting public space in danger (like it did for Girls Prep in D1) that caused otherwise willing parents to run away.
But more spin and lies will not cover up the facts. There simply is not enough demand for these "options" which is why some charters are scaling up to capture market share dominance and break into new market segments.
I predict that, as these charter chains expand, and the potential demand levels out or even declines, as the myths /marketing/ PR and spin are exposed as such, not only will enrollment drop but so will "performance".
There just won't be enough suckers born every minute that produce high test scores and bring few needs for the charter chains to keep afloat.
If and when they go bust, they 'll very likely have taken our public education system with it.
 No doubt the Evas and Erics and Curry Boykins, the lawyers, hedge funders and ambitious pols will be long gone, hopping onto the next sexy thing to fuel their coffers and careers.

Lisa
And then there is this news about the replacement for Pedro Noguera on the SUNY charter authorizing board as the scum-sucking NY Post issues a warning. Initial commentary by Leonie.

Important development in charterland


New head of SUNY charter committee, replacing Noguera, is Ken O’Brien, who was the strongest voice in opposition to the co-locations of the SuccAcademy chain at the last televised meeting. Acc. to article below, in the letter in which he accepted appt, O’Brien wrote:
“I am committed to making certain that we do not let charters, which constitute 2.5 percent of New York’s school population, dominate our committee agenda,” O’Brien said in a letter accepting the appointment.
He also said the policy of allowing charter schools to share building space with traditional public schools — which has fueled protests and lawsuits — needs to be revisited.
I strongly suggest that all communications w/ SUNY institute be copied to both O’Brien and McCall in future. They have got to hear clearly how the co-location fiasco is undermining our public schools. Here are the emails:
trustees@suny.edu and carl.mccall@suny.edu and ken.o’brien@suny.edu

Charter jitters over new chief
By ERIK KRISS and CARL CAMPANILE
Last Updated: 6:58 AM, March 23, 2012
Posted: 12:59 AM, March 23, 2012

A college faculty honcho and union man has been tapped to head the powerful State University panel that approves charter schools — setting off alarm bells from advocates who fear charters will face more resistance.
SUNY Chairman Carl McCall appointed history professor Ken O’Brien, president of the University’s faculty senate, to lead the SUNY board’s committee on education and college readiness.
The panel recommends whether to approve or reject new charter- school applications.
O’Brien is a member of the Union of University Professions, which is the college affiliate of the K-to-12 teachers union that opposes charter schools.
“I am committed to making certain that we do not let charters, which constitute 2.5 percent of New York’s sc hool population, dominate our committee agenda,” O’Brien said in a letter accepting the appointment.
He also said the policy of allowing charter schools to share building space with traditional public schools — which has fueled protests and lawsuits — needs to be revisited.
Sources in the charter community — fearing retribution — expressed their worries about the O’Brien appointment anonymously. They likened it to putting the fox in the hen house.
But McCall insisted O’Brien’s union affiliation is not significant.
McCall also noted that O’Brien has been a member of the panel that has routinely approved more than 90 charter schools.
“Ken is a professional educator who has been open-minded on charter-school issues,” he said.
“Everyone on the board has been supportive of charter schools . . . I don’t know why charter -school advocates would be concerned with him.
“All you have to do is look at his record.”
Lisa Donlan follows up with:


I would like to know more about these tactics to intentionally shrink, in order to better destroy, our public schools as well as to  squeeze them out and replace them with charters.
While Eva is the force behind the most high profile and ambitious of the charters chains , she is not alone to use these tactics.
Clearly there is a handbook of best practices that the charter operators, private companies all,  share with each other, or at least imitate closely.

And it is also evident that OPP and Chancellor Walcott, like Joel Klein before him, are blatantly favoring charters schools that do not operate on an even playing with their district counterparts on so many levels.
Besides additional funding; political clout and access;, support by monied think tanks, foundations, politicians, education officials and the main stream media; the very policies and operations of the DoE are setting up our district schools to fail.

I have long heard that schools suspect that the NYC DoE's Enrollment Office is under-enrolling schools for several years and then using the declining enrollment trend, that they create and control, as justification for colocation or closure.

Has anyone else heard anything about this issue?

Is there an expedient way to investigate or FOIL the enrollment information? DoE can claim it is a function of "choice" but since their methods and algorithms are far from transparent, it is hard to believe them in this instance.

The overall lack of transparency and authentic data leaves the DoE open to these kinds of suspicions,  that one can not help but believe, after all the evidence of cooked books and biases DoE has employed to advance a political agenda.
There should not be continued or revised Mayoral control for a myriad of reasons, the least of which is autocracy has precluded public access to completely transparent data.

Except of course in the case of the politically motivated release of the flawed Teacher Data Reports!

Lisa

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