Saturday, March 31, 2012

Videos: Brooklyn Automotive HS closing Hearing

Report from Pat Dobosz:

Many alumni spoke about the school. The DOE was charged with not providing stability and funding to the school, setting it up to fail.  Below are a few of the speakers. I had more, but the quality of the video was poor because the sound system was terrible.
I did these videos on behalf of GEM (Grassroots Educatiom Movement).
1967 graduate: The DOE has not put resources into this school.
Teacher: He said he was going to speak until he was done. Watch the security come up to him.
2011 Graduate: Give us the money.
CSA Rep: Bloomberg's DOE Speaks about the Turnaround Model for schools.
1968 graduate and present teacher: This has always been a family....You had a trade... and you could go to college.
Rep from Councilman Steve Levin's office: ...should be discussing creative solutions...
UFT Vice President of CTE, Sterling Roberson: Two minutes is not enough.
Teacher; Had 21 supervisors in 18 years. The last two principals were removed from the building and yet they got jobs.
UFT Rep: Which side are you on?
David Dobosz: Southside Community Schools Coalition
Mother of a current student: We can't let the DOE tell us how to raise our children academically.

Here is Gotham Schools' report on the Automotive Hearing:

Automotive High School
Few students turned out for the hearing about the city’s plan to replace Brooklyn’s Automotive High School. Instead, alumni outnumbered both students and teachers, crediting their careers as sanitation workers, auto mechanics, and members of the military to the technical training they received at Automotive.
A panel of speakers at the closure hearing for Automotive High School. Teacher Tiffany Judkins is at the far right.
Deputy Chancellor David Wiener said the city decided to close the school because it seems to be declining, rather than improving. He pointed to the the school’s 1 percent college or career readiness rate in 2011 and a student survey in which four of 10 students said that safety was a concern.
Last year, Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch visited the school and criticized it publicly as a “warehouse” for students from other closed schools.
Current teachers did not try to praise the school. Instead, they said they opposed the turnaround plan because the department has not been successful in its previous improvement efforts to improve the school.
Tiffany Judkins, a graduate of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, became a “master teacher” at Automotive in 2010 when the school was among 11 to undergo “transformation” using federal School Improvement Grants. With interim acting principal Caterina Lafergola sitting two seats away on stage, Judkins testified that poor leadership had created a dysfunctional culture. The school, Judkins said in her testimony, has been plagued by ”rampant miscommunication, a lack of organization, and a lack of any kind of clarity of purpose in both the long and short term.”
Lafergola, who did not speak during the hearing, was hired in August just weeks after the nonprofit group New Visions was chosen to work with Automotive when the school entered the “restart” reform model last fall. She is the third principal since 2009 and will stay on next year under the city’s plan.
“This place has had no stability and we’ve had constant changes in leadership,” said Will Stasiuk, a 17-year teacher at the school. “We’ve been fed so many different visions and so many different directions that nothing has been tried out a long period of time.”


Anonymous said...

The instability at the school says it all. That is what most of the speakers were pointing out. Also I spoke with a former student after the hearing. he indicated that even back in his day, taking five years to graduate was the norm for many students because they had regents classes and shop classes and could not get everything into their schedules to graduate in four years. Five year graduation rates exist today. I know a student at Aviation. He is in a five year program However because he finished his academic credits, the schol had him "graduate" so he is counted in his cohort. But he has this year to finish his technical courses. Placing students in a school they don't want to be in has cause for many problems at Automotive...that "warehousing" that Meryl Tisch speaks of. What is she going to do about it? Many of the shops at this school were closed down supposedly because of budget cuts, but we can spend billions on computer systems that don't work! This school was a model for other CTE schools out in Chicago because of the teaching and programs it had. Those programs need to be brought back, resources and fund need to be poured in. Better and more stable administrators need to be running this building and the school needs to reach out to many of those formwer students to come back and mentor the students (and perhaps some of the newer teachers) in the crafts that have been lost or that have not been taught over the years. The school has been impotant to our city in providing mechanics and future engineers. It does not need to be shut down or lose its name. It needs to be truly supported.

Pat Dobosz

Ajlounyinjurylaw said...

It's sad to see a school close down. So many have failed and the only ones that suffer are the future, our children.

Anonymous said...

Auto was once on the rise and when it was the DOE did not support the leadership, instead they were counting rooms and measuring classrooms with the intent of placing new small schools there. How can the Mayor and Chancellor start a Young Mens Initiative in one breathe and in the next breathe close a school that serves 95% male students? I guess the initiave for young men starts after they close Auto? What about the Auto boys?