Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pat Dobosz Videos and Reports on Grover Cleveland, MS 126, IS 71 and Beginnings With Children Charter School

Report from Pat Dobosz-- below, see all the videos she posted, including one of our pal Frances Lewis HS Ch Ldr Arthur Goldstein, who spoke at the Grover Cleveland HS hearing to show support. Leonie posted a bunch on her blog too:

Gem/ICEers Pat and David Dobosz present some interesting thoughts about a District 14-based longtime charter operating out of its own building, now looking to get on the gravy train of free space in a public school building at IS 71, which at one point earlier this year was threatened with closing before being pulled off the list.

On Monday, April 2, 2012 David and I attended the co-location hearing of Beginning with Children at the Juan Morel Campos Campus. The high school on this campus, which also houses an intermediate school (IS 71) and a special education District 75 school, was recently saved from closure by the DOE after a rousing hearing attended by the community. 

Now Beginning With Children Charter school (that has four schools in Williamsburg and Bed Stuy) wants to co-locate in this building. One can't help wonder what kind of a deal was made by the DOE. There was a handful of people in the audience. Most were there in conjunction with the charter school. The CEC was not present as they had promised not to attend any more co-location hearings. The principal sat on the dais with the SUNY official who praised him to the hilt and who is respected very much by the Campos community. He did not speak at this hearing.

David, on behalf of the Southside Community Coalition, was the only speaker (I sent a written comment). He said that Beginning With Children began as an honest option. (Note:It was originally an alternative public school that went charter). Now it's a network taking its cue from Eva Moskowitz and Success Academy by mailing out glossy cards to recruit neighborhood children. The addresses are bought from a company that the DOE sells to (Vanguard is one such company). David asked, "How rogue is BWCC going to go?" He requested that the Principal, Mr. Feinman, let the community know if he experiences any predatory behavior on the part of BWCC. A gentleman who may be an AP later came over and thanked David for his remarks.

George Flowers, Executive Director of Beginning with Children Charter School, approached David after the meeting and claimed he didn't know about the outreach to the community with the post cards and said he was going to check into the matter. When asked if the teachers at the new school would be union teachers, Flowers said they would not be unionized as they are at the original school in the Pfizer building.
The meeting was over in the blink of an eye. It seems that many of those who might have attended were at another meeting at PS 17 over the issue of mold in the building.
We headed over to the closing hearing at Grover Cleveland HS in Queens. This was a completely different experience. The auditorium was packed with student (past and present), teachers, community members and politicians. I included some video clips below.
On Wednesday, April 4 we attended the closing hearing at John Ericsson MS 126. This is a restart school that is now becoming a turnaround school. This means it will close, lose 50% of it's staff and get a new number and name. We heard many pleas from students, teachers, parents and politicians to give this school a chance. It has a new principal that everyone respects and they were just put under the restart model in September.
[Ed Note: The old principal put in by the DOE at 126 was a major cause of the school's decline.]
Assemblyman Joe Lentol said that it was an insult to the new principal to switch gears now. To change in mid-stream is a mistake. This school has 40% of its students in special education services compared to 15.64% citywide. It has 25% of its student body that are ELLs (English Language Learners), several of whom spoke passionately about the education and services they were receiving at 126. The school has already faced a "turnaround" of 75% since 2007. The general feeling reflected in the comments was that a turnaround/closure of this school would be disruptive and that what the DOE should be doing is providing resources and support for the new principal and the current staff. These are the pleas we are hearing from every restart school hearing we are going to. The DOE is justifying turnaround which means closure by blaming the UFT for not having an evaluation system in place (the DOE's evaluation system). As SLT member, Sergio Zamora stated, "We did turnaround." Now it's the DOE's responsibility to give support to the staff and students.
John Ericsson has suffered neglect for many years because of poor administrators that were allowed to bring it down. The DOE has a moral obligation to give support so that it  can once again be a model middle school as it was when I went there as a student.
These hearings are heartbreaking as the school communities speak on behalf of their second "families." It is outrageous that NY State, Bloomberg and The DOE/PEP turn a deaf ear to public outcry.
Pat Dobosz, a person whose school past is only captured in year books now.: My elementary school is co-located with Eva's SA, my high school has been closed and now they want to close my JHS. The wonderful education and memories I had at each of these schools will be only that, memories. My future grandchildren and friends' children will not have the pleasure of saying they went to the school their parents went to.
The following videos were posted on behalf of GEM, the Grassroots Education Movement:

Here are a couple of my comments to help with the identifications:

This is GCHS science teacher Russell Nitchman:

This is GCHS guidance counselor Alice Gluszak:

The "despair, confusion..." person is retired GCHS English teacher Joe Thorsen:

I don't know who this elected official is, but could it be Addabbo?:

This is not a student member of the SLT:

The speaker in this video is misidentified on YouTube and your blog as being Addabbo.  It is actually my former student, Dmytro Fedkowskyj, the Queens PEP member:

Subj: Grover Cleveland Hearing April 2, 2012
[20120402064521Grover Cleveland] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AwWXIkcpOs
Teacher: What's the difference between what Bloomberg is doing and being a prostitute?
[20120402062130Grover Cleveland] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9csy1BZRw0
Francis Lewis HS ESL teacher and Chapter Leader, Arthur Goldstein: How would you rate Mayor Bloomberg: Highly Effective, Effective, Developing or Ineffective?

[20120402062023Grover Cleveland] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKl7VCUOk48Guidance Guidance Counselor: When does a chancellor's word not mean anything?

[20120402061754Grover Cleveland] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--e3wX7GrtQ
Christine Martin on behalf of the Council of Supervisors:and Administrators: ...plan is being introduced for cynical reasons

[20120402061614Grover Cleveland] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJ_WVQcOgSg
Student member of the SLT: We should not be used as pieces in the mayor's monolpoly game.

[20120402061337Grover Cleveland] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlvF_bGldc8
The DOE is creating an environment of despair, confusion and failure.

[20120402060930Grover Cleveland] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQmtjkjEqco
UFT Vice President of High Schools, Leo Casey: Stop holding Grover Cleveland hostage.

[20120402060615Grover Cleveland] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-FQS-5ABEg
State Senator, Addabbo: Keep Cleveland open...

[20120402060206Grover Cleveland] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XLCd_t4sRo
Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan is asked whether she would rescind mayoral control.

[20120402055247Grover Cleveland] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ytuGx0B7zk
Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, a Cleveland alumna.

[20120402055048Grover Cleveland] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LN7jU4DyXf0
An elected official asks that Cleveland be taken off the list of turnaround schools.


IS 126 was one of the schools I covered for years from 1997 until I left the system when I worked for District 14 media center. It once was the jewel of the district. There are lots of reasons for its problems, some of them traceable to pre-Bloomberg years. I could do an entire post on the history of this school, including the old school board political machinations. A key was replacing IS 126 with IS 318 as the flagship school in the district. In both cases and with pretty much all schools "succeeding" it is due to the kids you can recruit. Charters cream and public schools cream if they can. For years IS 126 was the only option if you wanted your top kids to avoid the local zoned schools and we used to work very hard to get out top kids in there. Interesting in that it is located in Greenpoint, a white area. When IS 318 replaced it as the magnet, that made sense in that it is located smack in the middle of the district. What were the white parents in Greenpoint to do? Many sent their kids there anyway. Others lobbied for a more local middle school option aside from 126 because that school was already getting overloaded with special ed and ELLs. And they got it at PS 132 which is a short distance away. That pretty much doomed 126. But the constant co-locations, from Bard for a few years put in by Harold Levy -- they took the top floor with a million dollar renovation while 126 was squeezed into tiny spaces, followed by sleazeball Eddie Calderon-Melendez corrupt Believe managed Williamsburg charter, now also being closed along with 126. What a sad story. 


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the corrections!