Friday, April 20, 2012

Report from the Hearing on Citizens of the World Charter Schools

We reported on this story a few days ago:  Exposing Segregation Tactics of Eric Grannis and Citizens of the World Charter Schools.

The hearing was Thursday night but had Broadway tickets so I couldn't make it though I did get to the closing schools rally at Tweed (33 Schools United: City-Wide Rally Against School Closures at DOE Headquarters).

Posted by Brooke:
Started late, but there was an AMAZING turnout! 100 people - PARENTS showed up at IS71 to speak out against these proposed charter schools, holding signs:

- Citizens of WHAT world?
- Citizens only track Record is Wonder of Reading Scandal.
- DOE, do the MATH, D14 doesn't need another Elementary School
- The community of Williamsburg says NO to co-locating PS110
- Indict Kriste Dragon
- CWCS is bankrupt

We had planned an organized round of talks to address every single aspect of their proposal. SUNY wasn't going to be there, but the transcript will be sent to SUNY.

Kate Sobel showed up with Etoy Ridgnal and 2 other members of her team. NO ONE was there from the community in support of these proposals. Sobel spoke about how she came from Teach for America, adopted a black child, and single highhandedly erased the achievement gap with the kids she taught at a latino school in Los Angeles. It was difficult for the audience to contain our outrage towards her arrogance and paternalism.

Our elected officials were there in FORCE:

- State Committe Member Lincoln Restler
- BBP Marty Markowitz (represented)
- City Councilmember Diana Reyna (represented)
- City Councilmember Stephen Levin (represented)
- NYState Assemblyman Joe Lentol
- US Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

All of them spoke on the record that they are vehemently opposed to these two proposed charter schools. I want to be Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez when I grow up. We were proud to be District 14 families tonight.

I had a 25 page attack on their curriculum, pedagogy and programming, but was only able to get through 5 pages before time ran out.

At one point, and the irony in this was unmatched, as I was telling Citizens of the World that their concept of service learning and community building was not unique and listed the community projects that our schools engage in, I noticed that all four Citizens of the World staff were talking to each other and not listening to anything I had to say. This was the one opportunity that they had to get feedback from the community regarding their proposals - and they weren't listening at all.

I wanted the DoE and SUNY to hear that we understand the proposals for these two schools. That these proposals are redundant and wasteful - poor copies of the schools we already have. I wanted DoE and SUNY to know that we see through the Citizens of the World charter school proposals. We'll see.

We walked out chanting, "The people united will never be defeated..."

Lots of stuff happened in private arguments afterwards.

- Etoy Ridgnal claimed that the private listserv of mostly white affluent and new parents was plenty of community outreach.

- After I pointed out in my talk that their proposal lists Everyday Math (and uses the Everyday Math website as evidence of it's success) is being used less and less in schools and the DoE is rethinking their Everyday Math curriucla, Sobel told a parent that they plan on using Singapore Math and that they will let their teachers use whatever math curricula that they want.

I mention this only because I flat out asked SUNY if Citizens can alter their proposal based on feedback AFTER it's been written and they said that they can not. What's in the proposal is in the proposal.

We'll see. The next step is a letter writing campaign.


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