The MarketPlace on NPR reported on the rally.
Get the audio report:
Janella Hinds, VP High Schools, was asked if the UFT sees that the Tennessee teachers union (TEA) got their state legislature to drop evaluating teachers by test scores in their Teacher evaluation scheme. Can we call in the Vote Cope chips to do the same here? Janella says we will work with the current system.If you missed it, this from Diane Ravitch (note: TN State Ed Comm, Kevin Huffman, is Michelle Rhee's ex and father of her 2 children - and another Teach for America slug posing as an educator).
In a stunning reversal,the Tennessee Legislature overwhelmingly repealed a law to evaluate teachers by test scores, and the law was swiftly signed by Governor Haslam. On a day when Arne Duncan withdrew Washington State’s failure to enact test-based teacher valuation system, this is a remarkable turn of events.
Joey Garrison of The Tennessean reports:
“Gov. Bill Haslam has signed into law a bill that will prevent student growth on tests from being used to revoke or not renew a teacher’s license — undoing a controversial education policy his administration had advanced just last summer.
“The governor’s signature, which came Tuesday, follows the Tennessee General Assembly’s overwhelming approval this month of House Bill 1375 / Senate Bill 2240, sponsored by Republicans Rep. John Forgety and Sen. Jim Tracy, which cleared the House by a unanimous 88-0 vote and the Senate by a 26-6 vote.
“That marked a major repudiation of a policy the Tennessee Board of Education in August adopted — at Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman’s recommendation — that would have linked license renewal and advancement to a teacher’s composite evaluation score as well as data collected from the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System, which measures the learning gains of students.
“The bill to reject the policy had been pushed chiefly by the Tennessee Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ organization, which engineered a petition drive to encourage Haslam to sign the legislation despite it passing with large bipartisan support.
“Huge, huge win for teachers,” the TEA wrote on its Twitter page, thanking both bill sponsors as well as Haslam for “treating teachers as professionals.”
“Eyeing a 2015 implementation, the state board in January had agreed to back down from using student learning gains as the sole and overriding reason to revoke a license. Composite evaluation scores, in which 35 percent is influenced by value-added data, were to centerpiece.”
Two interesting points here: one, Duncan has been hailing Tennessee as a demonstration of the “success” of Race to the Top, in which test-based evaluation of teachers is key. What happens now?
Second, state Commissioner Kevin Huffman is so unpopular that anything he supports is likely to be rejected. His enemies hope he doesn’t leave Tennessee because whatever he recommends generates opposition, even among his allies.
Fellow Education Bloggers,This is “National Charter Schools Week.”Even the President is rejoicing with a proclamation: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-
press-office/2014/05/02/ presidential-proclamation- national-charter-schools-week- 2014The National Alliance of Public Charter Schools is expected to release their annual pronouncement about the number of students on charter school waitlists.Kevin Welner and Gary Miron have a MUST READ memo entitled, “WAIT, WAIT. DON’T MISLEAD ME! - NINE REASONS TO BE SKEPTICAL ABOUT CHARTER WAITLIST NUMBERS.”You can access the memo at: http://nepc.colorado.edu/ files/nepc-policymemo_ waitlists.pdfThanks Kevin, Gary and NEPC for all you go to shine the light of truth,Jonathan Pelto
Kevin Welner posted this message on Basecamp.
Charter Waitlist #'s: NEPC Resource for Monday's AnnouncementHi all. As part of National Charter Schools Week, the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools tomorrow (Monday) will be announcing their annual estimate of the number of students on charter school waitlists. The number will be, I expect, well above a million. In the past, the NAPCS and other charter advocates have use the waitlist estimate to lobby for more resources for charters. But the number is misleading and poorly supported.
We at NEPC found out about the announcement a few days ago, and Gary Miron and I rushed to create a Policy Memo that outlines the problems with this estimate. The Memo is now available online at nepc.colorado.edu/publication/
Almost 30 teachers are refusing to give the NYC ELA Performance Assessment to our high school ELL students. This is very big news and we're excited!!!!! We need as much support as we can get! Please pass this around in your schools and on your networks and send us a solidarity picture or message from your school chapter on our website, www.standupoptout.wordpress.
Emily and Rosie
FOR PLANNING PURPOSES: April 29, 2014
**Media Advisory**26 Teachers and Staff of International High School at Prospect Heights refuse to give NYC ELA Performance Assessment TestWHEN: Thursday, May 1, 2014, 7:45-8:20am,
WHERE: International High School at Prospect Heights, 883 Classon Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225
WHAT: Teachers will hold a press conference to announce their refusal to administer the NYC ELA Performance Assessment. 26 teachers and staff at Prospect Heights International High School are refusing to administer a new assessment that is part of the new teacher evaluation system pushed by Bloomberg’s DOE and the UFT last spring. 50% of parents have opted their children out of the test. The high school serves almost exclusively recently arrived English Language Learners.
WHY: The test was constructed and formatted without any thought for the 14% of New York City students for whom English is not their first language. The level of English used in the pre-test administered in the Fall was so far above the level of our beginner ELLs that it provided little to no information about our students’ language proficiency or the level of their academic skills.
Furthermore, the test was a traumatic and demoralizing experience for students. Many students, after asking for help that teachers were not allowed to give, simply put their heads down for the duration. Some students even cried.
Teachers at Prospect Heights are drawing a line with this test. Standardized, high stakes test dominate our schools, distort our curriculum and make our students feel like failures. This test serves no purpose for the students, and ultimately only hurts them.
26 Teachers have signed a letter to Chancellor Farina declaring that they will not give the exam. The letter expresses gratitude for Farina’s immediate turn around of the DOE’s attitude toward teachers, and asks that the Chancellor reconsider the use of the NYC ELA Performance Assessment with English Language Learners.
WHO: Teachers and support staff from the International High School at Prospect Heights.
RSVP: This event is open to press and coverage is welcome.
The International High School at Prospect Heights is a public high school located in Brooklyn, NY. Read their letter to Chancellor Farina at www.standupoptout.wordpress.
...half the teachers at Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles found out they had been dismissed from their jobs as part of a "conversion" process. Among them was Alex Caputo-Pearl, who I first met two years ago when I reported on Crenshaw. This isn't the first time the district has attempted to remove Caputo-Pearl, an outspoken activist, from Crenshaw. In 2006, as he was organizing neighborhood parents to fight for better school resources, such as up-to-date computers, he was forcibly transferred to a more affluent school across town. Parents complained and he was eventually reinstated. Caputo-Pearl is part of a dissident, left caucus within the L.A. teachers' union, and he has written in the New York Times about why he has become a critic of Teach for America. He opposes tying teacher evaluation and pay to student test scores, and is critical of the expansion of the charter school sector.
---- Dana Goldstein, "An Activist Teacher, a Struggling School, and the School Closure Movement: A Story from L.A.", May 2013For those who say only a caucus with a bread and butter program can win, we give you the latest developments.
By shrouding the test in secrecy, Pearson denies information to teachers to help diagnose student needs. The tests become useless by having no diagnostic value. ...teachers will be fired and students will be failed and schools will be closed without seeing the validity of the instruments of punishment. This is wrong.
These gag orders and the lack of transparency are fueling the growing distrust and backlash among parents, students and educators in the United States about whether the current testing protocols and testing fixation is in the best interests of children.
Diane and Randi have the Pearson issue ass backwards. High stakes tests were never intended to assist in the diagnosis of student academic needs. In my district in Newark, scores are not reported to teachers until the following school year when most teachers are no longer responsible for instructing those particular students. The purpose of the tests is to impose the consequences of closing "failing" schools and firing the teachers employed in those schools. Gag orders on exposing test questions are not fueling backlash against standardized testing. Common Core tied to high stakes testing tied to punitive consequences are the bedrocks of the marriage of the federal government to the school privatization industry.
Alan Singer reported in the Huffington Post that Pearson may be in serious financial trouble. According to Investopedia.com, Pearson underperformed the SandP Index by 23%. Singer suggested that Pearson may be over-extended in its ambitious push to expand its education, digital services and testing programs. The company is concerned that the United States market might shrink due to resistance to Common Core and testing. Will Pearson losing market share bring good tidings to Randi? Randi would be dismayed to discover any chinks in the armor of the federal privatization movement. Henry Mance of Media reported a 6 percent decline in Pearson sales in the first quarter of 2014. Randi shrewdly calculated that she might bolster Pearson sales in the United States by pressuring them to be more transparent in releasing test questions to the public. Randi miscalculated the depth and the breadth of the anger amongst students, parents, teachers and administrators over Common Core inextricably linked to endless testing. As a teacher, I am fully competent to assess and plan appropriate instruction for my students. I could not care less about ludicrous test questions devised by Pearson and others.
Here is the problem folks. Randi is beholden to Bill Gates for his financial contributions to the AFT. Randi loves Bill's Common Core experiment. She enjoys hobnobbing with the financial elites of our society. Diane seeks to portray BFF Randi in the best possible light. Randi was "deeply disturbed" to read in The New York Times about issues teachers, principals, parents and students were raising about Pearson tests. Randi is handsomely compensated to represent the interests of teachers in this country. She has to read The New York Times to familiarize herself with teacher opposition to Pearson testing?
She could talk to any teacher in my school for five minutes to get a run down on the quagmire of standardized testing. Those teachers would patiently explain the correlation between low standardized test scores and high poverty neighborhoods. Unlike the teachers in schools in more prosperous neighborhoods across town, who are for the most part rated effective or better, the hard working, highly qualified teachers in schools in our neighborhoods are more likely to be caught in the partially effective and ineffective traps. Randi's strategy is to minimize the onslaught on public education by pinpointing gag orders one time and VAM on another occasion thereby avoiding both a big picture analysis and an action plan.
In Newark, State Superintendent Cami Anderson's One Newark Plan has encountered some glitches in the past week. The administration was unable to meet its self-imposed deadline for informing families which schools their children will attend in September. They are having difficulties working out the transportation details. If the goal is to move children all over the city to purportedly advance equity, transportation would appear to be a key component of the plan. So Randi when you get done writing BS letters to Pearson about marginal issues, you could hop on Amtrak from DC to Newark and help Cami and her pals figure out transportation routes. If you have any spare time, there is a long line of teachers who would benefit from real union leadership.
A Newark Teacher
We are concerned that your inadequate and one-sided coverage of the forced privatization of our schools has been unduly influenced by the same forces that have biased the Governor – the huge pocketbooks of the organizations and financiers that back them. ...Is Chalkbeat a wholly owned subsidiary of Walmart?
Chalkbeat’s failure to assign a reporter to the event glaringly contrasts with your close and detailed coverage of every move made by the charter operators and their backers. Indeed, you published two different stories on the charter march across the Brooklyn Bridge, three different stories on the Albany rally for charters (though you failed to disclose that Gov. Cuomo was actually behind it) , and on March 29 you ran two stories on reactions to the budget bills, BOTH from the point of view of the charter operators. ...Letter from parents elected to public school community education councilsWe know all about the bias at Charter - er - Chalkbeat - even worse then when they were Gotham. Look at the lame response that they can't cover everything -- the hypocrisy of which this letter notes. But also note how they tried to bury this letter from parents who are actually elected in their local Community Education Council school districts. Compare this to the coverage charters, which often don't even allow PTAs, get.
Interesting no mention of the words of “charters” or “co-location” in the title. A very thin and unconvincing response. No mention or link to the letter on the homepage, in their morning newsletter, or anywhere else that I can find.Read the letter and comment -- if you can (I couldn't)
Two weeks ago, members of the city’s Community Education Councils protested the state budget deal outside the New York Public Library and then marched to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New York City office. Chalkbeat covered the event with a short post (“Rally against state budget draws hundreds to midtown“) and received the following letter to the editor in response:Chalkbeat responds - ho, hum
We are writing to protest your inadequate coverage of the April 10th rally and march on the Governor’s office. Outraged by the charter giveaway that Governor Cuomo engineered with the help of the Legislature in this year’s state budget bill, many hundreds of parents, teachers and students gathered on the steps of the NY Public Library before marching to the Governor’s office.This unprecedented rally, organized primarily by Community Education Council members citywide, in just a week,grew out the anger and betrayal felt by parents and community members at the way the Governor and legislature essentially gave away NYC public schools to millionaire education investors.Rather than sending one of your reporters to cover this event, you only posted a short blurb clearly taken from the press release after the fact.Chalkbeat’s failure to assign a reporter to the event glaringly contrasts with your close and detailed coverage of every move made by the charter operators and their backers. Indeed, you published two different stories on the charter march across the Brooklyn Bridge, three different stories on the Albany rally for charters (though you failed to disclose that Gov. Cuomo was actually behind it) , and on March 29 you ran two stories on reactions to the budget bills, BOTH from the point of view of the charter operators.Even more importantly, you have failed to cover any of the substantive issues and reasons behind our anger, including how unprecedented these charter provisions are, how they apply only to NYC, how they will detract from the city’s already underfunded capital plan and cost the taxpayers millions of dollars, while thousands of public school students will continue sit in trailers or in overcrowded classrooms, without art, music, science or therapy and counseling rooms, or on waiting lists for Kindergarten.The very headline on the short ex-post facto blurb you ran on the rally omitted any mention of the charter school issue, Your summary of the charter provisions in the budget bill as “safeguards for charters” was biased enough to have been written by the charter lobby itself. In reality, the bill forces PREFERENTIAL treatment for charters, not safeguards. There are overcrowded school communities in NYC that have been waiting for over 20 years for a public school to be built for their children, and they will continue to wait, while hedge-fund backed charters will now automatically receive space, on demand and free of charge.It has not escaped our attention that the Walton Foundation helped finance the expansion of GothamSchools into Chalkbeat, and that the same organization is a prominent backer of the school privatization movement and contributed to the virulent $5 million ad campaign that directly led to the preferential provisions in the state law. Your organization also counts among its financial backers many other prominent charter school supporters and board members, including the Gates Family Foundation, Whitney Tilson, Boykin Curry, Paul Appelbaum , Ken Hirsch, Charles Ledley, Kate Shoemaker and others.In order to appear unbiased by the sources of your funding and safeguard any journalistic credibility, your organization should cover the point of view of the thousands of NYC public school parents who, though we may not be wealthy, feel that our children have been dispossessed, displaced, and potentially evicted from their public schools, cheated out of their fair share of space. We, too, represent an important constituency in the debate over privatization, and constitute an important voice to be heard. We are concerned that your inadequate and one-sided coverage of the forced privatization of our schools has been unduly influenced by the same forces that have biased the Governor – the huge pocketbooks of the organizations and financiers that back them.We urge you to publish this letter in your blog and respond to it.
Shino Tanikawa, CECD2
Leonie Haimson, Class Size Matters
Lisa Donlan, CEC1
Teresa Arboleda, CCELL
Eric Goldberg, CECD2
Deborah Alexandar, CECD30
Theresa Hammonds, CECD3
David Goldsmith, CECD13
Valerie Williams, CECD75
Angela Garces, CECD6
Beth Cirone, CECD2
Ellen McHugh, CCSE
Victoria Frye, CECD6
Miriam Farer, CECD6
Isaac Carmignani, CECD30
Eduardo Hernandez, CECD8
Amy Shire, CECD13
Michelle Kupper, CECD15
Jordan Margolis, CECD14
Debbie Feiner, CECD14
Organizational affiliations for identification purpose only
The bottom line is that the protest was clearly well-attended and unique in its CEC-wide organization, and we wish we had been there.
We make decisions about coverage every day based on the fact that we can’t be at every relevant event in the city or it would be impossible for us to provide any deeper coverage of these issues. We regularly attend, and skip, events that reflect a variety of viewpoints. That’s why we work to keep readers informed about events we don’t make it to with posts like the one we wrote about this protest.
Those decisions have everything to with our sense of how we can best add to the “education conversation” happening across the city, and nothing to do with our funders—who make it possible to do what we do, but don’t influence our coverage.
Other feedback? We’re all ears.
Schools Are Us!Democracy only works if you #useit
"Schools Are Us" is an instructional guide and grassroots
organizing tool from Teachers Unite about the power that parents, students, and educators have to make change in their schools.We want to share it with you!Created in collaboration with CUP and designer Silas Munro, this issue of Making Policy Public includes a fold-out poster that lays out the different levels of decision makers who govern NYC’s schools. School and organizations across the city are using Schools Are Us to map out organizing strategies and engage school stakeholders in political education about school governance structures."This is the guide for parents to demystify the governance structure of the DOE, the largest school district in the U.S. For a parent to interact with and understand the governance structure [of the DOE] they need easy access. This is that entry point... This poster is it!"-Rob Bowen, educational activistYou can see the whole guide here.To request hard copies for your school or organization, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.In addition to the guide, Teachers Unite has developed complementary tools and resources, including:
- A BINGO game (attached) about School Leadership Teams, Comprehensive Education Plans, and NYC school system history. The answers to all the questions (plus a description of Presidents Councils, the Chancellor’s job description, and more) can be found in the guide
- Workshops tailored to your school or organization about the guide, the power of SLTs, and more. For more information, visit our website.
- Your Schools, Your Voice: a report by Teachers Unite and the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center about the impact of Mayoral Control on community participation in schools.
...the fact that the party’s activists and unions are not currently on the same page means, at the very least, a challenge from the left could get as messy for them as it is for Cuomo ... Does the party exist primarily for the purposes of contracts and pensions, or for the broader ideals of economic and social justice? If solely for contracts and pensions, is labor’s recent success at the bargaining table more likely to continue by pleasing the governor and harming WFP, or protecting the party that gave the movement its leverage in the first place? Is there any line an official can’t cross, if that official is willing to cut deals at election time?..... Blake Zeff, Capital NY.A Smart UFT Leadership Would Begin a 3rd Party Anti-Cuomo Campaign Immediately.
Andrew Cuomo and his capable team will do all they can to dismiss Tuesday’s stunning Siena poll showing him increasingly vulnerable to a challenge from the left by the Working Families Party. But there’s no denying the threat such a challenge poses—to his margin of victory, and to his reputation in the national party.There is a split in the Working Family Party (WFP) - the activists despise Cuomo and want to run a candidate. The union faction (as expected) want to deal. Apparently this has worked as Cuomo is desperate to avoid having a 3rd party in the election.
The governor knows he’s got two ways to mitigate this threat. One is to get the party to forgo its challenge and give him its ballot line, as it did in 2010. The other is for him to render the party impotent. The WFP’s largest union affiliates, such as 32BJ, 1199, and the Hotel Trades Council (1199), are in a position to help him in both of these regards. Remember the Andrew Cuomo who ran for his first term on a promise of bringing the unions to heel? That same governor has quietly but decisively reversed course in recent months, delivering key unions several items on their wish-lists, just as the threat of a Working Families Party challenge began to circulate.Back to that WFP factions:
Behind the scenes, the Working Families Party is basically composed of two separate factions at this point: the activists and many of the large unions. For the most part, the activists deplore the governor, who has made a mockery of their progressive ideological vision, opposing them on everything from tax policy to charter schools to campaign finance reform. These are groups like Citizen Action, and individuals who have been active in the party for years and spend their time petitioning on weekends. For many of them, the idea of giving Cuomo the ballot line is abhorrent, and will remain so unless he delivers on one of their pet issues like public financing of elections--something he's shown no inclination to do to this point.The WFP factions are analogous in some ways to the NYSUT split over Cuomo between Revise and Stronger Together, which would have been tougher on Cuomo that Revise. So don't expect my somewhat factitious headline about the UFT/NYSUT supporting a 3rd party candidate -- or threatening to do so - will have any legs. Remember, that split was basically over the Cuomo issue, with MulGarten concerned that the Iannucci faction would block an AFL/CIO Cuomo endorsement. So don't expect them to support any 3rd party move. But some interesting intrigue:
... realistically, if the governor is to have a chance at winning the WFP ballot line, it may have to be driven by the union side of the party. While the unions don’t particularly love his record either, they also have very practical concerns that the activists don't have to even consider: concrete items like contracts and pensions for their members that the governor can control directly. As a result, while many activists are firmly anti-Cuomo at this point, unions, who need things from the administration, are not.Watch what happened with some of the unions which wrangled some concessions from Cuomo, concessions that some consider birdseed.
It was no coincidence, in this context, that the governor reversed course last week and delivered a new contract for the Transit Workers Union with raises for MTA workers, despite his previous, long-running insistence that pay increases were a deal-breaker. That wasn’t the only Cuomo-blessed concession to key WFP union affiliates in recent months. The Communications Workers of America was able to kill what it called “ damaging deregulatory legislation” that initially appeared in both the governor’s and State Senate’s initial budget proposals, before ultimately disappearing.But -- there's a big BUT.
32BJ got a boost with its campaign for airport workers’ wages, when Cuomo’s appointee to the Port Authority, Patrick Foye, publicly announced his support in January for enhanced pay and benefits. (“We are thankful to Gov. Cuomo,” Figueroa declared in a press release in response).And 1199 got roughly $380 million in the recent budget to support a pay increase for home health care workers. In return for all this magnanimity, labor sources suggest, several of the key unions in the party—like 1199, 32BJ, HTC, and possibly, now, TWU—are leaning toward endorsing the governor and, certainly, away from supporting a protest candidacy.
While unions tend to play a key role in most political decisions made by the WFP (like the New York City mayor’s race, for example), statewide elections are different. They require that the party’s state committee—not the executive board—determine at the end of May who will represent the ballot line in November. And it just so happens that a significant number of the 200 or so seats on the committee are filled by anti-Cuomo activists in the Citizen Action mold. (As Liz Benjamin reported last month, more than 100 state committee members participated in a conference call at that time “to discuss the possibility” of not endorsing the governor.) Cuomo could still appeal to those activists by addressing one of their pet issues, particularly public financing, before the WFP state convention in late May. But doing that could also cost him some major concessions from GOP senate leader Dean Skelos.
Assuming the activists still oppose him, it raises the possibility of individual unions—like 32BJ, 1199, and HTC—backing the governor and the Working Families Party simultaneously challenging him. And that’s when Cuomo would go to work undercutting the party. If WFP were to launch a challenge to the governor, one theory gaining currency in Albany circles is that he could urge the unions that want to continue to do business with him after he wins to cripple the party’s future efforts by starving it of funding.Like I said above - some parallels to the Stronger Together/Revise NYSUT split. (And don't we know that Cuomo played some behind the scenes role in that scenario?)
Several Albany insiders I (Zeff) spoke to suggested that the governor could even conceivably seek to revive the Liberal Party, which is reportedly eyeing a comeback after effectively having been killed off by the WFP (and, unwittingly, Cuomo) in 2002, as a new home for some of those large unions, instead of the WFP. Maybe. But the fact that the party’s activists and unions are not currently on the same page means, at the very least, a challenge from the left could get as messy for them as it is for Cuomo.Here Zeff raises an important fundamental point:
Given this possibility, here are some questions the labor side of WFP must now consider: Does the party exist primarily for the purposes of contracts and pensions, or for the broader ideals of economic and social justice? If solely for contracts and pensions, is labor’s recent success at the bargaining table more likely to continue by pleasing the governor and harming WFP, or protecting the party that gave the movement its leverage in the first place? Is there any line an official can’t cross, if that official is willing to cut deals at election time? “The union doesn’t have permanent friends or enemies,” 1199 president George Gresham, whose union was famously known as Martin Luther King's favorite, said recently. “We have permanent interests.”
Harlem public School losing space to SucAcademy charter gets 10X application for every open seat; good story below. http://go.shr.lc/1fkBwqwSee also interview with former Suc Academy teacher at Epoch Times here: http://www.theepochtimes.com/
n3/632464-inside-success- academies-a-former-teacher- tells-all/
Demand for Harlem School Spots Should Prevent Charter Growth, Leaders Say
By Emily Frost on April 22, 2014 10:33am@efrost1
Frederick Douglass Academy II Fights Back Against Charter Expansion View Full CaptionHARLEM — Leaders from a local public school that students are lining up in the hundreds to attend are fighting back against a charter school's controversial plan to take over classrooms in their shared building.
Education leaders recently learned that Frederick Douglass Academy II received 950 applications for just 100 ninth-grade seats this coming school year.
The huge uptick comes amid a push by Eva Moskowitz's Harlem Success Academy to move into three of FDA II's rooms, including the 6-12 school's only art room.
In reponse, FDA II's school leadership team — made up of the principal, teachers and other staff — recently rejected a plan by the charter school to take over the art room, as well as an additional classroom and administrative space.
However, a 2010 DOE space-sharing document gives Success Academy the right to expand next year.
News of the demand for seats at FDA II stunned Community Education Council 3, which noted that the school previously struggled to attract interest. For the 2013-2014 school year, the school received just 391 ninth-grade applications, said Principal Osei Owusu-Afriyie. A year earlier, the number of ninth-grade applications was 350, he added.
The increase in applications marks "a pretty clear call for making sure they have additional space, not doing a bait-and-switch with existing space," said CEC 3 president Joe Fiordaliso.
The department tried to negotiate with FDA II earlier this spring — offering to move its existing art room into FDA II's administrative rooms — but the school leadership team held fast in its opposition to any encroachment by Harlem Success Academy, CEC members said.
"The parents don’t feel secure in the DOE’s word," said CEC member Olayia Deen.
Worried the current standoff will lead to Success Academy getting its way, the CEC is rallying behind the school and looking for ways to push the issue in FDA II's favor.
"The situation is rotten... there’s no mechanism once these space plans are set up — they don’t check them," complained CEC member Noah Gotbaum. "They don’t look at whether the space allocation makes any sense at all."
Gotbaum tried to push DOE Superintendent Ilene Altschul to stand behind FDA II at a recent metting, but she said the school's current enrollment numbers weren't high enough to justify keeping the rooms, if the DOE was going by the original space-sharing document.
"I am concerned," Altschul admitted, noting she's personally not in favor of FDA II losing rooms. "I don’t want him to lose that space."
CEC members decided they'd write a letter urging Chancellor Carmen Fariña to ask her to stop the takeover.
"These DOE officials have to stand up for our kids," Gotbaum said.
Neither Success Academy nor the DOE returned requests for comment