Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Charter Pestilence Hits Beach Channel Campus: “School Choice” Runs Amuck

How many high schools can you fit on the head of a pin? or in 1 building?

To be published in March 17, 2017 edition of The WAVE.

The Charter Pestilence Hits Beach Channel Campus: “School Choice” Runs Amuck
By Norm Scott

The WAVE had a front page report [Community Slams DOE Proposal for New Charter School] on the March 8 protest led by Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato outside Beach Channel HS before the pre-determined hearing to add another school to the campus, not even a public school, but a privately managed charter school. Amato said, “The idea of wedging another school in here is ridiculous. Co-location will create more competition and limit our resources for the other existing schools.” Not just another school Stacey, but a charter school. I wish our politicians would take a strong stand against the pestilence of charters and single them out as not just another school, but a privately managed school where teachers don’t have to be certified and discipline codes don’t have to be followed.

Let’s see now.  We already have Channel View (grades 6-12, SE), Rockaway Park HS (Grades 9-12, SE), Rockaway Collegiate HS (Grades 9-12, SE). All high schools. And across the street we have Scholars (grades 6-12, SE). That’s 4 schools serving high school students. The incoming charter, Humanities IV, will serve, guess what? 118-128 9th grade students and will add a grade a year so that by 2020-21 it will serve grades 9-12 with 472-512 students. This will be in addition to in addition to PS Q256, Alternate Learning Center, District 79 programs, LYFE, Restart Academy and community based organizations, Millennium and Partnership with Children.

This is insanity - the idea of school choice run amuck. Why would a charter want to go into an area with so many other options? Will they market themselves as a competitor to Scholars, which often gets the top-performing students and then pick off the spillover, leaving the other high schools on BC campus to compete for what is left? We know that charters have enormous marketing potential, with a lot of outside money to support them. We know that there are certain kids charters don’t want. Low scoring, troubled, ELLs, homeless. The very idea of a lottery means that many of the parents of these kids have too many other issues to deal with and won’t even enter the lottery.  Public schools have to take all kids.

This is not choice but competition for the desirable kids.

Someone tell me why we can’t have one high school with a bunch of alternate sub-schools offering choices under the same management. Imagine the cost to maintain all these schools with a principal, office staff, etc. for each. Once again, school choice run amuck.

Humanities is a New Visions school and New Visions has been a partner with the DOE for a long time. So expect the outcome of the hearing, no matter how passionate the community, to be a done deal.

A DOE spokesperson told The Wave, as they tell everyone, “We value community feedback and we’ll continue to work with families and school staff to ensure the needs of every student in the building are met.”

Excuse me while I hold my sides laughing.

Norm shares his love for charters at

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