Sunday, May 21, 2017

Shino Tanikawa: Controlled Choice: Community Education Council (CEC) District 1

In pre-Bloomberg/Klein years, the k-8 lower east side schools run by the old local school board, had a very progressive record of trying to balance the schools. BloomKlein killed that with their support of free-market "choice" and the influx of charters. The much less powerful Community Education Council (CEC) that replaced the local boards in District 1, often under the leadership of Lisa Donlan, fought to the best of its ability but the powers aligned against them by mayoral control were immense.

There was some hope of change under DeB/ Farina but as the recent posting from CEC1 indicates there is much to be done.

Later I'll post the video from a similar movement in CEC 2 (the rest of Manhattan below 59th on west side and below 96th on east side).

Education Council
For District One

Advocacy for students and families in CSD1.
What We Want to See in D1
  • The District 1 community has long advocated for a plan to address our segregated schools.  We want to see a plan that:
    • Assigns incoming Pre-K and K students at every district school and program so as to ensure they serve a fair number of at-risk students from the following groups:
      • Low Socio-Economic Status
      • English Language Learners
      • Students in Temporary Housing
      • Students with Disabilities;
    • Accommodates parent preference and sibling priority;
    • Measures socio-economic status by household income, the educational attainment of a parent, and number of adults and minors in the household; and
    • Takes into account transfers & over-the-counter students and Dual Language and G&T programs.
  • Just such a plan (“Controlled Choice”) has the support of many of our schools as made clear via the numerous resolutions by SLTs, PTAs, Presidents' Council, the local community board, and CEC1, and by numerous elected and other allies across the city.
    • Controlled Choice is equitable.
    • Controlled Choice is effective at both reducing segregation and improving student performance.
    • Controlled Choice is achievable in Community School District 1.
  • Short of Controlled Choice, any alternative would have to meet these same requirements to receive community support.
  • In April, the DOE’s Office of Student Enrollment presented an alternative proposal (to a very, very small subsection of community representatives (a single parent and a handful of principals from the Socio-economic Integration Pilot Program (SIPP) Grant Working Group)).  It does not resemble the plan created by community members over more than a year.
  • Can this proposal be made to look like an equitable, effective, and achievable plan?  We don’t know yet.  However:
    • The DOE alternative is not like “Controlled Choice” as demonstrated by expert planner Michael Alves;
    • The DOE alternative does not include Pre-K;
    • The DOE alternative offers no timeline or commitment for implementation; and
    • The DOE alternative fails to deliver on the essential ask of the community:  schools that serve fair and proportionate numbers of students, both the at-risk and the not at-risk.
  • Above all, to regain the trust of this community, the Mayor, the Chancellor, and the Office of Student Enrollment need to stop the spin and the stonewalling, the obstruction and the delays, the general lack of transparency and communication, and:
    • Share the latest analysis/model with the D1 community for feedback and show how at-risk students would be served across district schools and programs as a result of the proposal;
    • Share the results of the 2 year single school set-aside pilot (at The Earth School and The Neighborhood School) with the community;
    • Extend the latest analysis/model to include all schools and programs and to Pre-K, where it is a school entry grade (but not the Early Childhood Centers);
    • Explain any discrepancies (such as in unassigned students) across various plans;
    • Demonstrate how their analysis/model delivers on the community mandate;
    • Bring on a planner (such as Michael Alves) to implement the promised pilot of a diversity-conscious choice-based student assignment plan in D1 schools;
    • Give the planner any data necessary for modeling;
    • Return the workgroups to their previous state of robust community participation and honor the community-centered vision originally conceived by the SIPP Grant;
    • Be transparent about grant-related communications with the State; and
    • Commit to a timeline for implementation in the 2017-2018 enrollment cycle for the 2018-2019 school year (which would require the D1 community and the DOE to work together to construct a timeline that allows for community support, internal DOE support, and comprehensive outreach to others in CSD1).
Future Meetings 
  • CEC Calendar Meeting, 5/24/17, 6:00pm, PS 20 (166 Essex St.) 
  • CEC Calendar Meeting, 6/21/17, 6:00pm, PS 20 (166 Essex St.)

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