Friday, January 5, 2018

School Scope, The Wave: The Bitter Taste of Success - Rockaway Schools Being Shut Down, Success Charter to Benefit

My column in the Friday Jan. 5 edition of the Rockaway Weekly, The WAVE.

Gary Rubinstein has just posted this piece The Hidden Attrition Of Success Academy. I will use some of his material in next week's column as I continue my series for Rockaway readers. 

School Scope:  The Bitter Taste of Success - Rockaway Schools Being Shut Down, Success Charter to Benefit
By Norm Scott

Jan. 2, 2018
Rockaway Parent Mariya Ultsh said she believes that DOE plays politics when it comes to school closures. "My money is that charter schools will sweep in and once again [special] interest groups will get a payday at the expense of our children... The WAVE, Dec. 22, 20017. 
When I hear that the DOE is closing down schools I always check to see how those closing will benefit charter schools that covet their real estate, especially when the voracious Eva Moskowitz Success Academy charters are involved. So when I saw on the list along with PS/IS 42, Rockaway’s MS 53, where Eva occupies space already, I did my imitation of Claude Reins (Inspector Renault of Casablanca fame) and declared “I was shocked, just shocked, to find out gambling was going on. Now where are my winnings?” Eva is getting her winnings as she will ultimately manage to push out the other schools in the building even if she and her billionaire supporters have to run million dollar ads crying about how the big bad de Blasio is denying them space while he in effect hands them space under the table by closing some superb real estate. I agree with Mariya Ultsh that the PS 42 closing will ultimately benefit some charter chain. The late and lamented DNAInfo (shut down by its owner when the reporters voted to unionize) had a great piece by Katie Honan back in 2015 addressing the original invasion of IS 53:

Last year the targeted school favoring Eva was JHS 145 in the Bronx which was closed a year earlier than promised under bogus reasoning as Success was growling for more space in the building. When I went to the closing hearing and saw the magnificent building and the attached park I had to laugh. JHS 145 teacher Jim Donohue who helped lead the unsuccessful battle to try to save the school said:

“A full 3 weeks before the DOE’s closure proposal even becomes official, and 2 months before the PEP vote takes place, and despite the DOE’s claim that the closing has NOTHING to do with the charter school, Success Academy’s website has begun advertising for applicants to its new middle school, opening in 2017, at JHS 145. In recent weeks, Success Academy staff members have been measuring our classrooms, apparently 100% confident that the PEP will rubber stamp our demise in March. (See videos  I made of the pleas from teachers, parents and students to keep the school open on my blog: So we were not surprised to see yet another school occupied by Success end up on the closing list.

Avaricious Eva is asking to expand in the old Sarah Hale HS in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn and there has been community resistance. Leonie Haimson reports that “The average utilization of District 15 schools, according to the 2015-2016 DOE Utilization report, was at 105%, and 61% of K-8 schools in the district overcrowded (at or above 100% target utilization). About 74% or nearly 20,000 K-8 students were in overcrowded schools, and 94 cluster rooms were missing from these schools. according to DOE’s utilization formula ….. as cited in the letter from the Community Education Council in District 15, many of the students at the Success Academy Cobble Hill do not reside in the district….  any expansion of this school would increasingly crowd out districts students in the future, and thus should not be allowed. We also oppose allowing the expansion of any Success Academy charter school, given the huge number of civil rights violations and abuses that children enrolled in these schools and their families are subjected to, as well as repeated violations of student privacy rights. We have real doubts as to the legality of the request to authorize any change in a charter school’s enrollment in the middle of the current school year, as Success Academy – Cobble Hill is proposing, from 558 students in grades K-6, to 686 students in in 2017-2018.

As to PS 42, Councilman Donovan Richards, whose office donated nearly a million dollars to the school, the benefits of which will one day accrue to some charter chain, is also being closed. The Dec. 22 WAVE article noted that Richards will be holding a rally on Jan. 10 before and maybe at the closing hearing at PS 42 - at 6:30. The MS 53 hearing will be held Jan. 11 at the school, also at 6:30. PS 42's PTA president, Kevin Morgan, is organizing a bus trip to Albany on Jan. 9 -- call him for more info at 347-410-3061.

Renewal schools were not supported despite claims
Leonie Haimson has written an excellent blog detailing the failures of the de Blasio/Farina plan for the renewal schools.
Titled, DOE announces more Renewal school closings without ever having giving them a real chance to succeed, Leonie points out: “Instead of capping class sizes in these schools, the DOE spent about $40 million per year on consultants and bureaucrats to oversee the Renewal program, many of them with records marked by scandal and incompetence, as well as millions more on wrap-around services to create "community schools." Though perhaps of value in themselves, these services do little to improve students' opportunity to learn or teachers ability to teach.” Read the entire piece at: Also see Alan Singer on the failure of de Blasio/Farina renewal program, “Newly Reelected New York City Mayor Decides His School Renewal Plan Failed But Still Claims Success”. Have fun reading at:

My previous articles on the Success charter monster are on my blog at:
And a piece on how billionaire hedge fund Success Board member Paul Tudor Jones consoled Harvey Weinstein:

In case you didn’t get the message, Norm blogs way too much at

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