Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Parents Slam DOE School-Closure List

Sent by an activist:

Below is an excerpt from an Amsterdam News Article written by Nayaba
Arinde covering the week of December 15 - 21, 2011.  There is a reason
why I am sharing this will I will divulge after the excerpt:

"How do you leave our children without educational support?" demanded
irate parent Monique Small at an emergency PTA meeting of Satellite
III in Bed-Stuy.

Small is a parent of a student at one of the 19 schools on the latest
DOE hit list for school closure, and parents citywide are fighting mad
that the DOE is trying to phase out their schools.

"I have always been opposed to all closures," said Bed-Stuy Councilman
Al Vann. "I feel that the DOE has not done enough to support the
schools. Rather than giving them the technical assistance and support
they need, they are closing these schools and opening new ones, which
is very expensive."

Benjamin Green, president of the president's council of the district's
Parent Teachers Association, warned parents at the PTA meetings he
attended this week that Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with 18 months of his
term left, "is determined to find space for 50 new middle schools and
55 new charters," and once they begin occupying public school
property, they're in. And Bloomberg's "got to get them in now."

"The charter schools have a pipeline straight to the [schools]
chancellor," said Green. He implored parents to get in the trenches
and fight for their schools.

Brooklyn parents are charging that Bloomberg, who grabbed mayoral
control of New York City's 1,100 public schools in 2002, is more
concerned with serving the financial interests of his hedge fund
friends and pushing their charter school agenda than the fundamental
education of millions of students.

"This isn't about education, this is about real estate," said Small,
saying that even though her child is about to graduate, she will still
fight to keep "Satellite III-a great school-open because it cares
about the children. It is a family here."

"Gentrification is changing our neighborhoods. Not only do the new
white neighbors want our brownstones and the new condos that are
springing up, they want the schools next door to them," said Wilmon
Cousar, the parent of a child in a New York City school. The former
teacher continued, "These parents are tired of paying the exorbitant
school fees, so they look at the public school up the block, and they
decide that they will work the system to get it. Their argument that
all these schools are struggling and that's why Bloomberg is closing
them just seems convoluted."

# # #

The message should be loud and clear.  The Wadleigh Middle School (W.
114th) is also a school on that list.  Wadleigh's situation seems
blatant.  A Phillip Randolph Houses (NYCHA) are located on the same
block.  NYCHA has put out a Request for Proposal to developers to come
up with a development plan that will privatize 2/3rds of the housing
stock on that block.  It still needs approval from HUD.  But
considering that HUD approved NYCHA's proposal to put a HCZ Charter
School on the grounds of St. Nicholas Houses, I don't see this not
getting approved, unless the President of the United States

For those who are familiar with that neighborhood, 'they' are
aggressively trying to change it over completely.  The closing of
Wadleigh's middle school and the privatization of A Phillip Randolph
Houses is not the only obvious component to this neighborhood's
gentification plan.  The Harlem Success Academy I has been approved to
co-locate in the Wadleigh Campus in September 2012.

However, back when the Panel for Educational Policy approved such co-
location, on February 2, 2011, it didn't say, nor did the DOE have in
its plan, how the three schools (Frederick Douglass Academy II - a
public school also in the Wadleigh Campus) would share the building.
It left that for the three schools to figure out.

But there is no way that three schools will be able to share the space
in a comparable way.  You can't have one school using space in the
basement, closets or unused bathrooms for instruction and the charter
school gets to have contiguous learning space with standard
classrooms.  That's against the law.  I know they are doing that to
some schools.  But they are not supposed to and those parents have not
taken this issue to court on those grounds.  Forget libraries and

Well, the DOE is clearly aware that Wadleigh and FDA II are on top of
that law and will not stand for it.  So, the DOE has to get rid of one
of the two schools' middle schools, for now.  And for those who might
remember, Principal Hall was very vocal throughout the co-location

And Eva Moskowitz won't stop there.  She will wind up taking over the
entire school building.  And once the neighborhood changes over with
plenty of white children, even those brown-skinned charter school
children won't be there for too long.


So we know what we have to do.  Petitions and protesting is not going
to stop the mayor.  Filing solid lawsuits on the salient issues  will.
- Equitable Arrangement (How is the public school or parents choosing
public school education benefiting from such co-location?) ;
Comparable use of the space (Are the co-located schools using the
school building in a comparable way?  Or are the public school
children being over crowded and made to learn in an unsuitable
learning environment while the charter school has contiguous learning
space and uncrowded classrooms?) Charter schools following the Local
Land Use Regulations (Is the charter school - Established Pre May 28,
2010 - paying for the use of the space in the public school building
where it is co-located?)  If the answer to all three is Not, No, No
then what is everyone waiting for?

It seems that we are all on the same page.  We all have finally woken
up.  We know what time it is.  Let's convene in a large venue.
Someone set it up.  We each put in $5 dollars.  No law firm will turn
that down.  Leave egos at the door.  Everybody can't be the chief.
And if you just came to realize what time it is and got your wake up
call from this article then obviously you can't be the leader.

If you just woke up a few months ago, you can't be the leader.  If you
just became the PA or PTA president or just joined the SLT, take a
back seat and relax.  Be a part of the movement, but leave the drum
major instinct behind.

We'll convene in large numbers after the holidays and stop this
madness once and for all.

Happy Holidays

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