Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Prepare for a busy month!

January: hearings-rallies-conferences-meetings Forum location

5-Jan 6pm school for community research and learning hs 1980 lafayette ave, bronx

5-Jan 6pm academy of environmental science and Renaissance Charter 410 East 100 street, manhattan

5-Jan 4:30 PM GEM= joint planning meeting Rally 21st Cuny grad center

6-Jan 6pm Frederick Douglas Academy III (6 -8) 3630 3rd ave, bronx

6-Jan 6pm beach channel HS at Beach Channel HS

7-Jan 8pm Columbus HS 925 Astor Ave, Bronx

7-Jan 5pm global enterprise hs 925 Astor Ave, Bronx

7-Jan 6pm Paul Robeson hs 150 Albany Ave, Bklyn

7-Jan 6pm jamaica high school 16701 Gothic Drive, Queens

8-Jan 6pm choir academy of harlem hs 2005 madison ave, manhattan

11-Jan 4:00 GEM/CAPE Joint Planning Meeting- 359 40th St.

11-Jan 6pm Kappa II (6-8) 144-176 East 128 st, manh

11-Jan 6pm alfred e smith HS 333 East 151st, Bronx

12-Jan 3:30 CAPE Community Meeting- Red Hook Public Library

12-Jan 6pm business, computer applications and enetrepe hs 207-01 116 ave, Queens

13-Jan 6pm academy of collaborative education (6-8) 222 west 134 st, manhattan

13-Jan 6pm ps 332 (k-8) 51 christopher ave, bklyn

13-Jan 6pm School for academic and social excellence (6-8) 1224 park place, Brooklyn

13-Jan 5-7pm Forum: The challenge of Charter Schools: by NYCORE Cuny GRAD Center

14-Jan 6pm New Day Academy Hs 800 Home St, Bronx

14-Jan 6pm metropolitan corporate academy 362 schermerhorn st, bklyn

16-Jan 10am Citywide parent conference: Leonie Haimson (Norm Siegel -guest spk) School of future- 127 E 22nd st, Manh

19-Jan 6pm Pave Charter invasion of PS 15 71 sullivan st, Bklyn

19-Jan 6pm monroe academy of business law HS 1300 boynton ave, bronx

21-Jan 4 -6:30 pm Rally on Bloomberg’s Block East 79st (bet 5th ave &Madison), Manh

26-Jan 6pm PEP meeting Brooklyn Tech High School

28-Jan 4:30-7 GEM/CAPE Charter School Forum/Discussion Polytechnic Institute - Downtown

Friday, December 18, 2009


Please contact the following people.  Tell them to hold the DOE and Spencer Robertson to their promise- vacate PS 15 in 2010.  Tell them PS 15 is already at capacity and they should come and see for themselves.  Tell them they need to protect and preserve our AAA community public school.  Tell them to vote NO on the PAVE extension.

The Brooklyn BP rep’s email is  ; you should copy to Margaret Kelley at  and Carlo Scissura at

DOE Proposal Contact (we can't give you a phone number because, even after SEVERAL phone calls, they still have a Bronx number listed):
All the PEP members (who should be flooded w/ emails) are ;  ;; ; ;  ; ; ; ; ; ;

e-mail Joel Klein and Bloomberg EVERY DAY:

Mike Bloomberg through:;

Will the Real Spencer Robertson Please Stand Up

Today a group of parents picketed PAVE. They used their voices to demand accountability and honesty from the DOE and PAVE's founder Spencer Robertson. Teachers stood by on the sidelines, as not to participate in political action on the school block, but wanted to support the parents who braved below 20 degree weather to exercise their civil rights. Spencer Robertson chose to exercise his mouth and showed who he really is.

We should start by noting that Mr. Robertson's cracks began to show earlier this week when he told the school's building council that PAVE had all the money they needed to build their own building and that they would sign a contract for their space in 45 days (interestingly right in line w/ the timing of the PEP vote- maybe we can expect another grand announcement like the one we experienced this fall at the CEC meeting when they fake announced their space plans for the umpteenth time). What is even more interesting is one of PAVE's board of directors announced yesterday, they need an additional six million dollars to build (in addition to the 26 million in taxpayer dollars they have already been awarded by the DOE and the six million they have already fundraised). The board member also noted they already own a property in Red Hook on Henry and Mill Street. So, now we know for sure the real Spencer Robertson in a liar.

It is important to note that all of this discussion about a space or no space, building or no building, money or no money is irrelevant considering the agreement was made to the community for a two year co-location, which expires this June. Instead of acknowledging the fact that they, Spencer and his board, have misled the community and had no intentions of leaving in two years, they act like they are doing PS 15 a favor in assuring everyone they have every intention of leaving... some day, but they can't say when and the details of where and how change daily. Robertson ignores the negative impact his school and his actions have had on the educational programs at PS 15 and further the division it has created in the community. So, we know the real Spencer Robertson believes he is not accountable to the people of Red Hook or the children of Red Hook. We know his only interest is his charter empire.

This morning, as parents picketed outside, Spencer called the police and PAVE parents wrote on blogs demonizing PS 15 parents for standing up for what is best for their children, both denigrated PS 15 parents and teachers calling their actions political and tried to shame them for supposedly involving and scaring children (it is important to note this picket was purposefully set to begin after PAVE students arrived at school so no children would be forced to walk through the picket). What was happening inside? PAVE students were led in chanting, in PS 15's auditorium while our children arrived and our teachers and families set up our holiday fair in the gym next door, ...we are a charter, a mighty, mighty charter, this is our school, you can't move us... So now we know Spencer is not only Orwellian, but he, unlike the teachers and parents at PS 15, actually does indoctrinate his students with propaganda.

During the parent picket, Spencer stood next to the only two white men on the line and presented his case, women and tan people need not be spoken to. He thought he was reaching his good 'ole boy network, instead he got an earful. Apparently this shook him so much, his only recourse was to attack the dedicated teachers, who said and did nothing, who merely stood in silence, separate from the picket, to support parents who were standing in freezing weather, to highlight their true commitment and dedication to this community they proudly serve. As the teachers filed in the building to pick up their students, Spencer turned to them and said, "So this is what it takes for you to get to school on time." Oh no he didn't! Now we know that the real Spencer is a desperate man, a cynical man, and too low for words.

The teachers at PS 15 are one of the most dedicated and hardworking groups of educators in the city. Despite tremendous obstacles, and by every measure, they succeed with their students. You value test scores, take a look. Some of the highest reading and math scores in the city. You want programs; take a look, many teachers volunteer their preps, lunches, and Saturdays organizing and running programs for students, parents and the community. While Spencer Robertson pockets 26 million dollars from the DOE, teachers at PS 15 scrounge for paper and write grants at nights and on weekends to make up for the more than 10% cuts the DOE has placed on our budget in the last year. This man has the nerve to defile our teachers in this way?! We should note this isn't the first time he has done this; in an email earlier this year he called our teachers lazy. Late and Lazy. Hmmm. How many of his teachers work with parents in the community? How many of his teachers volunteer their time? How many of his teachers have been serving Red Hook for ten years or more? How many of his teachers buy their own supplies? How many of his teachers procure their own funding for the school? Do we see his teachers or for that matter him on Saturdays or Sundays or in the evenings in Red Hook? It is the typical neo-liberal/neo-con strategy: say it is so and so it is. You have to wonder if these people believe their own lies, or if they are so cynical the lies easily slide off the tongue without a second thought.

Spencer Robertson has painted himself as the son of a philanthropist who cares so much about children and inequality he gave up a privileged life to help minority children have access to a better education. The real Spencer Robertson needs to stand up. The truth is, Spencer Robertson is the son of a billionaire who is used to getting what he wants and will protect his own interests and will propagate his own agenda at the cost of anyone or anything that gets in his way. His strategy, along with BloomKlein and the entire charter/privatization movement, is to divide communities, demean and demonize teachers, disenfranchise parents, and dismantle existing successful public schools, particularly in minority communities that have a history of limited organization and mobilization.

Spencer and his cronies picked the wrong school and the wrong community to manipulate and mislead. Regardless of what happens over the next month, as long as this man is in PS 15, and most likely as long as he drives into and out of Red Hook each workday, he will face an outspoken group of people who know who he really is. We will be his mirror, maybe he can hide from himself, maybe he can even hide from the PAVE families who entrust their children to him, but all darkness comes to the light. Eventually the cracks will accumulate to a fracture and the facade will come crumbling down; the real Spencer Robertson will be left standing, most likely alone, on display for all to see. Hopefully the parents and teachers of PS 15 will still be around to pick up the pieces.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In the news...

Daily News article regarding PS 15's struggle... read and comment:

We must hold the DOE, PAVE Academy, and Spencer Robertson accountable to the citizens of Red Hook!  They must keep their promise and vacate PS 15 in June 2010.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another School, Another Case of Obstruction, Dishonesty, and Coruption

Please read about and support our brothers and sisters at Maxwell High School.  Contact information to support their cause can be found in this article link:

Their issue is slated for the January 26th PEP along with PS 15's fight to stop the PAVE extension.

Gotham Article regarding the PEP meeting move...

Read and leave comments:


Thank you to everyone who sent letters and made phone calls to the DOE regarding the legally suspect PEP meeting that was to be held in Staten Island on January 26th... the DOE heard your voices and the meeting has been moved to Brooklyn, at Brooklyn Tech.

Now that we have a hearing in a location that is fair, let's make sure the substance behind our voices regarding PAVE's extenstion in PS 15 and the tremendous amount of school closings are actually heard.

Write the Chancellor, write and call your EIS proposal contact (for PS 15:, contact your borough reps and all of the members of the PEP.  Tell them they work for you, and you want your tax dollars to go to the protection and preservation of public schools to ensure equitable and quality education for ALL children.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Excellent Article

Ravitch hits the nail on the head as she discusses last week's New York Times article (in the Style section of all things) on the new 'fashion' trend of the wealthy propogating, funding, and organizing charter schools... a must read!

What is "Capacity"?

Much of the school space wars argument boils down to an argument about the definition of capacity. The DOE uses two methods to allocate space in buildings. First, the target utilization, which is calculated by the capacity of the building (this includes all floor plan space except what is determined to be shared space), divided into the current enrollment in the building. This provides a utilization percentage. Now of course this percentage is faulty because you can't provide instruction and programs in nooks and crannies, not to mention it does not take into account the fact that special education classes can only have 12 students in them so therefore those rooms could never be 'at capacity'. Herein lies the need for the DOE's instructional footprint.

The DOE Instructional Footprint allots classroom space to schools in their buildings based on varied formulas linked to city-wide average test scores, enrollment, title one or not title one (but they never specify the difference), as well as other notes (as they refer to them). What is very interesting is, the Educational Impact Statement released on December 11th and revised on December 14th regarding the extension of PAVE Academy in PS 15 beyond the two year agreement, only uses the utilization formula for its judgment. There is a section that mentions the instructional footprint, but does not discuss how it is applied and clearly, it is not.

When one spends over ten hours breaking down the instructional footprint, they would first see that this is a document designed to disenfranchise people who seek to figure it out and secondly, related to the PAVE/PS 15 issue, one would see that there is already not enough space for both schools according to the DOE's own policies, yet the EIS says there is plenty of room and there will be no negative impact. Tell that to the child receiving OT in the corner of a library under renovation while other groups are working in that same space. Tell that to the child receiving counseling who sees their family worker in a closet.

In addition to the many flaws in the determination and allocation of space, there are many spaces not allocated for in the instructional footprint such as: speech therapy, teacher/uft room, ELL room, occupational therapy, physical therapy, DOE nurse, Health Partner and Dental Partner (Lutheran Medical provides PS 15 with a nurse practitioner and dental program), adaptive physical education, testing coordinator, and math and reading coaches (and there are surely other omissions). In addition they list the library and School Based Support Team spaces as "shared space" when the libraries were created and resourced by existing schools and the SBST does not, and cannot legally, serve charter schools. It is an outrage that such phony and faulty policies are allowed to exist at the expense of our children.

The target utilization formula and the instructional footprint are a joke. They are made up documents, altered at will, and used to serve an agenda that seeks to provide billionaires and their sons free space on the public's dime. They are documents made up to propagate a small school and charter school agenda that sorts our children and privileges some, while subordinating others. They are documents that allow the DOE and their corporate friends to rob Peter to pay Paul.

New York City needs to rise up and demand true transparency, accountability, and policies that serve ALL children, not just those who choose charters or win a lottery, not just those whose founder has a daddy that gave Bloomberg over 10 mil for his school initiatives.

One of our stakeholders said today, "This thing is like peeling a rotten onion!" Indeed it is. Just when you think it couldn't get any stinkier... it does!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Welcome to the Hornet's Nest

From our friend Norm over @

"I want to thank Tweed for doing such dumb stuff that led to this group coming together and joining up with other advocates forming around the city. They have uncovered some hornet's nest. As part of a group of organizers so often frustrated by the lack of fight all too many teachers exhibit, I genuflect to Tweed for helping to create CAPE. Keep up the good work. One day you will find thousands of people pounding at your door."

The DOE and its corporate allies isolate and identify communities they think they can overrun and outsmart.  They target communities whose populations have historically had a difficult time organizing and accessing resources.  We are sure they thought targeting PS 15 in Red Hook was easy pinkins'... instead they did in fact unleash a hornet's nest.  We are a group of parents and educators who will continue to demand to be heard, not just for the protection and preseravtion of our community public schools, but in solidarity to fight for the protection and preservation of public education for ALL of our children.

Groups are forming across the city, advocates are joining forces:  the counter movement has begun.  Please join CAPE, ednotesonline, GEM, the Maxwell school movement, CPE, and so many other dedicated parents and educators and demand transparency, truth, and accountability.  Let's join together and stop the Bloomberg Administration's assult on public education.

The DOE Does it Again

It is unclear what is more disturbing: The Department of Education’s surreptitious school space utilization and formulas, their incompetence in interpreting these very formulas, their damning disregard for what is best for children not to mention parent and community voices, their corrupted charter school movement, their deliberate defiling of public education and community public schools, or their lubricated lies that slide off their tongues dripping and oozing with Orwellian language that loudly proclaims, “we have an agenda, and we fully intend to execute it.” The DOE has done it again; they prove with Friday’s announcement to continue to house a charter school, PAVE Academy, beyond the two year agreement promised to the Red Hook, Brooklyn Community and its AAA school, PS 15, that their interest lies with not the children and the citizens of this city, but with the corporations, hedge fund managers, billionaires and sons of billionaires, who propagate, organize, and oversee the charter school movement plaguing our public school system.

The Educational Impact Statement released Friday,
( ) announces the Department of Education’s intention to extend PAVE’s stay in Public School 15, beyond the 2 year agreement set to end in 2010, until at least 2015 while expanding through grade seven. The statement has formula and mathematical errors and was created without an onsite visit to truly evaluate the impact and without a public hearing or any input from the stakeholders affected by this decision. Beyond the formulaic errors, the statement claims there will be no negative impact on PS 15. This of course is outrageous; considering PS 15 has no unused or underutilized rooms and its current usage is within the parameters of the DOE’s instructional footprint, ( ).

Friday’s announcement sets a new precedent and elevates the intensity of existing policies that privilege the charter school movement. The Department of Education with this impact statement, with the way they tried to usurp the mayoral control laws in the granting of the PAVE extension in the first place, with their continued manipulation of faulty school space sharing formulas and dishonest decision making, takes an aggressive step forward in promoting and supporting charter schools and signals Mayor Bloomberg’s willingness to spend his political capital on undermining and attacking public school families and their educational opportunities.

The battle lines have been drawn. New York City now finds itself on the frontlines of opposing movements. On one side, there are those fighting for the protection and preservation of public schools. On the other side, those who seek to separate and sort our children with a philosophy that privileges some, while subordinating others, and the intention to privatize education, to outsource public money to private interests, to dismantle public schools and replace them with charters. This is clearly a fight the DOE wants to have: raise your swords.

The DOE has done it again; they have used made up formulas to enact their agenda, they have chosen business, money and power over children, they have spit on the voices and in the faces of parents and stakeholders, they have decided to destroy public education. It is time to rise up New York City, our children deserve our protection; our community schools must be preserved.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Blogs are Buzzing about this week's NYT article!

This was our favorite blogger post:
Charter Schools: Making Money on Real Estate Speculation by Jennifer Medina

December 2, 2009 — Lew Rosenbaum

[Daniel Wolff's article in Counterpunch followed the $ in Charter Schools into the fairyland of real estate speculation. Here is a New York Times article which gives NY details that many of us in Chicago are familiar with. Incidentally, PAVE Academy, mentioned in this story, is founded by Spencer Robertson, son of Julian Robertson, who gave more than $10 million to NY Mayor Bloomberg's education projects. Perhaps the donations rather than his 3 years of teaching experience are the qualifications for obtaining free space in NY public schools. We can't leave this subject without directing readers of this blog to Chicago's Substance News, which you can find by clicking on the link on the sidebar to your right.]

There are so many more from NYC, to Chicago, to Kentucky, to California... Voices do matter and advocacy does work and all of the money in the world can't change that!

Monday, November 30, 2009

What Your Money Can and Cannot Buy

Today the New York Times published an article on shared space and the charter school movement in New York City.

This article highlights the inequities of the charter school movement under the current administration and the tragedy of shared space and its negative impact on successful public schools, the community centers for our children. The article dims however, at taking to task the DOE and Bloomberg for their ridiculous shared space formula that disables the quality education our students deserve; it is a policy that forces students and teachers into closets, shared rooms, and treats their special education, intervention, social service, health, and enrichment services as "luxuries". The article also fails to note the budgetary impact; as we outsource public money and resources into the hands of private business running public schools, only by name only because of said outsourcing of funds, our true public school budgets have been drastically cut and the more than 90% of New York City students who attend these public schools go with less. This is a policy of robbing Peter to pay Paul. It is inequitable. It is unjust. It is undemocratic. It is unethical.

What can money buy you in New York City? Apparently not your own real estate. Instead, these corporate backed, millionaire and billionaire donor driven private companies and organizations, use public money and public resources to fund their school experiments. They force our students out of classrooms and community space while also receiving public funded transportation, food services, and health services in addition to their per-pupil public funding which nearly matches public schools.

What they do not spend in real estate and resources, they make up for elsewhere: Their money buys the votes and voices of policymakers who bow to corporate interests that seek to reinforce the system of privilege and subordination we have in this country. Their money buys the custodial staff to privilege their school's needs first. Their money buys fancy computers, paint, and new furniture. It buys them glossy flyers, robo-calls, mailers, and t-shirts. It can buy them press coverage, even the final say in the New York Times!

What their money cannot buy them, not because they choose not to as in the case of real estate, but because of the nature of their movement, is integrity, truth and honor. Spencer Robertson, the founder of PAVE Academy proves once again that he is unqualified to run a school and undeserving of our respect with his comments in the NYT piece and he highlights the lack of integrity, truth, and honor behind the charter movement. He says he doesn't know "who the they is" in the fight to protect our public schools and resources... ummm... the 'the they' is You! He says they expect to get a two year extension in the PS 15 building because their plans for real estate fell through... and our children should suffer for your incompetence? He says PS 15 has been a mostly good neighbor... we are not neighbors, you are guests, the worst kind, who extend their stay without asking and are clueless (or at least pretend to be) as to the negative consequences you are having on the native residents... read the history of colonial expansion much? This movement, and the people who drive it and fund it, root themselves in an ideology that goes against everything our public education system was created to stand for and accomplish. Their movement takes us back to separate but equal, opens the door for privatization and it mirrors the devastating economic system, that we have seen repeated with the prison system and our military, of outsourcing public funds and public interests to private corporations and companies. They do all of this as the Orwellian language slides off their tongues and they claim it's all 'for the children' because... wait for it... 'education is a civil rights issue'. Damn right it is; that we can agree on.

Money can buy you power, and in NYC, money and power go a long way. What our neo-liberal and conservative friends fail to see however, because their money blinds them, is the ultimate consequence of their race to the top, their greed, their pestilence; the undermining of our society, the destruction of our democracy, the ruin of what it is that makes us great; an ideal that in this country all are created equal, that we have rights, and among them, we decided long ago, is the right to a free and fair public education that rejects separate but equal and seeks to prepare thoughtful citizens of the world.

Money can buy you a school in New York City. It can buy you stolen goods off the backs of our children and their schools and it can place you on the front lines of a movement to dismantle public education. Luckily for us, the parents of teachers of CAPE, we don't have money. All we have is our integrity, truth, and honor.  We have our voices and together we call for the protection and preservation of public education and our community public schools.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A small victory... a big step for democracy!

In the Gotham Schools article below you'll find an exciting surprise:  democracy still exists in New York City (shocking we know!).
The CEC15 has bravely forced the DOE to at least pretend to function within the realm of our republic and has agreed to have a public hearing and have the PEP vote on whether PAVE Academy should be able to extend their two year agreement, an agreement by which this charter was sold to the Red Hook Community who fought it.
Please join in our fight to protect and preserve public education, our children and our school!  Sign the online petition and circulate it.  Contact the NYC PEP and tell them to vote no in allowing PAVE to break their agreement and stay housed in PS 15's building past June 2010... further, we need to fight to expose the faulty DOE formula that is hurting schools and our children.  Bloomberg did not recieve a mandate in this last election, he only won by five points to a candidate that barely even campaigned, while he spent millions:  the public has had enough and we must demand not only due process, not only transparency, but excellent schools with protected resources for ALL children.  Bloomberg should be thinking legacy and unless he wants it to be remembered as a dictator who dismantled public schools in favor of corporate interests and his rich friends (in the case of PAVE, its founder Spencer Robertson's father, Julian Robertson, is a multi-billionare hedge fund guy and philanthropist, who has donated millions to Bloomberg's initiatives and is a funder and proponent of charter schools), he needs to change course and protect the citizens he was (unfortunately) elected to serve.

Gotham Schools has an update about the shared space issue at P.S.15K!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Traveling Trio on Meet the Press this morning

Public education was called for and created because our citizens, many of them first generation immigrants, in the late 1800's, realized that if we did not provide a system where all of our future citizens could share in access to a free and fair education, we would not be able to build a great society. It was realized then, that we are only as strong as our weakest members, that we are judged ultimately by how we treat our children, and that our success as a nation lies in our ability to teach each child to become thoughtful, educated citizens of the world. "Race to the Top" does not even begin to represent the earliest and most important ideals of public education:  if this is a race, then there are winners and losers- who will the losers be? Inherent in the components of current reform, is a belief that teachers fail, schools fail, that choice and competition will bring about equality. This is a fundamental flaw because it is rooted in a capitalist ideology.

There is a reason that we have guarded certain aspects of our public policy from capitalist ideology, these social aspects need a more socialist approach (a dirty word, but it is true). Let's look at areas of social policy that have been infiltrated by capitalist ideology and the impact it has had: 1. Prisons: after prisons were partially privatized we saw the numbers of those incarcerated sky rocket, and in particular the disproportionate number of black men incarcerated has increased. 2. Health Care: dominated by private interest, 50,000 or more Americans die needlessly each year. 3. The military: Blackwater (a private military force) has done extreme harm to the national security of this country- their leader will soon be found guilty of heinous crimes, this organization has raped and murdered hundreds and they think they should not be held accountable for it because the public laws should not apply to them. These are three very simple and vitally crucial areas that go to the heart of the security and prosperity of our nation. Choice and competition, and private interest and money, the capitalist ideology now driving education reform, has weakened and harmed these important and vital aspects of our country and our social policies. This is not the solution for education. The unwavering belief in a free market ideology in a time of great economic turmoil that has been propagated by these very beliefs is unbelievable to me... how can we be so blind?

At the foundation of education reform is standardized testing; these tests are the centerpiece of all that reform is to be measured by, all we should be accountable to and for, this is not only a fundamental flaw, but it is outrageous. The current reform movement suggests that, we, and specifically teachers, should accept yearly test-based standards for their students/children, should stop whining about testing because it does no good, that if teachers teach, it will show up on the tests we give... this is a very narrow view not only of what teaching is, but of who our students are. We teach students who are hungry, whose parents did drugs and alcohol while they were pregnant. We teach students with disabilities, language delays, and medical issues. We teach students who are being abused and neglected. We teach students who don't know where they will sleep tonight. We teach students who trust no one, who are afraid, who seek love, who need love. We teach students who have had little to no rich experiences, whose prior knowledge is limited. We teach students without parent advocates, without family, without the safety and security that is a fundamental requirement for learning. These students do not necessarily represent the vast majority of students; but should we ignore their reality?  We all know who the losers will be in Race to the Top and in the new Education Reform agenda, it will be these children.

What tests alone do not measure is who ate last night and this morning, who is worried, tired, or scared. Tests do not measure the tremendous strength it took to overcome the overwhelming despair many of our students, our children, experience, the strength it took to even show up in the morning. This week, fifth grade  students in New York City will take a state social studies test on Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday is for make-ups and then they will take the reading city-wide test on Thursday and the math on Friday (I should not the alternative was to take the reading and math last Thursday and Friday which would have resulted in four consecutive school days of testing and the last two days of preperation for the social studies test would have been lost)... how is this teaching? How is this what is good for children? This is the measure of our children's achievement and worth? Of our teachers' success and worth?

We as educators and parents should be outraged at the reform agenda being presented to us, correction, being shoved down our throats: Charter schools and the privatization movement, the heavy focus on standardized testing, an undefined push for teacher quality and accountability, the significant inclusion and privilege of private corporations' view and influence at the exclusion of parents, educators, and students, slashed budgets, lost services, the narrowing of curriculum, the loss of democracy in our education system (especially here in NYC and other big cities across the country), which is ironic since one of education's most important roles is to protect, preserve and maintain our democracy through the preparation of its citizens.

This morning on Meet the Press, our trio and the host, began with 'defiing the problem', they said we need to stop lying to our children that we need to reward innovation. Standardized testing as the centerpiece of reform does this? Additionally, how do a group of four men who have never taught a day in their lives feel they have all that is needed to define the problem- it is insulting and intellectually disingenuous. They said they are saying to schools, 'show us something for the money we are giving you, go out and compete, lead our country in the way we want to go'. First of all, they are not giving anyone any money, it is OUR money. Secondly, the race is fixed. Go out an compete? We are all running from hugely different starting points. If money is tied to results, how do those at the bottom have the resources they need to get to the top? One of our oldest tales teaches us, slow and steady wins the race. Thoughtful reform rooted in meeting the needs of a very diverse body of students is what will ensure that all students win the race; reform based on money, competition, and tests will not. Finally, in leading our country where we want to go... we need to question whether there is a shared vision of where this is. Do policymakers and the corporations who own them really want all children to succeed and go to college and access the middle and upper classes? Let's be honest, no. As we head toward globalization, the world cannot sustain the level of the US middle class as other middle classes grow around the world... this requires one of two things- our middle class must shrink, or the disproportionate distribution of wealth in this country (the 1% that owns 90%) must redistribute- since these are the very people who run and own corporations and make policy, a good guess would be they are gunning for the first option.

This debate is being framed as (and our trio said this this morning), "taking on the education establishment". The only direct voice of a student in the whole piece, was of a young black boy saying, 'they[teachers] can't just give us textbooks and then put their heads down or go and answer their emails'. Then, the trio proceeds to talk about us all [teachers,parents,community members] coming together to reform education. When you begin your campaign by attacking, minimizing, and out right lying about and to the very people who have dedicated their lives to the children at the subject of this debate, coming together is not very likely and it is clear that the voices of those teachers in not what you seek. The Orwellian nature of saying, we want to include you, but we are going to minimize you, attack you, and generalize all of you as failing, even when we know any data will show you that the overwhelming majority of schools and teachers are NOT failing, is simply disgusting and it highlights the truth behind their lies... unfortunately, as the old Washington adage goes, 'the truth runs at 20 mph, lies run at 500 mph'.

Are their failing schools? Yes? Are their bad teachers? Yes. Are these two groups even a third of what we are talking about? No. Do we need to continue moving forward and making changes in striving for no failing schools and no horrible teachers... of course. The methods in which to do this, the ways in which we can achieve this are what is at question. The debate is not about failing schools and failing teachers, it is about the policies that can create and sustain the best educational system for ALL children. The policies currently being propagated will not achieve this goal because they do not address the needs of all children, plain and simple.

Should we have yearly tests, sure. Should we also have counseling services, food services, arts programs, family wrap-around services, portfolios, technology, new and renovated schools with equal supplies and staffing, multiple measures of achievement and progress, professional development, parent involvement, etc., yes. We cannot allow education to become Enron: make the numbers say it is so. We do not simply need numbers, we need real, authentic reform.

In the end, it is up to us. We must take our outrage, take our knowledge of what is not working and what we know does work and we must push forth. It is daunting, educators and parents do not have the organization and mobilization that Gingrich and Sharpton, for example, have... but if we do not fight to protect and preserve public education, we sit back at our own peril. So often in this country, we take the short view, we cannot afford to have our voices minimized at this time. The current education reform agenda will reinforce the systems of privilege and subordination we have in this country. All of its components will marginalize those already most marginalized in our society... those behind the current movement repeat (ad nausium) 'education is a civil rights issue'; what is so disingenuous, orwellian and cynical about the current debate is the very people who use this phrase are not fighting for policies that would actually better education for those the phrase refers to. We must lead the fight. We must define the problem and offer the solutions. They say they want to take on the establishment of education, well, we need to take on the establishment of corporations and Washington-male-insiders that have created the policies and reform we already function under and the new polcies that they are suggesting that will continue an unequal system, a sytem based on lies. If there is failure, which certainly there is, the overwhelming responsibility does not fall on the teachers who are forced to implement these policies or on the students who are the subjects of them, the faillure lies in the policies themselves. Educators and parents should be the loudest voice in policy reform, we should be driving it. If we are now going to call education 'a race to the top', we must consider that running a race takes preparation, training, vison, stamina, patience, hard work, and perseverance, and we must also take a forward look at the finish line: do we want winners and losers or do we want to stand united and cross the finish line togehter?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Let the PEP know what you think about shared space!

Oral and written comments on the regulations and proposals for significant changes in school utilization listed below will be accepted from September 25, 2009 to November 9, 2009.

The following Regulations have been posted for the 45-day public review period. The Panel will vote on the regulations listed below at the November 12, 2009 Panel meeting. The meeting will take place at 6:00 PM at PS 128 in Queens, located at 69-10 65th Drive, Queens, NY 11379. 

3.      Public Notice: A-190 Regulation on Significant changes in School Utilization.
·         To submit written or oral comment on Regulation A-190, please email or call (212) 374-0498.  
·         To review full text of Regulation A-190, please click: Amended A-190  Regulation on Significant Changes in School Utilization.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Do you have a Charter School in your Public School building?

• Discuss and strategize how to fight back.
• Hear what educators and communities have done to organize.
• Find out what is happening around the city.

Tuesday, October, 20 - 4:30 PM      CUNY Graduate Center – Room 541
34th St. & 5th Ave.   (1 train to 33rdSt. N,Q,R,W,F,V,B,D to 34th St.) - Bring ID

Will a charter school take over your public school's art, music, AIS, library or science rooms?  You are not alone.  
PRIVATE Charter Schools are pushing into more and more of our PUBLIC Schools. 
Help build a grassroots movement of educators to mobilize against this takeover of public school space!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Parents and Educators for Thompson

Please join
Parents for Thompson & Educators for Thompson
for a rally to support Bill Thompson for
Mayor of New York City.

8 years is enough of Mike Bloomberg’s failed education policies that have led to overcrowded schools and classrooms, overreliance on standardized tests, and school choices that only serve some students.

As Mayor of New York City, Bill Thompson will fundamentally shift our priorities on education to ensure that children count, educators matter and parents are partners.

Join us!

Sunday, October 18, 2009
1:00 pm
Tweed Courthouse Steps
52 Chambers St, Manhattan

Please RSVP to Logan Kelly at 212.608.6555 ext. 111

For more information on the campaign, please visit

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Capitalism and Social Policy

We cannot mention enough the concern we have that those that believe in the free-market, to the extent that capitalism has become an ideology rather than an economic system, have taken over the education reform movement.  We have economics professors publishing studies that garner the majority of the media's attention, we have corporations funding the charter school movement, and we have our government catering to the business world and including them, while excluding parents, students, and teachers, when it comes to to the education reform debate.

It is our heartfelt belief that the direction education reform is taking has been generated by education myths that are rooted in fear, and the steps being propagated, based on these myths will destroy public education and create a new system of educational segregation in this country; reinforcing the roles of privilege and subordination that already exist.

Parents and Educators who choose to send their children to charter schools and/or work in charter schools are often making a tough choice that they believe is best, and may in fact be best, for them or their child.  We, in Red Hook, know many parents who struggled with the decision to put their child in PAVE charter school, and only did so because their other choice, due to zoning, was a failing school.  This dilemma is heartbreaking in that all children should have a successful public school they can send their child to, but it is also short-sided.  What we take in the short run, another option to counter failing schools, we will pay for in the long run.  In this country we always seem to be playing catch-up, we always seek the quick fix.  Charter Schools are the new quick fix, and the intended (or if you want to give the benefit of the doubt- the unintended) consequences of this movement will be catastrophic to students without fierce advocates, it will hurt children with special needs and language barriers, and it will damage our collective culture- our society.

All children deserve a great public school option in their neighborhood and that is where the dollars and education reform efforts should be focused.  There is more at play here than simply offering parents choice- if what was really desired was successful public schools for all, we wouldn't be promoting a system that will benefit children who win a lottery and hurt the children who don't.  We wouldn't be promoting a system that is funded by those with other motives- to privatize education- who believe in the free market with such conviction that capitalism is their operating ideology, even when it comes to social policy.

We have seen in the last year the economic consequences of less regulation.  We have seen the consequences of allowing capitalism to go unchecked in our economic policies... why would anyone want to see this repeated with our eduction system?  Why, especially, knowing what we know now, are we allowing the corporate world to drive education reform?  1% of the country owns 90% of the wealth and therefore the perceived power, but last we checked this was still a democracy- we have the power of our vote, the power of our voice, and the power in our numbers.  Education reform isn't 'sexy', but it is the most important issue in terms of the preservation of our culture and the progress of our citizenry.  It is time for parents, educators, and children to mobilize and, even though it is not asked for, make their voices heard... stand up, take back our schools and our neighborhoods and say no to capitalist ideology being the driving force behind education reform.

CAPE'n the Atlantic Antic

Sunday CAPE will be at the Atlantic Antic in Brooklyn spreading the word about educational advocacy, providing policy information concerning the current education reform movement, and working to mobilize parents, teachers, and citizens to take action.

If you are down for a day of street festivities as only Brooklyn can offer, look for us around Atlantic and Boerum!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Recent News

Below is a Daily News story about the PS 15/PAVE Academy space struggle. One little tidbit, among so many, we wish was in the article: PS 15 gave up a room, already shared by two full-time occupational therapists, which PAVE made into a materials room/cafeteria for staff and teachers.  PS 15's OT services are now provided in the library, which is under renovation and already used for several other displaced enrichment programs, and the other OT uses Good Shepherd program's computer room. No one seems to understand there are consequences to space sharing, and those consequences hurt our children.

There was a recent article in the Daily News and the Post touting the success of charter schools based on a study authored by an economics professor from Stanford. When did economics professors, from Harvard to Stanford, become so active in education policy? The answer, when the Nation at Risk report was written under Regan. This report, and the commission who wrote it, was first ignored by Regan, but later embraced when he realized its political value. This report not only reinforced many of the fear-based myths that drive education policy today, but it also, "paved the way for business people to become legitimate speakers on and advocates for education concerns...because it made education an economic issue." (Zhao, 2009). Over the last two decades, federal and state education summits have centered around businesses and economics advisers and educators and parents have been shut out (one of the first summits, called for by George Bush #1 and led by Bill Clinton) was in 1989- not a single teacher was invited.  Another in 1996, led by Tommy Thompson was actually held at IBM's conference center and included 44 executives of major businesses). *for more on this read, "Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization" by, Yong Zhao.

The article below, by Diane Ravitch, addresses the flaws in the economic professor's article and we wish made the point, as the creator of The Wire has: capitalism is not a social philosophy, it is an economic philosophy. We cannot allow the capitalist ideology to pervade and pervert our social policies, such as education, because these policies are the pillar of our democracy and must be protected to ensure we prepare a democratic citizenry.

Finally, below is an article about our friend Mona Davids. This Bronx parent advocate has way deeper ties to the Bloomberg Administration and the business world than her role as President of Charter School Parents Association, or she, reveals. We love how this article states that she just decided to start this group up, and mentions nothing about the money and support behind her, let alone her business dealings. It reminds us of the new trend in politics; astroturf movements as opposed to true grassroots movements. Here is a woman, who came from the Bronx into Red Hook to scream at a crowd of concerned educators and parents and tried to divide them with racial undertones and vicious attacks on teachers. This same woman runs a company that is the only bridge to new development in South Africa and NYC, which the Bloomberg Administration is seeking investment with. Let us be clear, the goals of business investment and commerce between the United States, specifically NYC, and African nations is a good one; what is questionable is the ties and connections and the 'back-scratching' nature of it all; not to mention the fact that Mona presents herself as a neighborhood parent advocate, which apparently according to her, white people and teachers can't be, when really she is a very savvy, very organized, very funded, and very connected business woman. This is certainly does not negate her role as an active parent, we just ask for truth and transparency. When one hides or misrepresents who they are or what their interests are, it makes you wonder...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

War Stories

*This post got buried in our comments and we wanted to make sure it got attention!  Parents and Educators must start sharing their war stories, through this we believe we can clearly and concisely make the case and expose the true impact of shared space and the charter school agenda.  Most people are not aware of what is really going on out there, it is our moral imperative to share our experiences so that we have a fully informed citizenry when it comes to education policy and reform.   

"As a teacher in a school that is now occupied by 3-high school level charter schools, I suggest you watch the attached video I made about my library renovation.

After continuously being denied funds by Councilmember David Yassky & BBP Mary Markowitz, I was able to renovate my library with no $ whatsoever.
I came back to work just two weeks ago and was told that the library that I made into a beautiful castle is now the "Charter Schools." Our middle school kids won't be able to come and go from the library, as I'm able to keep my office, but that's it. It's been suggested that I push a cart around w/books and teach library lessons in individual classes.
Judge for yourself and decide who is being hurt the most?"

"What's being done to our poor kids is criminal!"

A Must Read

Found this on ednotesonline and had to link it here too. A must read for every citizen... nothing is more important than our educational system! Big reforms are on the way, we must all be informed.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Protect and Preserve Public Education

Watch CAPE's presentation at the District 15 Community Education Council meeting. Thanks to our presenter, who represented us beautifully, and to Norm for your hard work and dedication to this issue.

Real education reform requires equity, accountability, transparency and due process. Write to City Hall and demand educational policies that work for and listen to ALL students, families, and communities.

Monday, September 21, 2009

For your information...

We had to share this video from our friends over at GEM of Mona Davids, president of charter school parents association, and from the Bronx (even though she came to apparently criticize teachers for speaking when they do not live in Red Hook), whose given charge is to go into other people's communities and try to divide parents and teachers... won't work here. Just about everything she said was erroneous or divisive. We can yell too... the difference is we have facts on our side and we are a untied front. Why would anyone try to silence teacher voices, who would know better the negative impact on OUR children (that's right our children- parents' children, teachers' children) during the school day than them? Wouldn't it be disturbing if teachers weren't united with parents and speaking up? If you want a blow by blow account, see the Gotham Schools comments below in the article about our struggle:

Click on our GEM and EdNotes links for more information and video... Thanks and a big shout out to NORM!!!!

Shhh... the sound of democracy is disturbing us!

"We want things to quiet down"... that is the message of PAVE charter school administration as they find themselves in a fire storm of disapproval and criticism from not only parents and educators, but from policy makers across the city... we bet they do. Not going to happen.

Parents and teachers are more united than ever to fight to protect not only PS 15 from the "charter invasion" and their vicious attacks on public schools and public school teachers, but we also stand together and are working to unite with other schools, parents, and educators across the city, in telling the DOE, "Enough is enough! Protect and preserve our schools and public education."

We have been hearing from divided communities across the city expressing the same exasperation and anger at the blatant disregard for their students and programming in order to privilege charter schools obtaining free space in our community school buildings. The public must demand an end to space sharing, or at least a fair and realistic formula. The public must demand an end to charter school leaders having the privileged ear of this Mayor and Chancellor. The public must demand accountability, transparency, and due process.

Policies created and enforced by elected public officials should serve and represent the people. We have the right to demand that they are changed when they are flawed. We will not be quiet. We will not relent.

Write the Mayor. Write the Chancellor. Write and call your local CEC. Write the members of PEP (Panel on Education Policy). Tell them they work for us, not their private, corporate interests. Tell them we want our schools and communities back. If they will not hear us... take it to the voting both in November! Mayoral control does not and should not equate with an authoritative dictatorship. The sounds of democracy took to the streets of Red Hook Thursday night, our voices will continue... Holler if you hear us!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Tonight should be considered a triumph for democracy, for stakeholder voices, and an example of what advocacy is all about. A few main points, that may have been lost in the shuffle, intentionally or not, need to be clarified and addressed:

· No one from PS 15 stated that the all of the children and families of PAVE are not from or part of the Red Hook Community. What was stated was that bus loads of children are brought into PAVE, and therefore the PS 15 building, that are in fact not from the Red Hook Community. This must be considered and discussed because PS 15 students’, Red Hook Community students’, resources are being taken away and their programming is being significantly impacted. This is a question of fairness. Fairness in policy and procedure as to determining and managing shared space.

· No one from PS 15 stated that PAVE teachers are unqualified. What we questioned, is why the Department of Education is seemingly privileging charter schools over public schools when their teachers are not held to the same standards as public school teachers, and are in fact less experienced and far fewer of them hold Master’s Degrees. This does not mean that any one teacher is better or worse, it simply speaks to the question, “Why do policies and rhetoric subordinate those that are tested, successful, and committed?” The staff at PS 15, and at public schools across the city, work diligently to provide excellence in education to their students and there is no questioning their qualifications and experience, yet somehow current policy and rhetoric seems to minimize and disregard them. No one questions the commitment, education, and purpose of PAVE teachers; and from the teachers who were there along side of our students’ parents tonight as you stood with yours, we respect your service and commitment to children and education as much as we respect ours. We do not privilege one over the other; we simply want to be treated and considered equally when it comes to the perspectives and policies of the Department of Education.

· To the woman who so passionately spoke about how only 1 PAVE staff member spoke, and basically attacked PS 15 teachers and questioned their place in the Red Hook Community: First of all, at the PEP meeting on Monday, you stated you were from Co-Op city, so how dare you question the geography of our dedicated teachers? For the record, many of our teachers and staff members are from the Red Hook community; again, how dare you and where are you from? Secondly, Robertson spoke, Cooper spoke, and the Parent Coordinator spoke; by my count that is three PAVE staff members who spoke, not one. Finally, it seems your strategy, and one shared by many members of the PAVE community, and the charter school movement in general, is to attack public school teachers. Our parents and teachers stand united and are committed to each other and our shared interest, their children, our students. Let’s put this in perspective: the woman, a teacher from PS 15 who spoke, the one with the baby strapped to her body that several PAVE members were screaming at while she spoke, has been a teacher for over ten years. She has served and has been active in the Red Hook community for nine years. She comes in early. She stays late. She goes above and beyond for her students who, along with their parents, adore her. She arrived at school this morning at 7:15, left at 4:00 and returned at 5:30, even though her and her baby are suffering from a cold. She sat in the auditorium for well over two hours and was just dropped off at her home at 9:30, without even having eaten dinner yet. If anyone doubts not only her commitment, along with all of the teachers who were there tonight, but also her moral imperative to give a voice to the children she serves everyday and express the impact PAVE has had on them, then frankly your sincerity should be questioned. Our teachers care about their students immensely, and for you to stand there and question their motives, words, intentions, character, and success; to try to somehow tarnish or question their right and their privilege to speak about the impact PAVE is having on the students they are entrusted with everyday, it is beyond cynical. One should be concerned if our teachers weren’t there speaking out, if they weren’t standing with parents. We work together, we share a prized interest, and your efforts to minimize parts of us or to divide us will not work.

· We want to take special note of Mr. Robertson’s attempt at 48 Laws of Power #37, “Create Compelling Spectacles”. Good try. We loved how you tried to make your grand entrance and have Rana Khan, Director of Operations, turn over her mic and slot on the agenda to you. Those crazy little things called rules! They always get in the way. But, I guess that was a win-win for you, because if they didn’t let you speak and break the rules, then you could publicize it and claim that you were not heard. Never mind the fact that you could have contacted them to speak yourself as PS 15 parents and teachers did. Of course that was only half of your spectacle… it was so obvious to all of us that you would go forth with announcing tonight that you have ‘found your own space’; wow…that is really convenient. Again: Where is it? How long? Are you building from scratch? What took you so long and why should we suffer for it? Uh. Ummm. Uhhh. Umm.

· To the DOE, we demand answers: How is the extension evaluated? Who will be heard and when? What will be considered? What part do the stakeholders have in all of this? Will you reevaluate your formula for shared space based on the information that was provided concerning the reality and injustices of the shared space formula; what it includes and what it doesn’t?

Thank you to District 15 Community Education Council for trying to open a dialogue and engage those impacted by educational policies. If we have two asks tonight they are:
1. Hold Pave Academy and the Department of Education to the agreement they made with our community, the promise they made to our students; two years temporary housing in PS 15- that means out by June 2010.
2. Work and seek to reevaluate the formula for shared space so that Community Public Schools, like PS 15, are not negatively impacted by the shared space policy. It may be too late to curb the impact at our school, but if we can prevent this from happening to other school communities, it is our moral imperative to do so.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

We get the government and education system we deserve!

Join CAPE in fighting to protect and preserve public education!
Hold PAVE Academy and the DOE to their word: a two year temporary site within PS 15. That means vacate by June 2010.

We demand transparency, we demand accountability, we demand due process.

Thursday, September, 17, 2009
District 15 Community Education Council Meeting
PS 15, The Patrick F. Daly School
71 Sullivan St.
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 PM

What does it mean to be ethical?

Many of us who are a part of CAPE feel that charter schools are a key piece in the road to privatization. Many of us do not agree with the ideology behind the movement, but we do not want a personal belief to stand between what is a larger and more important issue. Whether you are pro or anti charter, or neutral for that matter, the ideas of transparency, accountability, due process, and the preservation of our democracy should be important to you. We stand together not to fight against anything, but rather to fight for the protection and preservation of public education. We stand together to defend our schools and our children from what we believe is an assault on pubic education, the pillar of our democracy. What we see is a premeditated war on free, fair and truely public education taking place, often strategically, across the city, and the battle lines are being drawn in our community school buildings. We wonder: if the charter movement and sharing building space is really about what is best for kids, do the policies match the rhetoric?

At issue here is ethics: "What does it mean to be ethical?"

Is going back on one's word ethical?
Is taking something that belongs to someone else ethical?
Is it ethical to go after what one wants at the expense of others, knowing it will negatively impact others?
Is it ethical lie and misrepresent the truth for personal gain?
Is it ethical to deny others in favor of self-interest?
Is it ethical to attack hard working successful educators to benefit a personal agenda?
Is it ethical to discharge students at will from an institution of education?
Is it ethical to call something public when it is convenient and private when it is convenient?
Is it ethical to recruit families and then place their children in programs they are not mandated for, that do not meet their needs, but helps meet enrollment numbers?
Is it ethical to follow a building shared space formula that does not take into account the mandated needs of students and the enrichment and intervention programs that make them successful?
Is it ethical to claim broad success, when there is not transparency or accountability to actually prove it?
Is it ethical to divide communities and set up a system that promotes and encourages children and families to feel one school is better than the other, based not on actual data, but rather on material things and targeted use of emotionally tied words like "scholars"?
Is it ethical to encourage a system that sorts children into "winners" and "losers" based on things such as lotteries, IEPs, ELL, behavior, and parent involvement?

The question of ethics is an important one. It is time we all demand some answers.

Monday, September 14, 2009

PAVEing the way to Privatization...

In the spring of 2008, the Red Hook community was informed that a charter school would be placed in their longstanding successful school, P.S. 15, The Patrick F. Daly School. After the decision was announced, there was community outrage and then, only then, was a community meeting held for members to share their views. In line with the leadership and vision of both Bloomberg and Klein, the decision to place a charter in P.S. 15 was finalized, regardless of the community’s outrage, a decision seemingly already made. The agreement was that this charter school, PAVE Academy, would be temporarily housed in P.S. 15 for two years. This agreement, by the Department of Education and PAVE’s founder, Spencer Robertson, was stated repeatedly to parents, community members, teachers, the building’s administration and to the union.
In the spring of 2009, only a year into their stay, PAVE announced to the Daily News that they requested an extension to stay in P.S. 15 for up to an additional three years. Again, parents, teachers and community members expressed their outrage and questioned the transparency, due process, and accountability of the Department of Education. According to the DOE, no decisions had yet been made concerning the extension request, but it took pressure by parents and teachers throughout the summer demanding due process to get a fair hearing.
Communities across the city share in the plight of the P.S. 15, Red Hook Community. We have seen community schools across the city forced to building share with charters, have their resources drained, their space limited and their programs negatively impacted. Now beginning to emerge, we are seeing charters put in extensions to stay and further expand into buildings after already announcing an end date for their temporary stay as part of the presentation to, and agreement with, the school communities. Interestingly, the extensions seem to aim to afford these charters free space until the end of their five year state evaluations, even though five years of space was not what was originally requested.
The lack of transparency and due process is an outrage to our democracy and defiles the success and importance of our community public schools. There is no accountability, no one to hold the Mayor’s administration to any kind of agreement or standard because they have a clear agenda and they intend to execute it: close down half of the number of public schools and double the number of charter schools by the end of their third term. What is even more disturbing; they are propagating this agenda on the backs of successful public schools that have served their communities for years. P.S. 15, The Patrick F. Daly School, whose namesake lost his life serving the children of Red Hook seventeen years ago, is an AAA school being unfairly and forcefully pushed out by a charter school that has no success record, is staffed with uncertified and inexperienced educators, and whose students are largely bused in from outside of the school community. Last year, out of P.S. 15’s Prekindergarten graduating class, only two families chose to send their two children to PAVE. The housing of PAVE Academy in P.S. 15 is not serving the best interest of the children in Red Hook zoned for PS 15, and it has no place in Red Hook’s community public school.
The Bloomberg Administration paints the charter school movement as a way to service children whom public schools have failed while promoting and developing innovative programming. This is cynical and disingenuous. The charter school movement drains school community resources, sets up a system of privilege and subordination, divides communities, and disenfranchises citizens from a truly democratic system that was intended to listen to them and represent them, not impose an authoritative agenda on them. If this charter school movement was really about what was best for children, we would not see building sharing formulas that treat children as numbers and deny them the space to run enrichment and intervention programming. We would not see campus policies that sanction public school principals for not coming to agreements on space usage, while doing nothing to hold charter school leaders accountable to the same standard. We would not see due process skirted and phony meetings held. We would not see successful schools being squeezed out by charters, especially when those charters are not primarily servicing the students from that school and community.
Please join the Red Hook community, its families and teachers, as we fight to protect P.S. 15, The Patrick F. Daly School, and community schools across the city. Public education is the pillar of our democracy; it must be protected and preserved. We should be supporting and using our successful public schools as models, not overextending them and negatively impacting their programming. We should fix our public schools that are not working, not propagate a privatization agenda.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Our Mission

CAPE: Concerned Advocates for Public Education seeks to lend parent and teacher voices to educational policy and fights to protect and preserve public education.

June 4th City-Wide School-Community Based Protests: No School-Based Budget Cuts or School Layoffs

June 4th City-Wide School-Community Based Protests:  No School-Based Budget Cuts or School Layoffs
Parents, Students, and School Workers at PS 15 Demand Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein Prioritize Spending for Public Education!

Public Education in NYC has faced over 500 million in cuts since 2009. The Mayor must seek other revenues instead of cutting our schools and other important services that are the lifeblood of our communities!