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.


  1. CEC meeting, PS 15, Red Hook, Brooklyn 9-17-09
    To the charter school parent representative who screamed about who spoke at the meeting, there were plenty of PS 15 parents ready to speak. The CEC committee picked the order of speakers. Your point is moot.
    To the charter school parent representative, you screamed the building belonging to NYC. Yes, it does and the people of PS 15 are NYC.
    And to all at the meeting, when the charter school parent screamed Pave Academy is a Public School. Did you not see it with your own eyes? EVERYONE SAW IT! What true and REAL Public School principal has the money to buy top quality t-shirts and hand them out like candy with a big smile to the crowd at hand? Where did the money come from for that? Can the D15 Superintendent show us what line PAVE used in the funding formula that took money away from the children to buy top quality t-shirts and hand them out like candy to anyone who would wear them? That is a real abuse of the system that should be investigated. That is something a Private school would do...not a Public School.
    And to the charter school parent representative who screamed, you came in from where? You know nothing about Red Hook. Why would you come into a community, scream at it and leave? I guess you go all around the city, scream at communities and leave like you did with a smirk on your face. How much does Bloomberg pay you to scream at community meetings?
    And to the Dept. of Education people who were there...all you spoke about were formulas not at all about PEOPLE. Just numbers...sizes of rooms, how many can be crammed into a space, the square footage of a half size room and full size room, and the number of bodies that could be squeezed into it, etc. Does everyone at the Dept of Ed live in a studio apartment because that is all you really need to live a quality life? When will you stop and think about human beings? The business man mayor and the lawyer chancellor ... the titles say it all. What a mess of Education. Hello, the ordering of supplies, the part of the business of schools, is all you should be concerned about...leave the rest to educators who know that communities are more important than anything... more important than your formulas that do not work. You seem very good a tearing apart the basic part of a school...the community. What a shame. It is a sad day for Red Hook. God help us all remove this mayor and chancellor and every one at the Dept. of Ed who tear apart public school communities. Shame on mayoral should be bringing people together...not dividing them. Thank you to the politicians who voted for this mess.
    To the charter school parents, PS 15 would love to have their rooms painted and cleaned and supplied with brand new everythings. But the mayor and the chancellor will not allow that to happen. They want their private charter schools to shine like a new penny. PS 15 wants the best for its children too but as a Public School, not a private charter school, we are underfunded as always. That is equity of education in NYC 2009 under Mayor Mike Doomberg.

  2. Spencer Robertson, the founder of PAVE, is a fraud and a showman, he is the son of a billionare and the loser of his family. He is creating a volitle situation in Red Hook spewing lies to PAVE families actually telling them that PS 15 teachers are telling their students to target little PAVE children and that we want their five year old babies in the street. He is a SICK, SICK man! PAVE families, you are always welcome at PS 15, whether you want to wait for the truth to come out or see it now, and if it is a zoning issue, see the office of enrollement, if you don't know what to do, call the school for help. PS 15 welcomes all children and families, they won't subject them to a militarized education, they are true advocates for children and they also actually know what they are doing.


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!