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,
(http://gothamschools.org/2009/12/11/doe-proposes-to-let-pave-stay-in-ps-15-an-additional-five-years ) 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, (http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/8CF30F41-DE25-4C30-92DE-731949919FC3/65901/NYCDOE_Instructional_Footprint_revisedMay2009_noco.pdf ).
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.