Monday, November 29, 2010

Parents and Educators See Red!

Parents and Educators To Challenge Steiner’s Approval
of Cathleen Black as NYC Schools Chancellor

Tuesday:

Who:  Deny Waiver Coalition
What: Parents speak out against and announce challenge to Steiner's waiver decision
Where: Steps of Tweed Courthouse, 52 Chambers St.
When: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 4 PM

Thursday:

Parents demand a rigorous and transparent search within and outside of New York City for the best possible public education leader for the job.  We seek an experienced and enlightened educator who sees our kids as more than test-taking widgets, our public schools as important community centers in need of investment rather than assets to be opened and closed a till, and our parents and teachers as vital partners in our children's education rather than as competitors to the corporate leaders who run our public schools! 


WHEN: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2


TIME: 4:00PM


WHERE:   TWEED, DOE HEADQUARTERS
Trains – 4,5,6,N,R,J to City Hall
   2,3 to Park Place
   A,C,E to Chambers Street


MAYOR BLOOMBERG SAYS HE WANTS CATHIE BLACK BECAUSE SHE KNOWS HOW TO CUT BUDGETS AND IS A “CLOSER”.  
A CLOSER TO:
1. CLOSE YOUR SCHOOL, TERMINATE TEACHERS & SUPPORT STAFF
2. CLOSE YOUR ENRICHMENT AND EXTRA-CURRICULAR PROGRAMS




PARENTS, STUDENTS & TEACHERS WEAR RED ON THURSDAY IN PROTEST AND JOIN US AT OUR RALLY TO DEMAND AN EDUCATOR WHO:
1. HAS EDUCATION EXPERIENCE
2. BELIEVES IN PUBLIC EDUCATION



FOR MORE INFO:
GO TO WWW.DENYWAIVER.COM
Email:  info@denywaiver.com
Call: Chris Owens, 718-514-4874
Noah Gotbaum, 917-658-3213
            Mona Davids, 917-340-8987




Sunday, November 28, 2010

Come tomorrow and speak out against the waiver deal made over this holiday weekend with the clear intent of silencing parent and community voices!

P R E S S   A D V I S O R Y

Who:          Deny Waiver Coalition
What:         Parents speak out against the deal to grant a waiver for Cathleen Black
Where:       Steps of Tweed Courthouse, 52 Chambers Street, NY, NY
When:        November 28, 2010 (Sunday) at 2:00 PM
Contacts:
Chris Owens:    718-514-4874    646-450-3552
Mona Davids:   917-340-8987     info@denywaiver.com

Friday, November 26, 2010

Students and Parents are Losing Resources!

Budget cuts continue to destroy valuable services to our students!  We are sharing the following press release from United New York Early Intervention Providers.


Nearly 8 months ago, NYS Early Intervention through the office of DOH Commissioner Richard Daines, embarked on a mission to dismantle NYS Early Intervention in the name of fiscal responsibility. Small agencies were closed, home-based independent contractors, the front-line of NYS Early Intervention, were met with a 10-20% rate decrease and, now the children of early intervention, the children with developmental disabilities are no longer receiving the services that they are eligible for through IDEA Part C.

On April 15th of this year, fifteen days after the directive was issued to reduce rates, the United New York Early Intervention Providers (UNYEIP) and Parents As Partners (UNYEIPAP) coalitions whose members include Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapists, ABA Teachers, Special Educators, Nutritionists, Social Workers, Psychologists, Vision Therapists, parents and caregivers, and other supportive professionals (attorneys, physicians, compensation analysts, academicians, accountants) was founded. Now 700 strong, we are working with attorneys, unions, legislators, professional organizations to enable change and initiate the restoration of services for our children and their families, to return equity, and to initiate the focus on true evidence-based practice.

In the name of fiscal blindness and led by committees and decision-makers with little to no active, current hands-on experience, the DOH has established guidelines that have forced small business entrepreneurships to close their doors across the state, that have increased standards for eligibility and thus left many children and families with no other options. New cases for interventionists are few and far between and those that are realized are accompanied by non-therapeutic mandates. Essentially, in their efforts to achieve fiscal austerity, the NYS DOH has limited and dissolved the most precious of jobs – home-based early intervention. Is this in keeping with President Obama's Federal Stimulus Plan and ARRA whose primary goal is to preserve and create jobs? NO!

It was Governor Mario Cuomo, who on September 17, 1992, signed the Early Intervention Bill (Chapter 428 of the Laws of 1992), landmark legislation. Can we count on his son to renew this commitment to infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities or delays? For more information, please call Leslie Grubler at 347 853 4241 or email at UnitedNYEIProviders@yahoo.com.
_____________________________________

Kindly refer to the webpage at http://UnitedNYEIProviders.weebly.com for additional information and membership information. If you are either a parent of a child who has received early intervention or is currently receiving early intervention or a provider of services in any discipline, join us.

I have also provided a link to our Petition for your easy access: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/To-Preserve-and-Protect-NYS-Early-Intervention/

Sincerely,

Leslie Grubler MA, CCC-SLP, TSHH
Founding Director, UNYEIP/UNYEIPAP

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's still called the Department of EDUCATION isn't it?

Dear Commissioner Steiner:

CAPE, Concerned Advocates for Public Education is an advocacy organization representative of the parents and educators at PS 15 in Red Hook, Brooklyn, an elementary school that is outperforming 95% of all elementary schools in New York City.  Ours in one of the first groups of its kind that bridges the divide between parents and educators for the purposes of accessing their united voice to inform and influence education policy, of which they are the true stakeholders, but are all too often ignored.

CAPE strongly opposes the appointment of Cathleen Black as the Chancellor of New York City’s public education system.  Not only was this nomination made hastily and in secret by a Mayor who has ignored our voices over the last eight years; she is unqualified for the job.  Mayoral Control has been a destructive force here in New York City.  It has been a gateway for a privileged few to gain access to our children’s schools often molding them in an image that they would not accept for their own children.  It is time to bring democracy back to the governance of our schools here in New York City.  Mayoral Control was not meant to be a dictatorship, there was and is an expectation that any elected official would be responsive to the communities they serve.

We have no illusions that the appointment of someone with zero experience or credentials in education is anything but another step in an agenda to undermine public education.  We demand a qualified chancellor with a record of service to public education that can be publically judged. The law requires it. And our children deserve it.

Respectfully yours,
Concerned Advocates for Public Education
Parents and Educators Working Together to Protect and Preserve Public Education

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Civil Rights Leaders Call For Fairness in NYC Chancellor Appointment

Watch below for coverage of today's press conference demanding a transparent process in the appointment of our children's Chancellor...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXLLWiAfJ8c

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Stop the Drive to Privatize! More than 8 Years of Bloomberg Arrogance and Failure Must End. Take a Stand!

The appointment of Cathie Black as chancellor, someone with no qualifications for the job, is a critical important turning point in the history of the Bloomberg administration. Why?


It has provoked a firestorm of controversy, with the rest of the city waking up to the way in which the mayor's uses his money, power and influence to disregard the normal rules of civil conduct. This editorial in El Diario is good example of the widespread disgust.This citywide moment of clarity has occurred previously only two times before: when Bloomberg fired three members of the PEP who disagreed with him right before a critical vote, and when he announced his intention to overturn term limits.

Parents and education advocates have long known and their kids have long suffered from the way in which the mayor behaves as though the public schools are his personal fiefdom to do with whatever he wants, regardless of what research shows and how parents, educators, and the advocacy community feel. Finally, New Yorkers as a whole are realizing the damage represented by his autocratic behavior. It is a critical moment of time that we must act on immediately, by joining together to reject this appointment and the abuse of power it represents.

How?
1. First sign onto the letter below, written by civil rights attorney Norman Siegel and Michael Meyers, director of the NY Civil Rights Coalition, and join us in a press conference tomorrow, Sunday Nov.14 in front of Tweed. The letter clearly shows how the mayor's selection of Black, done in secrecy and without any public process, is inconsistent with the principles of equal employment which have governed candidate searches in the public and private sector for more than three decades -- to ensure that qualified individuals with diverse backgrounds were fully considered before making a final choice.

If you'd like to sign onto this letter, just send your name and any affiliation you like to classsizematters@gmail.com before 10 AM tomorrow morning. And please join us tomorrow, Sunday at Tweed at 1 PM; bring your kids if you can!

2. Then sign the NYC Kids PAC petition at http://tinyurl.com/2fmstgt

Even if you've signed onto other petitions already, please sign this one as it doesn't just sit there, it automatically sends messages to all the key education policymakers in Albany, including Commissioner Steiner, who will make the final decision as to whether to approve Ms. Black's waiver. As of this morning, it has nearly 1200 signatures, and had generated over 10,000 emails to Albany in 2 1/2 days.

3. Attend the PEP meeting Tuesday night at Brooklyn Tech and make your voice heard! Come at 5:30 PM to sign up to speak; and join the movement in opposition to the mayor's abuse of power. For directions, go to http://tinyurl.com/2998gq7

And please forward this message to others who care about NYC children and the future of our schools.

The letter from Norman Siegel and Michael Meyers follows.
thanks,
Leonie Haimson
Class Size Matters
124 Waverly Pl.
New York, NY 10011
212-674-7320
mailto:classsizematters@gmail.com%20www.classsizematters.org
OPEN LETTER TO NEW YORK STATE EDUCATION COMMISSIONER DAVID STEINER IN OPPOSITION TO A WAIVER FOR CATHLEEN P. BLACK
November 12, 2010

Hon. David Steiner

Commissioner of Education

New York State Education Department

89 Washington Avenue

Albany, New York 12234

Dear Commissioner Steiner:

We the undersigned concerned citizens, parents of public school students, and current and former public school students and teachers of New York City are outraged by the recent action of Mayor Michael Bloomberg in announcing his choice for the next Chancellor of the New York City Public Schools, one Cathleen P. Black, without even having conducted a public search for the best qualified candidates. It is shocking to us that his choice, Ms. Black, appears to lack not only teaching experience but is lacking any of the educational credentials and qualifications for the appointment to the major post of a school superintendent in New York State.
Because the leader of the New York City Schools is critical to the raising of academic achievement levels of our children, and because we believe in equal opportunity as the best process for recruiting and evaluating competitive candidates for a job that deserves excellence—consistent with your own efforts to raise standards for teachers, staff and students—we respectfully and strongly urge you to hold the Mayor’s appointee to the standards and qualifications set out in the statute for school superintendents. Accordingly, we urge that you deny the City’s anticipated request on behalf of Ms. Cathleen Black for a waiver from these qualifications.
We stress the impropriety of there being no public search whatsoever for this top educator’s position. On the very day and at the very hour that incumbent Chancellor Joel Klein’s resignation was announced, Mayor Bloomberg announced Mr. Klein’s successor. Hence, there was no opening that was advertised; no recruitment period for applications; and no equal opportunity process for qualified candidates of any race and both genders to apply and to be considered for this top educational post.
The fact that Mayor Bloomberg did not undertake a public search in accordance with equal employment opportunity principles in itself raises significant public policy issues, as well as the specter of cronyism. How can it be that the position of leader of one of the nation’s largest school systems can be filled in such a cavalier manner—without any kind of notice or recruitment period for the consideration of capable and talented individuals—persons who are educators, who have the statutory qualifications and certification, and the requisite experience and skills to understand the best practices of pedagogy? The school superintendent for the New York City School District should have knowledge of curriculum and instruction and assessment, as well as extensive teaching experience.
At a time our school children deserve only the best qualified people at the top of the school system and throughout the ranks of the teaching, supervisory and administrative staff of our public schools, at a time minority group children in particular are not performing at grade levels much less with proficiency in core subjects, and at a time this city is mired in disputes as to the accuracy of testing data and about appropriate educational strategies, it is especially important that we have someone at the helm who can deal with these issues with expertise and authority.
Given that the city school system is rank with systemic segregation by race and ethnicity—and Mayoral control has been sharply criticized for inattentiveness to due process, and for refusing to provide for meaningful parental involvement in decisions affecting the welfare of their children, it is even more necessary for the citizens and parents of New York City to be confident that the next Schools Chancellor is the most capable and qualified person available for the job, and that the process was open to all segments of the population and not just a crony of the Mayor.
In these circumstances, and because we are shocked and appalled that no public search for qualified candidates was even conducted, we urge you to reject the City of New York’s request for a waiver for Ms. Black, thereby forcing the City to conduct a real search and to consider diverse candidates for this top educational post. That is how you got your job—and it is how the next Schools Chancellor—whoever he or she may be—should and must earn this City’s top educator’s post.
A nationwide search for capable candidates will undoubtedly produce qualified persons worthy of meeting the challenges of reforming the New York City public school system and capable of bringing into existence a system of high expectations and achievement for students, teachers, and staff. Excellence has to be the standard for all “stakeholders” in our school system—students, teachers, their supervisors, administrators, and school superintendents alike.
We urge you to do the right thing; reject the waiver request and give clear instructions and guidance to the City of New York that you will not consider candidates for this post that have not been recruited and vetted through a genuine search process in which all qualified applicants may be considered and evaluated on their merits.
SIGNED:
Norman Siegel, civil rights attorney



Michael Meyers, Director , NY Civil Rights Coalition



Leonie Haimson, Executive Director, Class Size Matters and NYC public school parent





(add your name here)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Doubt It!

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, a member of the organization Save Our Schools is quoted in reference to  Cathleen Black, the mayor's choice to replace Joel Klein as school chancellor this January.  It seems her discussion with the reporter was not accurately reported and much of the context left out.  CAPE  supports the work of Save Our Schools (SOS), most importantly the fight against high-stakes testing.   However, we do not agree to give Ms. Black "the benefit of the doubt." The members of CAPE reject Cathleen Black as a valid or even reasonable choice for our new chancellor and in no way see her as an ally.  We have no illusions that the appointment of someone with zero experience or credentials in education is anything but another step in an agenda to undermine public education.  We demand a qualified chancellor with a record of service to public education that can be publically judged. The law requires it. And our children deserve it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tired of the education deform onslaught against parents, students and teachers? Get Involved!

There are many opportunities to work for REAL education reform.  Here are two:


1.  Sign this petition to deny Cathleen Black a waiver to become our new Chancellor. It is a reasonable request that the leader of our schools has a deep  knowledge of teaching and a respect for students, parents, educators and school communities!


2. Protest Michael Bloomberg and Joel Klein`s puppet school board, the Panel for Educational Policy. 

This administration  has overseen the school-closing assault and promoted other attacks on our public school system, including:
 
  •  Increasing the number of charter schools colocated with our public schools, causing increased overcrowding.
  •   Cutting school budgets while NOT providing the support schools need to help students.
  •  Promoting the use of standardized testing as the only method of evaluating students progress and teachers effectiveness.
  •  Threatening to publish teachers test scores, despite scandals exposing the tests as inaccurate and flawed.
  •  Increasing the number of quality teachers in the excessed ATR pool who are denied seniority rights.
 
 
 This will be the first of an ongoing series of actions to protest the disastrous educational policies that are trying to dismantle public education
 
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Meet at 5:30pm
Brooklyn Technical High School
29 Fort Greene [Place] Brooklyn, NY 11217
[G train to Fulton (at So. Portland Av.); C to Lafayette Av. (at So. Portland Av.); Q, R or weekday B to Dekalb Av. (at Flatbush Av. Extension); 2, 3, 4, 5 to Nevins St. (nr. Fulton St.); D, N to Pacific St./Atlantic-Pacific (on 4th Av.); LIRR to Atlantic Ctr./Flatbush Av.; map: 
http://bit.ly/cInRhJ -t.] 
 
 

 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Name Changes, but the Song Remains the Same...




Join the Real Reformers on 11/16 

Don a Real Reformer SuperCape and participate in our rap song extravaganza in front of the next PEP meeting
No talent necessary
Capes and lyrics will be provided
We’ll meet up at 4:15 at the corner of DeKalb Ave. and South Elliot Pl. by Fort Greene Park for a mini rehearsal and then go over to Brooklyn Tech HS at 5:15 for the performance. 
 Join with us and let your voice be heard

 

Let’s tell the Puppet PEP that we are not going to let them deform, dismantle and destroy our schools and our students’ education!
See our previous performance at: http://youtu.be/PMqPNCvAJZo
Tuesday, November 16, 2010 Meet at 4:30pm
Brooklyn Technical High School is at 29 Fort Greene – Brooklyn, NY 11217
B, M, Q, R to Dekalb Avenue, 2, 3, 4, 5 to Nevins Street, G to Fulton Street.


--

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Message From Parents and Community Activists: Don't Believe the Hype!

On Wednesday, parents and community activists are going to protest the NYC Education “retrospective” which will present papers on the Bloomberg/Klein “Children First” education policies.


We have reasons to believe that this event will whitewash the Bloomberg/Klein record, and that little or no mention will be made about rising class sizes, overcrowding, state test score inflation, high discharge and “push out” rates, the spread of substandard credit recovery programs, and/or the fact that parents and communities have been completely excluded from having any say as to how our children’s schools are run.

 Please join us!

Where: Wednesday, November 10 from 8AM- 10 AM

Where: New York Marriott Downtown, 85 West Street at Albany St., map here: (take the 1,4,5,N,R to Rector St.)

For more on this conference, see here: http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2010/11/nov-10-nyc-education-reform.html

 All are invited; please also let us know if you’d like your organization to be listed on the flyer as a co-sponsor.


Co-sponsored by: Class Size Matters, CAPE, GEM, NY Charter Parents Association, and the Brooklyn Young Mothers' Collective.





And please spread the word!



Thanks,



Leonie Haimson, Lisa Donlan, John Battis, Mona Davids, and Hannah Wohl

 )

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bring Sanity To Albany

For those voting in New York State Senate District 11 in Northeast Queens, please consider Tony Avella!
He is a supporter of public schools and a real ally for those fighting to protect and preserve public education.  He voted against term limits and against mayoral control of schools.  About the position of School Chancellor he has said "I would appoint an educator — someone with a background relevant to the position. Before making a decision I’d sit down and talk with educators, administrators, and parents to find out what they’re looking for in a chancellor. Then I’d decide who the best fit for our schools would be." He believes in smaller class sizes and finds the overemphasis on standardized tests in our schools to be hurting, not helping our children. Albany needs a REAL REFORMER like Tony Avella.  If you are interested in participating in Tony Avella's Get Out The Vote campaign please contact Zoe Waltross at 917 439-8569 or zwaltrous@gmail.com.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Save Our Schools

CAPE has joined several other organizations to promote a campaign launched by CEJ  called Save Our Schools!  It's an emergency educational action plan.  Here is an excerpt from the press release:


The release of the 2010 New York State reading and math test scores was a sobering moment for our city. The depth and breadth of the crisis is staggering. As a result of NYS recalibrating the test scores to align with college-ready standards, citywide reading scores declined by 27 points, math scores went down 28 points, and the racial and income-based achievement gaps have grown. Only 13% of students with disabilities and 14% of English Language Learners scored proficient in English Language Arts (ELA). Tens of thousands of additional students are NOT on the road to college and career success. Compared to 2009:


» 109,000 more students are NOT meeting standards in ELA
» 50,000 more students are significantly BELOW standards in ELA (scoring in Level 1)
» 364 more school have 2/3 or more of their students NOT meeting standards in ELA

The NYC Department of Education has a responsibility to acknowledge this immense challenge and implement emergency policy changes to support struggling students and schools.

We call upon the NYC Department of Education to:

» Provide intensive interventions for all students who scored in Levels 1 and 2, including those now in high school.
» Suspend for one year all high-stakes policy decisions that are based on standardized test scores and establish a revised accountability system based on reliable multiple measures.
» Provide comprehensive support and guidance to the city’s most struggling schools.

Please click here to sign the petition.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oprah's New "Favorite Thing"

For as many years as I watched your show I never thought I would be starting my own letter with….


Dear Oprah,

I am a public school teacher in Brooklyn, New York. On Tuesday I watched as you gushed over Washington D.C. School Chancellor Michelle Rhee, and quizzed billionaire bill Gates and movie director David Guggenheim about the state of our nation’s schools. It was a show about education, missing actual educators. You asked viewers to attend the new movie “Waiting for Superman” to help them achieve their “ah-ha” moments about our nation’s “education crisis” –My “ah-ha” moment happened a few minutes into your show when I realized instead of unwinding to an interesting Oprah episode, I would suffer one hour of you and your panel blaming public school teachers for all of the problems with our schools, while heralding charter schools as the answer. Public education is the pillar of our democracy, and watching you and your guests laugh about firing principals, make an ugly joke of teachers’ unions and repeatedly oversimplify issues by blaming teachers, was insulting and disrespectful. You did announce to all the “good teachers” that you were not talking about them—it made light of a subject I take very seriously. The current education reform movement is damaging to public schools, the profession of education, and to students and parents. I work hard each day to engage my students in their own learning and to make my principal proud to have me in her school. I base my value on parental feedback and that of my colleagues and supervisors. I cannot guess if your “Warrior Woman” would rate me as effective, but I wonder…
Many things said on your program within that hour were untrue and/or misleading. Over and over each panel member discussed how difficult it is to fire “bad teachers”--what was strange to me is that NOT ONE OF THEM is a principal of a school. Only a principal would know exactly how to do just that. Frankly, it is the principal, whose responsibility it is as a leader, who must make sure his or her staff is exemplary and capable. Oddly, the only time the word principal was mentioned on Tuesday’s show was when you asked Michelle to tell an anecdote about firing the principal at her own daughter’s school. The issue of teacher tenure was discussed glibly, and since different states grant tenure in different ways, it is unwise and flatly false to inform viewers otherwise. The word “effective” was peppered throughout conversation. “All you have to do is be effective” said Michelle Rhee when she proposed to double teacher salaries (and take away tenure) --not once did she or another guest define the word effective, or describe how teacher effectiveness is or should be measured. The current trend (funded by Race to the Top monies) is to judge teachers’ performance using student test scores. Interestingly, a student in the audience admitted that “she did not test well” and claimed her local public school would judge and track her accordingly. First of all, I have trouble with this claim, and secondly, she makes my point-- test scores (especially the historically culturally-biased standardized state tests) are not always the measure of a person.
One statement rang true for me. It was when charter schools were defined as schools that are “allowed to function outside of the rules.” Let me give you examples of how charter schools in New York City doing just that:

Unlike Public Schools, Charter schools in New York City are NOT open to every student. Most charter schools do not offer the programs that students with special needs or English language learners are entitled to receive and/or if accepted, those students are swiftly “counseled out” of the school. 9 Incidentally, these are the same students who typically score low on state tests, which is how our schools here are judged.) In some cases, charter school operators have direct contact with our chancellor, Joel Klein, and use their status and pull to bypass education laws and policies to benefit their schools ONLY. In New York City, charter schools are given preferential treatment by the Department of Education, and are granted free space WITHIN community public schools to operate, compromising the academic, enrichment and intervention programming of the existing public school. In New York this is called “co-location” (I call it separate but unequal) and the Department of Education depends on it to promote and expand charter schools at the expense of successful public schools like mine. The rooms and spaces taken by the charter school are quickly renovated and given preferential treatment, while the area belonging to the public school is not. I could go on for a while on this topic, but let’s get back to real education reform.
Real education reform means quality neighborhood schools for ALL children. Real education reform looks like this: small class sizes, expanded pre-K programs, parent empowerment and leadership, culturally relevant curriculum, equitable funding for ALL schools, more teaching and less testing, and finally this: parents deserve excellent public schools in their communities. It is time for integrity, equity and the preservation of public education for all students to be embodied in the current policy and reform movement in education.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Regulation of the Chancellor/ We Told You So!

No really, we told them so!

Over the last year parents and teachers have detailed the numerous and egregious errors with the Department of Education’s so-called policy and procedures in regards to co-locations. We carefully outlined the flaws as we advocated for our schools in two appeals filed by P.S. 15 parents with Advocates for Children to the State Education Commissioner. We revealed how the New York City Department of Education violates their own policies and bylaws as they champion free space for charter schools at the expense of public schools throughout the city. Some examples include:
1. Educational Impact Statements that declare “no impact” The DOE has been publishing practically identical and weakly written Educational Impact Statements for every school affected by co-location that declares, in every case, the there is enough room for both schools in the building.
2. Mathematically Challenged Instructional Footprints that disregard special education services and ESL services. The information in the EIS is, of course, based on an also flawed “Instructional Footprint” that declares the amount of space schools and their services deserve.
3. Not properly notifying the public of the changes to their school. The date/time and place for public hearings about co-locations is buried on the DOE’s website, further isolating affected families who are unable to regularly access a computer (as if checking the DOE website is first on anyone’s list.)

Which leads to memo number A-190 a regulation from school’s chancellor, Joel Klein that states: SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN SCHOOL UTILIZATION AND PROCEDURES FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF SCHOOL BUILDINGS HOUSING MORE THAN ONE SCHOOL

And guess what changes are being proposed? Yes…

The quotes below come directly from the proposed changes to the regulation. These proposed changes are strikingly similar to every phone call, email, letter, and statement we shared at public hearings. When parents, teachers, advocates, and local policy makers outlined these flaws we were ignored, denied, and in many cases insulted by Department of Education staff. Students at P.S. 15 and schools all over the city suffered from the way co-locations have been occurring throughout this city and we continue to suffer. Many public school communities watched as the charter school in their building was completely renovated, while their school did not even get its yearly coat of paint. Each year, teachers packed their entire classrooms up to move, to make room for the charter school as the “Footprint” allocated more space. It was the parents and community members who helped publicize the public hearings, using their own money for fliers and copies. To top it all off, our appeal was overturned, we were told we are wrong!
Meanwhile, it is clear that the work we have done has indeed brought about changes, well “proposed” changes to the way the DOE does its business. However, we must keep an eye out for shenanigans, as we know how keen this department is at finding loopholes, exceptions, and new ways to exploit laws, policies and procedures, even ones they themselves write!

Here are some of the proposed changes. Does anything look familiar to you?


#1: Changes to the Educational Impact Statements:
“guides for use in creating Educational Impact Statements (EIS) are added; EIS filing requirements are clarified and provide that the EIS must be posted online and filed in hard copy with the PEP, affected CECs, community boards, superintendents, SLTs, and certain other bodies, as applicable, with hard copies available at affected schools.

#2 Changes to the Instructional Footprint:

“It should be noted that the Citywide Instructional Footprint (the “Footprint”) is in the process of being revised. Such revisions include modifications to the definition of a full size classroom to align the Footprint with the Enrollment Capacity Utilization Report (the “Blue Book”). Certain upward adjustments to room allocations will also be made. The revised Footprint will be made publicly available shortly.”

#3 Changes to the way the public school buildings have been treated:

“…any capital improvements or facilities upgrades made to accommodate charter schools in DOE buildings in excess of $5,000 must be matched by improvements or upgrades of an equal amount for all DOE schools in the same building; a process by which charter schools must apply for Chancellor’s permission to perform capital improvements or facilities upgrades to charter school space in DOE buildings is established; and the statutory right to appeal charter school co-locations and Building Usage Plans to the Commissioner of Education is added.”


click here to read the entire document.


Address all questions and/or comments to:

Name: Gentian Falstrom
Office: Division of Portfolio Planning
Address: 52 Chambers Street
Email: RegulationA-190@schools.nyc.gov
Phone: (212) 374-2471

Date, time and place of the PEP meeting at which the Board will vote on the proposed item under consideration:

October 7, 2010
6:00 p.m.
New World High School
921 E. 228th Street
Bronx, NY
--

Monday, August 16, 2010

Discriminatory and Destructive Precedents Set by PS 15 and PS 188/94 State Education Commissioner Appeals



Over the last week we have heard and seen tremendous outrage over Chancellor Klein’s evoking of emergency powers, disregarding Commissioner Steiner’s ruling in the PS 188/94 appeals case. Local and State politicians have had no fear, and have minced no words, making clear their opposition to Klein’s abuse of power in evoking an emergency clause to allow Girls Prep Charter to stay in the PS 188 building despite the impact on the children with Autism at the school. Klein has recently backed down from this position, now stating he will not use emergency powers, but rather look for an alternate place, for at least a year, for Girls Prep Charter School. In a press statement the DOE continues to claim that there is more than enough room in the PS 188/94 building and maintains not a single child with special needs will be displaced. The DOE’s lack of understanding for and consideration of children with special needs continues to be astounding. For both schools, and for potential co-location sites across the city, what has been lost in the fray over these process and power positions, are the destructive and discriminatory precedents set in Steiner’s decision to dismiss the PS 15 appeals case completely, and his ignoring of the merits in the PS 188/94 case he supported.

Both appeals targeted two distinct areas of complaint. First, that the DOE did not follow proper procedures as dictated by the change in school utilization portion of the Mayoral Control Law, particularly in terms of meeting the standard and intention of the law regarding the Educational Impact Statements, which was further defined by the Mulgrew decision. Secondly, both appeals made substantive complaints, detailing how the DOE made arbitrary decisions when it came to building and space utilization and allocations; largely ignoring the needs and legal mandates of students receiving special education services as well as disregarding the space needs of all students.

The DOE was required to respond to the complaints laid out in the parents’ appeals, and their claims were shocking. In their responses the DOE charged that even though the law requires outreach efforts to maximize public notification and input, they are not required to provide Educational Impact Statements to parents other than through the internet, email and principal notification. Steiner’s agreement with these claims now limits the DOE’s burden to notify the public. Considering many of these co-locations are targeted in isolated, lower socio-economic, under resourced neighborhoods, the majority of parents and community members will not be notified of potential co-locations and the impact on their children, as was the case in the PS 15 community.

Further, regarding Education Impact Statements, the DOE claimed they were not required to specifically outline a space plan for the co-located schools or detail the impact specifically. Steiner agreed with this logic citing the PS 15 EIS stated there may be some impact on enrichment programs and non-mandated services, but that the DOE felt there was more than enough space in the building and that a space plan would be created later with the schools’ building council. To be clear, Stiener used a document of questionable validity to justify his ruling. For this and many other reasons, these justifications are unacceptable. This decision flies in the face of the Mulgrew decision and permits the DOE to provide vague and self-serving assessments and justification of school space and impact. Under this decision, Educational Impact Statements must only state the DOE’s assessment of available space in the building (based on faulty utilization and instructional footprint allocations) and claim that there is enough. They are not accountable for in any way explaining where affected programs will go. For PS 15 this has meant the loss of a science lab, special education office, and several classrooms forcing multiple out-of-classroom providers (mandated and non-mandated) to share space, often at the expense of student privacy and optimal learning conditions. It has meant loss of enrichment and the down-scaling of intervention programs because there are no rooms in the building that are not programmed throughout the day, including the cafeteria, gym, and auditorium. None of these specifics were required to be included, according to the DOE and Steiner, in the EIS, and apparently none of these losses are considered significant enough to define the DOE’s judgment as arbitrary. One wonders if Steiner, Bloomberg, or Klein would have allowed these impacts on their own children.

Among the litany of alarming assertions by the DOE, upheld by Steiner, none is more striking than the claim that designated space is not required for special education related services and that stairwells and hallways are perfectly acceptable spaces for students to receive related services. Steiner did not even address the substantive issues regarding these claims in his decision. His only attempt to address the parents’ challenging the merits of the DOE’s co-location proposal was to say that he, “…could not conclude that the (DOE’s) decision was arbitrary…(because the) DOE denies the assertions and contends…the building can support both schools.” For students at PS 15 this will mean speech in the backs of classrooms or in shared classrooms and physical therapy, occupational therapy, vision and hearing therapy in hallways, stairwells, and corners contrary to the students’ IEP mandates. Is this putting Children First, or Charters First?

In the DOE’s appeal response they state, “Sharing space is central to New York City’s strategy for school improvement.” This “strategy” sets up a competition for scarce space and resources where special education students will apparently be on the losing end. As we have seen in multiple co-location proposals, PS 188/94 included, special education children can simply be moved and shuffled around to benefit charter school access to public school buildings. It begs the question: what was the intention of the state law allowing charters access to public school space for lease? It is doubtful the intention was to take utilized space away from existing public school children in order to provide essentially free space and significant start up cost savings to charter schools.

The claims by the DOE in both appeals cases, and the written decisions by Steiner, leaves parents, and teachers, at odds with the DOE, while they try to advocate for the services their children need and deserve. Destructive and discriminatory precedents have now been set by these appeals: the DOE can engage in a public hearing process where no one is actually heard and meaningful consideration is not given. In the PS 15 case alone, there were over 1,700 written and oral comments given opposing the continued co-location in the building, contrast that with less than 200 in favor of the proposal, yet the proposal was approved and upheld with no regard for the true impact on PS 15 students, particularly the special education population at the school which makes up over 30% of the student body. The precedent has been set that no significant attempt to notify the school community is required, nor is any consideration for the delivery methods that would best serve the community in question. The precedent has been set that Educational Impact Statements need only explain what may be affected in a school due to a co-location with a claim by the DOE that surely, there is enough space no matter what the students, teachers, parents, or the numbers show. The precedent has been set that space need not be allocated for special education services and children can get these services in hallways, stairwells, and in the backs of classrooms regardless of health and safety hazards or what would be the optimal learning conditions for the child as dictated by their IEP. The precedent has been set that space for intervention and enrichment programs, the kinds of programs that every child deserves, do not require allocated space.

Much must be done as a result of these appeals. Policymakers on the local and state level must improve legislation regarding change in school utilization laws and the law that allows charters access to public school buildings. Changes must be made to the DOE’s bluebook utilization formula and instructional footprint to include proper space allocations for our children, particularly children with special needs. Ultimately however, the only truly meaningful policy decision to protect public education and our children will be the termination of mayoral control. Unfortunately, our politicians have not had the courage to stand up to Bloomberg and the wealthy forces behind the education deform movement and take any meaningful action, instead they have lined their coffers with hedge fund and charter school money and allow these discriminatory practices and policies to continue at the expense of our children.

Parents and teachers must unite and fight the forces that seek to dismantle public education, which is happening at the expense of our neediest and most vulnerable children. Make no mistake, what has taken place at PS 15 and at PS 188/94 will now be precedent for far reaching education policy in this city. With the charter school cap lifted, we will see a growing number of co-locations and we will continue to live in an era of governance by lawlessness, where disfunctionality and discrimination are common place, where charters and profiteers come first instead of our children and where mismanagement and neglect of real public schools become the hallmark of this Mayor’s education reform agenda.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mayoral Control is Governance By Lawlessness… It is Time to Put an End to the Bloomberg-Klein Ed Deform Agenda!

The PS 188/94 and PS 15 recent appeals to the State Education Commissioner prove once again that Mayoral Control amounts to nothing more than governance by lawsuit, a construct where parents, students, and teachers will find themselves at a great disadvantage, and will almost always lose, when seeking what is best for the public education of our youth.

Commissioner David Steiner’s decisions in both cases, the Department of Education’s responses in both cases, and the outrageous actions of Klein evoking ‘emergency powers’ in the one of Steiner's findings set dangerous and destructive precedents for our schools and students when it comes to school and space utilization and allocation.

As a result of Steiner’s decision and the responses and actions of the DOE:

· Space allocations are not required for related services for special needs students or for ELL students.
· Stairwells and Hallways are perfectly acceptable spaces for students to receive educational services.
· Negative impacts on existing public school students, specifically removing space for enrichment, intervention, and other mandated and non-mandated services to benefit a charter school, is perfectly acceptable.
· Educational Impact statements do not have to be provided to parents in paper form or through the mail. Notification to families and communities need only be made through the internet or through the school’s principal with no additional resources provided by the DOE.
· Educational impact statements do not have to specifically identify the impacts or losses on students in terms of space or programming due to a co-location.
· Educational impact statements do not have to show how space will be allocated; a space plan can be completed after the co-location is approved.
· Providing opportunities for hearings and public input where no one is actually heard or considered meets the standard of the law.
· When a legal decision is made that favors parents, students, and teachers, the DOE will find a way to get around it.

Mayoral Control is absolute power that corrupts absolutely. It is a license to push destructive and discriminatory policies touted by this Mayor and Chancellor, which will be rubberstamped by a PEP whose majority is selected by the Mayor himself and given the directive to "serve at his pleasure". When in the rare case, the Administration is legally challenged on a issue, there is a loophole to declare emergencies in order to override whatever decision displeases the Chancellor. This is not putting Children First, as their self-heralded initiative claims, this is putting ideology first, an ideology rooted in free-market principles that further reinforce the roles of privilege and subordination in our country and pervert our public education system, the pillar of our democracy. Local and State legislators must take action to end this corrupt governance system and put legislation in place and advocate for policies that protect public schools and our neediest and most vulnerable children.

Join Grassroots Education Movement in the Struggle to Protect and Preserve Public Education! Check in this week for further video and analysis regarding the DOE’s outrageous actions and claims regarding co-locations @ ednotesonline.blogspot.com, capeducation@blogspot.com and grassrootseducationmovement@blogspot.com

Want to create a community-based advocacy group in your school? Contact capeducation@gmail.com for an advocacy toolkit and information on GEM’s school-based organizing committee.

Together we can stop the dysfunctional and discriminatory education policies of Bloomberg and Klein!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Children First?

As many of you know, the State Commissioner recently voted to halt expansion of Girl's Prep Charter School within the P.S. 188M building, as its expansion will negatively impact not only P.S. 188, but will take way classrooms from students of P.S. 94M a district 75 school housed in the same building serving students with autism. On the same docket was a ruling to allow PAVE Academy to continue expanding within P.S. 15K in Red Hook. There are more details to come on that nonsense but this post is about P.S. 188, M.S. 94 and how absolute power (Mayoral Control) corrupts, absolutely!

As stated above, New York State Education Department Commissioner Steiner ruled in favor of halting the expansion of Girl's Prep Charter School within P.S. 188-- a building that already shares space with M.S. 94, a unique school, and the only one in the district that serves students with autism. Chancellor Klein Mr. "Children First" himself has decided to void this decision, as the city's laws provide him this power, and the students of M.S. 94 will be relocated to provide more room for Girl's Prep Charter School. Shocked? Surprised? Of course not, but if you are disgusted like the rest of us, please participate in the press conference scheduled for this Monday. The information is included below:



Elected officials, such as Assembly Speaker Silver, State Senator Squadron, Boro Pres. Stringer, Pub. Advocate Bill De Blasio, Council Members Mendez, CEC presidents and CCSE (Citywide Council on Special Education) members, have roundly criticized Mr. Klein's decision as he has chosen to ignore the interests of students with disabilities.
On Monday, August 9, 2010 at 1:00 PM, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer will host a Press Confernce at One Center Street, across form the DOE headquarters at Tweed Courthouse, to comment on this egregious abuse of power.

Please join those of us who support Boro President Stringer and his efforts to bring attention to a blatant misuse of power.

It is important to have as many members of the education community as possible at One Center Street, at 1 PM on Monday, August 9, to demonstrate their disagreement with, and dismay at, the Chancellor's actions.

contact Erin McGill
emcgill@manhattanbp.org
212-669-3060

Saturday, July 3, 2010

It's Unanimous! or Null and Void Part 2!

This time, FIVE Supreme Court justices have all voted to uphold a ruling made in March by a Manhattan Supreme Court Judge about the 19 school closings and charter co-location of Pave Academy within P.S. 15K. Once again, the judges ruled that the city did not follow state education law when placing these 20 schools on the chopping block! Interestingly, it was a fact that almost all attendees of January's all-night PEP meeting were painfully aware of as parents, students and teachers stayed until 3:00 am to fight for their schools. It is important to point out that parents joined together to bring this issue to the appeals court in this case, but this violation of state law has been happening and continues to happen all over the city with the issue of school closings and more specifically co-locations and extensions of co-locations of charter schools within our city's public schools.
Mayor Bloomberg had an interesting response, he stated: "There's a whole bunch of kids that at least for one year will get a terrible education that ... they'll probably never recover from." It's interesting since HE HAS BEEN THE ONE IN CHARGE OF SCHOOLS for the last eight years. He worries about one more year at a "slated to close" public school when he should have offered genuine support to those very schools from the beginning. Mr. Bloomberg, there are many public school teachers worrying if they, their students and the current Department of Education will every recover from the heinous mismanagement that is mayoral control of our schools.

Thank you thank you thank you to the parents that made this ruling happen, not once, but twice!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Co-locations Continue to Compromise Our Public Schools!

CPE-CEP's Harlem Chapter Calls on All Sisters and Brothers
to support the parents, students, educators, school staff and community members of the Mosaic Prep Academy in their battle against
the Charter School Takeover of their Building!!!!
WEAR RED!!!

Stop Charter School Invasions and Takeovers!
Attend this East Harlem Hearing:
Monday June 21, 2010
Starting at 4:30pm
141 East 111th Street
New York, NY 10029
Take: 6 train to 110th Street Station; or use hopstop.com for directions.
Contact: CPE-CEP's Harlem Chapter Chair Ernestine Augustus at (646)262-9052, queenteenie45@aol.com;
or call the Mosaic Prep Academy directly by contacting
Roseannette Jimenez at (917)406-1091.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June 4th Protest

Join PS 24K, PS 15K, PS 30M, PS 197M, Jamaica High School, Prospect Heights International High School, PS 123M, PS 193K and a growing list of school communities as we protest budget cuts and layoffs that will happen around the city! The plan is for interested school communities to protest before school this Friday, June 4th. Bring your signs and banners and get the word out that our public school system is being ROBBED! The Department of Education just approved 5 million dollars in teacher recruitment funds the same time they are eliminating 6000 positions! The charter cap was just raised and and while people were told it was to be eligible for Race to the Top funds, those funds ARE NOT for relieving our budget crisis. If your school community is interested,or you have any questions please email Sam at sam@nycore.org.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Action Needed!

Call your Assemblymember today, and ask him or her to restore full funding to the education budget, and not to raise the charter cap unless there are rigorous protections for taxpayer and parent rights; including for the CECs to have the authority to approve all co-locations.
Find your state legislators at http://nymap.elections.state.ny.us/nysboe/; for the Assembly, the toll free no. is 1-877-255-9417 and press 3.

You have have seen commercials on television claiming that lifting the cap on Charter schools will make New York eligible for 700 million dollars in education funding. KNOW THE TRUTH!!! This money CANNOT be used to offset budget cuts, prevent teacher layoffs or cuts to afterschool programs! There group behind that advertisement is an offshoot of another who funds charter schools!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

From the Mouth of PAVErs...

It has been immensely frustrating for the parents and teachers of PS 15. We know PAVE parents, we talk to them, and we know how unhappy they are and some of the corrupt goings on that take place at the charter forcefully housed in our building. There as a moment when a few brave parents were ready to come forward, only to be intimidated and their children threatened by Spencer and Cooper. Alas, blogs are the only place where they can now say what they really feel, and one teacher too, because they are protected by the anonymity. Hopefully, sometime soon, parents will just pull their kids out all together and speak freely about the lie and destruction that is PAVE Academy:

All quotes from PAVE parents and teachers found @ gothamschools.org

-I’m sorry to admit it, but a lot of what people are saying about my child’s school is true. This is why I’m taking my child out after the end of the year. I have been to the school and seen with my own eyes how some of the new teachers treat some students (not mine, but some of the older ones). The principal and other administrators know because I heard parents complaining and nothing gets done. It’s like they don’t care because we’re from Red Hook or something. Last year it wasn’t really like this but then everyone started leaving and new people came and so many things have changed. Parents barely know the new principal and she doesn’t even get involved with the kids except to yell and punish them and take their recess away. At least Mr. Burk knew who the parents were and had a good relationship with us and our kids. Then they have this new office lady who is so rude and acts like she is straight from the ghetto. Ms. Tiffany was good because she knew how to treat people with respect and made us parents feel welcome. All the good teachers left and then Mr. Spencer hired all these new people who don’t even know how to work with kids from our community.

It felt good when I first met Mr. Spencer and he made me believe that I was making a good choice by putting my child in PAVE, but then I started really listening to some of the things he and Mr. Cooper were saying and doing and felt like a fool because I spoke up for them and PAVE when other people were talking against the school.

-As a former PAVE parent I hope this rumor about another PAVE isn’t true. I was smart and took my child out of PAVE as soon as I saw the old principal, and office manager leave & other teachers not returning. Look at all the new people that are there now - what does that say about this school when so many different people are coming and going? I can’t believe the mayor would even consider allowing Spencer to open another school when this one is such a joke and science experiment at the expense of the Red Hook children.

Most of the teachers talk down to the kids and yell at them like they’re worthless. The new office manager is extremely ghetto, and unprofessional and speaks to kids and parents as if she’s in the street. How on earth anyone with common sense has her in a front office greeting people, let alone answering the phone is beyond me. The other guy in charge acts so prejudiced and has said things to parents and kids that are clearly racist and out of line but nothing was ever done because he’s still there doing the same things.
Has anyone even looked into why all the other staff members left? I know many of us are from Red Hook, but that doesn’t mean that we should be treated like dirt and spoken to any way the people at the school feel. I hope that people in other communities are paying attention because if PAVE comes to your neighborhood it will be the WORST thing for the community. Just look at all the lies Spencer has told and the problems it has caused Red Hook.
If you still have your kids at PAVE, then you better start going to the school more and asking your kids what’s really going on. These teachers and staff could be doing and saying anything to your child and you never know.
Wake up Red Hook! Just because a school has computers and smart boards doesn’t mean that it’s a good school and the people there are doing the right thing for your kids.

-Just reading all of this stuff reconfirms why I got my child the heck outta this school! Everytime I turned around there was some staff member leaving. Teachers and the people in charge yelling at kids and speaking to them any old kind of way they wanted. I don’t even yell at my own child and I’m going to let one of these prejudiced people come in my neighborhood and do it? Not letting my child go to the bathroom when they had to go. Trying to get me to give up my rights and say the teachers & school isn’t responsible if something happens - just to send my child on a school field trip! Then making them eat in silence all the time. Taking away their recess playtime for stupid reasons. They barely have anytime to socialize with their friends and they have to be quiet at lunch time too! This is NOT the army. Some kids have enough structure at home and should be able to come to school to be a kid and not have their self-esteem crushed by a bunch of prejudiced people who talk down to them and obviously have no real experience working with children in our community.

Everytime you turn around they’re calling you at work all day long for the smallest things! Sending kids to the deans office all the time. If these people can’t manage kids then why are they even teaching in my community? Go teach in Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill or someplace in Manhattan.
Most of the PAVE staff don’t even have children themselves and the rest of them act as if they don’t even like children so I don’t know why theyr’e even working in a school. The current PAVE parents better wake up and get your kids into a real public school where the principal and teachers actually care and like children. PAVE doesn’t care about the kids or the families. Only when you take your kid out, they call you 50 times to get you to bring your child back. Everything these people are saying is true about PAVE. Thank you Jesus for finally waking me up!

-As a teacher at PAVE, I was sucked into believing that they had the best interests of students, their families and the teachers in mind during decision making. I was wrong. The work environment is similar to the sweat shop that many people described it to be. Long hours and slave like conditions makes me dread going to work most days. PAVE teachers wont come forward to support PAVE because we are all trying to leave. As a staff member, I would have to say 80 percent of the teachers aren’t happy. They were fooled in teaching there with empty promises. I am bidding my time, like many other teachers to get away from PAVE’s oppressive workplace. (from a teacher that refers to her/himself as "enslaved teacher")

Finally, this from an anonymous poster (looking through the window) because it is so great; Between the news reports, rallies and comments from this & other sites, PAVE seems like the Calvinist Puritans who came to the island of Manhattan, built a Wall to keep the Native American out and later ravaged their homes, stole their land and killed them all off.

Could the PAVE administration and their fearless leader be the new Puritanic evil of Red Hook?

Join Us in Creating REAL Parent, Student and Teacher Voice in Public Education and Policy! Community based education, organization, and mobilization... the time is NOW!

Anyone interested in forming a grassroots committee at your school? FOR community control and AGAINST privatization!!


COME TO THE CUNY GRADUATE CENTER, 34/35 STREET ON 5TH AVE. ROOM 5414. 5 PM

Tuesday May 11

GEM (Grassroots Education Movement) has a new committee to support the building of school based groups of workers/parents/community members. These groups are working in schools to fight AGAINST privatization/charter invasion/school closing/testing madness/layoffs/budget cuts and FOR democratic community control of schools. Start with issues that most resonate with your school community and build a broad based committee in your school that will be able to coordinate with groups in schools across the city to build this struggle from the ground up.

GEM wants to offer its help in any way it can to educators, students, parents or community members who wish to build a school based committee. Some schools are building these committees in response to a charter invasion, or their school being closed. Others are forming on the basis of resisting K-2 testing the DOE wants to impose, or simply as a way to coordinate the effort to fight the budget cuts, layoffs and to push for a just contract.

If you are interested in finding out more about this, if you think you might want to get something started in your school, or if you have skills and knowledge you want to contribute to this effort:
COME TO THE CUNY GRADUATE CENTER, 34/35 STREET ON 5TH AVE. ROOM 5414. 5:00 PM TUESDAY MAY 11th

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week, You're Fired!

Mayor Michael Bloomberg blames "Albany's irresponsibility" for the teacher cuts he announced earlier today.  6,400 teaching positions will be eliminated 4,419 through layoffs and 1,995 through attrition.


If we take a look at New York State Assemblyman James F. Brennan's report "Damaging Missteps and Wasted Funds Under Mayoral Control" it seems that our Mayor's irresponsibility played a major part in the undermining of public education in New York City.  Assemblyman Brennan explains  "... in the past seven years mayoral reforms have produced a new set of inefficiencies, damaging problems and wasted funds."  The administrative structure of New York City School is on its fourth major reorganization since our mayor seized control of public schools!  The newest reorganization calls for an increase in the number of positions at Tweed, (increasing the number of deputy chancellors from three to eight) and as the New York Post put in on April 27th, "hiking the combined salaries of its top brass by at least $275,000 a year."


Albany's fault...  Mayor Bloomberg, when you point the finger at someone (or in this case everyone else but yourself) remember there are three other fingers pointing back at you!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Let's BRIDGE the divide created by those with the drive to privatize!!! We together, public school and charter school parents and teachers say NO to the coruption, subordination, and division the current charter school movement has propogated!

Class Size Matters & New York Charter Parents Association have just posted an online petition against S7678, the bill introduced Friday in the NY State Senate which would more than double the


cap on charter schools, without necessary protections against the abuse of power, fraud, misuse of public funds, or protection of parent and student rights.

As charter parents, we are supportive of public school choice, however, no system is perfect. We can improve the charter school system if we enact real reforms.

This bill does not provide the charter school reform we need for our children. The bill would continue to bar the State Comptroller from auditing charter schools’ use of public

funds, would continue to allow profit-making enterprises to make money from operating charter schools, would not require schools to post their charter and by-laws online, would not allow the state to take over a charter school when the board is incompetent and dysfunctional AND would allow charters to send their special education students off-site for services.

It would also let the DOE continue pitting parent against parent and dividing communities in battles over scarce resources and space.

Please go to this link now to sign the petition
http://www.change.org/petitions/view/vote_no_to_raising_the_cap_on_charter_schools

When you sign the petition, it automatically sends a copy to the Governor and your State legislators.
Please call your state senator or assemblyman at:
Senate: The toll free no. is 1-877-255-9417 and press 2
Assembly: the toll free no. is 1-877-255-9417 and press 3.

Also please contact:

Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver
speaker@assembly.state.ny.us
518-455-3791 or 212-312-1420

Senator John Sampson, Democratic Conference Leader
sampson@senate.state.ny.us
518- 455-2788 or 718- 649-7653

And please forward this message to others who care.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Charter School Hearing Last Week:

Lydia Bellahcene, a  P.S. 15 parent reflects on her day spent at the the Chater School Hearings at Senator Bill Perkins office last week:


Let's see… what are the "innovative ways" charter schools have shown
public schools how they get "the grade".
Is it the structure of a vigorous program? Is it the militaristic strict discipline? Is it the claims of the test scores? Is it the "no excuse” parent policy? Let's start here. If parents would put down their Blackberries, stop whining about homework and actually read with their children every night-- they will read "20 books in a month." Signing your rights over as a parent if you’re not setting limits or proper boundaries at home thinking they will get them in school… Innovative thought? No!
Test scores: They are just as invalid as the Educational Footprint, the EIS statements, and the utilization formulas put out by the DOE! When you test all the children in this city and not council or discharge a
special needs or ELL student before test time then we'll talk. Until then your claims are INVALID!
Funding for programs: Getting a hell of a salary for your leadership skills. Getting paid a hell of a salary for your teaching ability or your years of service. There's a thought! Actual dollars spent on
state of the art equipment and new books help children thrive. INNOVATIVE--NO IT’S THE TRUTH!
One of the things that stood out at the hearing is that: MONEY AND WHO YOU KNOW, WHAT RELATIONSHIP YOU HAVE WITH BILLIONAIRES COUNT IN THE GAME!!!! Ohhhh that's it!
How the adulterous relationship of Bloomberg and Klein have sold our public schools to the highest bidder and have allowed the discrimination against our most needy children. Some of our parents
are rising up through the thick cloud that hovers over our city and asserting their first amendment rights. Something they were not betting on! Ask Cooper, he’s still in recovery! Wall Street investors are pulling
big bank to put nominees to any Senator who challenges them! Just like Mike, setting up the Office of Portfolio Development and the DOE PEP panel squad to sham public school communities into thinking they are following Education Law and dupe everyone into thinking they are following "process"!  If we just create the 1.6 million parent voices we so desperately need to stand up in unison: STOP THE DRIVE TO PRIVATIZE! FIGHT BACK! FIGHT BACK! FIGHT BACK!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

PEP Meeting: Repeat Performance

With less fanfare than previous meetings, but all of the pointless nonsense, another PEP meeting ends predictably.  The police cars outnumbered the fancy buses that brought supporters of the charter school Harlem Success Academy (in their matching orange shirts) which causes one to wonder what the DOE is so afraid of.  If you need that much security at a meeting about schools something is NOT RIGHT!  And it wasn’t right.  It was not right to watch the mayor’s appointees mindlessly vote in favor of every co-location on the agenda.  It was NOT RIGHT to watch a DOE representative whisper in the ear of a certain panel member when she did NOT agree with facts shared by P.S. 15 teachers and parents.  It was not right when Kathleen Grimm defended the statements of the P.S. 15 EIS by simply parroting the very statement in the EIS. Read more about this and other nonsensical happenings here.  Charter school supporters are all about school choice.  One audience member compared it to selecting Pepsi or Coke.  What no one seems to mention is the fact that the man who insisted on controlling our public schools for the last eight years had a CHOICE to improve all existing community schools and did no such thing.  School choice is ultimately the mayor’s choice. He chose to outsource our city’s education reform to any random person/corporation who decides to open a charter school. He allows the chancellor to choose which schools to close and which schools to cram together in buildings not designed to support multiple schools, compromising the learning environment and school climate for all who attend or work in the schools. Coke or Pepsi, really?  What about the notion that all parents and students deserve high quality community public schools!?!


Thank you to the PEP members who questioned the faulty Educational Impact Statement and who voted against the co-location of PAVE Academy within P.S. 15K!  I wonder how much longer we must wait until this “process” in fully exposed for the sham it is.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What is Taking Place?


Wednesday’s public hearing do-over at P.S. 15 was an interesting night.  We laughed, we cried, we wondered...what is going on?  Some things were the same:  Michael's Duffy's smug attitude,  the DOE representatives on their blackberries,  and CEC 15 president Jim Devor exposing the EIS for the sham it is.  However, PAVE families and staff were noticeably absent.  Were they told not to attend since the DOE rubber stamps all co-locations anyway? Or were they simply not informed of the event, much like they were not informed that PAVE’s growth next year depends on the PEP vote this Tuesday!?! 
P.S. 15 Parents Lydia Bellahcene and John Battis dissected the revised EIS and exposed each inaccuracy for the audience, making it clear, once again, that the DOE is violating state education law to allow a charter school to expand while compromising a community public school. There is still time to call and write emails to get your concerns on record: D15Proposals@schools.nyc.gov     718-935-4390.  

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!

Bailouts for Banks and Wall Street but NOT FOR OUR KIDS? SAVE OUR SCHOOLS... STOP THE FORCES WHO SEEK TO DISMANTLE AND DESTROY PUBLIC EDUCATION!