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:     718-935-4390.  

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Make Some Noise!

The SECOND public hearing regarding the extension of PAVE Academy's co-location within P.S. 15 is this Wednesday at P.S. 15, 71 Sullivan Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn.  Please arrive at 5:30 to sign up to speak.  The hearing begins at 6:00.  Why are we having another public hearing when the process was considered null and void by a Supreme Court Judge?  Who knows, but it is an admission of guilt by the DOE to grant this "do-over" and it is a time and place to share your thoughts and ideas on what has been taking place throughout this school year. Your statements are recorded and a Department of Education employee creates a summary of comments with a tally of those opposed or in favor of the issue.  Please make sure when you speak you include the statement "I am opposed to the extension of this co-location," to ensure your comment is counted.  Our students deserve appropriate space to receive their mandated services. Our school community deserves the intervention and enrichment programs that provide the well-rounded experience our school mission statement promises; "...We encourage strong parent participation as well as a collaborative and professional partnership with community-based organizations that address the physical, intellectual, emotional, moral and social needs of our children."   The Department of Education refuses to acknowledge the negative impact this co-location has on our school community, let's make sure out voices are heard! 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New EIS for P.S. 15, Same Garbage, Different Day!

After you view the "revised" EIS (click here) call 718-935-4390 or email and share your comments.  Don't be shy about calling, it's just an answering machine. 

You may wish to share your objections about the impact on special education, intervention and enrichment programs.  You may wish to point out that this EIS does nothing but promise PAVE Academy an open-ended  co-location while completely ignoring the needs of P.S. 15 students.  The growth of P.S. 15 will be stunted by this co-location and this EIS guarantees it, stating the P.S.15's enrollment will stay the same. This in unfair and untrue! We are a candidate for a magnet grant that will open enrollment district-wide. If anything, our school shoulde be entitled to MORE space.
  Feel free to share your own ideas and alternative suggestions, as the DOE is required to document them.  It seems one fair choice would be to cap enrollement for PAVE Academy.  This EIS may be "revised" but it seems the DOE is making the proposal and policy fit their needs, not the needs of public community schools, namely P.S. 15!

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!