i'm wondering whether anyone on this board has elementary age kids and knows anything about the charter school network that is apparently trying to open in D13 and D17. this link:
suggests that they are trying to open up 2 charters in PH and CH. i am not interested in this school in the least, but as an area resident and prospective K parent in D13, i am concerned about our local schools. i know this charter chain tries to co-locate with district schools and am curious whether folks who are already "in the system" have heard anything more about this.
charter school co-locations in crown heights/prospect heights??
i'm wondering whether anyone on this board has elementary age kids and knows anything about the charter school network that is apparently trying to open in D13 and D17. this link:
I have no real info here. But a group of young, white females approached me at the Franklin Ave subway stop to ask if I'd sign a petition to get 2 new charters in the neighborhood. My response was "Oh, he'll no" and walked away. As soon as I was on the train, I regretted not engaging in a conversation with them. But I spared my husband the headache of hearing me argue with some strangers on a street corner, I guess. Ugh.
lol! your reaction may have been better than an argument, anyway. i hear they hire people who don't know anything about these issues anyway. just curious -- when was this?
This was just a major deal at PS 9. In the case of PS 9, It's a clusterfuck of politics if you ask me and a slap in the face of parents who have worked tirelessly to Improve the public school system. My only experience with charter schools have been from other parents and friends of my son. The large majority have not been happy with them.
This was maybe 2 weeks ago.
My school where I teach is struggling to find enough space in our tiny building that we share with 2 other schools (all public). A space opened in a school building 2 blocks away that would have made it so all of the schools had enough space for their populations. But we didn't get it. A new charter school did. It didn't matter what arguments were made, what was said ... if the government wants a charter school in that space, they're almost positively going to get it. It's disgusting. So now we don't have a library, a gym, or enough classrooms. Our out-of-classroom professionals (speech teachers, ESL teachers, etc) work out of old single-stall bathrooms that had the toilets removed. It's ridiculous. But that charter school has tons of space, don't you worry.
I almost feel like they want public schools to fail.
That mess with PS 9 was crazy. What makes the situation even more bizarre is that current research on charters is mixed, but in general most charters perform WORSE than their public school counterparts. They talk about giving parents a choice, but they don't want to consider a pre-K-8 proposal, which has proven to be an effective school model given academic performs tends not to decline between 5th and 8th grade (not so with the current middle school model).
My advice to people in the neighborhood is to start mobilizing now, get your parent organizations together and come up with your own well researched plan if you want to keep charters out. Get teachers on board and your local elected officials. It makes absolutely zero sense that we pay taxes and get such little say in how the schools in our communities function.
What's going on with education is sorry these days. I don't have children, but if I did I would certainly be at a loss regarding where to school them. Private schools are too expensive, I don't like the education models of most charter schools, and SOME public school teachers and administrators need to be fired.
PS 316 went through this last year. They were successful for a number of reasons. It's no coincidence that schools in Districts with less parent involvement have have more co-located charter schools. This takes resources away from the zone (elementary only) and community and opens up the neighborhood's resources to a District, Borough or city-wide lottery.
It's really sad to see prospective parents want to get involved with their zoned school only to give up (because they realize that it can't be improved much) and look elsewhere when they realize that their zoned school. shares a building with a charter.in the thick of it
Today's NY Post states that most charters have a waiting list, and seems to imply while some parents want to save the public school system, lots really want to escape it.
P.S. I read the Post only when it is already on the table where I eat lunch.For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
The public school system could be expected to work a bit better if it was organized more like a corporate meritocracy rather than an industrial textile mill.
For starters, get rid of unions and tenure. Introduce 360 reviews and across the entire hierarchy, not just for teachers. Implement and tarck individualized professional development goals, rather than simply providing rewards based on continuing education credits.
(And yes, obviously, teaching to the tests is an idiotic practice imposed top-down that needs to be remediated. But the problems are much deeper and more endemic based on my admittedly detached view of my wife's public school teaching career.)
you can't trust the NY Post generally, and specifically w/r/t charter school stuff. rupert murdoch funds a lot of the efforts to privatize public education, and i take that conflict of interest to the heart.
so, these "waiting lists," they aren't audited and the schools of course don't ever substantiate their claims with proof. and it also doesn't really have anything to do with "wanting to escape" the public school system, because you can (in theory) apply to as many elementary schools as you want.
the charter chains use a single application for all of their outlets, and specifically invite you to check a box for all the schools, no matter where you live. so my guess is that they count a single kid multiple times for multiple schools and thus create their "waiting lists." and that has nothing to do with ultimate enrollment. the UWS outlet of this charter chain couldn't even fill its kindergarten after touting a supposedly long "waiting list."
another point - before you can apply to a zoned school, the staff requires you to prove your residency and that the kid exists with three different forms of documentation. and the most popular zoned publics will strenuously discourage you from applying if you're not zoned. none of this is true for the charters. if zoned publics had applications online that simply required a checkbox, and the charter "waitlists" were significantly higher, then i might be convinced that the number is relevant. but for now it's just a cheap way of purporting that they have more comparative support than they can actually prove.
eastbloc - i don't disagree that changes could be made to improve the system. but charters haven't been shown to "work a bit better," and that's the issue here. some parents are happier with charters, but this seems to have as much to do with the fact that they generally have more money and therefore a nicer environment, and the self-satisfaction that is encouraged by the fact that they are doing something "different" for their children, even if that different thing is not proven to be better. and it's because the charter movement can't substantiate its claims to be better that they have now moved on to the rhetoric of "choice." it's a moving target, but none of it justifies undermining successful local schools.
vaportrail - i'm wondering if the charters are making a grab for ps 316. the article mentions 2 schools in PH/CH area. this doesn't make much sense to me as a general matter, but even more so because PH (d13) really just has the PS9 building, which won't have capacity, and a middle school which already is full. ps22 and ps316 are also in the area, close enough to PH, but ps22 already has new schools slotted for its building. ps 316 shows up on the underutilized report, but one would hope they'd give the school more than a year in between proposals to co-locate to gather steam...
My wife is on the PTA at 316, as well as numerous other committees/boards/other involvement. Charter schools have consistently tried to make inroads towards 316 (a FANTASTIC public school, by the waY), and have yet to succeed. Here's hoping that continues.If you're happy, you're not paying attention.
spurn Productions, Inc.
I suspect the charter schools are being aggressive at securing space now, because they believe that the next mayor will be less pro-charter.
Bloomberg has been the Mayor charter schools dream about.For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
whynot, i suspect you are correct. it would certainly be hard to be MORE pro-charter than Bloomberg. But DFER is throwing so much money around these days that it's difficult to know what to expect (see Hakeem Jeffries). i suppose it depends on the core constituency and fundraising abilities of the candidate, and perhaps more specifically whether said candidate has federal ambitions.
ntfool, many thanks to your wife for her good work. and good luck fighting the next charter battle should it come to you. ps 316 building just seems to have a lot of capacity (according to the DOE), and now that the charter chains have decided to abandon the mission of educating at-risk students in preference of poaching middle class students in brownstone brooklyn, it seems sadly inevitable that they will be headed our way again and again.
PS22 is closing and charters are moving in. I had friends who taught at 22 and saw it coming for years.
That said, I think that while Bloomburg is a supporter, so is Erne Dunkin. He thinks that he is giving districts "choice" through the Race to the Top which he thinks is SO MUCH BETTER compared to No Child Left Behind...yet all it does is make districts "choose" what he likes so you get the money. And he likes him some charter schools.
stacey- thanks for that! But Explore-Exceed is a different school than the one in the link I posted. I had heard that ps22 would close and be replaced by 2 new schools. That PS 22 is already fully "allocated" by the DOE to other new schools is one reason I was wondering how the other charter chain (SCN) could find room for not just one but two more schools of 600 kids each in the PH/CH area (and one more somewhere else in D17). I guess we will find out.
The city and state have directly exacerbated the school space/location issue through several steps they have taken.
1) They have refused to provide charter schools with any facilities funding, instead opting to co-locate. This creates a immediate and direct battle between charters and regular public schools for limited space and resources. Contrast that with the approach in Washington DC where every school (regular or charter) receives the same amount of $s for facilities costs. For regular schools its simply a line item in the budget, and charters receive the funding as part of their per pupil costs. As a result, charter schools have chosen to develop their own stand alone facilities in neighborhoods and in cases where those schools have failed, there are existing spaces for new charters or overcrowded public schools to expand into.
2) The city and state have allowed developers to build significant amounts of new housing without building out school spaces to accommodate new families. If developers were required to build smaller school spaces (say large enough to accommodate 400 children) as part of their incentives/tax breaks those spaces could be open for either public school expansion or charter school development.
This isn't a battle that should be occurring, but it is happening because the politicians aren't engaged in thoughtful problem solving, but are simply trying to avoid advocating spending ANY money for additional school space. The bottom line is if every charter school in the city were to go away tomorrow, the NYC DOE would still need to have classroom spaces to accommodate those kids which currently do not exist. School Construction Authority should be out negotiating with the catholic church for purchase/rental of empty catholic school facilities, but rather than doing that, their focusing everyone's attention on this us vs. them battle which only obscures the real issue - there aren't enough school facilities to accommodate the growing number of kids in NYC.
Related reading on the challenges facing charter schools in need of facility and capital funding:
http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/scmsAdmin/uploads/001/117/FinanceGap.pdfFor better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
homeowner, i don't disagree with what some of what you're saying, but in my view the "real issue" not simply real estate. just for starters, where's the need for two new large disciplinarian-style elementary schools near the border of PH/CH?
the charter movement is explictly a move toward privitazing the bulk of public education, so the "us v. them" mindset is not incidental but actually central to the approach of the so-called reformers. they claim it's all about competition, which means someone must lose. right now it is regular citizens who are losing out to politically-connected billionaires (like the Waltons and the Gates Foundation, which funded the study whynot linked to) and their (billionaire) allies in the government.
my problems with this are many, but most significantly: 1) it's not an even playing field, so it's not a fair competition; 2) their claims to be "winning" are generally unverified and based largely on #1. recent studies are showing that not only do charters generally fail to outperform traditional schools, but also that where they do outperform it is because they tend to have a population that is better off than the populations at local zoned schools. the way this is playing out in NYC is that the local schools - without the extra funding streams, fancy law firms, $1m advertising budget, slick PR campaigns, or DOE support - are being undermined to the direct benefit of the charters.
as for the "funding gap," it's pretty obvious that a business, "non-profit" or otherwise, would want free rent from the government if they could get it. but plenty of nonprofits pay rent, they're not entitled to free space, and right now, i don't think the public is getting enough in return for what the charter school expansion is costing and will cost in the future.
The NYT ran a short piece on charter schools this weekend. I didnt find it especially thought provoking.For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
The Education Committee of Community Board 8 will meet, tonight, at
727 Classon Avenue (btw. Prospect & Park Places)
7pm - 9pm
The agenda for the meeting has time dedicated to open comments. All who are passionate about the quality of education in our community should attend.
When a charter school is able to get space in an existing public school, it clearly has advantages over the public school: It is able to exclude students, and punish and reward teachers easier than its public school competition.
Such advantages give those of us who think about the soci-political-cultural-racial consequences lots to think about, and type about.
Meanwhile, I think such concerns not the primary motivator of most prospective charter students and parents. Understandably, they may choose the school that appears to "actually want them", or that has the best facilities.
On these fronts, the charter schools excel.
-They advertise for students and parents, whereas the public schools don't and/or can't.
-They find donor money to make their schools attractive, whereas the public schools don't and/or can't.
For example, it does not take much imagination to believe that the soon to be built Brownsville Ascend Charter School will be far more attractive than the existing local school.
Will it provide the kids with a better education? Who knows. But I have a hard time blaming the parents for being susceptible to the pitch....For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
But the advertising from charters only points to their corporate backing, not grassroots embrace of their model. Parents should not be fooled. The charter school advertising is wasteful. For example my child is a 1st grader at PS 9 but we are the target of continuous unsolicited mailings for charter schools that admit students only in kindergarten or 5th grade. In a time of scant resources going to NYC public schoolchildren it is a shame to see money wasted on corporate priorities like ad blitzes.
At PS 9 you won't see wasteful corporate ad campaigns, but rather the work of tireless parents and school administrators who attract donors and run grassroots events like movie nights, auctions, box top collections, and on and on, to raise money to improve the school. That is the difference.
Jetsy, I agree with you on every point.
...but we both can think of many examples of people consuming something due to advertising that they wouldn't otherwise. After all, that is why businesses advertise.
As written about elsewhere, the charter schools have long structured their admissions and academics so that they will attract parents who believe that hard work and involvement will result in bright futures. They are careful to avoid stating that those in the traditional public system lack these qualities. ....instead, they attract those who may have reached such conclusions on their own.
I agree, the logic of the parents, and the outcomes of the schools are questionable. That's the beauty of advertising, you dont have to have a better product; you merely have to lead enough people into believing it is better, or that the you are somehow "different" in a way that people suspect might be positive....
Guess which floor of the public school building is going to always have fresher paint: Yup, the floor that has the charter school.
Like it or not, lots of people assign meaning to things that might be meaningless, like paint.For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
I would not disagree that people are susceptible to slick advertising! And while I'd agree that charters have long promoted the idea of hard work, the encouragement of parental involvement is not uniform among charters. In fact, for years many of the charters didn't have PTAs because management didn't want "rival" sources of power in the school. Yes, you need to promise to have your kid there on time, and that they will do their homework, but to me that falls into the category of "discipline" rather than "involvement."
Further to that point, some of the internet commentary about the recent NYTimes article on PTA tension in gentrifying schools made it plain that a lot of folks (middle class or otherwise) aren't interested in being involved in the school, or in fundraising - yes, they want their kids to be educated well, but they don't want to or can't help with that work to the extent that the budget for it isn't already there. And I think that those parents are attracted to the idea that someone else (a board full of hedge funders) is going to be getting those resources for them, and they don't particularly care what their kids (or society) might be losing in that process.
My personal belief is that some day in the not too distant future, hedge fund money will run out, and then you will start to see the true cost and the true comparisons between privatized public schools and publicly managed schools. That's why it's important that people who do see the downsides of aggressive charter proliferation, especially in the absence of clearly superior educational outcomes and attention to the potential long-term effects on public education of privatization, continue to push back particularly where there is not community support for charters.
That said, I think local schools will still be forced to do better marketing. To reach people early who haven't yet made conclusions about public school and who may be just as inclined to have their kids stay local, and to turn down the allure of fresh paint, if they felt some personal connection or personal benefit in it. That might mean that the PTA spends more time talking to "outsiders" than to selling each other cupcakes, but if that's what it takes, I would guess it's worth it. (Note that I'm not referring to the PS9 PTO, which clearly is doing awesome work and probably makes amazing cupcakes too!)
I've always wanted to have a really good, honest conversation with a Principal (Executive Director) of a charter school.
One of the questions I would ask them is "how many of the parents come to your charter school searching for the solution to a problem that is unrelated to their last public school. (ie kid with behavior problems, chaos at home, kid isn't bright, etc.)?"
The follow up questions would be: What do they do after a year when they realize your school can't fix their kid? Do they blame staff and finally storm out in a huff to look for yet another miracle cure?For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
Whynot, I've seen some charters up close for the last couple of years. I don't think they have any more problem kids with clueless parents than regular public schools. I think that what school a parent sends a child to is a personal choice and one which a parent should have a right to.
What I've seen in NYC, is while the system claims to have given more choices to kids, they've actually put parents in the position of having to stake out a moral position and go all in to get the best education for their kids. They've also taken away the opportunity for bright kids who don't have a caring adult on their side to have a real shot at getting a decent education. Those kids end up at the worst schools (be they regular public or charters) with the worst teachers and no one really seems to give a damn about it.
There are far more kids who are on their third school in three years because they have become homeless or their parents had to move as a result of a divorce or death in the family than those who have been moved because their parents are looking for a miracle cure to a broken kid. Solve the bigger social issues and the education issues become more manageable. We should have learned that lesson post the Depression, but clearly its something we've forgotten that will need to be relearned. Unfortunately, a ton of kids are going to be sacrificed in the meantime.
Yes those "3 schools in 3 yrs" kids are often the ones who eventually end up in District 75, drop out, or get pushed out.
I think a big attraction of charters is the belief that those who are not headed toward a Regents Diploma are somehow absent.
Regardless of whether this belief has any merit, ...I totally agree, parents should have the right to put their kid in a school that they believe is best for them.
Lots of people believe things I do not, and (within the confines of the law) such things are their business, not mine. After all, a parent should get to decide what is best for their kid ....not me or anyone else.
I am not a parent, but have a lot of experience with the public school system, especially in low income areas of NYC. As a result, I will state that in many cases, I would not hesitate to choose a charter school if offered one.For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
"parents should have the right to put their kid in a school that they believe is best for them." agreed. but that's not really the issue. the question of charter school proliferation (or "choice school" proliferation, if you want to get even deeper) concerns public funding and public resources. since those are scarce goods, the issue is therefore whether and what society should pay for parents' choices, and what we should ask for in return. it is frustrating that people won't discuss the issue for reasons of deference to other parents or the fetishization of "choice."
it's like public healthcare, even if the analogy isn't quite perfect. we feel comfortable discussing the ethical and practical and economic implications of the individual mandate, or whether Dick Cheney should have received a heart transplant, even if we might not express our views directly to dick cheney's wife or our card-carrying tea partier in-laws on medicare. my point is that there's a difference between discussions of ethics/politics and telling a fellow parent what to do, or judging him for his choice. we can even hold views about what would be ideal, while doing something that we understand is not - i just care that people have the information and understand the effects of what they are doing.
what i keep coming back to is that the charter advocates certainly are not shying away from telling parents what they need, undermining other educational "choices," and opining on would be the best for other people's kids. so why should those of us who disagree with the wisdom of model as it is being applied (unscrupulously, with reckless disregard for transparency, community, or long-term sustainability) not speak up?
You should continue to speak up.
It think you get at the crux of the matter here:
We can even hold views about what would be ideal, while doing something that we understand is not - I just care that people have the information and understand the effects of what they are doing.
As you mention above, the charter schools presently have an advantage over the traditional public schools because their public funding is supplemented by powerful donors.
As a result, in the immediate term, many charter schools look more attractive from an aesthetic point of view. The fear of many is that between now and when the funders move on to a sexier cause, the funding for traditional schools will be gutted. Teaching will return to being a profession the is incredibly underpaid, yada, yada, yada.
If these fears come true, pubic schools will be worse off in the long term.
However, this argument is a tough sell to a parent.
You see, at their core, many are not concerned about what happens to OTHER peoples children IN THE FUTURE. ...understandably, they are often most concerned what happens to THEIR child IN THE PRESENT.
As homeowner states, it puts parents in the position of making moral decisions. In this case, the decision may be "Which role should take precedence? My obligations to my child as a parent, or my obligations to all children as a citizen?"
I think humanity has struggled with decisions about "foregoing self interest to advance the interests of a group" since the beginning of time, and the decision re: where to send your kids to school in NYC is just one incarnation of it.
Life is full of tough choices, and having to make choices like this (or having choices framed this way by people with agendas) is but one of the reasons I've decided to be the parent of a dog instead of a child.For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
P.S. While charter schools may be able to convince parents that they provide better academics to students, the city is also watching how they are managing their finances.
They recently closed a charter chain: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/brooklyn/final_bell_for_inept_charter_dSOGtIkLUovmIDZJg3eB2H#ixzz1r4dJCDm1For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
so i may be just talking to myself at this point, but the SACS application to open these new schools is publicly available. with respect to district 17, they're definitely targeting northwest CH- they've even specified the census tracts where there is sufficient ethnic diversity for them to make a -poof- instantly integrated school. these tracts encompass almost all of ps 316 and ps 22 zone, and part of the ps 9 zone.
Chairperson: Sharon Wedderburn
Meeting Day: 3rd Wednesday of the month
Time: 7:00 PM
Place: Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation
727 Classon Avenue bet. Park Place and Prospect Place)
Responsibilities include the following:
Establish liaison/linkages with community schools in order to improve school operations and support educations priorities
Help advocate the adequate allocation of revenue for school services
Develop a networking relationship with the district's parochial, proprietary schools, and colleges
Assist schools in getting needed City services and funding
The next meeting of Community Board 8's Education Cmte. will be held on May 16, 2012.
At the last meeting there was a presentation on the Coalition for Educational Justice. The content dealt heavily with community empowerment, and getting the public schools to perform as they should.
From my experience, public schools work; all that is necessary is a principal who is dedicated to his/her staff, loves children, and is able to motivate the ENTIRE staff to work towards the nurturing and education of their charges. Key with this is strong parental involvement. Charter schools seem to demand these as prerequisites. All that is necessary for public schools to succeed are the same things. The only thing thwarting public schools success is ultimately the mandate that they MUST attempt to teach every child who is brought to them, regardless of their educational level when they are received. That is largely not true for charter schools.
Yes, every school should be held accountable for teaching every child, regardless of whether they are bright, motivated, or have involved parents.
Needless to say, some students are harder to reach than others.
Here's a video that was recorded about a year ago by students who claim to be members of Crown Heights' Brower Park gang. While I want public schools to be more accountable, is it wrong for a parent to want their kids to have different learning environment? Is it fair to blame the teachers for the present environment?
P.S. Given the temptations, I doubt I would have been among the students in the background doing their work. Given the constraints, I doubt I would be as patient as the teacher appears.... Is it me, or does this video show a pretty typical day?For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
My experiences with education are somewhat different from yours, whynot_31. You haven't identified what grade level these students are at and which educational institution this occurred at. With a strong teacher and the support of a strong administration, this situation would have been defused and disassembled. I don't know at what point of the school year this video was made. If it is September, then the staff has the evidence to weed out the students who need to be placed in another type of institution. The students who are borderline or are too weak to admit that they would like to learn, can still be reached. If this video was taken later than October, then the staff has failed the students who are acting out, and most of all, has failed the students who are trying to learn inspite of the constant distractions.
I suspect this is a middle school environment, which by any teachers estimation is the hardest group to reach because of all of the challenges that a throng of pubescent students present.
The students who are harder to teach than others usually occur because of the afore-mentioned "social promotion" and/or lack of educational nurturance in earlier grades. There is no identification if this is a class that is meant to deal with students who have previously slipped through the cracks.
As for blame (of that type of environment) there is usually enough to go around.
As for my wife and myself, we somehow managed to raise three sentient, literate, open-minded children in the SAME community as the students who you are using as an example. What was done by us was PARENTING. Respect for education started as soon as we brought them home from the hospital. Nurturance was disseminated at home, in church, and at any family gathering we attended. Friends houses were not immune from being sites of guidance, education, and teaching social skills. Every opportunity was taken to enrich the children, and often at a sacrifice of their parents. THIS IS NO LONGER THE NORM IN OUR SOCIETY. THE SELFISHNESS OF ADULTS IS PERVASIVE; IT CROSSES ALL SOCIO-ECONOMIC LINES.
With a look on YouTube, the video you loaded was made more than three (3) years ago. So by now, who knows where those students are?
The students in the public and middle schools now are the issue. What can be done to create the proper environment for them to learn in?
Charter schools, alone, are not the answer.
What was done by us was PARENTING. Respect for education started as soon as we brought them home from the hospital. Nurturance was disseminated at home, in church, and at any family gathering we attended. Friends houses were not immune from being sites of guidance, education, and teaching social skills. Every opportunity was taken to enrich the children, and often at a sacrifice of their parents. THIS IS NO LONGER THE NORM IN OUR SOCIETY. THE SELFISHNESS OF ADULTS IS PERVASIVE; IT CROSSES ALL SOCIO-ECONOMIC LINES.
AMEN. I taught for 5 years in this general area and the hardest part is helping kids realize that education is actually important. Either parents think its also a waste of time or they SAY they think it's important but don't act it - no time for homework, discourage reading over TV watching, don't take them to educational activities, don't talk to their kids, etc...
Yes, without effective parenting, youth are at a huge disadvantage. That said, my frame of reference doesn't cover a long enough time span that I will argue that parents are less effective at creating "active, motivated learners" than the past.
I merely posted the film because I find it to be too typical of the level of control (ie power) that public teachers have over their classrooms; the "learning environment".
....in my view, many teachers, administrators and parents are forced to accept such environments because they believe they have no other options, and/or are not willing to endure the wrath that comes from parents and the "system" from trying to place a disruptive kid in Special Ed.
There also may be less resources (counseling, testing, etc) available to help youth, teachers, and parents than there were in the past, so their only real choice is exclusion (ie special education). What was the last resort, may now be the ONLY resort. ...which sucks.
Can a student learn in such an environment? Yes, there are kids in the background doing their work, and.many of us have our own experiences (and those of our coworkers, friends, daughters, sons, etc) as evidence that such settings came be overcome.
I think the better questions are "should a youth have to learn in such environment?", "should parents, teachers and students have to defy the odds?"
....are charter schools the answer? No, the problem is WAY too complex to have a single answer. I simply argue that Charter schools are in vogue because they benefit from the myth that disruptive students, and inattentive parents have been effectively excluded.
I am not an opponent of charter schools because I believe people should be able to believe things I do not. I'd need to meet the staff, parents and students of a specific charter school before I was willing to say it was "better" than my local public school.
Broad paint brushes don't work as a tool for painting charter schools, nor do they work for public ones. ....but paint we shall.For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
BTW, I just rec'd an email stating the following, and thought I would pass it on:
The Education Committee of Community Board 8 is sponsoring a book drive for the children of P.S 289-Books needed for Grades Pre-K thru 5 (ages 4 -12).
All books will be presented to the children during P.S. 289 Family Literacy Night on Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 900 St. Marks Avenue, Brooklyn, NY at 6 PM.
Books can be dropped off at the next Community Board meeting which will be held on Thursday, May 10, 2012 at Calvary Community Baptist Church located at 1575 St. John’s Place (corner of Buffalo Avenue) Brooklyn, NY at 7 PM.
Additional donations will be accepted at the Community Board Office located at 1291 St. Marks Avenue Brooklyn NY until 3pm on May 31st.For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
Returning to the subject of Charter Schools...
This NYT article puts a thoughtful spin on the issue as it points out that, so far, the charter school movement has failed to be a source of racial integration.
...it points out that white children don't live in the areas that the charter schools draw from, and/or have "already" left the local public schools by going to private schools (not charters).
While racial integration is an interesting topic and pursuit, I'd like someone to write a follow-up article that examines whether charter schools actually further economic and class segregation without respect to race.
To what degree are local charter schools being used by families with characteristics that are different than zoned public schools?
two parent households?
caregiver with more education?
longer work history?
etc.For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
There are a LOT of strollers pushed by some of the new residents (white folks) in our 'hood - where do all those kids go to school?
QUOTE FROM NYT ARTICLE POSTED ABOVE BY WHYNOT31
Tim Thomas, a fund-raiser who is white and lives in Flatbush, writes a blog called The Q at Parkside, about the neighborhood. He has spoken to white parents trying to comprehend why the local schools aren’t more integrated, even as white people move in. “They say things like they don’t want to be guinea pigs,” he said. “The other day, one said, ‘I don’t want to be the only drop of cream in the coffee.’
Below is a link to Tim Thomas's very interesting response to the above quote in the NYT that was attributed to him. What he says in his blog is in my opinion a very honest assessment of how race, class and education in NYC intersect. Very refreshing to read. Maybe once people start being honest about how they really feel, real and lasting change can occur.
Yes, such dialogue is refreshing. In my mind, it gets to approach the crux of the issue:
-To what degree does everyone (regardless of their race, income, family status, religion, etc) want their children to be around people who are similar?
-At what point do such preferences become a "problem" vs a "benefit"?
Clearly, the answers will vary by individual.
Above, I argue that parents embrace the Charter school movement because they believe that they are avoiding a segment of the population that would potentially "bring their child down".
Because they are trying to predict "future effects", such decisions are necessarily based on beliefs, not facts. ...which is a nice way of saying preconceived notions, or (gasp) stereotypes.
However, I do not think of parents who send their kids to charter schools in a negative light, because they are doing what they genuinely believe to be best for their child. I respect their choice.
...in the case of the charter school examined by the NYT, I believe the black parents who have enrolled their children in the charter school (as opposed sending their children to the zoned public school) did so based on the belief that "negative influences" are reduced. They can't afford to move to a wealthier neighborhood with even better options, so they settle for a charter school because it is perceived as the best option available to them.
Now, let's talk about the white parents the NYT alludes to. The NYT points out that these white parents and students are absent from the charter school as well as the zoned school, and points out that this is a factor of neighborhood makeup, which is closely tied to income. I'd like to go deeper and "riskier" than the NYT, and state that I believe that the white parents are absent as a result of the same beliefs that drive the black charter school parents: "negative influences" are reduced.
However, unlike the black parents, they have greater means. In today's NYC and America, this often means that they will live in a environment where there isn't a lot of meaningful "mixing" in terms of race, class, and other demographics.
My cousins seem to be an exception. They are white, and live in a mostly black, upper income, professional suburb of Atlanta, GA. They send their kids to the zoned public school without hesitation. ...they believe negative influences to be largely absent.
However, as Clayfilms alludes, it would be silly to lump my cousins into a simplistic label, like "pro-integration". After all, they only want their kids to be around youth very much like themselves.
Yet, by some, they are believed to be "good people", while parents who send their kids to Charter Schools and private schools are believed to be "bad".
In the division, one group is believed to be a force that furthers the present divide, and the other group is perceived as bringing us all together.
It's silly when you think about it.For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
I read that NYT article and the ones linked to it about segregated schools. As someone who taught in East Flatbush - with not a white person around - who now teaches in a United Colors of Benetton ad looking school in the East Village, I have seen both sides.
I would not send my kids to many of the area's schools not because of race - but because of my philosophy on how to teach/treat children. I will not send my kids to a school with uniforms. Or a school that does test prep during the day. Or one where the kids have no agency. Or one with scripted curriculums based on billion dollar companies and not kids needs and interests. I won't send them to a school that doesn't encourage play. Or imagination.
And in my experience (4 schools in both districts 17 and 18) that is the rule, not the exception, of many schools in the area. I have friends who taught at PS22 (now closing) who tell similar stories of a non-democratic learning environment that stifles creativity.
I will be that "drop of cream" if I know the school holds similar educational beliefs as me.
It is sad that the schools (be them charter or zoned), have embraced such questionable curriculums. In addition to appealing to the fears/hopes of parents, they are also desperate to show academic success to avoid closure. Yes, like you, I believe true education (and even "childhood") is sacrificed as a result of such pressures.
I think avoiding such pressures, and being able to give their child some "agency" over the learning environment are a big part of why people of means (be them of whatever race/hue) sacrifice luxuries to pay for private school. As you are aware, the situation in NYC is so dire that lots of people move out of the city, or get fake addresses in better zones because they are not willing or able to come up with the $ required for a private school.
Using the same criteria as you, they find there is no charter or zoned schools that will give their child an education; the choices they offer is either "chartered boot camps" or "zoned chaos".For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
As one of the more recent transplants to Crown Heights (previously 8 years in PH and raised in Manhattan Valley) and with a new small dependent, this is a topic that comes up for me rather frequently. My father always worked in private schools so my siblings and I always attended them. My Significant Other only went to public schools, and not particularly good ones. I have fond memories of school and his "good" memories are few and far between. Mostly he remembers getting picked on for being a smallish Chinese kid.
I'm thinking to go the same route as my father. My goal has become to get the right degree by the time my son is entering first grade. I agree with xlizellx about sending my child to a school with educational beliefs I want. For better or for worse I have a long appreciation for Waldorf schools. That is going to be hard to get for free or even affordable for us. If I found a public school with the standards xlizellx mentions and one that also keeps an eye and finger on kids harassing kids... I would be happy to send my son there.
Oh, and the other thing I've been considering is homeschooling. I never would have thought it possible, or a good idea. With enough kids co-operative style, it might be a good option for a few years until I can get a higher earning job in order to afford private school.