Thursday, June 28, 2007

NYC Charter Schools Plagued by Management Woes

The NY Times ran a front page story on a charter school whose wealthy benefactors purged the board of trustees of parents and teachers. According the account, parents at the Beginning With Children School were unhappy:
The move caused an uproar among parents and teachers who said they would be left with no formal say at the school. “My voice is going to be lost,” said Shakema Daise, the mother of a first grader.
The couple that funds the school, Joseph and Carol Reich, demanded the resignations under threat of withdrawing their support for the school. Parents charged that the Reichs were focused excessively on test prep, a charge that has become all too familiar.

Also revealed in the Times story by David Herszenhorn was that the flagship charter school of the Bloomberg Administration, the Ross Global Academy housed in DoE headquarters at the Tweed courthouse, is now on its fourth principal in less than a year. A long New York Magazine story on the Ross School included this disconcerting passage:
By this past November, both the principal and the president at Mrs. Ross’s charter school had quietly vanished. In February, another principal went up in a puff of smoke after just a couple of weeks bobbing around the premises. The “ ‘chaos’ of a school evolving around its students helps them become poised for a world of constant change” is a tenet of Mrs. Ross’s philosophy.
Those kids need a stable environment for learning, not chaos.

Charters have been attractive to some parents, mostly because they are allowed to cap their class sizes, a luxury generally not available to traditional public schools and because they provide the types of enrichment programs cut from public schools. But with a growing record of management problems, like this disaster in the Bronx, people are beginning to realize that charters are not the panacea their supporters make them out to be.

2 comments:

Anna said...

Great damage control effort:

... The “ ‘chaos’ of a school evolving around its students helps them become poised for a world of constant change” is a tenet of Mrs. Ross’s philosophy. ...

Why do I suspect that she developed that "tenet" on the fly in response to the inability to retain employees?

-- Caroline, San Francisco education blogger
www.sfschools.org

Anonymous said...

MORE LINKS ON THE DISASTER IN THE BRONX



http://www.nypost.com/seven/03112007/news/regionalnews/staff_fires_back_at_principal_regionalnews_angela_montefinise.htm

http://www.eldiariony.com/noticias/detail.aspx?section=17&id=1642848&desc=

http://www.nydailynews.com/boroughs/bronx/2007/05/15/2007-05-15_controversial_charterschool_principal_fi.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/boroughs/bronx/2007/05/11/2007-05-11_principal_quits_after_kids_picket-1.html

http://www.nypost.com/seven/05112007/news/regionalnews/last_ditch_bid_regionalnews_david_andreatta_and_lorena_mongelli.htm

http://www.nysun.com/article/54319

http://www.nypost.com/seven/05062007/news/regionalnews/teachers_walk_out_on_bx__charter_regionalnews_angela_montefinise.htm

http://www.uft.org/news/teacher/speak/shatteredidealism/