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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Mike to Skeptics: A Student in Every Seat

April 12, 2009 (GBN News): More than a few eyebrows were raised in the education community last week when an unnamed DOE spokesperson contended that there will be “enough seats available to serve twice” the city’s goal of 50,000 students in charter schools by 2012. Where, asked many parents and educators, would these seats be found, at a time when public schools are already seriously overcrowded?

In the face of that skepticism, Mayor Bloomberg, throwing his run for a third term into high gear, announced today that he would personally provide those extra seats. The Mayor confirmed a February 27 GBN News story which reported that Mr. Bloomberg, who has been buying up and renovating property adjacent to his East Side townhouse, will indeed be housing a large number of charter schools in his living room.

GBN News was among a group of news organizations given a tour of the Mayor’s expanding living room today. Mr. Bloomberg personally escorted the media through the space, and pointed out a number of seats that he said are among those being designated for charter school students.

“Over there, by the flat screen TV”, the Mayor told his guests, “there are about 15 seats right there.” He went on to indicate an equal number of seats by the fireplace. While the reporters were only shown a small part of the Mayor’s living room, he made it clear that this was only the tip of the iceberg, and that he will “guarantee a charter school seat for any child who wants one, if I have to buy up every piece of adjacent property from river to river. I’d like to see any candidate for Mayor try to top that.”

However, it appears that there is one small catch to the Mayor’s promise. As a condition of acceptance into those charter schools, students will have to commit to serve as interns in Mr. Bloomberg’s reelection campaign. When asked whether this poses a conflict of interest, the Mayor told reporters, “This is a great opportunity for kids to do some real grass roots organizing. No other schools in the city can give them that opportunity. I’d like to see Eva Moskowitz top that.”


Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha.

What you guys seem to miss time and time again is that NEW seats are needed for charter school students.

It's not as if charter school kids are bussed in from another state, they are simply kids not attending their zoned school.

Simple math. Kid leaves seat empty by not attending zoned school. Same kid sits in seat in charter school.

Leonie Haimson said...

Anonymous -- there are only 25,000 new seats in the proposed five year capital plan. For every new charter school that is formed, classroom space is lost because of the need for new administrative and cluster spaces. Not to mention that charter schools are allowed to cap class sizes and enrollment at much lower levels.

meanwhile, class sizes are rising throughout the city in our regular public schools, the overcrowding is getting even more extreme, and Kindergarten students are being put on waiting lists for their zoned elementary schools.

Where will these 100,000 charter school seats come from? And how many students at traditional public schools will be shut out of their schools or face even more overcrowding as a result?