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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Another controversial co-location proposal: hearing Monday on charter school taking space from Harlem adult learning center

Most of the reports of damage from charter co-locations in NYC relates to how they take valuable space from existing K12 public schools.  Here is an account of how the city's determination to allow a charter school to expand within public space will affect MMALC, an important adult learning center in Harlem.  Here is an article about this proposal from the Amsterdam News.  The following was written by Karen Wald, a teacher at MMALC.
The Mid-Manhattan Adult Learning Center, located at 212 W. 120th Street, has served the Harlem and  surrounding communities for decades, providing opportunities for adults  (over 21) who are trying to rebuild their lives, enhance employment, and  strengthen parenting skills.  This school building has been a beacon of hope  since the early 1960's.  It is one of the only free comprehensive programs  in the United States that meets the diverse needs of adult learners.
The tuition free classes offered by MMALC include, but are not limited to: English for Speakers of Other  Language, Adult Basic Education and High School Equivalency, Medical Billing  (for State and National Certification), Licensed Practical Nurse  (State/National Certification), Air Conditioning/Refrigeration Repair  (State/National Certification), etc.
This year we had a huge waiting list. Why? Because unlike K-12, adult education is funded by funds from the State not by the DOE.  In addition, since NYC has a larger tax base than most other NY State cities, NYC receives considerably less money than upstate cities. The tax base is not based on need or demand.   How short-sighted. Just imagine if these students were able to get trained or pass a GED and go on to higher education.
The DOE now plans to give Democracy Prep charter 25 percent of our space so that it can move in its 9th graders in September. Subsequent years will see the invasion of 10th, 11th, and 12th graders. Does this mean the demise of the entire adult ed program at MMALC? Do  the needs of a charter school supersede the needs of an overwhelmingly disadvantaged population seeking means to survive and thrive?  There are many charter schools. There is only one MMALC.
The DOE will hold  a hearing on this co-location proposal on Monday, May 20, at 5:30 at MMALC. Please come and support your fellow New Yorkers. Another voice, a chorus of voices empowers us all. Hope to see all of you there.

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