Sunday, September 15, 2013

The MOST nonsensical co-locations of all

Joel Klein and others at DOE repeatedly accused parents of only protesting  charter co-locations, and not the numerous others that DOE has pushed forward in recent years, that involve new public schools inserted into the buildings of existing public schools. 
Certainly among the 40 or so co-locations that the DOE is planning  that will only take place after Bloomberg leaves office, the most controversial are the numerous charter schools that take more space each year from public schools   -- including many with deplorable records in serving our most at-risk kids.  (See, for example Success Academy charter – which DOE is giving more space so it can extend its tentacles in every borough of the city , despite numerous examples of  illegal disciplinary and suspension practices).    
The Panel for Education Policy has already rubber-stamped 25 school siting proposals and there are another 29   proposals  that will be voted on next month.   And while charter schools co-locations are contested, they are not the only co-locations that parents and community members bitterly oppose.  Perhaps the most absurd and nonsensical of all the proposals put forward by DOE are their plans to put new zoned public schools inside the buildings of existing public schools – composed of the same grade levels – for no apparent reason except to deprive the existing school of students and resources.  These proposals also represent an incredible waste of money and space in a system starved for both.
See the comments of Laura Timoney, parent activist and CEC member in Staten Island, who deplores the plan to site another zoned middle school inside of IS 2 – a struggling middle school, which according to DOE statistics has class sizes of 30 and above, and that was severely damaged in Hurricane Sandy.  But instead of using existing space to lower class size to help the school improve, the DOE is intent on taking away classroom space to insert another school.  Here are Laura’s comments:
We are circulating a petition at on behalf of the parents at IS 2.  The NYC DoE proposed a co-location of another middle school inside an existing middle school.  Parents are opposed to this idea and want smaller classes at the school.  

The DoE says it is doing this to improve performance and give parent's choice.  Smaller class size is what we want.  Listen to the parents and do that.  We know that smaller class size improves academic outcomes. There is reliable data that proves this effective.  Co-location - there is no data that is does anything positive.  Please stand with the parents, the community and the students and sign, comment and share the petition with your network.
Hearings will be held Oct. 2 at the school, with a vote of the PEP on October 15.
Another instance of a community fighting back is in Queens in District 28, in which DOE is proposing to put a new elementary school inside PS 40; with a vote of the PEP on October 30. PS 40 is a school with 90% children on free or reduced price lunch, according to the EIS, which also indicates that the co-location will push the school to 102% utilization,.  According to the DOE’s class size reports, there were Kindergarten classes at PS 40as large as 28 last year; 2nd and 3rd grade classes of 30 and 31, and a 5th grade class of 35, the last which violates the union contract. This is unconscionable. 
Yet rather than support the school by providing the resources it needs to reduce class size, DOE plans to take away 15 full-size classrooms to give them to the new school. There is also yet another proposal to co-locate a new middle school in an existing middle school, Count Basie JHS 72, also in District 28, which already shares its building with a District 75 program.  Vera Daniels, CEC 28 member writes:
There will be a CEC meeting on Thursday, September 19, 2013 @ 6pm to discuss these proposals, at District 28 offices, located at 90-27 Sutphin Blvd, Jamaica NY 11435 (Room 241).
There are major concerns that these co-location/utilization proposals are rushed and aggressive with limited public and community awareness. Changes such as these demand adequate, purposeful, and meaningful planning in order to maximize their potential benefit to its stakeholders and the community. 
It is no secret how devastated these districts have become, particularly within the Southern Queens communities.  It stands to reason that DOE should focus on seeking and sustaining appropriate and transformative strategies that will address the current crisis (i.e., undeserved, overpopulated, and under-educated) that exist within these district schools.     
How do these changes help further the education of students, enrich the districts, and empower a community?  These co-locations will compound current challenges and introduce even newer ones…The community must be aware of the implementation of these rushed changes to co-locate New Schools within already “devastated” School Districts, and contribute their opinion – because it matters.
Truly it does. Let’s hope that even if the PEP rubberstamps these absurd and damaging proposals, our next mayor has the good sense and courage to undo them.


Concerned Citizen said...
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Concerned Citizen said...

"There are major concerns that these co-location/utilization proposals are rushed and aggressive"

This is not the worst part! Just check out Success Academy Upper West, where the principal took a full-sized classroom for her own office leaving 30 kindergarteners on a half-sized room that the BUP clearly stated was meant for admin uses. That room has less than 500 sq ft, the minimum for a class of 12. They are putting 30 kids there!!! And sometimes their parents too during meetings. It's a total hazard.

The principal is able to live large at the expense of those 5 year olds. The Network didn't even know about this change in the use of space!!!

The EIS clearly states that elementary classes HAVE to be allocated full-size classrooms. Ms Roby, the principal, simply does whatever she wants regardless of what the Network thinks it's ideal for the kids. It's the wild west, 5 year olds pay the consequences.

This would be ILLEGAL in any public school.