Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Why the PEP should vote against the charter co-locations to be voted on tonight



Comments I sent to the PEP yesterday below in opposition to the four proposed charter school co-locations and/or expansions in public school buildings to be voted on tonight. 

Below my comments is the resolution the Community Education Council in District 15 approved against the expansion of Success Academy charter Cobble Hill in their district.  As the resolution points out, when Bill de Blasio campaigned for mayor he promised that PEP members would take the input of CECs seriously  & explain why if their votes differed from the CEC's position.
  
June 9, 2015 

 I am writing to oppose the proposed charter co-locations and/or expansions in public school buildings to be voted on tomorrow night for the following reasons:

  •     There is a crisis of overcrowding in our schools, with a growing school population, and co-locations make this problem worse by the need to duplicate administrative offices and cluster/specialty spaces.
  •       Any expansion restricts the ability of the existing schools in the building to reduce class size below current levels – which are uniformly higher on average than those in the city’s Contracts for Excellence plan and higher than most NYC principals say are needed for a quality education;

  •         The Education Impact Statements project utilization rates of  near or over 100 percent in future years if these  proposals are adopted, which signals overcrowding, especially as the consensus is that the DOE current formula for calculating utilization has been widely criticized for underestimating the actual level of l overcrowding, by failing to take into account the need for reasonable class sizes, sufficient cluster rooms, and dedicated space for all students with IEPs or who need intervention to receive their mandated services:
  •           A Blue Book Working group appointed by the Chancellor made recommendations to improve the formula in December that still have not been released, and if adopted, would likely reveal far higher utilization levels;

  •    Success Academy has millions in cash reserves, including raising $9.3 million in one night, and so could easily afford to rent its own space.
  •      Success Academy has been known to enroll far fewer ELLS and special needs students which then become even more concentrated in district public schools, with fewer resources and space to address their needs;

  •    The disciplinary practices are egregious and suspension rates of SA are far higher than district schools, and contribute to the school to prison pipeline.  In fact, SA charters expel young students, which is illegal in district schools until the age of 17.

Comparative enrollment and suspension rates of the Success charters and the Icahn charter school proposed for initiation and/or expansion are below.  They reveal that  every one of the three charter schools that  already exist and for which we have data from state report cards has lower percentages of students eligible for Free lunch, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities than the schools with which they would share space – about half as many or less, especially in the ELL/LEP and SWD categories.   Each of the charters also has far higher suspension rates – about twice or three times as high -- except for Icahn charter 7.

In the charter law passed in 2010, it clearly said that no charter school should be allowed to expand or replicate if it did not enroll and retain equal numbers of high needs students.  Unfortunately, this law has not been enforced by either the state or the city.

We also have questions about why the Success charter schools are being allowed to add preK sections into these buildings next fall, which clearly changes the building utilization, without going through any of the legally mandated public processes, including an EIS, a building utilization plan and/or a vote of the PEP.

I am attaching a letter sent to the Chancellor last fall, signed by advocates, civil rights attorneys, and parent leaders, asking for a moratorium on all further co-locations and expansions until it is confirmed that the constitutional rights of the students in the existing schools for a sound basic education have been substantially remedied.   This still has not yet occurred.

Yours sincerely, Leonie Haimson, Executive Director
Proposed
Co-location
School Name
Eligible for Free lunch
Limited English Proficiency
Students with Disabilities
Suspension Rate
1
P.S. 93 Albert G Oliver
62%
10%
28%
0%
ICAHN 7
67%
6%
5%
0%





2
JHS 50 John D Wells
91%
27%
28%
5%
Success Academy Williamsburg
64%
11%
14%
10%





3
School of International Studies
75%
12%
15%
5%
Brooklyn School for Global Studies
80%
9%
33%
3%
Success Academy Cobble Hill
44%
4%
16%
14%





4
Andries Hudde School
74%
11%
17%
3%
Success Academy 10- (New)
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a


Data source: NYSED school report cards 2013-2014






2 comments:

Jessica Brown said...

Great quotes, something I will surely hold onto for awhile.

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