Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Citizens of WHAT World? Charter's recruiting tactics and leaked documents

For more on this issue, see the DNA article here.
Williamsburg and Greenpoint parents have been fighting what we see as a real threat to re-segregate public schools in our neighborhood through Citizens of the World Charter Schools (CWC), a Los Angeles-based chain of schools imposed upon District 14 as well as District 17 in
Crown Heights.  

CWC's Core parent group = "Predominantly white"

From the earliest stages, CWC identified the white, affluent families in Williamsburg (and later, Crown Heights) as the "community stakeholders" who would help them form their proposal. These families, none of whom had school age children, were targeted with private information sessions and invites sent through email lists and members-only listservs.

Now DNAInfo reveals an internal marketing memo that documents how Citizens of the World treats white, affluent families differently than low-income parents and parents of color. From the article:

" 'Through targeted outreach and recruitment, our schools are intentionally designed to reflect their surrounding communities and the larger society in terms of race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status,' the charter network says on its website.

But the New York enrollment memo seems to directly contradict that statement, with the most time and resource-intensive recruitment tools clearly aimed at a small pocket of affluent families, while cheap, low-impact tactics like handing out fliers reserved for Headstarts and churches where recruiters are instructed to 'lean towards' black and Hispanic families. 

A chart titled CSD 14 Priorities lists the recruiters' top strategy as 'engaging core parent group' and describes the target of that strategy as 'middle/upper income, predominantly white.'

In District 17,  the top priority is to 'create core foundation of contacts,' a strategy again targeted exclusively at 'middle/upper income' parents. Roughly half of the engagement strategies outlined in the memo are specifically intended to attract those same targets."

Citizens of the World New York had posted this marketing memo on their Board website, but quickly pulled it after a day or two. We posted a copy of the page that relates to Williamsburg and a full copy of the Enrollment Plan for others to review.

Manufacturing ethnicity?

In addition to the marketing memo, there are questions about CWC's promise of "diversity." The following document, which was downloaded from the CWC NY Board website, is a tally of all CWC's applications to date. What we find unusual is that applications are grouped by race. Yet in all of the student application forms (print, online, and Common App from NYC Charter School Center), there is no place where parents list the race of their child. 

Where are they getting these numbers? How can they guarantee authenticity? From all evidence, there is no way to determine whether the applicant is “AA,” “Latino,” “Asian,” or “Caucasian” (as listed in CWC's document).

Interestingly, since this document was first downloaded, CWC has changed the document to remove the race categories.

(Unfortunately, we only have a printed copy and no scanner, so this is a photograph of what was printed from the site.)

by Williamsburg and Greenpoint Parents for Our Public Schools (WAGPOPS)


johnboy said...

As a parent of a child who attends cwcs, I have to say my son is Caucasian but is by far the minority. Regardless of the ethnic make up we find cwc to be a warm,loving & safe environment that supports every area of my son. He has made remarkable stride not only academically but socially with their help. Not to mention we are including every step of the way! Couldn't be happy with them!

johnboy said...

Sorry about the typos I think you get what I mean.

Anonymous said...

You should read the Charter for your school, johnboy. The enrollment targets are very clear - 55% white. That's how they are in their CWC LA schools - all three of them.

These targets were reiterated at a recent board meeting. CWC NY schools were unable to reach those goals and, ironically, ended up being the most segregated charter schools in the district.

When you talk about them "including you in every step," are you included in the unprecedented 8% licensing fee that is going to the "sole member" of the board that is currently under investigation for fraud?

Anonymous said...

Just does this personally effect you?

Anonymous said...

Wonderful school at Crown Heights, my daughter loves it there and she loves her teachers and that's what matters, not politics